I consider this site to be one of Greg Rucka’s biggest cheerleaders. We think the guy is amazing and will hype up his work as much as we can because nine times out of ten (a conservative estimate) he knocks whatever projects he’s working on out of the park. So the news out of NYCC that he’ll be penning a five-issue miniseries for Dark Horse to be illustrated by Toni Fejzula gives us a real case of the giddies. The log line seems right up Mr. Rucka’s alley;
“A beautiful girl wakes up in an abandoned subway station with no memory of how she got there. When men try to hurt her . . . they wind up dead. Where did she come from? And what is she capable of?”
The book is expected to hit shelves and digital download next March and mark another notch in Rucka’s amazing creator owned comics slam-dunk belt.
I am a pretty big fan of Conan. The current run at Dark Horse by Brian Wood is some of the best work the character has seen in a long time. The fact that he had some stellar runs by Kurt Busiek and Tim Truman prior shows how highly I think of the title at the moment. Now, Red Sonja has also recaptured my attention as of late. Gail Simone is doing some amazing work with the character at Dynamite. I admittedly fell off of the title a while ago, around the time they launched Queen Sonja if I recall correctly.
Now, as fans have been demanding they do so, they are coming together again for a multi-company crossover event with Gail and Brian working together to craft a story for our sword wielding heroes. CEO of Dynamite Nick Barrucci had this to say;
“Red Sonja and Conan are the power-couple of fantasy comics. They define the genre together, the iconic figures by which all others are measured. Their history is intertwined, and I suppose it was only destiny that would lead them together again. Well, that and a lot of planning alongside great folks like Mike Richardson, Gail Simone, and Brian Wood and the editorial teams from both of our companies. And the timing could not be better as this is a huge cross-over to hit as we go into our 10th Anniversary. We couldn’t be more pleased to see the Robert E. Howard legacy made whole again with two Hyboria-shaking crossover events.”
I could not agree more. The current climate is perfect for this crossover. Brian Wood is set to wrap up his run and Gail is just making her mark with the character. Interest is at a high point for both characters and creatively we couldn’t hope for much better. Brian Wood was quoted as saying;
“Conan and Red Sonja together are a genre dream team, and I’m looking forward to not only working with Gail on the story, but creating a crossover story that is epic and huge as these things should be… and something that matters, that’s relevant, and adds something to each character’s rich history.”
With Gail of course adding;
“It’s only the crossover that readers have been begging to have for over a decade: the two greatest barbarian adventurers ever created in an epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance. This is the kind of stuff that made me a reader in the first place, and working with Brian Wood and his amazing version of Conan? It’s just a sword-and-sorcery dream come true. It’s sword vs. sword, Cimmerian vs. Hyrkanian, loincloth vs. bikini, and it’ll probably be the most fun you’ll have reading a comic all year.”
So if you’re not excited yet, you should be!
Before it got shut down by the FBI earlier this week, HTMLComics.com was a website that specialized in putting online, for free, older comics from just about every major publisher and other more obscure ones as well. The site reportedly saw traffic in the numbers of over 1 million hits per day.
To put that in perspective, this site never hits that amount of traffic per month. Granted, we’re a newer site and we are growing exponentially each month, but that’s PennyArcade traffic there. I think that is a fundamental statement on the comic book reading community. Let’s not kid ourselves, comics are popular right now. The geek chic thing hasn’t crashed and burned yet and Iron Man 2 opened to $52 million dollars on opening day. The market is there for the material, the culture however is diverging from the traditional business model due to a shift in the mindset of the modern consumer. You see, it seems like the majority of the populace thinks that piracy is a victimless crime. The majority of people who pirate content, any content, is that if they never intended to buy the product in the first place and only obtain it because it was free, you’re only depriving a creator of money they never would have handed over in the first place. It’s roundabout logic, and in some twisted way I think it makes a little sense. There is a part of me that wants people to be able to experience art, whether it’s music or film or comic books, no matter how they get it. The only problem with that is that people work very hard to produce that art and they deserve to be compensated. That includes retailers. People who work in comic stores like I do need to see people come in and pick up the books. I want to see the medium proliferate, but at the same time I want to see it expand through my doors. I harbor a bit of animosity toward Barnes and Noble and the like for being able to undercut our prices for trades and graphic novels. Casual readers tend to gravitate to them rather than us because they don’t need the things we offer, like back issues and snarky commentary.
But at least it’s legal and nobody is getting fucked over. It’s competition between retailers, that’s about it. They may offer good intro deals on new trades and graphics, but they don’t stock bulk like my store does. They don’t have out of print first editions like we do. But what good comes of a guy who scans old issues and uploads them for free? Erik Larsen of Image comics called HTML Comics “the greatest comic book website on the face of the earth!” on the Image Comics message boards. His Savage Dragon issue were hosted on that server. He didn’t seem to mind too terribly much. He considered the site a great resource, both for fans and creators. Image, coincidentally enough, was not part of the coalition of publishers who lawyered up to shut the site down. DC, Marvel, Dark Hourse, etc., all put their differences aside to combat a site that flaunted it’s illegal activity claiming legal loopholes prevented it from technically being an act of copyright infringement. The FBI raid obviously proved their claims wrong.
So what can we take away from all this? Prices are restrictive to the readership, both new and old. If product could be made available, in a manner that was cheaper than what the average is now, you would see an uptick of purchasing. A dollar an issue versus four? That’s a no brainer. It’s like when the Marvel Omnibi went on sale at Amazon for 10 bucks a pop, people turned out in droves to buy them. That glitch proved that value can attract mass sales. Perhaps an inventive approach to the digital distribution model is worth looking into.
I can’t tell anyone what to do; in regards to their illegal activities or their buying habits. I just want to point out that there is room for new ideas. Someone just has to put them to work.