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Platinum Studios

News for Wednesday, January 10, 2007

HEADLINES

  • FLEEN is still looking for creators to participate in their statistical analysis project - the deadline is January 31st. This could provide an interesting snapshot of webcomics overall circa end-of-2006 if they can get a statistically significant set of data to work with.
  • Sarah Ellerton, creator of Inverloch,took a new system admin job that leaves her less time for to work on the webcomic. She's also comments on her commitment to finishing Inverloch:
    I'm going to be up front and honest and say that drawing Inverloch no longer holds the joy for me that it used to. Don't worry, I intend to finish it - I'm so close to the end, after all (which I think is probably part of the problem). I just don't want to hear people bugging me about updates and such. It doesn't help the motivation levels. Anyway, I hope that explains the lack of update regularity lately, as well as my absence from the forums and the dozens of unanswered emails.

IF IT QUACKS LIKE A DUCK?

  • Dirk Deppey posts the results of his look at the recent "marketing" campaign by Platinum Studios on behalf of its debut title Cowboys & Aliens. So far my reaction would be characterized as "zzzz....".

    No disrespect meant there to Journalista! - which should be commended for doing actual solid journalism on this story - but I can't seem to get too worked up about this. In a nutshell, it's fairly clear that Platinum spent money to get C&A into stores and that different stores used that money in different ways (some stores may have used it to give away or deeply discount the books but either allegation doesn't seem to have been confirmed by anyone). This isn't an unheard of practice in other content distribution models, such as books, movies (DVDs), music (CDs), (and even sports (tickets)) where "marketing coops" between publishers and retail outlets are standard practice.

    At the end of the day it seems to me that books leaving stores and getting into customers' hands is a sale. (Maybe that's my webcomic perspective speaking though - we start with the idea that getting a reader counts - even if you give the webcomic away for free!) Admittedly it might not be a profitable sale, but still a book getting in front of a reader. And given Platinum's multimedia business strategy that might actually be the primary focus of what Platinum's trying to do. If this offends some idea of "purity" on the sales charts well I'd like to understand what this "purity" meant before Platinum showed up and for starters, I'd like to see some investigation of Marvel and DC to ensure that they're also "pure".

JUSTIFY MY HYPE

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

DrunkDuck Interviews Amelius

DrunkDuck updated its news section last night and one of the new features that came out of it are creator interviews. The first interview is of Amelius, creator of Charby the Vampirate, a comic that has consistantly grabbed the top spot of the most read list on DrunkDuck.

How To Deal With Corporate Overlords

I asked this question earlier this week:

I didn't realize that it was a common practice for comics publishers to own comics journalists, but today's Journalista! also alerted me to the fact that Platinum Studios bought the comics news site Broken Frontier earlier this month. (Similarly, Journalista! and TCJ are owned by publisher Fantagraphics.) I'm sincere in asking: how do such journalists deal with the obvious conflict of interest this presents? Is there a corporate separation that protects the ability of the journalists to cover the news without interference or does the journalist just not cover their owners?

On his blog, T Campbell provided his answer:

Carefully.

News For Tuesday December 19, 2006 (UPDATED)

MAGAZINE

  • A smaller December issue then years past but still full of great webcomic recommendations and plenty of opinions to discuss. There's a slight chance we'll have a few more pieces, but I may hold those until January.
  • I just wanted to say thanks and congrats to Kris Straub who has contributed to Comixpedia for a couple years - first with Modern Humor Authority and this year with Checkerboard Nightmare. Kris' plate has gotten considerably more full lately so he won't have time to contribute next year.

    We'll see you in Xanadu, Mr. Straub... They call it Xanadu.

  • If you have a minute please vote for the Roundtable and People of Webcomics articles over at ComicNe.ws - it's a different crowd at CBR and having Comixpedia articles on the front page over there has helped bring some of their readers over here to check out Comixpedia. At this point it only takes about 6 votes to get something on the front page over there so click that little "c" below your posts if you think it might be of interest.

BUSINESS

A warning to those using google ads and placing images near the ads themselves - that appears to be against Google Adsense's new policy:

Can I place small images next to my Google ads?

We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests arelationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn't actually being offered. That's nota good experience for users or advertisers.

Let's All Go To The Movies

Journalista has a significant section today on Scott Rosenberg and Platinum Studios called "Meet the new Scott Rosenberg, the same as the old Scott Rosenberg." (A side note: Rosenberg was included in our People Of Webcomics list this year.) Obviously anyone who has followed Rosenberg in the news this year knows at this point he's been around comics in various ventures for quite some time. A chief, recurring, criticism seems to be that Rosenberg is interesting in comics properties solely for their potential to be licensed to filmmakers and that he does not actual perform the basic publishing function of a comics publisher.

I can't comment too much because I haven't done my homework on this subject, but it does strike me as odd that when numerous creators are abandoning the monthly comic book format for webcomics (albeit with a goal to collection in a graphic novel) that there is an expectation that Platinum would want to vigorously compete in the direct market. It also seems odd to criticize Platinum for using a creator-for-hire approach on its first comic book, Cowboy & Aliens -- isn't that the standard model for the majority of the industry (you know, DC and Marvel)? Deppey reports that a deal from 2004 may require Platinum to put out comic books in order to comply with the deal - to the extent that Platinum is treating such publication as an expense rather than a profit center, I'd think the most obvious question is what does that say about the health of the direct market?

If this is of interest, there's lot more on the topic at Journalista! today.

NEWS ABOUT COMICS NEWS SITES

I didn't realize that it was a common practice for comics publishers to own comics journalists, but today's Journalista! also alerted me to the fact that Platinum Studios bought the comics news site Broken Frontiers earlier this month. (Similarly, Journalista! and TCJ are owned by publisher Fantagraphics.) I'm sincere in asking how do such journalists deal with the obvious conflict of interest this presents? Is there a corporate separation that protects the ability of the journalists to cover the news without interference or does the journalist just not cover their owners?

JUSTIFY MY HYPE

If you haven't been reading ICE by Faith Erin Hicks get over there and check it out (the archives aren't that long). I'm not sure I like the black & white as much as the earlier coloring but that's only as a comparative matter - both periods of the comic are amazing. If you have been reading, the current scene is getting particularly tense as major plots points are revealed.

NOT COMICS

Joe Barbera passed away. I thought this guy's name meant animation when I was a kid.

Around The World in 80 BLOGS

Hero By Night #1 Now In Diamond Previews!

HERO BY NIGHT book #1 of 4 is now in the Diamond Previews ordering catalog with a full page color spot in the Image Comics section (pg161) Here's a look at the listing and cover art - All of Platinum Studios Comics titles will be published through Image Comics under the Platinum Studios label.You can help out by calling up your local shop and asking them to carry the book -- Finding a local shop you can call is easy, just use the Comic Book Shop Locater Service, then give your local shop a buzz! Thanks!

Hero By Night Website Launches

D.J. Coffman launches a website for his forthcoming (Spring 2007) Platinum Studios comic book Hero By Night. The website will not run the actual comic but features additional material about the character.

Update: I've added the official press release from Platinum Studios - click read more to check it out.

Post-There Goes the New World Neighborhood-Tuesday News

Happy (Belated) Canadian Thanksgiving Day! And this weekend was 24 Hour Comics Day - catch up on the haps at the 24 Hour Comics Day website.

 Videogame? Videogame!PREMIERES

A new Blamination from Kurtz and Straub. Who knew these guys liked video games?

Yesterday, Grounded Angel (previously at Komikwerks) relaunched simultaneously at three webcomics sites: Graphic Smash, WebComicsNation, and DrunkDuck. Grounded Angel is the story of 16-year-old Gloria, who finds out during a really bad day that she’s an angel, the herald to the end of the world.

Dramacon (Vol. 2) by Svetlana Chmakova is available in stores today.

INTERVIEWS

Digital Strips has an interview with Platinum Studios Chairman Scott Rosenberg and Drunk Duck's Dylan Squires.

The Santa Barbara Independent has an interview with Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury.

Scott Kurtz interviews Adam West?

OPINION

Astute political commentary from... Sinfest?

 Scott McCloud Makes ComicsAROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

Bookslut reviews Scott McCloud’s Making Comics.

Drawn! interviews illustrator Bob Staake who has a new book out called This is Not a Pumpkin. Staake who embraced digital art tools early on also was an early presence on the web with his Planet Cartoonist site.

(From Lines and Colors) Line Rider is a Flash interactive that allows you to draw a line that represents the two dimensional topography of a hill. When your line is drawn, you click play and the Line Rider, a small character on a sled with a trailing scarf, will go sailing, bouncing and, if you’re not careful, tumbling down the hill according to forces of imaginary gravity.

Dylan Squires (Drunkduck.com) on the Gigcast

The Gigcast interviews Dylan Squires about DrunkDuck.com's recent purchase by Platinum Studios.

Plus, a really cool on-topic Song Parody, Kurtz vs The World, by Gigcast newcomer, Nick Nitro of Dribble for Kids.

Another Witty Title For A Webcomics News Post

News

Reviews

Interviews

Around the World In Eighty Blogs

  • Tips on getting dugg at Digg. According to this story it's not as hard as you might think it is:Â At the current moment, with digg you need roughly 51 votes within 24 hours to get to the homepage. Netscape on the other hand is time based, if you get 10 votes within 10 minutes you will probably get your story on the homepage.

Thursday Webcomics Briefing

News

Joey Manley has a post up - teeing off of the recent Platinum purchase of Drunk Duck - speculating on "boom times for webcomics" and referencing a Gary Groth essay on the ill-fated black & white comic book boom of the Eighties.

I see people are excited about the new Sony ebook, a device that uses electronic ink technology. Gizmodo describes it as "like a gameboy...for the game of Reading." It will display greyscale images so you can use it to read comics.

Reviews

Writer Response Theory has a post up on Bound By Law - a comic about copyright using a "remediated paper interface" (essentially using the web to remind you of holding a comic book).

The subject matter [of Bound By Law] is fascinating - I don’t think you can really follow contemporary art without being drawn into the intricacies of copyright law. Still, it is a testamony to the creators that I finished Bound By Law wishing for a sequel, or series of sequels. In particular, it would be interesting to see a more self-referential work that took on the unique intellectual property challenges of, for example, web comics and blogging - image sampling and remixing, screen captures, quotation, linking, the act of publication, the nested rights restrictions of host, domain, and content management system, etc. etc. etc…

Around the World in 80 Blogs

Fleen catches the ongoing White Ninja guest week - I kind of liked Jeff Rowland's contribution the most so far...

Zoinks notes that Derrick Fish, creator of Dandy & Company recently put out a call for donation. For donations totaling $15 or more Fish is giving away the first, full color issue of his new comic book Tails TO Amaze!

The Drawn blog points out James Harvey's project to illustrate 100 pirates in a 100 days.