I would not be able to do ANY of the cool, interesting, fun, and exciting things I do without the support of the fans who enjoy my work, and especially the support of the friends who believe in me and have been there when I needed them. I work hard – but there are a lot of people pushing the cart I’m driving, and for all of them I am truly grateful.
Anyone even peripherally exposed to comics knows that there’s a paradigm shift underway at DC (publisher of Superman, Batman, and a gazillion other well-known characters) right now: they are rebooting most of their line, and starting EVERYTHING over with new number one issues. They’re also rebooting most of the iconic characters’ backstories, in order to re-present the entire pantheon as an anywhere-you-like-jumping-on-point.
I popped over to the local shop (Moose Cave, in Show Low, Arizona) to grab the lead title, JUSTICE LEAGUE, because 1) it was Wednesday; and 2) I’m a huge Superman and Justice League (of America) fan, and I really wanted to read it.
I also really want to read a handful of the other upcoming titles, like ACTION (because they made some changes to Superman) and GREEN LANTERN (because they’re changing very little). But the one book I’m MOST looking forward to reading this month? The original NEW TEEN TITANS graphic novel “Games”, by creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez. It isn’t part of the reboot, but a twenty-years-in-the-making completely retro book set in the creators’ (and, to me, the characters’) heyday.
It will have NOTHING to do with the new continuity, at all. But having only read about it, and seen a few pages of art, I already know I’m going to love it – because it pushes all of MY particular buttons – and it fits the continuity that means the MOST to ME: one set a quarter-century ago, in terms of the publishing timeline.
Continuity has long been an embedded part of the comics reading and buying experience; commercially speaking, it feeds the ‘habitual entertainment’ that Larry Marder observed our hobby had become. New comics day (which always existed, but merely shifted from the convenience store to the specialty shop) is the day you popped in for the newest issue of whatever you were reading. And the continuity – the larger arcs as well as the smaller details – kept you hooked.
Every once in a while though, the publishers would drop a cherry bomb into the continuity of things, and shake everything up. And in recent years, that’s meant interweaving tighter and tighter threads of continuity into EVERY title, so that missing ONE ISSUE might throw you off with your understanding of everything else going on in the line. (Or worse, realizing that missing one issue or five makes no difference at all.)
Which brings me back to ‘Games’. One reason I’m expecting to enjoy it is that it’s going to be a COMPLETE story. A ‘Done In One’, as Maggie Thompson says. And that’s a great, rare thing these days. It’s also where I have to wonder if DC, in their pursuit of the reboot goal, might have missed an even cooler (and possibly more lucrative) one.
In recent weeks DC released a number of ‘Retro’ books: single issues with the tone (and relevant creative teams) of books from the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. I’ve only seen the house ads – but obviously SOMEONE at DC recognized that there was value in, say, reuniting Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire on a JUSTICE LEAGUE book. Even if only for a single issue.
My question is, why aren’t they doing this ALL THE TIME?
Elsewhere on the net, my friend Mario Boon commented, “Imagine if they did the entire relaunch of the nuDC as 52 done in one issues? Imagine that? An entire story in 20-30 pages? With a beginning, middle and end? A real “pilot”?”
That would have been PERFECT. But imagine this: what if the Retro Books/Done in One idea were part of the ongoing publishing plan? What if continuity were more of a storytelling convenience than an apparently necessary foundation?
It isn’t important for me to reconcile the TEEN TITANS of my kids’ generation with the TEEN TITANS of mine. I enjoy them both, even though they are COMPLETELY different. The look, stories, everything – but I love them both. What if this were not the exception, but the new norm, to have different creators doing THEIR versions of the characters?
A few years back, during one of the mega-event-crossovers, a writer pal suggested that I could draw one of the segments (knowing I love DC stuff, but have never done much with the company professionally, outside of writing ONE introduction). He said he could get me in the door – but I’d have to match the current ‘house style’, and mimic the eleven OTHER artists working on the books. I declined, in part because that wasn’t a career goal of mine – I wanted my OWN identity, and I wanted any work I did to be recognizably MINE.
Friends who have worked for DC maintained a similar creative integrity, and to great results: Paul Pope did a glorious turn on BATMAN YEAR 100, and it looked like few Batman stories published before or since. Jeff Smith did a great turn on Captain Marvel. And Wednesday Comics was, in many ways, a near-perfect creative experiment – partly because they selected some great creators and then mostly let them Do Their Thing.
There are lots of great reasons for DC’s line-wide reboot. I hope it brings – and keeps – lots of readers. But after missing a few months’ worth of comics (due to working on deadlines and, until recently, no local place to shop) I find myself caring a LOT less about reading BATMAN INCORPORATED #8, in which I have no clue what’s happened since Bruce Wayne died, was replaced, came back, was replaced, died again, etc… even though I love the writer and thought the art was nice. It was still part 56 of a 70 part story (I’m being facetious – but only just barely).
TEEN TITANS: “Games” will be one book, by two of my favorite creators, set in my favorite continuity. And I’m excited just at the thought of it – as I’d be for a LEGION OF SUPER HEROES book by Levitz and Giffen…or WONDER WOMAN by Perez… or BATMAN by Bill Sienkiewicz or Garcia-Lopez… or SUPERMAN by Barreto… or…You get the picture.
Continuity is great (see: last few decades); new approaches are great (see: animated TEEN TITANS); but Done in One stories can be created for both NEW readers as well as the longtime fans. And to me, that would really be the best of all: not to have a thousand-part Batman story, but to instead have a thousand brilliant Batman stories – whether or not they all fit into the continuity.
Lots of people are waiting for lots of things: correspondence, books, a benevolent totalitarian regime based on a love of comic book digests – but all of that is temporarily on hold while we await the replacement hard drive for the primary work computer (i.e., MINE) here at the Fortress of Solitude. Updates to follow shortly.
We’ve made the Kickstarter goal for the DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS Project, with sixty hours to go. DotD WILL be a print book. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this, both in pledges and in spreading the word about it.
There are still several great rewards to be claimed, and pledges coming in. We’re now looking to hit $10,000, which means a better print run, so give us a hand in making this last dash to the finish a spectacular run!
…has cruised past the $5000 mark, and a lot of cool new rewards have been unlocked! Go have a look, and give us some support to get this book out in beautiful hardcover and paperback editions. A little over a week to go, and still a chunk of money to raise!
Details are here:
I’ve been saying for a few days now that I felt like doing something Epic. And this is what I chose to do.
Drawing out the Dragons is, I believe, my best, most vital, most necessary work. The responses I’ve gotten since releasing the ebook in April have, at least in part, shown me that my readers feel the same way. But still, as passionate as the comments, letters, and reviews have been, it’s difficult for someone to really explain what the book is, and what effect reading it can have on someone’s life.
A line from one of my favorite films keeps coming to mind: “No one can tell you what the Matrix is. You have to experience it for yourself.”
The Kickstarter project to do audio and print editions has been dealing with a similar conundrum – it’s hard to present just what the book is in simple terms; it’s more of a motivational experience than a literary one.
People who share their own thoughts about the book have been immensely helpful, as have my online friends and associates who are both prompting people to read the book and to support the Kickstarter project. I myself am still the most effective advocate – but I have other work that has to be attended to as well – and besides, it’s a bit monotonous to read post after post by one person talking about a book, even if that person is the author.
The only thing simpler, which may be even more effective, is to allow the book to speak for itself. So I shall.
Starting right now, in mid-afternoon of Sunday, July 3rd, and going until midnight tomorrow, July 4th, the ebook – in all three formats – of Drawing out the Dragons is free. And in that span of time, I want to give away one thousand copies, and see if we can’t accelerate the public dialogue about it to a nice respectable level.
I need the help of ALL of you who have supported me and my work – and especially, those of you who have been touched by this book. I want you to send a personal note – not just post a link on the winds of the net – but actually CHOOSE ten people of your own acquaintance to write to suggesting they download this book. Friends, family, colleagues… Anyone whom you feel may benefit from reading it, or especially, who may NEED to read it, right now. Tell them what it is. Tell them why they should read it. And then tell them how to download it.
There is no reciprocation expected or required, and there is no limitation on the number of downloads during the timeframe of this offer. If you know more than ten people you feel would like it – write to more. Twenty. Fifty. A Hundred. Right now, until midnight tomorrow, the book is free to download and read.
What everyone who does read it chooses to do then is entirely up to them. As all good choices should be.
EDITED TO NOTE: The holiday promotion ended (after a six-hour extra extension!) at 6am on July 5th. I hope everyone who took us up on it is enjoying their book!
Ebooks are rapidly becoming as ubiquitous a format as print for book reading; a trend I am embracing with my ebook releases of Drawing out the Dragons, The Unusual Motion of Strange Beasts, and MythWorld Book One: The Festival of Bones.
Still, it’s not a perfect medium yet: everyone seems to use different formats. Amazon uses mobi, and Barnes & Noble uses epub. For myself, I still prefer to create books as pdf’s, which allow me total control over the design, and which can be read on any device – but which doesn’t allow fore reflowable, resizable text. There are apps available to read ebooks across other platforms, but still, it involves a bit of a sorting and winnowing process to choose which format can and ought to be read on which device, and it’s making me crazy.
So, I’ve sorted it out, and, at least here at Coppervale, have a solution.
From this point forward, anyone purchasing ANY of the ebooks we have available will receive not just a single format, but a zip file which contains ALL AVAILABLE VERSIONS of that ebook. So, if you buy Drawing out the Dragons, you can read it on ANY device, in ANY format you prefer.
Those of you who have already bought a version of any of these books from Coppervale won’t be left out, either. We’re going to set up a link where you’ll be able to download the zips for free. We’ll post more information about that after the holiday.
Sooner or later the market will evolve a single standard format – but until that happens, I want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy and read my books, now matter WHAT device they’re using to read them.
…is Magic that can be shared.
At a few minutes to Midnight – which is when all the best kind of Magic happens – I announced a new project, one which a lot of people have been waiting for. Please, contribute what you can, and help us spread the word to make something really wonderful happen!