August 31st, 2009

RatReading

X-Factor Returns! Good News! Right?

X-Factor will continue with Peter David at the helm.  The setting will move to New York, ostensibly because it makes sense after Decimation, but I suspect it's because X-Factor can interact more with the Marvel Universe proper, bringing in more familiar characters and goosing sales among those who have to have every appearance of such and such a character.

Fine.  If Deadpool or Squirrel Girl show up, I'll buy,  Otherwise, let me know how it works out.
RatReading

Ain't No Time To Figure Wrong From Right. Reason's Out The Window, Better Hold On Tight!

Well, I guess my gag about "Rhapsody as a Green Lantern" isn't the strangest blend in comics at the moment.



By the way, I didn't make this image.  I think the linework alone makes that obvious.

Nothing on the news when I went to work.  Get to work, need a second to clear my head, and I call up the news.

"Disney buys Marvel for $4 bil."

As I do my best Keanu Reeves impersonation and go, "Whoa."

So NOW what?

Here's the nuts and bolts that everyone is comfortable with discussing:  the deal is to be finished by the end of the year.  Marvel stockholders get $30 per share in cash, plus 0.745 shares of Disney stock for each Marvel share they own (given prices just before the market opened, that comes to roughly $50 per share).  Marvel, at least at the start, will have complete autonomy, Disney is not going to stick their noses in yet.  The movie deal with Paramount is up in the air, as Disney wants to distribute the movies themselves, but there are contracts to honor first, and there are five pics left on the deal, each of which is slated to hit theaters within three years, so it might be easier to just wait for the deal to burn out.

Now, how about the more interesting angles?  Unsurprisingly, no one's talking.

I'm interested in what is going to happen to Diamond.  Comics really have nothing to do with this, it's about movies and merchandising.  Marvel is exclusive with Diamond for distributing its comics.  Disney has no such deal in place.  Their comics used to be published by Gemstone, owned by Steve Geppi, who owns Diamond, and there are lots of rumors swirling about Disney not being happy with Gemstone and Geppi.  If they can pull Marvel out of Diamond for any reason (and not only can Disney find its own distro deal, but Disney has enough money to handle any legal challenge.  Geppi might not have enough to mount a credible "settle with me" suit).  Given the cutbacks Diamond has been making and the financial thin ice the company has been on up to now, losing Marvel could send them down the soil pipe.

What about Boom! Comics, which has been getting a lot of Disney licenses like Finding Nemo and the recent Incredibles mini written by Boom! editor Mark Waid?  And for that matter, what about Slave Labor, who gets to publish Tron comics, Haunted Mansion, and Gargoyles?  And will Disney still publish their titles like LIttle Gloomy?

For that matter, what about Universal Studios?  Their theme park is pretty much Disney's only real competition in Florida.  Universal licensed the Marvel superheroes for some of their attractions.  Now, the characters are owned by Disney.  Something tells me Harry Potter World can't open soon enough.

How exactly did this deal happen without a single rumor blowing in the breeze?  This doesn't happen overnight.  The feds could learn a thing or two about secrecy from these guys.

Will we see a Jonas Brothers/Steeltown Rockers crossover?  How about Hannah Montana and Dazzler?

And why do I get the feeling that the wall between the Haves and Have Nots of the comic book world just got another layer of bricks?
Worms Ready For Battle

The Amber Chronicles

Whew.  That was a productive evening.

With me pretty far ahead on Sound Waves, I have started getting serious about drawing more Stress Puppy strips.  However, I won't be doing them as fast as I could be.  Realizing that the year is ticking down, I pulled out my script for Head Above Water and the pages for #2 that I haven't finished yet.

Head Above Water has become a series that I want to try pitching to publishers before I self-publish it.  Self-publishing, admittedly, spares me a ton of headaches.  But I'm trying to build a career here, and getting credits showing I can deliver something publishers can use is a good strategic step.  If I get turned down, I'll publish myself.  So what have I got to lose?

That means I need to get busy.  Sound Waves has become less of a concern for me, since each issue is only 16 pages each.  Sticking with working on the books during my lunch break, I can get an issue done, on the outside, in a little over a month.  With a quarterly schedule, I should be able to maintain that.  Currently, I'm halfway done penciling and inking #5 and expect to have it done in a couple of weeks.  Scriptwise, I'm currently in the middle of #10.  I'm thinking I can have all the scripts done by the end of the year.

So, that means I need to light a fire under Head Above Water.  Issue #1 is penciled and inked and waiting for me to letter it (I'm searching for a suitable font, I don't want to use the standard comic book font).  Issue #2, I thought I had page 1 done and part of page 2.  I actually hadn't finished a panel on page 1, and had only one panel finished on 2.  So, I broke out my stuff, the goal being to make some measurable progress on the book.

Before I started, I pulled out my concept drawings and measurements for the characters and horses.  I'm going for a more realistic (though still stylized) look with Head Above Water than Sound Waves.  Sound Waves with its chibi art requires you to keep things differently in mind.  For example, a chibi head is a near perfect circle.  The human head is more egg shaped.  So I had to refresh myself on the drawing techniques I use for drawing Amber and Becca.  Fortunately, I only have one more panel with a horse I have to draw in relation to a human, and then I don't see them again for another few pages, more than enough time to make sure I have my notes straight.  Or, I could simply skip that particular panel for a few days and come back to it when I'm ready.

Fortunately, the basic proportions I use are pretty close to the ones I use when I draw Stress Puppy, so working on the latest adventures of Raff and Holly goes a long way to getting me in the proper rhythm.  I'm hoping to have issue #3 of Head Above Water done by the end of the year, and the last two scripts better be done by then.

So, Slave Labor Graphics, you better get ready, I'll be pitching to you before you know it.  ;-)