Fourcast 09!: Live from San Diego

July 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Esther and I went to San Diego Comic-con and came back with stories and a few interviews. This is just the first of two fourcasts from SDCC. Pardon the quality– the mics pick up everything, and I think we can be heard clearly, but there’s a fair amount of noise on the line. Yowza.

-We talk a little about the con in general
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental
-I interview Jason McNamara, author of The Martian Confederacy. Jason’s a great guy, super funny, and always a pleasure to speak to.
-Leigh Walton, similarly to Jason, is another great guy in the comics industry. He does marketing for Top Shelf and is one of my favorite people to talk about comics with. He runs down Top Shelf’s line-up at the con and we nerd it out a bit over paper quality (so nice to find a kindred spirit).
-We come back to me and Esther, conversation already in progress. We talk about the Dwayne McDuffie and Darwyn Cooke panels at SDCC, discuss the future success and current failings of comics, and then ditch the podcast to go see the Women of Marvel panel.

Surprises to come! In the meantime, read the podcast boilerplate:
If you’re new to the Fourcast!, subscribe to the podcast-specific RSS feed or subscribe on iTunes. Our full-blown RSS, with space-age things like “text” and “images” is here. Befriend us on Facebook, too!

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Welcome to Essex County

May 14th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I get bombarded with Marvel‘s press releases on a daily basis. They vary from on-sale announcements (once a week), interview pimping (a few times a week), and sell-out notices (five in the past seven days). Generally, it’s three or four emails a day. Constant information updates, hype, and pimpery.

Some of it is interesting, I’ll admit– it’s nice to see links to interviews on Marvel.com, since I don’t usually check the main site. However, most of it? The sell-out notices for books that are made on something close to a print-to-order basis? I don’t care. It’s stupid. It isn’t news, because it isn’t even a retailer sell out. It’s at the distribution level, and whoops here comes a second printing next week. It’s a total smoke screen.

I work with a lot of PR in my day job, and I’d like to think that I’ve picked up some things over the past few years. Successful PR campaigns tend to be focused, rather than spread out. There’s a target and you have to hit that target the first time. A constant flood of information only serves to dilute your message and turn your news into anything but.

I got something very interesting in the mail today. Top Shelf Comix is re-releasing Jeff Lemire’s (excellent) Essex County trilogy in softcover and hardcover editions in August. Leigh at Top Shelf sent over a pre-release pamphlet, for lack of a better word. The back cover says that it’s a chapbook that was designed by Carlos Hernandez Fisher. So, chapbook it is.

A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

It’s a small booklet, about as tall as my hand, with a brown cover. The book is titled “A Reader’s Introduction to Essex County,” and the interiors are just that. There’s an introduction by Leigh Walton that introduces the trilogy, announces the Complete Essex County volumes, and explains the purpose of the booklet.

What follows are preview pages from each book in the trilogy, with praise from critics and creators alike scattered throughout. The previews give you a brief taste of each volume, just enough to give you an idea of the story and the art, but not enough to blow any reveals. It’s a teaser. After the previews are a couple pages of the extra bonus material from the collected edition. A brief bio of Lemire rounds out the book, with the inside back cover being dedicated to a picture by Lemire that says “Now Leaving Essex County.”

A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

This, to me, is successful PR. It doesn’t get lost in an avalanche of info of varying relevancy and quality. It’s focused on doing one specific thing: reminding you that Jeff Lemire’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed trilogy of Essex County books are getting a deluxe re-issue in three months. It provides order options, details on the format (6.5″x9″, 512 pages, hardcover and softcover), reiterates those details on the back cover, and pulls it all into a neat mini-comic style design.
A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

It’s attractive, memorable, and different. It’s the sort of thing that helps to build interest in a book, as well as delivering a good amount of info in a tiny package. Even better– I got to the page of one of the books just by clicking one link on the home page from a drop down box. No navigating to Universe/Series/Franchise. Easy.
A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

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You Know What’s Awesome?

January 7th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

E-friends Laura Hudson and Leigh Walton are launching Cerebus: A Diablog sometime this week. They’re smart and cool people, and I’ve never read Cerebus, so I’m definitely interested.

There is an LL Cool J joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have the energy to make it.

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Laura Hudson, Leigh Walton, Digital Comics

August 26th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Myriad Issues talks to Leigh Walton

If you treat your comics as newspapers from a fictional universe, there’s no reason to read them twice. Marvel and DC have essentially told their readers that any given issue is not important—it’s only important as long as it connects to this network of events, or because it contains a certain plot point, they’re creating stories that can be replaced by reading a spoiler on a blog. And when you create that type of story, you have to follow that logic to its natural end, and relish the ephemerality. Make the best piece of disposable entertainment you can! Make it look like the other kinds of disposable entertainment that we understand.

God only knows why Marvel hasn’t had Spider-Man get sucked into a techno-dimension and lead into a summer crossover where part of the story is exclusively on MySpace or Marvel.com, or an alternate reality game that reveals what Dr. Doom is up to, or a chance to get text messages from Captain America if you give us your phone number. Play up the NOWness of it. You missed it? Oh well, you’ll catch up; that’s how these things work.

Comics are junk. Embrace it.

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