Your Weekly Blotter Fix

Dabel Brothers and Devil’s Due Having a Bit of a TiffThe comic book industry is just a reality show waiting to happen. CrossGen can breathe a momentary sigh of relief as Dabel Bros. and Devil’s Due take center stage in this week’s episode of “Online News Forum Meltdown”. Let’s tally up the damage report thus far:

  • June 25th – DBPro announces that they are parting ways with Devil’s Due.
  • July 8th – Big day. Devil’s Due makes it clear through some online news forums that DBPro isn’t going anywhere because the two companies have a contract to publish all of DBPro’s licensed titles (such as The Hedge Knight and Dragonlance) through 2007. Later that day DBPro bites back in a separate post stating that, despite their distaste for having all of this being aired out in online forums, they feel that the fans should know that the relationship between the two companies is over. Dabel Bros. states that they have the right to terminate the contract and that the rest of this disagreement will be handled in a more appropriate manner.
  • July 9th – As of press time I haven’t heard a peep from either camp.

Somehow I get the feeling that these two companies won’t be able to keep future juicy parts off of the forums. Check back shortly for our next episode.

Bone in Color!

You may want to have a seat, Bone-heads. Whether you love Bone in black and white or you have a yearning for what it could be in color you knew this day might come. Hot on the heels of the announcement that Jeff Smith’s Bone will be completely made into one huge phone book-like b&w trade comes more big news: The entirety of the Bone series will be released in color. Unrelated to the phone book release, Scholastic (you may remember being inundated with their books / products as a child) has announced a new line of graphic novels called Graphix and that colorized Bone will be the imprint’s flagship product. There will be hardcovers, there will be paperbacks (both in that pesky manga size of 6 inches by 9) and you can breathe easy at the news that Jeff Smith himself has chosen the colorist. There will be a Spring release and a Fall one every year until the entire story is retold.

Why Scholastic? The company feels that Bone is already a classic story and based on its how well it did in the comic book industry it could be also a great story for kids (thus, the pretty colors). The first book will be available next Spring in stores and school libraries. Just think if Bone was available in every public school library in the US…

What’s the Difference?

Vertigo, WildStorm, and Focus are three of DC’s imprints. Yesterday I was browsing DC’s recently released sales numbers for the month of May and, being a Vertigo and WildStorm fan, I was just a little puzzled at what I saw. Let me show you what I mean:

Ongoing Vertigo titles, copies sold in May: Y: The Last Man – 26,771

Fables – 25,526

Hellblazer – 14,954

Lucifer – 14,977

Losers – 10,877

Human Target – 9,465

Ongoing WildStorm titles, May sales: The Authority – 21,528

Wildcats 3.0 – 12,632

Stormwatch – 10,695

Ongoing Focus titles, May sales: Hard Time – 10,379

Fraction – 9,165

Kinetic – 8,957

Touch – 8,596

It should be noted that every one of these titles is either on the decline in varying degrees or holding steady; none of them are rising in sales. With that said, here is my problem. I like Vertigo and WildStorm very much but, based on the numbers I see here, I don’t understand why Wildcats and Stormwatch (from Wildstorm) can be axed and Losers and Human Target (Vertigo) can be allowed to continue. In fact I found out that Human Target, the lowest out of the four just mentioned, has a trade coming out later this year! Now, I never read a single issue of the Focus line but (if you will allow me to get nit-picky for a second) its Fraction title, which has been cancelled, gave Human Target (written by Peter Milligan, which may have something to do with its non-cancellation) a run for its money for copies sold in May. Now I’m not picking on Human Target, I’m just confused as to how Vertigo gets this umbrella of protection from DC and Focus and Wildstorm don’t. Only about two thousand less people bought Touch (cancelled) than Losers (still kicking). In another example Wildcats 3.0 isn’t that far behind Lucifer and Hellblazer. Now, I know these cancellation decisions were made a while ago and the numbers could have been different then (as far as how much lower Wildcats was than Hellblazer and Lucifer) but honestly they weren’t — and I’ve checked.

I’m no Michael Moore. I’m not a whistleblower with the power to change management. I’m just a reader who wants to know why some titles are protected and others with similar numbers are not. Is it the content? Do I like dumb stuff that can be cancelled at 12,000 issues sold when other stuff that sells in that range isn’t so dumb? Decide for yourself by checking out DC’s May numbers at

Now See What You Made Him Do?

In a move that will delight the many Chuck Austen haters out there, he has announced his choice to leave X-Men and Marvel behind. He was tight-lipped as to why he left but he did say that it was getting harder and harder for him to hand in scripts that fit into Marvel’s transforming policies. Policies that, of late, have been moving more towards an all-ages approach. He stated that it just was not cost-effective for him to continually go back and alter scenes that the Marvel brass said should be a little more accessible for younger readers. Austen says that, while he was doubtful about a move to DC, he has some pitches that are being looked at over there, not to mention the self-published Worldwatch mini-series that was mentioned in earlier news.

Hulk Hiatus

Bruce Jones, known these days as writer for The Incredible Hulk, has announced this week that he has signed a two-year exclusive contract with DC. His main reasons for leaving don’t seem malicious but appear to be the result of Marvel’s lack of putting together a new contract for him in a timely manner as well as his own desire to try other things. It is known that Jones will be working over at the WildStorm imprint writing Vigilante and also that he hinted at liking the type of artistic climate that Vertigo seems to offer writers. He said there were some way-out ideas being batted around between him and Vertigo’s Executive Editor Karen Berger. So where does this leave the big green guy? Well, in September The Incredible Hulk will go on hiatus and the Hulk & Thing: Hard Knocks (art by Jae Lee) four-issue mini will fill in until December. Following that, Incredible will be back with Bruce’s last five issues, which are already completed.

Oh, That Igor

In a move that I find hilarious, Igor Kordey has been posting online his versions of pages drawn from Chris Claremont’s scripts for Marvel’s newly relaunched Excalibur series. I find it funny because it seems like a spiteful move on Igor’s part, like he is trying to just show everyone what could have been. One shouldn’t find spite humorous, but sometimes it just is. On the flipside of this, does anyone know if this is actually what Igor turned into Marvel? In these past few months since he was let go by Marvel he could have been spending some time touching up these pages just enough to make them look better than they did at the time they were originally due. Like I said, the daily workings of this industry could be a hit reality show. I would watch.

News Blips

  • Warren Ellis, author of many varying titles including Vertigo’s Transmetropolitan, is now writing a weekly log over at www.comicon/pulse.
  • I posted in an earlier Blotter that the Hellboy DVD is going to packaged with a Hellboy comic inside. Well, it just got a little more interesting. Now it has been revealed that one of the bonus features on the disc itself will be some cartoons. Most of them will be based on Dr. Seuss’s Gerald McBoing-Boing character and one of them will be based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart.
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Mike produces books and documentaries about comics. He's now trying to write his own comics. He tells everyone else at Sequart what to do. Do they listen? Eh.

See more, including free online content, on .

Also by Mike Phillips:


executive producer


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a short documentary on Chris Claremont's historic run and its influence

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a feature-length documentary film on celebrated comics writer Warren Ellis

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a documentary on the life and work of celebrated comics writer Grant Morrison

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