The increasingly corporate nature of comics has been a continuing topic for the last couple years. Marvel sold to Disney. Warner pulling DC in a bit closer. Trying to maintain quarterly sales figures in a hit-based medium (also known as Events and/or line extension). Forbes has a piece called “The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value.” It’s partially a review and partially a response to the book “Fixing the Game:Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL.” This piece (and the book) contrasts the old Peter Drucker maxim “the only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer” the current credo of “the singular goal of a company should be to maximize the return to shareholders.”
Ruminating on the year past, cartoonist/educator Steve Bissette considers the story of how creator owned comics can be sunk by just one stuck cog — in this case a rather large cog named Alan Moore. Just to bring everyone up to speed, 1963 was a very early Image project re-imagining the origins of Marvel, written by Moore and illustrated by Steve Bissette, John Totleben, and Rick Veitch, with additional art by Dave Gibbons, Don Simpson, and Jim Valentino and published in 1993. The final issue was to have been illustrated by Jim Lee, but Lee took time off in the middle, Moore decided not to finished it and…blah blah blah. Time passes. And, Bissette and Moore have a bit of a falling out, as chronicled in a series of interviews, here and there.
However, last year, a 1963 follow-up — Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History Vol. 1 — was to be produced by Bissette and published by Image. Well, things didn’t work out, as Bissette posts. In addition, there was to be a reprint of 1963. After months of negotiations, Moore “pulled the plug” — meaning 1963 will never be reprinted ever again.
Marvel has won a four-year legal battle over who owns the rights to Ghost Rider. On Wednesday a judge rejected the claim by writer Gary Friedrich, who co-created the character in 1972’s MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5 along with Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog.
Stopping digital piracy has become a full-time obsession for most major entertainment companies; but the Stop Online Piracy Act now wending its way through Congress is probably not the way to do it — a far too broad law that would give lawmakers powers to stop just about any activity they don’t like via cutting off funding to the site and other zero tolerance measures. Although aimed at hard-to-stop foreign websites that recognize no copyright laws, opponents say the bill goes way too far in allowing copyright holders to choke off stuff they don’t want with an arsenal of tools.
Over the holiday Chris Arrant had a fantastic two part survey of what-ever-happened-to comics, including no-shows like such as All-Star Batgirl and All-Star Wonder Woman, and done-but-long-shelved books like Batman Europa and Daniel Way and Darick Robertson’s Deathlok: Detour, it-sounded-ike-a-good-idea-when-we-were-talking-about-it-in-the-bar projects like Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips’ vampire pirates book Black Sails (above) and something best not thought about too much called “Frank Miller’s Jesus.”
Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort has opened up some kind of secret vault where artifacts from Marvel’s history have been stored; and just like anyone else would do, he’s putting them on Tumblr. For instance, here’s the origial last page of AVENGERS #1 with Tom’s annotation: