A little Friday afternoon gossip

* Just got off the phone with a well-known, award winning cartoonist who was advertised as appearing at an upcoming convention. Apparently he was told this week that he had a flight to the show by convention organizers, but no flight was ever booked and now he’s just sitting there with his bags all packed and no place to go. The practice of advertising guests who aren’t actually coming is well known in convention circles, but this takes it a step further. Tsk tsk. Or maybe, as Lea pointed out, the rising cost of airfares is going to radically alter our convention going experiences.

* The announcement of the Archaia Studios Press reorg/hiatus has resulted in a lot of chatter around the web. ASP creators led by A. David Lewis expessed support for the company

In response to Mark Smylie’s announcement of a temporary company restructuring, the comic creators who have titles with his Archaia Studios Press are speaking out to express their confidence in the business and support of this move. The creators were alerted in advance by Smylie both of co-publisher Aki Liao’s personal decision to depart and of the planned effects that potentially would have on their books.


David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame, expressed similar sentiments.

“What does this mean about future Mouse Guard issues and hardcovers?” you may be asking. I have no plans to move Mouse Guard to another publisher. Once the restructuring is complete Mouse Guard will be back on track. I apologize for the delays thus far and hope that the fans can bear with us. The coming weeks should give us a better idea of the timeline for upcoming releases. No matter what, I am fully committed to creating more Mouse Guard and getting it into the fans hands as soon as possible.


Only Brandon Thomas of The New Adventures of Miranda Mercury showed visible alarm

While Archaia is confident they will ultimately emerge from this, it’s obviously a huge setback for us, and I imagine, for several other creative teams with books running and/or launching this year. Definitely made for an interesting weekend of frantic e-mails, phone calls, etc., all focused on pretty much the same question—what the hell is our next move? The entire creative team essentially made ‘08 about getting Miranda Mercury out there, and this latest news essentially takes the book off the board until the end of the year.


Unmentioned in the announcement of the reorg was the status of previously announced ASP editor Joe Illidge, who hasn’t been heard from in conjunction with the company in a while.

Obviously, what we have here is a good bunch of folks whose reach exceeded their grasp. With all the books they were planning to publish, ASP would need a full-time publisher, editors, production, pr and so on, and from what we’ve been hearing, the company was just not set up to do that. It does seem that there are very few hard feelings involved anywhere around. The company has an investment banker looking for new investors, and given the current state of comics, they could very well find one. It is a telling reminder, however, that publishing lots of comic books — especially beautifully produced hard covers like ASP specializes in — is a full-time business and still a hard one to make money in. Hopefully ASP will reemerge stronger and better equipped to deal with this reality.

It’s also yet another “mid-sized, genre-oriented” comics company that has foundered on the waves of business reality. Honestly, it makes more sense to run a company like AdHouse in your spare time than to try to start up a full-scale comics company any more.

Comments

  1. “Or maybe, as Lea pointed out, the rising cost of airfares is going to radically alter our convention going experiences.”

    As someone who is currently in the middle of securing a gajillion flights for different guests for a big convention (HeroesCon), our eyebrows are rising higher and higher already at some of the fares. Besides gas prices, the several bankruptcies of some regional carriers has cut way back on competition, meaning there are far fewer affordable direct or 1-stop flights.

    I would suggest to anyone traveling this summer that they try and book fares early, or harness all of the online ticket site hoodoo they can, as the landscape look pretty expensive.

  2. Kyle Baker just confirmed he won’t make it to florida….

    Could he be the dude you are talking about?

    As for ASP, I had a fantastic time at their table and so did all my friends. We been reading the material we gotten and have bugged our local retailer to get books from Arcadia. I feel for Brandon Thomas, Miranda was getting nice buzz and hopefully was going to lead to a lot of other work for everyone on that book.

  3. My take on Brandon’s reaction is that he feels he would be doing himself a disservice if he wasn’t proactive immediately. If he places faith in ASP rebounding in a decent amount of time and they hit further roadblocks or just give up the ghost at some point, then he’s squandered an opportunity. I think he feels that, as much as he likes working with ASP, he can’t let his fondness for them negatively impact his chances at success.

  4. Norton Lamp says:

    Poor baby! Cartoon boy no get perky-perky! Do what the rest of us do…pay for a ticket and fly over there him/herself!

  5. Tom S. says:

    I think conventions are going to have to do with fewer guests in the longer term. This is true if the airlines are going to keep raising fares and add fees.

  6. Alan Coil says:

    Norton Lamp is being a jerk. The cartoonist was invited as a guest, and probably featured in advertisements.

  7. I’ve already canceled plans for two out-of-state cons because of the economy and airline prices, as well as one that was a three-hour drive away because of the economy and gas prices.

    I’m blessed that two huge shows (last week’s Anime Central and next month’s Wizard World Chicago) are in my backyard.

  8. Due to a mix-up between Dave Rodriguez and myself, our names were not included in the ASP press release. But our series “Starkweather: Immortal” will be remaining with Archaia and we’re still very enthusiastic about Mark and the company. I think once they get the restructuring straightened out everything will be good.

  9. I’m still working to sort out airfare to SD to be there for the premiere of Tori Amos Comic Book Tattoo. If I can’t, there’s going to be an officially unofficial comickers’ gathering in San Antonio or Austin.

  10. Torsten Adair says:

    I became a fan of Southwest because they were affordable, on time, and they met my expectations. I take LIRR out to Islip even though it adds two hours to my schedule. Fewer delays.
    Next week I fly to LA via Virgin, nonstop. For $50, I can ship my swag directly from the convention center to my office via UPS.
    heh. Might be cheaper to FedEx ones luggage than deal with the airport security! Just walk through with a carryon that fits under the seat for easy access.

    Given the cost of flying, it might make more sense to grab four people, a van, and roadtrip nonstop.

  11. Roadtrips with a rental split are looking better and better. We just rented a car that cost us about $120/day in rental, insurance, and gas. Over five days, for four people, that’s $150. each.
    WAY cheaper than flying. Time to travel is the tricky part.
    That, and finding four people who won’t be enemies by the end of the trip.

    Investigated train fares, just for fun. About the same as plane tickets.

    BTW, I checked Jet Blue. They charge for the second checked bag, starting with tickets purchased after May 1. They “only” charge $20.

    Man, I miss Northwest circa 1988.

  12. I declined to go to Motor City, the only real con of any size that I know of in Michigan, due to gas prices. I figured between a $20 admission, $5 for parking and $20+ for gas, I’d be in for $50 before I even got through the door, meaning I’d have about $0 to buy comics with.

  13. Unpopular says:

    Anybody considering train or bus tickets? It doesn’t help with cross-country travel, but for short trips it’s not too bad. If you’re going to be spending $20 on gas and that’s what’s keeping you from attending a convention, that means you were only going to spend at most $20 on comics. Why go to a convention with only $20 to spend? You’d be better off shopping online.

    Rent hybrids and car pool?

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