So it’s back to the old tracking campaign for Warren Ellis’ website, folks! This time, it’s a tad different, as we’ll focus on how our Internet Jesus (as way too many call him) has been prepping for the release of a few new indie comics this summer, as well as his very first novel.
Let me start by mentioning that there’s a very interesting indie comic company called Avatar Press. Like most indie comic companies, including Dynamite Entertainment and IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, Avatar is kept afloat by publishing adaptations of movie and TV properties, since they are constant sellers which already have a fan base. Now, these companies do release original comic material themselves, and they are usually they’re creator owned projects instead of work where they pay artists and writers up front for their work.
Creator-owned basically means is that the creators of a given comic book (the writer and penciler, usually) the comic book retain the publication rights to the material, and in exchange don’t see turn around until the cost of publication and distribution has been reimbursed to the publisher in addition to a set amount for them to keep. This formula of creator-owned books is great because it fits into a stipulation for talent with exclusive contracts for one of the 2 big comic publishers (DC and Marvel Comics,) allowing them to publish material outside of their contracted company’s limits and cohesive story continuity. This control over written property came is coming in handy today, as writer Garth Ennis (of Preacher fame) and penciller Darick Robertson (of Transmetropolitan fame) are moving their canceled creator-owned DC series, The Boys, to Dynamite Entertainment this June.
It’s hard to say when a writer is exclusively signed, since they don’t always announce it, but many have them with the exception that they can only do creator owned works outside of the company, and not work for “the other guy”.
BACK TO THE POINT: Avatar is releasing a bunch of projects by Ellis in the coming months, and Ellis is using every way possible to let the people know about them. The above titles: Black Summer, Crecy and Doktor Sleepless are all examples of this. He’s sending out information on his newsletter (titled Bad Signal,) he’s doing interviews left and right and he’s talking about it a lot on his work blog. As it is the most recent project, DOKTOR SLEEPLESS is getting a lot of attention, and is about a doctor from the future or something…
The buildup is that Ellis is doing something i’ve rarely seen. He’s encouraging his avid readers, of which they are many, to take the below form and…
“Please print off, cut out, fill in and hand to your local comics store. DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #1 is released in July — exact shipping date will be given when I get it. ”
Interesting method of spreading the word, but i gotta admit i’d feel a might bit silly walking into my job with one of these forms and expecting to not look daft.
I understand that such works need to sell a ton in order to turn a profit all around, but you gotta admit it’s kinda funny when someone takes such strange steps in effort to ensure sales. If anyone can get away with it, it’s Ellis. At least he isn’t Brian Michael Bendis, who created a character called Ronin in the pages of Marvel’s New Avengers, then copied that same character to their re-imagined Ultimate universe. It’s one thing to remake a classic character with new ideas, but it’s another to remake your own idea. That’s what we call, lame.