The print editions arrive

Fresh from the new forums, Vulcha reports the arrival of the first print editions of QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1:

Looky looky what I got today. I was very surprised at the quality. The covers are super sturdy and the interior is superb. Much better than I anticipated. Not sure why I expected otherwise. I’ll be keeping a few and distributing the rest. 

He might want to hang on to a few of those issues marked $2.99 because they will serve much the same purpose as the gold logos. Due to the vagaries of Ingram’s discount structure, we have had to change the retail price to $3.00, which is why future issues, and future editions of the first issue, will not feature a price marked on the cover.

That discount issue is, in part, what has caused the delay of orders made through Amazon, although I have been informed that it’s also connected to a much bigger Amazon problem that has nothing to do with us or Ingram. So, at least until they get that straightened out, I would recommend ordering Arkhaven comics through the Castalia Books Direct store.

They certainly look good, though! As for the sturdiness of the covers, they are not the flimsy coated gloss paper used for normal comics, but are the same rigid construction of a normal trade paperback. If you’ve received your print editions already, please feel free to share your thoughts on the manufacturing and print quality here. I’m still waiting for mine.

Forget moderation, stand up and fight!

I’m not going to pretend that this new SJW-swarming is unexpected… or that it isn’t mildly amusing, especially in light of how soon after our initial exchange it happened. But that doesn’t make it right, or anything that we will ignore. The thing is, you can either learn from someone else’s example or through your own experience. Ethan van Sciver, the talented DC artist whom you may recall lecturing me about the importance of being nice and civil and respectful to SJWs, is presently learning the lessons of Social Justice the hard way. Moderation won’t save you. Civility won’t save you. Nothing will save you except standing up to them and fighting them openly, because they are all offense, no defense.

Because they don’t need your permission to attack you, and if they can’t find an excuse to do so, they will manufacture one.

Asher Elbein @asher_elbein
I’ve been watching the Ethan Van Sciver harassment of @darrylayo over the weekend, and hearing stuff about him for a lot longer. I’d like to write about it for The Atlantic, so I’m putting out a call: if you’ve been harassed by him or his trolls, DMs and email are open.

Brendan H. Wright@BrendanWasright
Comics is worse for having Ethan Van Sciver in it. The fact that one of the major publishers’ major artists faces no consequences for sustained racist attacks on a fellow artist says about all one needs to know about DC. He has no place among decent people.

Tim Doyle@NakatomiTim
Ethan Van Sciver is tweeting artistic collaboration with deeply transphobic, woman hating, Milo-loving, darling of the Alt-Right-Jordan Peterson…In case you needed more evidence EVS is a disgusting trash fire of a human.

Kieran Shiach@KingImpulse
If you’ve been harassed by Ethan Van Sciver, Richard C. Meyer or their army of trolls and would like to talk about it, you can get in touch with either myself or @asher_elbein, in confidence, to tell your story.

Ethan Van Sciver is what happens when an industry prizes professionalism over checking bad actors on sight.

All Ethan Van Sciver does is fuck with people, pick on people, attack people, direct others to attack people and occasionally draw I dunno, green lantern or some shit

Matt Santori@FotoCub
Yes. @DCComics needs to decide if putting Ethan Van Sciver on books is worth losing sales and promotion from sites that will refuse to review/advertise ANYTHING his name is on, as mine informed them directly.

Mark O. Stack@MarkOStack
I haven’t said anything because I didn’t know what I could add to the situation, but I really just added towards a culture of silence that lets bad people get away with things. Ethan Van Sciver is a bigot and a bully leading harassment campaigns. @DCComics should cut ties.

Is it my feed, or my imagination, or is the comics community growing weary of Ethan Van Sciver’s asshole antics and his fuckhead cadre of alt-right bullies?

This is a textbook swarming complete with the open appeals to the presumably amenable authorities at SJW-converged DC Comics. We’ll see if they’re successful or not; it doesn’t look like they are making much headway with either the media or the masses, but then, the obvious goal here is merely provide cover for their fellow SJWs at DC to pull the trigger. There is only one way to answer these people, and that is to fight back at every opportunity, show neither hesitation nor remorse, and defeat them resoundingly. Which is exactly what we have done and what we will continue to do. Speaking of SJW-swarms, thanks VERY much to all the 802 backers and counting, as we have just hit the fifth and final goal for Will Caligan’s Comic!

UPDATE: The campaign has ended. All goals achieved. A clean green sweep. Now THAT is what winning looks like! The first stage, anyway. The next win will be when the first Arkhaven comic illustrated by Will Caligan hits the market. And it will be glorious. Thanks very much to all 822 of you who made this happen!

One… two… and now THREE!

Thanks to the nearly 700 backers of Will Caligan’s Comic, Book #3 is go. This means SIX MORE issues of illustrations by Will. As mentioned previously, Arkhaven Comics will ensure that all six issues – and the graphic novel – are professionally colored regardless of whether Stretch Goal 5 is hit or not.

Thanks also to the various professionals who are contributing their skills to the campaign. Their collective contributions in kind are of a similar scale to that being provided by the financial backers. To quote one of them: “$?$*! We’re doing EIGHTEEN issues? Well, all right then.”

So, which books do you want to see? Voting is tomorrow, so this is the place to discuss them. Chuck Dixon has said that the entire GREEN KNIGHT’S SQUIRE trilogy can be done in 12 issues. Can THE STARS COME BACK or ROCKY MOUNTAIN RETRIBUTION be done in 6? What about SWORD & FLOWER? Discuss amongst yourselves.

And no, whoever bought Valiant was not us.

Bleeding Cool has received a tip-off from a West Coast media source that Valiant Entertainment, publishers of comics such as X-O Manowar, Quantum & Woody, Bloodshot, Faith, Harbinger and Shadowman, has been sold in its entirety.

UPDATE: In answer to several questions, the campaign ends at ends at 12:41am EST tonight, i.e. shortly after midnight.

LAST DAY to back Will Caligan’s Comic

Today is the last day of the one-week campaign for Will Caligan’s Comic, which currently stands at $48k and 675 backers. Since we’re within striking distance of the Book #3 stretch goal, we’ve decided to add new rewards of Paperback #3, Hardcover #3, and The Works #3 for those who are interested.

You will notice that there is no “this reward will not be provided if we don’t hit the stretch goal”. That is because Arkhaven Comics has decided that whether we hit the next two stretch goals or not, we will produce Book #3, whatever the backers decide it will be, and we will produce it in full color. In addition to the ace colorists at Arklight Studios who are contributing their considerable talents at a steep discount for the covers, we have also hired an excellent professional colorist who will color Will’s interior illustrations for Books 1, 2, and 3. An example of his work is below. Imagine what this guy could do with The Feast of the Elfs or the space battles in Back from the Dead!

If you haven’t backed the campaign yet, note that an Iron Star backing will now get you 18 digital comics for only $25. It would be nice for PR purposes to hit 750 backers before this is over, so please spread the word this morning.

Mailvox: they don’t forget

A military wife would like the backers of the Will Caligan’s Comic campaign to know that your efforts have been noticed and are deeply appreciated by the military community:

My husband recently retired from 20 years mixed service Airborne and National Guard. His uncle is a Desert Storm vet.  My dad was in Vietnam.  Our collective family military histories go to the Revolution.

What you are doing for Caligan means the world to us.  You are not just offering brother Christians and vets support.  You are offering spouses and families support and encouragement.

I’ve been sharing the campaign on Facebook with my vet and spouse friends.  I’m not sure who has contributed, if anyone.  But we don’t forget these things.

The campaign has reached 573 609 backers and $40k $42.3k. It will end on Tuesday (Alt-Hero backers will remember that 1 day left means the NEXT day is the final day.) Please continue to spread the word.

In case you need any reminder of what we’re up against in the long term, this should prove to be a useful reminder. Nice hat, right? Note that the editor of that particular series is the new Marvel editor-in-chief. Which suggests that as bad as it has been, the convergence at Marvel is only going to get worse now that they are shutting down some of their most converged comics due to poor sales.

A sensible individual might conclude that means that the executives there have learned that convergence doesn’t sell. But those who understand that SJWs always double down will know it means that they’re simply going to transfer the convergence to the better-selling series.

A cover, revised

We decided to redo the QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1 cover for the print edition since we wanted something a little more eye-catching for the stores. The Amazon Kindle edition has already been updated. The colorist who did this will also be coloring QMAMD #2 and the subsequent issues. And I’m very pleased to be able to announce that we will soon be publishing a economics comic book written by none other than Steve Keen himself. The two of us intend to collaborate on another one… I expect you may be able to guess the specific subject.

Anyhow, we will always seek to continue improving our game. This is just the first iterative step. And since we’re on the subject of comics, don’t forget that there are just three days left in the Will Caligan’s Comic campaign. We’re less than $19k away from a third full-color graphic novel!

Once more, this time with color

Thanks again to all the backers of Will Caligan’s Comic! The campaign just passed the 35k mark, which means that both graphic novels will be colored. A really good colorist has come forward to work on this, which means they are going to look exceptional.

Now, here is the interesting question. Since Swan Knight’s Son appeared to be the favorite of the backers thus far, I sent a copy to Chuck Dixon to see if it would require five or six issues to adapt properly, thinking that this might leave two issues free for a novella or a pair of one-offs. Such as, perhaps, One Bright Star or The Wardog’s Coin. Chuck’s opinion was that the book would actually work best as four issues, which means that if the backers wish, all three books of the trilogy could be done in the space of the two graphic novels. Presumably Swan Knight’s Son and Swan Knight’s Sword, with Feast of the Elfs being divided between them.

Now, I know devoting both graphic novels to John C. Wright’s excellent fantasy series would probably disappoint those who would prefer to see The Stars Came Back or Rocky Mountain Retribution, but then, the campaign isn’t over yet, so it’s entirely possible that we’ll have 18 issues or more to contemplate; after all, we still have four days to go and Stretch Goal 4 is less than $15k away.

In any event, nothing has been decided and I will leave these various possibilities to be discussed among those of you who have generously backed this campaign. I said the backers would make the decision and that is precisely how we will do it.

UPDATE: Stretch Goal 5 has been added. $57,500 means that Book #3 will be colored as well. If it requires less than six issues to convert a novel to graphic format, the extra issues will be based on shorter works and included in the Book (graphic novel).

20 years of comics sales

Now that the year-end results are in, we can take a look at the current state of the conventional comics industry. The data is flawed and incomplete, but vastly better than the data we use to analyze GDP or trade statistics, so it’s a useful illustration of how the industry has changed over the last 20 years.

First and foremost, what this tells me is that ALL of the perceived growth in the market has been the result of price inflation. In 20 years, dollars are up 26.2 percent while unit sales are down 20.5 percent. Taken in combination, that is a very close match to the 56 percent inflation reported over the same time period for the Consumer Price Index. For all that fans understandably complain about 20-page books and the rise to $3.99 prices, the industry actually hasn’t kept pace with general consumer inflation.

Second, the initial decline was the result of Marvel’s failed attempt to enter the distribution business that was followed by Diamond establishing its monopoly over the comic book stores. My surmise is that the slow recovery in unit sales, from 67 million in 2001 and 69 million in 2010, is largely the consequence of Diamond using its monopoly position to force overstocking on the stores. (Remember, even though the dollars reported are retail, these units represent Diamond’s sales into the stores, not actual sales to the final consumer.) This forced overstocking puts increased financial pressure on the stores and leads to periodic store failures. Given that 50 stores, representing between 1.5 and 3 percent of the total number of stores, failed in 2017 alone, that means those previous unit sale bottoms will probably be tested in 2019.

This store failure cycle will likely be exacerbated by the steep dollar decline from 2015, which is almost certainly reflective of the SJWs at the Big Two getting out of hand and reducing demand for the highest-priced comics that have been affected by their antics. Diamond’s distribution policies are currently mitigating the effects of that reduced demand, but it is likely to start showing up in 2018. I would expect Top 300 unit sales to fall to 72 million next year; if they go below 70 million, things are going to get worse faster than anyone in the industry probably anticipates.

Past declines in unit sales exceeded the percentage decline in dollars. But since 2015, that relationship has been reversed, with dollars down 12.7 percent from 2015 to 10.6 for units. That means that it is the elite products that normally drive industry demand that are suffering the biggest decline.

This is an industry that is more than just ripe for disruption, it is practically screaming out for it. It’s not dying, it is merely changing. And with your help, that’s exactly what we’re going to do: disrupt and change the industry. Note that with 494 copies sold, that would be enough to put Will Caligan’s first graphic novel at #198 on the December 2017 chart. Three not-entirely-unrelated notes:

  • We’re only $1,600 $800 $300 away from coloring Will Caligan’s second graphic novel and three backers short of 500 have hit the 500 backers mark. We have a great colorist signed up for it, so let’s nail that down today!
  • Yesterday, I received the first test print for QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1: By the Book. It looks great. It’s not a true comic book, but a 24-page full-color trade paperback. So, it’s a little smaller – the same royal octavo size as the ATOB paperback, only a LOT thinner – but is considerably more durable than the conventional comic book. And it will retail at a very competitive price of $2.99. By the way, that will not be the final cover, as we’ve revised it considerably and will do it glossy instead of matte as shown below.
  • As the backers know, we are making great progress on both Alt★Hero #1 and Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #1. Both will be out in digital editions and possibly print editions in February.

Tango 2 is down

We’ve added three new rewards and one new stretch goal at the Will Caligan campaign. If you’ve already backed, you can now add on an additional paperback, hardcover, or the works for Book #2.

UPDATE: Megan Fox has posted a story about the campaign at PJ Media. Apparently the SJWs have launched a counter-campaign of sorts.

And the following exchange should suffice to demonstrate why the campaign really matters. Ethan van Sciver interviews Marvel artist Jon Malin about increased convergence in the comics industry:

JM: I’ve got editors going behind my back and changing stuff because they’re bowing down to other freaking ideologues that are out there. And then my books are coming out changed? This is not good. This is not cool. We’re castrating a book like Cable because some social justice warrior can’t handle a boob on a cover? Is that person the audience for Cable? Are they the one whose going to be going out there and grabbing the muscle-bound white male patriarchy? No! But we’re bowing down to them, we’re letting them affect our sales, we’re letting everything tumble away and nobody wants to say anything anymore. Everyone is afraid because people on the far left, they’re lying silent, they’re vipers in the grass. They don’t have to fire me, they just don’t have to hire me back again.

I’m glad you’re in. I’m glad that you got in at a time when you were able to build that career. But the next guy like me, it’s just going to be even harder. Because these people are getting further and further into control of these companies.

When they find out you’re a Trump supporter, you’re gone. Because they said it. They said they’re going to do it. If you vote for Trump, whether he wins or loses, we will remember who you are. This is straight from an editor at one of the Big Two.

How do we fight against that?

EVS: Well, look, this is your fight, Jon.

I don’t want it to be my fight. I want it to be the comics journalists fight. Where are these assholes at? It’s so disgusting that this industry has gotten so low in sales. Everyone is ignoring it. And fans are being ignored, they’re being told off, not only by editorial but by creators.

This isn’t Jon’s fight. It certainly isn’t the comics journalists’ fight; they are on the other side. This is a fight for everyone, of the Left and of the Right, who doesn’t want to be totally controlled by the social justice warriors. This is for everyone who wants to be able to write what he wants to write, to draw what he wants to draw, and to tell the stories that he wants to tell without facing immediate disemployment and permanent blackballing from the industry.

This is the GamerGate situation on steroids. It is as if all the game developers teamed up with the game journos against the gamers rather than quietly siding with the gamers.

Everyone to the left of me desperately wants to believe that a line will somehow be drawn between them and the evil crimethinkers of the extreme right. But Chuck Dixon, Will Caligan, and Jon Malin all demonstrate that the line will always and continuously move leftward until every individual and organization in the comics industry are forced to converge to the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice in the utmost degree.

That is the goal. Since 1861, that has always been the goal.