A change to the Caligan campaign

In light of the changes in the ebook market and our retreat from the Kindle Unlimited space, we’ve been making some strategic changes at Arkhaven and Castalia House. Now that we’ve successfully entered the video space, we’re concentrating our efforts on our strongest fiction and non-fiction properties, primarily because we don’t have the bandwidth to devote to everything.

This is why we’ve returned the publishing rights to their books to a number of our authors, although we continue to support them and their self-publishing efforts, and why we have methodically reduced the number of books that we are publishing. Our sales remain strong, which tends to indicate that our revised approach is a viable one.

The reason I’m explaining this is that we have decided to make a change to the comics being delivered to the backers of the Caligan campaign. Instead of six black-and-white issues of The Stars Came Back, we are going to publish six full-color digital issues of Arts of Dark and Light, a Selenoth-based comic, as well as the related paperback and hardcover omnibuses. We have not yet decided if we’ll be using one of the novellas, such as The Wardog’s Coin or a selection from A Throne of Bones, as the source.

I’ve already spoken to Rolf about this, and as those who know him will not be surprised to hear, he was entirely understanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We like Rolf and his work, and Castalia will continue to publish his print editions going forward.

Obviously, we will offer a refund to any backer who does not support this change of the third comic. Also, since the change from black-and-white to color will leave the overall project in the red, we will be offering presales of the paperback and the hardcover once we have completed the first digital issue and delivered it to the backers. Please note that any campaign backer who wishes a refund as a result of this announcement can simply email me with the backer number and the word REFUND in the subject.

And for those who don’t object to the change, feel free to discuss which of the various Selenoth stories you’d most like to see in graphic format here. If we decide upon a selection from A Throne of Bones, it will probably be the battle between Legio XVII and the goblin tribes.


ALT-HERO Volume 1

The book that they said would never be produced has, in fact, been published! ALT-HERO Volume 1 is now available on Amazon in both hardcover and in paperback.

Written by Vox Day and featuring the art of Cliff Cosmic and Richard Bonk, the first of the Alt★Hero Collections collects the first six issues of Arkhaven’s flagship comic book series,  Alt★Hero, which includes #1 Crackdown, #2 Rebel’s Cell, #3 Reprisal, #4 The War in Paris, #5 London Calling, and #6 The Dark Hunt.

The 168-page full-color omnibus also contains additional pages of character illustrations, a few of which have not been seen before.

The backer editions are being sent out this week. Please note that as per the campaign, the hardcover edition will feature a special backer edition cover that is different than the retail hardcover. Both the hardcover ($23.99) and the paperback ($16.99) are also available at Castalia Direct.

Arkhaven anticipates releasing Alt★Hero Collections #2, which will collect Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #1 through #6, before the end of the year. Both backer editions will feature special backers-only covers.


Marvel and the Devil Mouse abused Stan Lee

Both converged entities stand condemned by Stan Lee’s daughter:

“When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me. From day one, they have commoditized my father’s work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency.”

JC concluded with some fiery words aimed at Disney and Marvel, “In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney’s executives.”

Of course they treat people badly. Even legends! They worship Satan and they are – at best – in league with pedos and child sex traffickers. What else would you expect?


Random idea

What do you all think about Making Asgard Great Again? By which I mean launching a crowdfunding campaign to create a new comic series with a proper male and Nordic God of Thunder with red hair, an Asgardian people who are not diverse, and a storyline connection to this Earth, in order to compete directly with the converged and transgendered Disney/Marvel abomination?

If this is potentially of interest to you, let me know and I can look into finding the right artists for it. We were planning to do something similar with Star Wars, but perhaps it makes sense to salvage Thor first. Let me know which, if either, is of more interest to you. I know people are planning to support the new Junior Classics, so perhaps this is not the right time, but I thought I’d at least gauge the potential interest.


The comics meltdown continues

IDW, the #4 publisher in the industry, is in trouble:

IDW Media Holdings has reported its second-quarter financials for 2019, and it doesn’t look like good news. Overall, the company had a net loss of $3.7 million, with $1.6 million of those losses coming from IDW Publishing, the branch of the company that publishes comic books.

A loss of $1.6 million on publishing revenues of 3.7 million (not a mistake, IDW’s publishing revenues were $3.74 million, nearly identical to the amount of its total net loss) is pretty impressive. Even worse, that’s a decline of nearly 30 percent of sales from Q1.

But this is an industry-wide issue. Total unit sales were down another 6 percent year-on-year in May, while dollar sales were down 11 percent.

Snicker-snack….


Spin, spin, and more spin

It’s interesting to see that the media covering the Jawbreakers case are engaging in precisely the same sort of definitional spin that we are seeing on a regular basis in our current legal dispute:

Antarctic Publisher States Under Oath That Mark Waid Didn’t Prevent Them from Publishing Jawbreakers

So what? As Richard Meyer’s lawyer has correctly pointed out, the name of the tort is “tortious interference” not “tortious prevention”. Waid was not involved in the relationship, so obviously he had no ability to “prevent” Antarctic from publishing anything.

The basic elements of a tortious interference claim are as follows:

  • A valid contract or economic expectancy between the plaintiff and a third person;
  • Knowledge of the contract or expectancy by the defendant;
  • Intent by the defendant to interfere with the contract or expectancy;
  • Actual interference;
    • The interference is improper; and
    • The plaintiff suffers damage.

The sworn testimony that the defendant did not prevent the third person from fulfilling the contract or economic expectancy obviously does not mean that he did not interfere with it. Now, it would certainly be more helpful to Meyer’s case if Antarctic was willing to swear that being contacted by Waid played a role in their decision, but not proving Meyer’s case is not tantamount to bolstering Waid’s defense. Only binary thinkers could fail to grasp that distinction.

As far as I can tell, the only fact yet to be determined, and upon which the Meyer v. Waid case revolves, is if telephoning someone and telling them to break a contract with someone else with which you are not involved in any way is improper interference or not. And I simply don’t know if that is the case in Texas or not.

Speaking of legal disputes, an email will be going has gone out to Alt-Hero and original Alt-Hero:Q backers later today. If you fit the specified bill with ease and without any exaggeration, please respond to it as this information will be very helpful to us. If you receive a separate, similar email from someone else, please be sure to respond to both of them.

Things are heating up considerably on that front, so there could be some fireworks soon. I look forward to being able to tell you all about it, but that may take a while as there is the possibility of at least one element of the dispute stretching into the fall of 2020.


Experts approve

One of the foremost authorities on Qanon, NEON REVOLT, very much likes ALT-HERO:Q #1. He posted his initial reaction on Gab:

Wooooooow. This is actually really good!

Vox Day’s Alt-Hero Q issue one, is now available for purchase through his Arkhaven Comics site, and on Amazon.

And as though it were by by some divine coincidence, it’s written by Chuck Dixon, the guy who did a ton of work on The Punisher and Batman.

(I swear to god, none of this was planned).

This is an honest-to-goodness spy story, and possibly the first piece of fiction inspired by #QAnon, and man, it’s a lot of fun.

And no, we don’t mind patriots posting single panels or creating memes from the comic. WWG1WGA.


Disney to shut down Marvel

That’s the latest rumor to excite the non-stop drama of the comics industry:

A new rumor indicates that Disney might be shutting down Marvel Comics sooner rather than later.

The rumor comes from Jude Terror at Bleeding Cool who cites a press release from Marvel Comics indicating that Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Joe Quesada are heading down to Austin, Texas to discuss the importance of comics to Disney’s business based off the Marvel intellectual properties.

In fact, Terror speculates that Cebulski and Quesada are heading to Austin, Texas to save Marvel Comics because “comics must continue to be published even if they add little value to the budget on their own simply because they provide the genetic material to make actual profits elsewhere.”

Terror even questions, “If less people are buying comics and the direct market is on the verge of collapse, then why should a megacorp like Disney continue to bother publishing them at all, especially when they can make far more money mining the intellectual properties for other mediums?”

Terror’s speculation isn’t anything new. Thom Pratt at The Kingdom Insider speculated about Disney cutting out Marvel Comics back in 2017.

Pratt notes that Disney’s entire profit on an entire year of Marvel Comics amounts to what they make “off one single Marvel Studios movie.” He bluntly writes, “Comic book sales look absolutely pathetic compared to an MCU release.”

Pratt who has his own sources at Disney even stated that “comic books have about as much value to Disney right now as a T-shirt.” In fact, he states it might even be less because “T-shirts have a higher profit margin.”

Pratt even addresses the idea that the comics are needed to mine for future stories in movies, video games, and other genres.

He quickly refutes this writing, “The MCU has taken characters and concepts in a totally different direction than the comic books, and Disney could easily hire away the best “idea guys” to work directly for Marvel Studios.”

Pratt predicts that Marvel Comics as a publisher will be done away with. He sees it existing in some form but being an “office full of brand managers overseeing licensed deals.” He even believes that Disney will license out the Marvel superheroes to other publishers similar to what they do with their Disney characters to IDW and Dark Horse.

Part of Pratt’s prediction has already come true as Disney has licensed their Marvel superheroes to IDW.

I’m a bit dubious about this, as the continuing decline in comics sales was not quite as bad as I expected in 2018, although the more profitable sales of graphics novels did collapse. According to Comichron, the top 300 graphic novel dollar sales declined 16.5 percent last year, to $73.6 million, but top 300 comic dollars increased $10.7 million despite a three percent decline in units as a result of the rise in the average comic price to $4.19.

The fact that the MCU cycle is coming to an end and Captain Marvel looks to be a complete bust suggests that if 2018 was bad, 2019 will be considerably worse. But Marvel isn’t suffering as much as its lesser competitors, as it actually increased its unit market share from 40.4 percent to 44 percent and is still bringing in revenue of well over $100 million, though it may not be doing so profitably.

It would be amusing if Disney offered Arkhaven the opportunity to license any of its characters, although I can’t imagine we’d be terribly interested in cultural icons such as Lesbian Meth Batgirl, Thorella, She-Wolverine, or Shade, Marvel’s First Superhero Drag Queen. In any event, Arkhaven’s support is continuing to grow steadily and we expect to have a series of exciting new announcements in the coming three months. In related news, the gold logo edition of AH#6 will be available from Castalia Direct next week.

Note: the new standard size introduced with the gold logo edition of Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #3 meant that we did not know exactly how the pricing would translate to the Castalia Direct store. Our first estimate worked out to a price of $3.14 in practice. However, we have since adjusted that, so the $2.99 retail price will return on April 1 and will be maintained across the Arkhaven line for standard size series comics.

This video by the Kingdom Insider, who is very familiar with Disney’s customary practices, is extremely informative. Key phrase: “To the Walt Disney company, the real Marvel universe to them is the Marvel universe they created. The movies. The movies have basically replaced the comic books.”

This article by a comic book retailer is pertinent, especially this statistical truth-bomb:

The January 2019 order form features 1106 solicited periodical comic books. Of those, only 454 of those SKUs are new items – the other 652 are variant covers. That means a staggering fifty-nine percent of all solicited comics are actually variants. That’s completely and entirely absurd! It is deluded, it is dangerous, and it actively works against the best interests of the market.

That’s why our only variant covers will be the Premium editions intended for the comic book stores. We’ll do the gold logo limited editions for the collectors, but we’re keeping our price at $2.99 for those. Remember that at 24 pages of story, our comics are not only less expensive and better-constructed, but provide considerably more content than the average Marvel or DC floppy.

Lawsplaining

Nick Rekieta and I will be discussing the law and its relation to comics, crowdfunding, and culture.

Join me for a conversation with Vox Day.  Many of you know of Vox, Some of you probably hate him, some of you probably love him.  He’s a guy who causes visceral reactions, but do you know what he’s actually doing?

I was a little late, so the link begins when I actually showed up for what turned out to be a two-hour conversation. Vox Day Talks Comics, Crowdfunding, and Culture


The Complete RIGHT HO, JEEVES

Arkhaven Comics is very pleased to announce its first completed collection, Right Ho, Jeeves, adapted by Chuck Dixon from the P.G. Wodehouse novel, illustrated by Gary Kwapisz and edited by Vox Day.

The omnibus paperback is without question the most beautiful book we have produced to date, as it features 152 full-color 10×7 pages on high-quality paper and a glossy full-duplex cover containing all six digital editions. Right Ho, Jeeves is now available for $19.99 at Arkhaven Direct.

We expect it will be available from Amazon for $24.99 in about a week or so. It will make for a lovely Christmas gift for the young reader or Wodehouse fan in your family. For those collecting the individual issues, we will be producing gold logo editions of issues #4-6 in the new year.

RIGHT HO, JEEVES tells of the travails of the inimitable Bertie Wooster, summoned from the comforts of #3A Berkeley Mansions, London, to Brinkley Manor by his imperious Aunt Dahlia. Love is in the air and Wodehousian shenanigans are afoot, as Wooster is not the sole guest at the manor, which is also playing host to the fairy-gazing Madeline Basset as well as the famous newt-fancier Augustus Fink-Nottle. But, as always, the inimitable Jeeves is there to set things right and save the day!

UPDATE: if you are in the USA and you see a backorder notice when placing an order, just ignore it. It’s an artifact of their old distribution system that has no relevance to our current process. Please note that we cannot sell this book outside the USA because the novel upon which it is based is not in the public domain in other publishing jurisdictions.