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.


Wow, you guys are unbelievable. Incredible. And generous. Will Cadigan’s Comic hit its $7,500 initial goal in just 149 minutes. Now let’s see who wants color….

Let’s take a non-binding poll. Which book do you favor?

  • Nick Cole (The End of the World as We Knew It)
  • Peter Grant (Rocky Mountain Retribution)
  • Lawdog (The Lawdog Files)
  • Rolf Nelson (The Stars Came Back)
  • Kai Wai Cheah (Flashpoint: Titan)
  • Rawle Nyanzi (Sword and Flower)
  • John C. Wright (Swan Knight’s Son)

Only express an opinion if you’ve backed, please.

UPDATE: The campaign passed 10k in three hours, eleven minutes. Looks like I’d better talk to the colorists.

Will Caligan’s Comic

This is an announcement for a special one-week campaign designed to provide work for Will Caligan, a military veteran, a Christian, and a comic artist who was swarmed by SJWs and lost his publishing arrangement due to his willingness to stand up for his beliefs about right and wrong. All of the funds raised will go to paying for the production of one or more comics illustrated by Will that will be published by Arkhaven. The graphic novel – or novels – will be based on novels chosen by the backers that have been contributed by various authors, and comics legend Chuck Dixon will be providing the adapted scripts for free. A Gold-rate team of colorists, Arklight Studios, will provide the colors for the cover at a steep discount.

50 percent of the revenues from any subsequent sale of the comics and graphic novels will go to Will and to the direct contributors to producing the comic. (The author whose work is selected, the colorists, etc.) This does not include me or the Arkhaven team. For more details about the campaign and to view the backing options, please visit Freestartr. And please spread the word, especially on Twitter.

Thanks to everyone who put this campaign together on very short notice.

  • Jon Del Arroz
  • Freestartr
  • Arklight Studios
  • Chuck Dixon
  • Nick Cole
  • John C. Wright
  • Peter Grant
  • Lawdog
  • Rolf Nelson
  • Kai Wai Cheah
  • Rawle Nyanzi
  • Team Arkhaven

And as a bonus, if you visit the campaign page, you can see one of the new Alt★Hero covers illustrated by Cliff Cosmic and colored by Arklight Studios.

Peter Grant shares his thoughts.

The press release from Short Fuse Media Group concerning the matter.

Short Fuse Media Group, LLC. was founded on the principles of uniting all PEOPLE and embracing diversity.

In order to maintain those principles, the decision has been made from our senior staff to sever ties with Will Caligan and Alpha Dog Studios, effective immediately as a result of comments that were made by Will that were deemed to be offensive by members of the indie comic book community as well as the LGBT Community.

Short Fuse Media Group, LLC. would like to formally apologize to the members of the indie comic book community, the LGBT Community and especially the current (and prior) members/talent of our roster who are also a part of the LGBT community for the length of time that it took to fully understand the scope of what had taken place and act on this accordingly as again, we support and respect all PEOPLE from ALL walks of life.

Sure they do. Sure they do.

The heroes of Avalon: FAZER

Now that we’ve got several scripts done, it is clear that CHUCK DIXON’S AVALON is really going to be very different than the Alt★Hero comics proper. Whereas I like to focus on worldbuilding and city-level events of international significance, Chuck prefers to go street. He’s focused on citybuilding, crime-fighting, and street-level events, and while the city of Avalon is an integral part of the universe of Alt★Hero, it is a small, detailed, and distinct part of it.

FAZER is one of the first new characters created by Chuck and he will be appearing in both the first and second issues. The description: FAZER is King Ace’s crime fighting partner. He’s the brains of the pair and resents being referred to as a sidekick. The guy has a very short fuse. He’s much slighter and shorter than King Ace. His power is the ability to phase through solid objects. He can maintain the phasing stage only through tremendous concentration. Fazer wears an all-over suit that hides his face entirely. The suit is made of leather as Fazer can only phase organic materials. Fazer is Hapa, with a white father and a Filipino mother. 

The amazing thing to me is how, in just two issues, Chuck has already managed to create intriguing characters with distinct individuality and complex personal relationships. It is no wonder he is considered a comics legend. And yes, if you think you recognize the artist’s signature, it is indeed the gentleman you have in mind. He is illustrating CHUCK DIXON’S AVALON #1.

I would have tweeted this link out, but Twitter suspended the ArkhavenComics account as soon as it was created, before we’d even had the chance to upload a logo for the profile. So, we’ll be posting our regular social media announcements on the AltHeroComic Facebook page and leaving any Twitter repostings up to the fans.

Interview with the legend

Ethan Van Sciver interviews Chuck Dixon. From the section where they discussed Chuck’s involvement with Arkhaven.

CD: I don’t mind being edited, but I mostly want to be left alone on the creative end. I wasn’t interested in books that were political, they weren’t going to be screeds, but they would reflect my life view. They wouldn’t tell anybody what to think. And [Vox] was fine with that.

I wanted to be free of the kind of concerns I would have working for another company where I would have to be politically correct, where I would have to be diverse for the sake of diversity, that kind of thing. He said no, that’s fine, that’s what he was looking for. Basically, he was doing the book that would take all the slings and arrows, but if I wanted to do straight-ahead superhero adventure set in the universe he created that was fine.

That’s where we started, and then it turned into more books, and more involvement, and that’s where we stand. The first artist is working on the second book now, the first book is going to the colorist.

A few weeks ago, he thought of the idea of adapting PG Wodehouse into comic book form, not knowing that I’m a longtime Wodehouse fan. He teamed me with Gary Kwapisz, who I’ve worked with for 30 years and never knew was a Wodehouse fan. We’re adapting Right Ho, Jeeves, which should have a huge audience overseas.

Like all the editors I used to like working with, he has faith in me and he’s letting me do what I want. So, it’s kind of irresistible.

And he’s paying on time!

EVS: He is?

CD: Yes, he is, he is paying on time. It’s a reduced rate against participation and backend, but I’ve been doing that for years.

EVS: So what do you think? Do you think he’s going to succeed?

CD: I think project by project, we’ll have to see what happens. He’s certainly got different ideas, he’s got ideas that don’t come from comics which is a good thing, sometimes. He seeks my guidance all the time. He’s always picking my brain.