Ambidextrous #294- Colorist Wanted (also...Archaia Returns!)

Ambidextrous #283- Seal the Deal

Most important thing first---The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury needs a new colorist, as suggested by the above title…

We are moving right along towards our fall re-launch (which now has a definite month that will be revealed later) and as it was before, this is the final piece of our creative puzzle. Obviously, we’re looking for someone good and reliable that can bring an additional flourish to the work of the incredibly talented Lee Ferguson and Marc Deering, but also someone who’ll be encouraged and willing to experiment. That really is the mission statement of Miranda Mercury, to find things people have deemed improbable or even impossible, and do it anyway. Only one issue was published, and every single artist on squad turned that (and quickly) into paying gigs at other companies…and this is on the back of material that we all agree wasn’t even their best work on the title.

Which is something to consider since we’re not in a position to offer any upfront money. Everyone is working for backend percentages, and it’s likely that a significant payday won’t be coming for several months after the work is completed. So this is a great opportunity for someone in a situation similar to many of us: young, hungry, and wanting to put some fantastic work together to get further noticed and better established. As I mentioned above, it didn’t take much the last time to attract some outside attention, what’s coming next is far superior to what’s been released, and bottom line---you will get published. Which, as you know, is the best way to continue being published.

Any and all interested parties can either post links to portfolios and sites below in the thread or e-mail inker/quartermaster Marc Deering at marcdeering@gmail.com. If you think you got the goods and no one will give you a shot, or know someone who that applies to, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks.

One of the reasons I bring this up now is that Archaia Studios Press has made its full-fledged return to the monthly Previews catalog…which unfortunately, is looking noticeably thinner compared to last month. Guess we all expected that eventually, but I’d like to direct some attention towards page 193. There you will find a full-page promo that proclaims “Archaia Returns,” and includes little profile shots of the properties soon returning to a comic shop near you. Down on the bottom row, second from the left is Miranda Mercury, in an art grab from issue #296. So yeah, new Miranda Mercury comics in ’09 and published by Archaia, the publisher bold enough to make it happen in the first place. That was certainly unexpected, right? Right…?

Seriously though, most people figured this would be the case the minute news broke that Archaia was being acquired, but it’s cool to be able to talk about it publicly. As the promo suggests, most of the company’s catalog remains intact and June sees the conclusion of the first The Killer mini-series, graphic novel collections for Awakening and Some New Kind of Slaughter, and the return of Robotika: For a Few Rubles More with a double-sized issue.

It’s that last one that I want to focus on for a minute, as it’s a concept that the entire industry will hopefully be seeing a lot of this year---more content for less money. The unfortunate combination of the new Diamond thresholds and steadily rising prices is going to intensify the competition for dollars, but just like whoever figures out the digital question first, there are great opportunities to be had. And with luck, companies both big and small will be able to capitalize on a consumer base paying a little extra attention to their weekly stacks and trying to maximize their dollars.

We’ve been talking about rising cover prices for months now, so I hope people will remember all that when considering whether to put four dollars down on a comic of standard length, or five dollars on a comic with more than twice the original material. The optimist in me believes this will be something fans and retailers will appreciate when deciding on books like Robotika, and a re-launched Miranda Mercury, as we’ll likely adopt the same format. Many of us don’t want to pay more for comics, but I’m thinking that we’ll be willing if we’re getting a little more for our money. Which is why what DC will be doing very soon is so important, and might set a serious precedent for mainstream books in the future.

Only slightly overtaken by the announcement of Wednesday Comics, DC’s decision to begin including co-features in certain titles has been one of the industry’s most exciting developments this entire year. Think there’s no more perfect way to counter the instant controversy inflicted by price increases, provide some additional spotlight to mid-range properties, and offer a model for companies to follow moving forward. We’ve already seen that without big name creators, big name properties, or crossovers, it’s become somewhat difficult to sustain mid-range superhero comics. With those budgets tightening up, it’s going to become even harder for publishers to support books like Blue Beetle or Immortal Iron Fist, and it might be that some characters are better served in the long term by being paired up with ones on stronger financial footing.

Because Streets of Gotham certainly isn’t going to lose any readers by including a co-feature spotlighting Manhunter, and Detective Comics won’t either by featuring The Question, but it’s possible both series will gain folks who really love those characters, and provide a really great justification for an increased price as well. And after about a year, there will be enough material for a decent-size trade and who knows what’ll happen from there. Not every character can support a monthly book and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but everyone is now required to get a little more creative to prevent the stands from being populated with nothing but Batman and Spider-Man titles. Much as I love both of those characters, one of the strengths of comic books is their potential diversity. Initiatives like Wednesday Comics and the co-features put that on proper display and hopefully they’ll be rewarded for trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

Judging by the buzz on the internet (always a dangerous prospect) price increases are a huge, huge deal, and I suppose only time will tell if that will ultimately benefit those giving you a little bit more for that hard-earned dollar. In the meantime, this one definitely is and watch this space for more Archaia related information as things ramp up heading into the summer. Thinking of incorporating some kind of “bargain hunter” listing in future columns for those looking for the best deals in comics, so look for that to show up in the coming weeks.

Back soon, and again---if you’re a colorist looking for a great spotlight project, hit me and/or Marc Deering up with links and contact info.

The Fiction House

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