After Preview Night’s freebie pillaging crowds, the Comic-Con International in San Diego got down to business Thursday, with panels, presentations, costumes and crowds. While comics news emerged from various panels, it was the big movie panels that dominated the headlines.
Del Rey had several title announcements at the Random House Panel. Editor Tricia Narwani has signed an original graphic novel collection of literary short stories called In The Flesh by Koren Shadmi, an Israeli and graduate of SVA; it will be published in February 2009. Del Rey will also publish Brenden Burford's previously self-published comics-as-reportage series Syncopated in May 2009. The book will have all new material. They're also publishing a new Harvey Pekar work called Huntington, W.V On The Fly and have signed Paul Hornschemier's new work Life With Dr. Dangerous in Jan. 20. The biggest news is that CLAMP in America, a newly commissioned work from Shaenon Garrity about the superstar Japanese manga collective CLAMP, will document CLAMP's history and cultural impact on the manga market in the U.S.. The book is due in 2009
In a move reflective of the times, CMX, DC Comics manga imprint, has acquired another movie-based manga property. Ghengis Khan is an adaptation of the Funimation feature length anime which was originally adapted from Seiichi Morimura's fictionalized account of the life of Ghengis Khan. The stand-alone volume will be released in April of next year. CMX is also broadening its library with another new manga acquisition, March on Earth, due in March. This series is a more somber, tragic story about a young high school girl who finds herself responsible for raising her nephew after a car accidentally kills the rest of her family.
Are serialized comics in a death spiral? The answer that came out of the “Future of the pamphlet” panel was, well, yes and no. Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze), while not against the periodical, pamphlet, serial or whatever we may call it, was clear: "There's not much future left; my serial has lost money the last few years. My trade paperback collections sell very well. Every time I do a new issue of the comic, I lose money." Why does he keep publishing the serial? "If I stopped I'd have to refund the money from my subscriptions." On the publisher side, Image Comics’ Joe Keatinge, blamed it on publishers, for treating periodicals like brochures, for emphasizing crossovers and essentially making boring comics.
While the con floor was a madhouse of attendees scrambling for bags and freebies from movie studios and publishers, it was far calmer than the Preview Night frenzy. With the con completely sold out a week in advance, attendance won’t grow beyond last year’s 125,000. (About 60,000 people attend the show each day.) With attendance flat, the con is looking at other ways to raise revenues, since the costs of renting the convention center and other expenses continue to rise. Comic-Con director of publicity David Glanzer said the show is resisting the idea of raising membership prices to give the widest possible audience a chance to come and meet their heroes, However, this year, the convention is selling signage around the hall as another way to raise revenues.
And, speaking from the Con floor about Vertigo Crime, DC's Karern Berger provided PW with a few more details about the new line. Editor Will Dennis, who worked on 100 Bullets, will be overseeing the line which will focus solely on standalone graphic novels. The titles will all be 6x9 and black and white. Berger, who said the idea behin Vertigo Crime was to allow the imprint to do more standalones in the genre, described the books as "really smart, edgy, sexy, fast-paced crime stories that have a modern noir sensibility." DC will be revealing more details about future titles, beyond Ian Rankin's announced Dark Entries and Brian Azzerrello's Still Too Rich, at the thriller festival Bouchercon.