It seems most people are happy about the merger, and think that Disney has done right by the properties it has acquired. But apparently, according to the owners of Toronto’s Beguiling comic book store, this isn’t entirely so…
Editorial: Keep the Star Wars comic books at Dark Horse, please.
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012
We don’t normally write editorials like this on our blog, preferring to remain more ‘comics agnostic’ when it comes to genre publishers, but we felt we should say something.
Marvel’s acquisition of the Disney/Pixar license for comics has potentially cost us thousands of dollars since January 2011.
Marvel Comics has drastically reduced the publication of Pixar and Disney Comics titles since the rights were pulled back from BOOM Studios almost two years ago following Disney’s purchase of Marvel. With today’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars property by Disney, we would greatly appreciate it if Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm could just lead the Star Wars properties alone, and with Dark Horse. Dark Horse is doing a fine job with this material, working hard to keep it in print at various price points and in various formats. Putting the Star Wars comics at Marvel will hurt our bottom line, and we believe the bottom line of all direct market comics retailers.
Briefly: At the height of production, BOOM! Studios had been publishing as many as 10 comics a month featuring the Pixar and Disney characters. During their tenure with the license from January 2009 through December 2010 (2 years), they produced roughly 200 comics, and more than 30 trade paperbacks of that material. We don’t normally share numbers, but here goes: we were ordering between 10 and 15 copies of each issue, and 75 and 200 of each trade paperback, to be distributed through retail and specialty channels.
In the two years since Marvel acquired the license (January 2011-December 2012), they will have produced approximately 8 comic books, 8 magazines, and near as we can tell, 4 graphic novels (only 2 in 2012). Some of that was reprints of BOOM! comics. Some of that was reprints of Dark Horse Comics from a few years back. I should also note that it’s difficult for us to be sure about these, as there is not a dedicated Disney/Pixar section on the Marvel website after two years.
What you’re seeing there is a 90% drop in production on highly salable product. Books with international name recognition that we were selling a ton of, and those sales basically evaporated.
Now lets talk about Dark Horse.
Dark Horse is producing 4-5 comics based on the Star Wars franchise every month. Dark Horse is producing trade paperbacks of that material, omnibuses of that material, reprints of that material. Quite a bit of that material. We’d say probably 10-12 new trade paperbacks a year, 4-5 reprints. We’re worried, and I think justifiably so, that Marvel will do to the Star Wars license what they’ve done to the Pixar license, and just take hundreds of salable comics and dozens of salable trade paperbacks out of the market, to be replaced by… nothing.
Or rather, 4 comic books, 4 magazines, and 2 trade paperbacks per year, which is almost worse than nothing.
No specific disrespect to Marvel is intended with this message, they publish superheroes very well. Unfortunately they have elected not to publish Disney/Pixar comics despite having the license to do so, and made us (and quite a few fans) unhappy in the process. We’re just saying: don’t fix what isn’t broken. Let Marvel continue to publish superheroes, and let comics retailers and the book market continue to sell Star Wars comics. Particularly since we’ve been so badly deprived of Disney/Pixar comics, over the past 2 years.
The Staff of The Beguiling
When I first heard Disney had acquired Lucasfilm I was like…
I felt like a million nerdly dreams had cried out in agony, and were silenced…
But then, I was like…
After all, what has Lucas really done with it?
The only good thing Lucas himself actually did was Star Wars: A New Hope. (Which is really only a step away from being a Tarentino movie if you understand where most of it really comes from.)
Everything else he did pretty much sucked.
The Empire Strikes back was almost 100% other people running Star Wars, and it’s the best of the bunch.
Lucas was behind Return of the Jedi, which is thoroughly mediocre.
The Prequel Trilogy is only noteworthy because it spawned The Clone Wars tv series, which is overall pretty good. (When Lucas hasn’t had input…)
So pretty much, he’s been a mediocre writer/director and a so-so manager who’s made a few lucky decisions.
Disney, on the other hand, is doing a pretty good job at handling both Pixar and Marvel, letting them do what they do best, and staying pretty hands-off. I both like and respect that, and it gives me some hope for what may come next with Star Wars.
They want to do a new movie series, and a new TV series. Which, if they get the right people, might be a fresh start and a new direction for the setting.
My only worry is that they’ll kill The Clone Wars, because it’s on a rival network to their own Disney XD channel. They killed Spectacular Spider-Man (which was also on a rival network) when they acquired Marvel so they could replace it with the horrid Ultimate Spider-Man on their own channel. I can see Clone Wars having a similar fate, although in Clone War’s case I hope they’ll let them actually end it properly instead of just stopping it.
Ahsoka needs to fly off into the galaxy with Lux, and give it a proper happy-ish ending.
So overall, I’m cautiously optimistic, and will wait and see.
Most of the cast of Futurama, plus the cast of Animaniacs, plus Batman, doing a readthrough of the Star Wars radioplay script in various character voices. Has to be heard to be believed! 🙂
HA! Dead on!
“It’s underneath what’s going on,” he reiterated about the series’ focus, “It’s the criminals and the gangs. The guys who are running Wall Street, basically. The guys who are running the United States.”
Not quite, that would be a series about the Banking Clans and the people actually running the Empire. This should be more like Goodfellas.
Even if the series is a few more years away, McCallum says there’s no risk in the scripts become dating and that the delay can only make the show stronger.
“They’re timeless,” he explains. “They take place between Episode III and Episode IV. That 20 year period when Luke is growing up. It’s not about Luke, but it’s about that period when the Empire is trying to take things [over].”
Is Star Wars: The Sopranos really what the audience wants? At least it’s different, though.
I just found this today- holy crap! Despite being a fan film, this thing is spectacular!
I also like that because it’s Italian it has a slightly different esthetic quality to it so it doesn’t feel like the same-old Star Wars.
Definitely give it a look!
And here’s the fanfilm it’s a prequel to:
The late 1970s were a bad time for comics – declining sales and new forms of media were coming into the limelight, and the local comic book shops were suffering. But then Marvel adapted Star Wars and everything changed. This is the story of a comic book industry without hope, saved by guerrilla marketing, a small group of rebels at the first San Diego Comic-Con movie panel — and a bestselling comic book called Star Wars.