Tagged: Fight Club

Marc Alan Fishman: Sell! Sell! Sell Your Comic!

Comic BooksHey kiddos! I decided I wanted to add a touch of linkbaiting this week to my article. Since the interwebs just goes gaga (but not Lady Gaga) over lists, I thought it was time I give you one… as I lay out to you the secret sauce that makes Unshaven Comics’ Big Mac. That Big Mac is, of course, the reason why we are (in part) as successful as we have been at comic conventions throughout the Mid-West and East Coast. Over the last five years, we’ve cultivated pitches for each of our books, such that it becomes abundantly clear to those standing in front of our table that they need the book we place in their hands.

In between discussions of great grub, good flicks, and other bric-a-brac, many of our fellow creators have asked Unshaven what lands us our good sales and closing ratio. And rather than write a book and sell it to them, I thought it’d be fun instead to even the playing field. So, without any further padding, let’s get into those tips you yourself need to turn your pet project into a product-moving behemoth.

1. You have my undivided attenti – Hey! Zombies!

When you’ve made eye-contact with a potential customer (a “fan,” if you will) and you’ve politely asked them if you can tell them about your comic book – you are doing that, aren’t you? – be clear that you have literally thirty seconds or less to captivate them. If you can’t get through the biggest reasons why your comic is appealing to them in that time? You might as well sit patiently and wait for your mother to walk by the table to listen to all you have to say. This isn’t a proclamation about the attention span of the millenials mind you… this is Advertising 101. So, tip 1: Keep. It. Short. Sassypants.

2. It’s like chocolate meets peanut butter.

Clichéd as it may be, a good pitch saves time by referencing previously available material. Yes, I know that your book is a beautiful and wholly original snowflake. But you know what? I don’t care. When you can tell me that your book is like Fight Club and My Little Pony, I’m free to the do the mental math quickly. Barrier to entry is now lessened, or the wasted time on someone you’re not going to sell to is shortened. So, pick a piece of memorable fiction that matches your book’s genre, and potentially style or mood. Present your X meets Y statement as such that your pitchee knows you’re not speaking on the quality of your piece, so much as the headspace you’re aiming for. In other words, don’t say “It’s like Star Wars Meets Titanic, because it’s just. That. Epic.”

3. People want story first, not characters.

Even if your book follows a single solitary soul for twenty some-odd pages, as a potential buyer I can’t be sold on a character in 30 seconds. Why? Because your characters are likely dimensional. They have depth, nuance, and shades of grey. A person can’t easily be quantified in a single sentence. But your story can. As I’ve been building here: you have limited real estate of ear-time with your would-be-fan. What will make them by your book is not how witty the banter may be… it’ll be the hook of the story. Just because your book stars Robo-Jesus doesn’t mean I instantly want it – it’s how Robo-Jesus fights a horde of rabid leprechauns that sells me on the issue quickest.

4. Leave room to breathe.

Ain’t I a stinker? Here I am building you up for what must feel like a drag race to a sale, and now I’m telling you to slow down! I’m not evil, trust me. Here’s the thing. 30 seconds is actually longer than you think. If you’ve followed along this far, you have a good idea what Unshaven Comics likes to do: We hop in, and tell our audience what our book is about, and end right on the hook. And then we breathe. We look the fan in the eye, and see that they absorb what we’ve said. Some folks will immediately have questions. Some will snicker with a “oh, really? Now what?” Others will ask where the line for Gene Ha starts. In any event, we build a nice pregnant pause into the pitch to force the customer to interact with us. Why? Because while we are trying to sell them, we’re not trying to be the late Billy Mays. It’s not a scream-a-thon until you beg for money… it’s actually a conversation.

5. But what am I actually buying?

Brass tacks: After you’ve dropped the setup and the hook. After you’ve compared your book to common fiction they know. After you’ve maybe answered a quick question about the art. It’s time to close the sale. In case you’re not familiar – and if you’re not, shame on you – watch Alec Baldwin tell you how it’s done.  Always. Be. Closing. The key to finishing strong, is to cut to the chase. Tell your interested party what they’re holding in their hands. How many pages is it? Is it color? How much does it cost? And then, as awkward as it may be, you have to then ask them if they’d like to give it a try. No arm wrenching necessary; just a polite notification that yes, you are indeed a business, and what you’re attempting here is to keep that business open. Your fan won’t mind the hustle, if you don’t mind the humility.

6. Don’t forget the upsell, or the closer.

When you’ve reached step 5, you have a sale or a runner. If they are willing to purchase, it literally loses you nothing to offer an upsell. For Unshaven Comics? It’s typically a free sticker, button, or poster, with purchase of another book. So, yes, for the cost of two comics (one of which you’ve now told yourself is worth purchasing) you now get something potentially cool totally free. Yessir, that’s an upsell. Or, perhaps you have someone on the fence. They like the idea, but… hey, it is five bucks. So, now, you need a closer. Offer to sign the book. Or eat the cost on a button, sticker, or poster. At the end of the day, issues moved are issues moved. And everything you should be doing on a cold sale is try to move that book.

Alrighty everyone. Seem simple enough? It’s not. Like I’d said above: it took us five years, and what I could figure as being literally 3,000+ pitches to get where we’re at. But don’t be discouraged. Remember that at a convention you’re in your element. The people walking that floor are there to be wowed. It’s your chance to wow them. Keep it short, keep it uncomplicated, be witty where you can. Be upfront about your price, and be ready to upsell if you can. And last but not least? Know that the worst a fan will ever say to you ultimately is ‘no’. So… if I haven’t ask you yet, stranger…

Can I tell you about my comic book?


Production Finally Begins on Disney’s The Lone Ranger

lone-ranger_clayton-moore-mask1-300x178-1762115BURBANK, Calif. (February 28, 2012) — Production has commenced on location in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado on Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ epic adventure “The Lone Ranger.” The film reunites the filmmaking team of the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” blockbusters—producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski—with Johnny Depp, who created Captain Jack Sparrow in his iconic, Academy Award®-nominated performance and contributed the voice of the title character of Verbinski’s Academy Award-winning “Rango.”

Depp plays spirit warrior Tonto in “The Lone Ranger,” with Armie Hammer (“The Social Network,” “J. Edgar”) starring in the title role. Depp and Hammer are joined by a prestigious international cast which includes Tom Wilkinson, two-time Academy Award nominee (“Michael Clayton,” “In the Bedroom”) and Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner (“John Adams”); William Fichtner (Jerry Bruckheimer’s productions of “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down”); Emmy Award-winner Barry Pepper (TV’s “The Kennedys,” “True Grit,” “Saving Private Ryan”); James Badge Dale (“The Grey,” TV’s “The Pacific” and “Rubicon”); Ruth Wilson (television’s “Jane Eyre” and “Luther”); and two-time Academy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech,” “Alice in Wonderland”). The film is slated to open on May 31, 2013.

disney-logo-300x72-7170628“The Lone Ranger” is a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

“The Lone Ranger” is written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Eric Aronson and Justin Haythe. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Eric Ellenbogen and Eric McLeod.

Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski are joined by a remarkable team of behind-the-scenes artists, including director of photography Bojan Bazelli (Verbinski’s “The Ring,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”); visual consultant Mark “Crash” McCreery (production designer of Verbinski’s “Rango); costume designer Penny Rose (“Pirates of the Caribbean” films); film editor James Haygood (“Panic Room,” “Fight Club”); visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander (“Rango,” three “Harry Potter” films); Academy Award®-winning special effects supervisor John Frazier, a 10-time nominee whose previous collaborations with Jerry Bruckheimer have included “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and, with Verbinski as well, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”; and stunt coordinator Tommy Harper (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”).

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Gore Verbinski has enjoyed tremendous box office success as the innovative director of both character-driven franchises and thoughtful genre-bending fare.  Most recently, Verbinski released his first animated film, the smash hit “Rango,” starring Johnny Depp. Grossing over $240 million worldwide, the film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as BAFTA and Annie awards, and received Golden Globe® and PGA nominations. Verbinski previously helmed the hit franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean,” directing the first three films starring Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley. The films have collectively grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide since release. He made his directorial debut with “Mouse Hunt,” starring Nathan Lane, followed by the road movie “The Mexican,” starring Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini. He also directed the smash horror film “The Ring,” starring Naomi Watts.

Verbinski is also a successful award-winning commercial director, having been honored with four Clio Awards and a Cannes Silver Lion Award for his work on an assortment of memorable advertising spots. In addition, he directed music videos for bands including Bad Religion and Crystal Method.

First in partnership with Don Simpson, and then as the chief of Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Bruckheimer has produced an unprecedented string of worldwide smashes, impacting not only the industry, but mass culture as well. Bruckheimer’s films include (producing with Don Simpson) “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop 2,” “American Gigolo,” “Flashdance,” “Bad Boys,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Crimson Tide,” “The Rock,” and (producing solo) “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Bad Boys II,” “Veronica Guerin,” “King Arthur,” “National Treasure,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and the 2011 blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

On television, Bruckheimer had an unprecedented 10 television series airing in the 2005-6 season, a record in the medium for an individual producer. JBTV’s series include “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” and its spinoffs “C.S.I.: Miami,” “C.S.I.: NY” and “Without a Trace,” “Cold Case” and the eight-time Emmy® Award-winner “The Amazing Race.”

Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television have been honored with 41 Academy Award® nominations, six wins, eight GRAMMY® Award nominations, five wins, 23 Golden Globe® nominations, four wins, 105 Emmy® Award nominations, 21 wins, 30 People’s Choice nominations, 15 wins, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop.”

“The Lone Ranger” will film exteriors and studio work in New Mexico, followed by locations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

MARTHA THOMASES: Dragon Tattoo – Why A Graphic Novel?

Vertigo is slated to publish the graphic novel adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s [[[The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]]]. The Swedish series has sold tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages. There are already Swedish movies based on the books, and the first of the American films is to be released later this year.

Why do we need a graphic novel?

The books are terrific. They take you inside the lives of computer hackers, crusading journalists and evil authority figures, with a glimpse of Swedish social mores and political intrigue. Larsson is an ardent feminist, a refreshing perspective on the bestseller lists.

I haven’t seen the movies, but people whose opinions I respect like them a lot. The American version is directed by David Fincher, of Fight Club and The Social Network.

Why do we need a graphic novel? What will it show us that we didn’t see in these other media?

There are stories I would like to see adapted. Bunches.

  • Angels in America, by Tony Kushner, with its leaps across times and across realities, is a natural. I have always imagined Phil Jimenez and Howard Cruse doing the art.
  • Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings, for the battle scene where the Pharaoh walks across the field, accompanied by lions who snatch gory snacks from the dead and wounded.
  • The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen, as a series of inter-connected short stories, each with a different artist.

There are writers I would like to see work in comics because their prose suggests they know how to work with visual artists: Will Self, Patti Smith, Don Dellilo. They may not actually be any good at the form – they may need their words – but I would like to see them try.

But a book that has already been a great movie? That I don’t so much need. Gone With the Wind? The Maltese Falcon? What are they going to show me that I haven’t already seen?

That’s the challenge Vertigo has ahead of themselves. I hope they prove me wrong.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

20th Century Home Entertainment Spoofs Their Classics

20th Century Home Entertainment Spoofs Their Classics

Yesterday, we covered 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s dad-centric video offerings as a part of their A Year Of A Million Moments. Now, they have unveiled we some brand new spoofs of Taken and the classic  Rocky. Both satires come from the people that brought you the Office Space the Musical and Fight Club in the nursing home skits.


Both of these brand new pieces take Fox’s popular films of yesterday and today with Liam Neeson’s 2008 thriller and the classic film that catapulted Sylvester Stallone to critical acclaim and stardom. The two videos feature our favorite cast of characters from the Fight Club bit that went viral last year! The nursing home gang continues its love of film, and I hope you can post a piece about these hilarious spoofs for your audience online.


‘Torso’ Grows Legs

‘Torso’ Grows Legs

Bill Mechanic, the former chairman of 20th Century Fox and now founder of independent production company Pandemonium, told Collider that the long planned adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’ Torso is heading into production soon.

"Torso is moving right towards the starting gate," Mechanic tells the site. "We’ve got a screenplay and we’re waiting for Paramount to decide when to make it."

He also confirms what many have heard: David Fincher will direct the feature.

"I’m hoping we’re shooting in March or April … [so] it should be [Fincher’s next project]," says Mechanic.

And while he has a ton of faith in the project, he does admit that there will be departures from the source material, much in the way that the movie Fight Club broke off from the novel.

"Torso the movie, which may not be called Torso the movie at the end of the day … makes the book better reading because it doesn’t follow [the book] literally," Mechanic says.

Though he’s known today for revitalizing The Avengers, killing all the mutants in House of M and making Skrulls a threat again in Secret Invasion, Brian Bendis’ roots as a comics creator go back to his days at Caliber Comics. He published a string of noir crime comics with Caliber, including Fire (1993), A.K.A. Goldfish (1994) and Flaxen (1995). His most known early works are Jinx (1996), which is the namesake of his Web site JinxWorld, and the comic in question, Torso (1998). It may be hard to believe with top artists Leinil Yu and others illustrating his work, but Bendis actually illustrated a large part of his early work, including Torso. Bendis also co-wrote the novel alongside Marc Andreyko (DC’s Manhunter).

Torso is a historical fiction limited series published by Image Comics. The story focuses on the "Torso Murderer," an actual serial killer in the 1930’s who left behind only the torsos of his victims, making them very difficult to identify for police without DNA testing. The investigator on the case and protagonist of Torso is Eliot Ness, Cleveland Chief of police and one-time head of the Untouchables, the police task force that enforced Prohibition and went after crime lord Al Capone.

Though no official casting has been made, Mechanic did tell Collider that "a lot of things being written [online] about [the film] are probably true." Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Damon are the two actors long rumored for Torso, so perhaps they’ll be the guys to star in the feature.

‘Haunted’ Film In Development

‘Haunted’ Film In Development

Hollywood’s favorite shock novelist Chuck Palahniuk is getting another movie adaptation in the form of Haunted. The book’s film rights are being optioned with the newly formed New School Media, headed by former ICM literary agent Brian Levy. Koen Mortier, whose directorial debut Ex-Drummer premiered at least year’s Toronto Film Festival, will direct the adaptation.

Variety describes Haunted as focusing on "a group of characters who answer an ad for a writers retreat and unwittingly end up competing in a Survivor-like scenario, where the host withholds heat, power and food. As the storytellers grow more desperate they ruthlessly plot to make themselves the hero of the reality show or film that they expect will be made from their plight."

It’s strange to see Haunted getting the film treatment before other popular Palahniuk properties, namely Survivor, Lullaby and Invisible Monsters. Those novels are more story focused, whereas Haunted is essentially an anthology piece with a loose plot weaving throughout each character’s short stories. The novel’s most notorious story is Guts, which depicts three grotesque masturbation related accidents. The story, which is incredibly vile and definitely not for kids, is available on Chuck Palahniuk’s official site. Proceed with extreme caution.

The Oregon-based author has seen two of his earlier novels hit the big screen. David Fincher directed the 1999 breakout hit Fight Club, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in his famous turn as lunatic Tyler Durden. Most recently, Palahniuk’s Choke is heading to cinemas as directed by Clark Gregg. Sam Rockwell stars as Victor Mancini, a con artist who chokes in restaurants, prompting rich people to save his life and line his pockets with a dependable flow of income as a sign of gratitude. Choke was released on September 26, 2008 in the United States on a limited basis.

Warner Takes a ‘Headshot’

Warner Takes a ‘Headshot’

Variety reports that Warner Bros. has acquired screen rights to Headshot, a three-book graphic novel series from Alexis Nolent. Alessandro Camon will write the script based on the French novel, with Alexandra Milchan and Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar on board to produce.

Headshot focuses on "an unlikely alliance between a cop and a hitman … after each watches his partner die. The new partners seek revenge and discover they have a shared enemy and much in common despite being on opposite sides of the law."

Nolent has written several comic books under the pen name Matz. In 2004, Headshot won Best Story Prix Saint-Michel comic awards in Brussels. Another of his comics, The Killer, was nominated for an Eagle Award for Favorite European Comic in 2007 and an Eisner for Best U.S. Edition of International Material in 2008. The Killer is also slated for a film release at Paramount with David Fincher (Fight Club) attached to direct. Nolent’s Cyclops is in development at Warner Bros. as a directing vehicle for James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma).

David Fincher Onboard for New ‘Heavy Metal’

David Fincher Onboard for New ‘Heavy Metal’

According to Variety, director David Fincher, whose credits include some of the most visually innovative and interesting films of the last 20 years (Fight Club, Zodiac and Se7en), has signed on to direct a segment of Paramount’s updated and re-imagined version of the cult-classic Heavy Metal.

The new film is inspired, as was the earlier ’80s version, by the erotic and violent magazine of the same name, which first came to our shores in 1977 and billed itself as "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine." It will consist of eight or nine individual animated segments, each helmed by a different director.

In addtion to Fincher, some of the other directors taking on segments include Kevin Eastman, of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, and effects specialist Tim Miller, whose Blur Studios will handle the new feature’s animation. Fincher, Miller and Eastman will also produce the film which, according to Variety, was conceived from the outset as an adult-oriented, R-Rated project.

As I mentioned previously, in addtion to Heavy Metal, Fincher is a busy man, having just completed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, again starring Brad Pitt, and developing a film based on the Charles Burns graphic novel Black Hole. He’s also working on several other projects including The Devil in the White City, The Killer and Torso — which is based on the Brian Bendis graphic novel. 

Edward Norton as Bruce Banner

Edward Norton as Bruce Banner

Step-sibling Cinematical (say that three times fast) is reporting that: "Bruce Banner and his massive green alter ego will be played by Oscar nominee Edward Norton! Best known for his superlative work in movies like Primal Fear, Rounders, American History X and Fight Club (oh, and Death to Smoochy), Norton steps into a role vacated by Bana — and I for one think it’s a really excellent choice on the part of [Louis] Leterrier and his Universal overlords."