Tagged: Jerry Ordway

Aftershock Comics sends out an S.O.S.: Support Our Shops!

There’s a lot of change in the air, and in so many cases, it’s nice to see how the COVID crisis is bringing out our better angels – especially when it comes to publishers and retailers.

Inc. Magazine recently called Independent Bookstores “the baby seals of commerce–at once universally beloved and endangered.” The same could be said for comic shops, except for the universally loved part. Here’s an innovative ideas from forward-thinking entrepreneurs designed to create something positive for both these retailer channels.

Aftershock Comics has a program designed to help comic shops. It’s called S.O.S. which stands for “Support Our Shops”.  This is a cool program that’s elegant in its simplicity. Aftershock created & printed a one-shot anthology comic, S.O.S., and is giving copies of it to comic shops that have been supporting their line, no strings attached!  Comic shops can sell their copies at whatever price they set (it feels like at least a $5.99 comic to me), offer it as buy-one-get-one with other Aftershock comics, or just give it away to reward customers.

The comic itself is gorgeous! Painter David Mack delivers yet another hauntingly beautiful cover, full of hope and brightness, just like the comic itself.  The issue is packed full of short stories from top creators wistfully celebrating fans’ interactions with and appreciation of comic shops.

Editor Joe Pruett has pulled together an impressive list of talents for this funny-book version of a charity concert. Contributors include Cullen Bunn, Steve Orlando, Leila Leiz, Stephanie Phillips, Marshall Dillon and more.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find Jerry Ordway’s story here, as I don’t associate him with Aftershock.  But wow – he delivered in spades.

Look for S.O.S. at your local comic shop, ask them to get it for you if they don’t have it, and if they give it to you for free, give them a generous tip.  It’s a fantastic book and worth every penny you can spare.  And we want to encourage innovative thinking like this, as well as help comic shops and bookstores, don’t we?

If retailers don’t already have a relationship with Aftershock, they can go to the site where all the staff is listed. https://aftershockcomics.com

Martha Thomases: A Whale of A Comics Story

What do whales have to do with comics? I’m glad you asked.

According to this study, in times of trouble, whales turn to the post-menopausal females to lead them. They trust these elderly females to know where the food is.

Besides humans, whales are the only other mammals to live after menopause, sometimes decades longer. Males tend to die at 60, but it isn’t unusual to find a female whale at age 90 or more.

(For the record, but without any evidence whatsoever, I like to think whales would also respect a male who lived to be 90. Just saying.)

There’s a lot of money going into comic book companies lately. Valiant just entered a partnership rumored to be worth nine figures. That means at least $100,000,000. Another company, Black Mask plans to grow its audience, not just with comics, but with videos and movies. That kind of outreach isn’t cheap.

Reading these articles, I was once again struck by the way popular culture equates graphic storytelling with superheroes. Yeah, lots of comics have superheroes in them, but so do a lot of prose novels (like this and this for example). And there are successful movies based on graphic novels that have no superheroes, like this and this, again, just as examples.

But superheroes are considered to be a film category now, with seepage onto television (where it is often more successful, in my opinion), so the big entertainment money is looking for comic book properties to buy. And there are lots of graphic stories out there, in a variety of genres, that would make terrific movies. The challenge is going to be finding the best ones.

Which brings us to the post-menopausal whales.

Like other forms of popular entertainment, comic book publishers and fans are always looking for the next great thing. Historically, sometimes the next great thing is terrific, like the way the Beatles shook up pop music in the 1960s, or Alan Moore opened up comics in the 1980s. Sometimes, the next great thing is terrible, like Justin Bieber.

Most often, we don’t know which new thing is truly great until it has a chance to stand the test of time. A by-product of looking for the next great thing is that, too often, these same people fail to consider the possibility of failure when making their decisions. A few years ago, Jerry Ordway wrote about being overlooked despite the hundreds of millions of dollars his work had earned, either directly or indirectly, for Warner Bros. At any comic book convention, if you go to Artists’ Alley, you’ll see lots of other professionals, all successful at one time and still possessing awesome skills, who can’t get work.

Like the post-menopausal whales, these folks know how to find food in tough times. They know the difference between a good story and a bad story, and how to make a so-so plot into something thrilling.

If I were a Hollywood investor, in addition to my nine-figure deals, I’d hire a couple of these old pros.

(Ye Ed notes: The art, above, is of Black Lightning villain Tobias Whale. Get it? Whale! Look, trust me, you wouldn’t want to see my first choice.)