Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by the Arrival of ComicsPRO

It’s the week of ComicsPRO’s Annual Meeting, which, for many seems like a dry, boring trade show, and for me is like Graceland: a glorious place I wish I was at this week. Let’s look at news from that event and much more, led by the familiar sight of a big speech from a top publisher at the event.

1. BOOM!, Making Speeches (and Announcements)

Yesterday, BOOM!’s President of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik and Retail Sales Coordinator Morgan Perry gave a speech at ComicsPRO, and within it, they said a lot of the things retailers already know and love them for. It was about how publishers need to be more conscientious about the product they’re putting out there, that they need to earn space on retailers’ shelves, and that publishers need to do better at supporting shops with on-time books and marketing materials. It’s the usual hits that makes BOOM!, in my opinion, the most beloved direct market publisher at the time amongst retailers.

While there are plenty of reasons to read the speech – chief among them: Sablik’s anecdote about BBQ sauce, which both makes his point and is at least 30% unintentionally hilarious because of the shockingly challenging nature of selecting the right sauce – there were two big ones for me. And they’re both creative-based ones. One was that Tom Taylor and Daniele di Nicuolo are teaming up for a series called Seven Secrets at BOOM!, and the other is Al Ewing and Simone di Meo are partnering for We Only Find Them When They’re Dead there. Those are huge gets for the publisher, as Taylor and Ewing might be the 1a and 1b in the most desirable creators not currently publishing creator-owned comics. Those are gigantic adds, with the publisher smartly pairing them with in-house artists with Power Rangers roots like they did with Once & Future and Dan Mora, a recipe that has proven to work.

It is a very fascinating move, though, if only because of who didn’t get these books. I understand Gillen wanting to spread the wealth away from his home of Image with Once & Future, but seeing Ewing and Taylor both go to BOOM! ahead of Image feels like one of those things that’s a lot more important than we really realize. Maybe it was a lot more simple than we might consider otherwise, but it feels like there’s a shift in the creator-owned space going on. If this was five years ago, Vegas wouldn’t have even accepted betting on where they’d publish at: it’d have been at Image for sure. Now, BOOM! is their home, and it feels like something.

Maybe it doesn’t mean anything in that way. But it does mean that BOOM! has some heavy hitters coming in 2020, with one more card yet unturned. That could mean big things, and even just the beginning of them. Curiouser and curiouser, the creator-owned space gets.

2. Jen Wang, Getting Musical

Kristen and Bobby Lopez are rather big names in the world of animated movie music, as the pair combined to create much of the music we know from films like Coco and Frozen. They’re a big deal, as is Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Herzog, and so is producer Marc Platt, known for producing La La Land and Bridge of Spies. That unlikely quartet is partnering on something near and dear to my heart: a movie musical adaptation of Jen Wang’s The Prince and The Dressmaker.

As noted before, Wang is one of my favorite cartoonists, and I’m happy about this for two reasons. One, this deal undoubtedly benefits Wang, who rules and deserves all the money. Two, The Prince and The Dressmaker as a movie musical is an inspired choice, even if I never would have imagined it (I thought of it more in Studio Ghibli ways before). I’m very into this, and while I have no idea when (or really if) it will ever be released, I am hopeful. This is a heck of a start. Congrats to Wang on the big news. Congrats to me for the potential of watching this in the future as well. That’s a big win, David!

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