The April 2022 Mailbag Q&A is Here!

It’s a rare Tuesday Mailbag! Normally these run on Thursdays, as that’s my day for secondary pieces, but it was moved up to Tuesday because my feature – which is a glorious beast – needs a little more time to cook. But this Mailbag Q&A, in which subscribers and patrons ask me questions related to a wide array of subjects, is a gem on its own. Let’s get to the giant mix of questions you all had, and expect the usual feature on SKTCHD this Thursday.

It’s very interesting that you rewrite the mailbag prompt every time. Are these questions you wish somebody would ask, and do you feel disappointed if they don’t get asked? – Brian Klein-Q

That’s absolutely not the plan. Here’s an honest truth about me: I try very hard to not reuse anything. That flies in the face of my love of efficiency, but it’s true. If I’m going to say something or write something or produce something that involves another person (or people), it feels only right that I make it distinct. That’s for everything I do! Even when I’m emailing people about an article I’m writing that a group of individuals are participating in, I write unique emails to each of them, or at least ones that are tailored to a specific person. I even used to rerecord every outro to Off Panel, until I realized that was insane and far too time consuming.

Coming up with unique questions to throw in to the Mailbag intro is one trope I actually struggle with, too! The rest of the post is easy. I have to think about that one wrinkle each time, so I tend to put in questions I’ve asked myself recently. So yes, I would love those questions to be asked, but that is not what I’m saying them.

Are there any comics characters or story arcs that you’re bummed about having become known by millions of folks thanks to film and TV adaptations? – Alex Dimitropolous

Not at all! The more the merrier, I say. The Dark Phoenix Saga being poorly handled multiple times in film doesn’t diminish the comic itself, just like Taskmaster hardly being Taskmaster in Black Widow doesn’t negatively affect the character. Sometimes there are misses, and that’s fine. And I’m not one to play gatekeeper. If millions get introduced to a character or story I find precious, then that’s fine by me. It doesn’t change my relationship with the point of origin at all.

A rather familiar panel by Esad Ribic and I want to say Ive Svorcina from Thor: God of Thunder

How do you think comics creators should be credited and compensated for characters and story arcs that they created that then ended up in high-grossing adaptations? – Alex Dimitropolous

Better and more frequently.

I don’t know a superior answer to that. I know it’s for-hire work, but for any of these entities that get rich off this stuff, I see little downside to being respectful in how you handle this. Sure, it might cost a bit of money. But if you are ahead of the curve on this and you treat those who created all of this well, it’ll reinforce the value of contributing to these larger universes without all of the negative PR surrounding it, which means more interest going forward. That’s worth a stack of cash, for sure.

What do you think is the best spot to have a new release section in a comic shop, or alternatively, do you think a dedicated new release section is unnecessary? – Chris Burton

The answer to this question depends on the shop, but my answer would be “someplace that fits the natural pathing of your shop’s layout.” New release sections need people to walk past them for discoverability purposes, so wherever you place them, it needs to be somewhere that people walk past. That sounds simple, but it really should sound simple!

That said, I don’t think right up front is the answer. People who come into your shop looking for new release comics will go wherever they’re located. People who just happen to come in for general fandom interest or looking for a gift or whatever aren’t looking for specifics as much as they’re hoping to find something that stands out to them, so tailoring your entrance with products that fit them would be a good call. New comics probably do not fit that bill.

As for whether or not shops need dedicated new release sections, that too depends on the shop. Some don’t carry new releases at all! Some don’t have new release sections but do get new comics, simply ordering for customers who pre-ordered. I’m sure some shops gain immense value off a well-thought out, well-placed new release section. It just depends on the business model you’re looking to adopt.

Worth noting: my plan for my shop was to not carry single issues at all. I don’t know if that was the right answer, but I suspect it could be a right answer.

Let’s pretend a bunch of comics companies are trying a radical new marketing idea: new comics come with a small gourmet food item (think along the lines of Ted Lasso’s biscuit boxes). What comics would you pair with which thematically appropriate gourmet food items? – Mark Tweedale

The obvious answer would be any food related comic, because you could always do something like a promotional blind box of Victoria Grace Elliott’s Yummy: A History of Desserts in which the comic comes with a different gourmet dessert each time. I also thought of Chew, but then I realized we’re on a one way train to cannibalism. No thank you. Instead, here are the first five comics I thought of, with a pairing to go with each, although I may have omitted the “small” part in my decision making process.

  • Uzumaki: Cinnamon rolls, because it’s all about the spirals.
  • Runaways: A specially branded energy drink, because I assume all youths like energy drinks.
  • The current X-Men title: Something plant-based, because of the nature of Krakoa. I’m going to say an Acai bowl with a mix of sliced fruit and sliced almonds.
  • Saga: A specially crafted hamburger, in honor of the title’s letter maven (and BKV’s dog) Hamburger K. Vaughan.
  • No One Else: R. Kikuo Johnson’s Maui-located graphic novel features a noodle based dish of unknown name, but I’m going to say it was saimin, and that this comic should come with a bowl of saimin. Is a soup a terrible pick to pair with a paper comic? You decide!

If they existed in the same universe, would Stilt-Man and Kite Man be friends or bitter, bitter enemies? – Jonathan S. Bell

I’ll be honest: Wilbur Day is not a great dude, sort of outside of Christopher Cantwell’s recent Iron Man run. He straight up sucks. He’s hilarious. But he’s also terrible. So if it was that version of Stilt-Man, it would absolutely be bitter, bitter enemies, if only because I don’t imagine Day has a lot of friends period.

That said, if we’re talking about that one time when Turk wore the Stilt-Man costume and the Kite Man from HBO Max’s Harley Quinn, then the answer would be friends — especially if Kite Man buys Noonan’s in a spin-off series. Kite Man + bar for local villains and hench people = Turk’s Stilt-Man and Kite Man are friends. That’s simple math.

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