The May Mailbag is Here!

It’s here! The May Mailbag Q&A has now arrived for your reading pleasure, and within it is a deluge of great questions from everyone that touches on spinner racks, overrated/underrated comics, fantasy drafting Big Two properties, and a whole lot more. Let’s get to it, and hey, thanks to everyone for the great questions this month!

Wanted a spinner rack forever but don’t think I could decide what to put on it. How’d you do it?

Above are photos of all four sides of my spinner rack, and to the naked eye, it might be a motley crew of selections included on it. But for me, almost every comic is on there because of some level of personal meaning, whether that means I love it – the low end of the spectrum – or it plays a huge part in my personal comic book narrative. I’m going to write about this idea later (it’s a piece I’m already working on), but there are just some random comics that have an outsized impact on our love of the medium, and issues like West Coast Avengers Annual #2 or The Transformers #41 are perfect examples of that idea for me. The comics on my spinner rack are truly the titles and issues that make me love comics as much as I do, whether it’s because of reading them in my youth or their impact in my adulthood or beyond.

Besides that Silver Surfer comic. I like it but I don’t know what it’s doing there. It will be replaced!

What are some underrated/underappreciated comics that you wish people had more love for? – Andrew Tan

Okay, I’ll pick one from Marvel, DC, Image, and two wild card publishers, while also removing my own ability to say any of my stands of Nextwave, Kaijumax or anything else that is ultra predictable.

Marvel: The 2010 Taskmaster series from Fred Van Lente and Jefte Palo. That’s a very, very fun comic, and something I wish more people read.

DC: In the last 90s/early 2000s there was a very, very fun Hourman series by Tom Peyer and Rags Morales that was an odd couple story starring the Android version of Hourman and Snapper Carr. It was a blast.

Image: Reed Gunther by Shane and Chris Houghton. It’s an all ages comic that’s like Hellboy starring a cowboy and his best friend who happens to be a bear. If it was a First Second release it would have had a big audience. This pair went on to work on shows like Gravity Falls and even created their own Nickelodeon show called Big City Greens. They ended up sort of being too big for comics, and the talent shows here.

Wild Card: Kagan McLeod’s Infinite Kung Fu, a very fun, incredibly drawn Top Shelf release.

Wild Card: Farel Dalrymple’s The Wrenchies, a truly exceptional indie analogue to the X-Men that features beautiful production by First Second.

“AUGH!” or “ARGH!”? – Mark Tweedale

I am 100% an “ARGH!” guy. “AUGH!” is more of a Howard the Duck adjacent sound for me. ARGH! is just A+ classic comics for me.

Who’s your favorite Mignolaverse character? – Rasmus Lykke

For consistency’s sake, I’m going to say Varvara, a character I repped for throughout my time writing in the Mignolaversity column at Multiversity Comics, and a character I argue I was proven right about eventually!

The real answer though is Ashley Strode, exorcist. Not in nearly as many comics as others were, but every time Ashley showed up, she was an absolute boss. I rep hard for Ashley Strode.

If Bosco’s were to close forever due to the pandemic, what do you think you would do? Would you mail order your comics, move to digital, become trade-only? – Adam Bogert

I thought about this a lot, and I think the answer would be trade paperbacks and Marvel Unlimited, with a little single issue digital mixed in. There’s a zero percent chance I would mail order comics. I don’t know why that is, but my brain just does not jive with that idea. It’s funny how that works. The dominant way I read currently would be the one that disappears, and I say that with honestly a high level of confidence that this is how I would act. Weird, right?

How will more big name creators hopping on crowd-funding change things?

So, let’s first address the question that’s asked. I think this makes it easier for creators to do what they want and tell the stories that are for them, and not just via Kickstarter. If you have a successful Kickstarter, there’s no reason you can’t still publish your comic through someone. In a lot of ways, Kickstarter acts as a page rate for creator-owned efforts, so this gives creators the chance to a) earn money for the work up front and b) show publishers that, “hey, people actually really like this idea!” I don’t see a ton of downside, as someone like Ngozi Ukazu or Gabriel Picolo has a different audience than a Jeff Lemire or a Todd McFarlane. Customer budgets aren’t going to get eaten up by this trend, as overlap is limited.

That said, I believe the idea that more big name creators are jumping on crowd-funding is a bit overstated. I saw a tweet this week commenting on how interesting it is that McFarlane, Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Jim Starlin went the Kickstarter route, but Kindt is veteran of the platform so he probably convinced Lemire, Starlin’s done it before, and McFarlane is a smart businessman so he likely thought Kickstarter was an excellent way to guarantee success and build excitement. I wouldn’t necessarily say we’ve seen anything above and beyond what we would have seen otherwise during this time, but maybe I’m wrong.

I still think DIY or publisher-driven digital comics is the trend we see that comes from this, as it’s lower overhead and less difficult to produce. But again, I could be wrong. Speaking of…

What possible directions do you imagine the industry will/could move post COVID, like in a ‘Sliding Doors’ type situation – Declan Shalvey

Declan’s question is so good and so sprawling that I’m going to write about it in a larger piece later on. I’m sorry Declan! It deserves more than just my random tappity taps here because it’s such a deliciously large hypothetical!

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