A LIfe Lived in Comics Day 6: No Lunch! No Lunch!


Seems like all my projects are finishing or beginning. I’m in the middle of a few things, but not as many as are either ramping up or winding down. As such it’s been among the quieter weeks I’ve had in a while, though still busy with research and planning.

There’s still a lot of the regular stuff going on—today involved looking over a book that’s at the printer (The Guild vol. 2) and some about to go the printer (collections of our Dragon Age and Prototype II digital series), proofing the lettering for Conan the Barbarian #5 that came in from Comicraft overnight, finalizing the designs for Archie Archives vol. 6 (in which I controversially—within the office at least—changed up a few of the design elements that have been identical over the last five volumes, to keep them in line with the changing art style within the book. My thinking is that we’ll change them every five volumes, but most of it is subtle enough that I don’t expect readers to notice too much), and putting in some workorders to get solicitation covers made for a pair of upcoming archives. You may notice in Previews that Dark Horse comics run with just the cover art, but that our books have logos and other design elements. This is true of many other publishers, too. So the covers are the first things designed, as they need to be ready a few months before the catalog is released. More on solicitation tomorrow.

In other developments, Dave Marshall (who skims the blog for mentions of his name—hi, Dave!) is back from business, so we have our Thursday morning production meeting, a short but encouraging one, as we’re able to cross off a surprising number of deadlines on both his list and mine. Afterward we spend some time catching up on developments while he was gone—one book came down to the wire for getting finalized, but it was mostly uneventful—and split up tasks for the day. On the Creepy front, a script comes in, as well as pencil pages for one story and inks for another. I compile all the material we have for the new feature we’re debuting next issue, and send it on to the newly hired artist who gets to make sense of it all.

Tarzan is increasingly the theme of my life, so I spend a lot of time with that today, meeting briefly with Mike Richardson about the format of one of the projects I’m developing, and we nailed down the plan so that it can go to the print buyers and accountants for budgeting. I also put in a request with assistant editor Jemiah Jefferson to purchase a few Tarzan comics for a potential project. Each assistant has, in addition to the books they work on, a specialty within the office that has been assigned to them, and Jemiah is in charge of backlists (a large and very involved responsibility, as I learned when I filled in for her recently while she was out of the office for a couple months) and buying comics for archival projects on eBay and other sources. Previous assistant specialties I’ve held have been curating the editorial library—which with a few gaps holds two copies of every DH comic and one copy of every DH book—and submissions editor, and my current role is spearheading our Eisner submissions, a responsibility I’ve held the last two years (a publisher can submit up to five books in each category, and I coordinate the program of voting and tallying that creates our list).

The planning stage of the Tarzan books will be done soon and everything will go before the higher-ups to determine which we should publish and for what cost, so now it’s just waiting to hear back from our production department and a few other publishers whether digital files or film or neither exist for a few books, then we get to get started. It’s slightly repetitive to look at so many Tarzan comics, as before long you’ve skimmed four or five adaptations of the same stories, but it is educational, seeing how different generations of artists across different publishers and formats tackled the exact same source material and produced work that is easily identifiable as within the eras and house styles that produced them. I expect to have learned a lot about several different eras and artists by the time this is done. Published by Dell, Charlton, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Dynamite, not to mention newspaper strips, is Tarzan maybe the most widely and diversely published character is American comics?

All of this is to say that, while the stage of projects I’m at produces a bit less tangible work product than I’d like, I’ve nonetheless been glued to my desk. Tomorrow when I’m writing lots of solicitation copy I’ll no doubt be up and about frequently, as traveling the circuit around the editorial office seems to help shake loose the selling points, taglines, and turns of phrase that make up a Previews entry, but today the things I was working on largely required that my nose be in old comics, the Overstreet Price Guide, or old-timey comics websites. I ended up far enough down the rabbit hole that forgot to eat, and found myself, like a schizophrenic in a Frank Miller comic, shouting, “No lunch!” at people (I feel like there are more, but off the top of my head, at least Batman: Year One and Give Me Liberty display this calling card. Maybe Ronin?). By the end of the day I was likely an insane, whimpering version of myself, but this is entirely the fault of a person who can’t even manage to feed himself. Fortunately I’d already made food for tomorrow before I sat down to type.

Tomorrow: Previews isn’t going to write itself! Hopefully it’s a bit more eventful than today, or I’ll have to pull out a reserve topic. Unless the Friday nightness of it all causes me to miss a day. I’ll try.

Why’m I doing this, again?


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