As I walked in the panel was already under way. The future of Moriarty was announced by writer Daniel Corey with a trailer. Corey then declared it was being made into a musical. Composer Raymond Schnurr is collaborating with Corey on this. Corey will be writing the lyrics with Schnurr. Production is set for summer. This is the First Image book to be musical.
Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, was next to speak. He described Skullkickers as lowbrow high fantasy. A poster of the world of Skullkickers hit the screen. Zub announced he was working with a Professional Cartographer/Illustrator Mike Schley. Lots of jokes such as a place called “I saw a dragon and soiled myself.” covered the map. It will be making its way along the convention circuit and with no plans for a wide release. Also announced was a Treasure Troves hardcover, which collects the first two tpbs. Zub went into the future of the comic by talking about issues 14 & 15. The story features the origin of the gun. A picture of a kitty goes on the screen in place of a spoiler for issue 15. The kitty is darn cute. Issue 18 comes out in August for another Tavern Tales issue. The team behind Luther Strode team is coming on for a short story, as well as the Chew creative team. Jim Zub also announced a tavern tales fan submitted story for issue 18. http://skullkickers.com/contest/ is where to find the details. July will see the release of a Skillkickers edition of the Munchkin cardgame. An “I want you to draw me!” poster comes up with their main character acting like Uncle Sam.
Witch Doctor: Malpractice was brought up by writer Brandon Seifert. He said it’s not on the schedule because they want to have enough issues in the can to be on time.
Kurtis Wiebe began to speak about about Peter Panzerfaust. For those who missed number one, a second print comes out same day as number two. Wiebe told the audience that he has a rough 30 issues plan for the series.
Blair Butler stood up from the audience to an applause from the entire panel. Embarrassed, she apologized saying she wasn’t trying to be douchy. She made up for “douchyness” by asking a poignant question about how all the creators do marketing. Little Depressed Boy writer, S. Steven Struble, talked about how he tried to trend on twitter. His trending involved a twitter contest and a prize t-shirt. Struble said it was about trying to guess what job Lil Depressed Boy gets and everyone guessed right. The winner was the most interesting.
Joe Keatinge went into how he worked at Image’s marketing. He points out that writers are their brand. When you think of Pax Romana you think Jonathan Hickman. He referenced Warren Ellis: Captured Ghost which illustrated how you need to figure out how you want to present yourself to world. Keatinge stated “You will eat shit for 10 years until you get ‘good’. We live in the golden age of marketing and it’s never been easier. Go into marketing and not marketing in just comics. I looked into local affiliate advertising during Adult Swim between 12-2 and it’s only 25-30$.”
Wiebe said his approach was being as accessible as possible to the fan base. He said he tries to respond to everyone on twitter and e-mails. Then he talked about his podcast called ‘The Process’ and how it covers getting the word out about his comics.
Jim Zub told the audience he is all about keeping an eye on Skullkickers via twitter and how tweet deck looks at a search word. He said he also keeps in touch with retailers. Zub also talked about putting Skullkickers online as a page a day and hopefully that will get people reading. He pointed out that he had over 500,000 views online and hopefully that will result in sales from people who don’t want to wait.
Joe Keatinge chimed in again he keeps in touch with retailers individually and just e-mailing the people seeing their needs. Comicspro.org has all the retailer info for the country and he uses it for his marketing work.
The panel beings to trail off the question by talking about how the flood of creator-owned material means they’re all competing with every comic ever made. The sheer amount of books that comes out each week makes it tough for one to stand out.
Witch Doctor writer, Brandon Siefert said he markets more to retailers more than fans because he can market to fans all day long but if retailers don’t know they can’t order it. He said they did a bunch of marketing to retailers thanks to Skybound and Image. That helped make Witch Doctor #1 the fifth bestselling book the month it came out behind Walking Dead, Invincible, Spawn, and Haunt.
It was brought up among the panel that Image also encourages writers to call retailers on anything other than Wednesday. Jim Zub said that signings create ground swellings in certain areas which will be continued support. Siefert mentioned his career sprang from pushing a short story of Witch Doctor with artist Lukas Ketner. It was posted it on the Warren Ellis’ forum until they got his attention. Ellis’ attention was totaled at “Nice.” Siefert got Ellis’ permission to use it and proceeded to quote him on their next story. One phrase Siefert repeated was “If you build it, publicize it, and it’s awesome! Then they will come.” Daniel Corey joked about how he was creating a musical to help promote the comic was fast and easy and the way to go.
Jim Zub stated that getting your book into high school libraries or libraries in general that you were making a huge outreach. He talked about how you had to reach out to them because their list of books is so long. The constant traffic of the library was brought up and how they would have to re-order after the spine broke down, or readers would go try to find the next volume on their own.
A woman in the audience asked about self-publishing vs. going through Image. The consensus on the panel was that if you’ve published then that is showing everyone that you can do it. The panelists then tossed around the idea that self-publishing, is a demo tape that you can get around. If it looks like a comic to you then it’s a comic to others. With that idea dropped into the laps of the audience members, we were thanked for attending. People filed out peacefully and then the room exploded…or maybe we just all left to other parts of the show floor.