Comic Wire

Mon, July 2nd, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

JOSS WHEDON BITTEN BY THE COMIC CREATING BUG WITH 'FRAY'

[Fray #3, Page 20]
Fray #3, Page 20
If you're Dark Horse Comics and it turns out that Joss Whedon, creator of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" television series -- which has done quite well for you as a licensed comics franchise, incidentally -- says he wants to do a comic about a vampire-slaying girl, you let him. And, having done so, it turns out to be a pretty good decision.

"It's been tremendous, really," series editor Scott Allie told the Comic Wire on Friday. "We got more free publicity for this than anything we've done since I've been here. The magazines have been all over us. It's been great. When the book came out, I was instantly deluged with fan mail, and the thing sold out that weekend. We're going back to print on issue one, and I think this is the first time we've done a second printing of a comic since I've been here. The one other time may have been 'Buffy' #1, but I think that was some special printing. I'm not sure. Anyway, we're very excited about this book. It's opening a lot of doors, and retailers are telling us they have people coming in looking for it who've never been in a comics store before."

Some of the publicity for the book has seemed strangely circumspect about describing "Fray" as a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" tie-in, given that it's by the creator of "Buffy" and features, well, a vampire slayer girl. Allie clarified the situation, after a fashion.

[Fray #3, Page 21]
Fray #3, Page 21
"It depends on what you mean by tie-in. It's definitely the same universe, definitely connected. There is a subtle reference to Buffy in issue three. And it is all the same mythology. But we didn't want the Buffy logo on it, we didn't want to try to sell it as a Buffy book. It's a Joss Whedon book, and that seems to be selling it quite nicely."

And while Whedon is clearly a fan of comic books -- it's hard to miss the comic book references in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" television shows -- "Fray" is his first time at bat as a comic creator himself. But you can consider Whedon bitten by the bug, though, and if readers want another "Fray" series, that's certainly possible.

"There's definitely chance of another one after these eight issues. We've talked about how to do it, what we'd do, but with four issues left to write, plus the Angel series to wrap up, we're trying not to get ahead of ourselves. We've also talked about a few other projects, a few other things we want to do which might precede another Fray series. She is popping up, though, in this fall's 'Tales of the Slayer' book."

MARVEL CANCELS 'MARVEL KNIGHTS' (THE COMIC)

DIXON NOT AMUSED

[Chuck Dixon]
Chuck Dixon
There have been a lot of changes since former Marvel Knights line editor Joe Quesada became the editor in chief of Marvel Comics last fall.

One of those is the cancellation of "Marvel Knights," the comic, not the line, which features second and third-tier characters of the type reinvigorated by the Marvel Knights line in recent years.

While not a break-out hit for the company, the title had been performing reasonably well, something that sticks in the craw of series writer Chuck Dixon.

"All I can say is that Marvel Knights is getting cancelled while other books that sell less were not," Dixon told the Comic Wire on Thursday. "You do the math. Or, as Marvel seems to have done, DON'T do the math. I guess I shift into the 'curmudgeon' phase of my life with that statement."

Dixon took Marvel -- and specifically Quesada -- to task at length on his Web site, responding a comment by Quesada online that the old guard of comic creators (like Dixon) should be aware of when their time has passed and that Marvel would now be looking to the newer faces.

"What disturbs me (as the oldest pro to attend WizardWorld Chicago who can still get a sandwich at the hospitality suite) is what this means to comics as a whole. Sure, many are poo-pooing Joe's statements. But dumb ideas like this have a way of catching on in comics. Like manga. Or listening to Gareb Shamus."

PEACE IN OUR TIME:

SCOTT MCCLOUD, 'PENNY ARCADE' MAKE NICE

Note: Adult language in the following story.

As reported in the last two Comic Wires, comics creator and theorist Scott McCloud was taken to task in June by the creators of online comic strip "Penny Arcade" for his enthusiasm for not-ready-for-prime-time payment methods to support Web comics.

McCloud responded, and then the warring parties got on the phone and discussed things.

"Penny Arcade" writer Tycho posted his take on the conversation, saying essentially that the two talked over their differences and found them not nearly as large as first imagined.

"I must say, his willingness to employ the word 'Fuck' told me right off that this was a man I could trust. Reader response to Friday's thingy was profoundly, powerfully negative (which Scott even apologized for - can you believe that?), but it's important to note that there was considerable support to be had from many Web comic authors -- authors I can guarantee you read. If I had it to do over again, I would have let the strip speak for itself -- and then switched quickly to something innocuous, like wool. There is more than a reasonable chance that my news approach will be much softened, at least in the short term. Your responses were deft and had the weight of punishment, and I feel as though I have been taught a valuable lesson by a bloom of aluminum baseball bats. At the root of it, I misjudged the man. For his part, he says that he has not made himself as aware as he should of the way online comics are progressing -- and the ways they are endeavoring to support themselves. I wish I'd recorded it, I said some really funny stuff."

COMICS AND BRIEFS

Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief:

  • Top Cow announces new Variant Cover policy, stop to price gouging

  • Wanna land a job at Marvel Comics? Here's how.

  • Top Shelf Productions solicitations for product shipping October, 2001

  • Bongo Comics Solicitations for product shipping October, 2001

And last time in the Comic Wire:

  • Kyle Baker Does It Old Testament Style: "King David" Preview

  • Simone and Hernandez Kill Online, Simone Plays "Night Nurse"

  • Scott McCloud Responds to "Penny Arcade"

  • A Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition: Mike Brennan of "Electric Girl"

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