Which Alphan joins the X-Men?

Alpha Flight illustration by the awesome Ben Towle.

A quick Alpha Flight tease before bedtime. According to Matt Fraction, “There is a very very very very good chance of an Alpha Flight character joining the team. In, say, Uncanny X-Men #508.”

That’s in response to a question about whether any Alpha Flight characters “other than Madison” will be showing up in the series. I haven’t been reading it, so Madison “Box” Jeffries’ being in it is news to me. Guess I need to hunt down some X-Men back issues at the same time I’m digging through Superman comics for that Zatanna appearance I missed.

Fishnet Fridays: Smallville Zatanna and Black Canary’s angry creator

Zatanna on Smallville

So the big news this week was that Zatanna’s going to be on Smallville and she’s going to be really, really hot. I almost care.

I’d care a lot more if Smallville hadn’t already killed my interest in its version of a character I like even more than Zatanna. I’ll be watching for stills of Serinda Swan in costume and that’ll determine whether or not I watch this show again after a couple of blissful years of skipping it.

I got cranky thinking about Smallville, so…

Here’s something to put me in a better mood.

By Cal Slayton.

More mood improvement

A couple of Black Canary sketches

By Rob Ullman.

By Victor Santos.

Carmine Infantino vs. DC Comics

Black Canary’s co-creator (along with writer Bob Kanigher) Carmine Infantino wrote a letter to DC Comics complaining – amongst other things – about not getting paid for his creation.

Concerning the lack of payment for my creation “The Black Canary”: it may be your legal right but have you no concern for the moral issue?

I’m not informed enough about the details to comment on it (except in a very general way that writers and artists ought to be fairly compensated for their work, and that “fairly” isn’t necessarily a synonym for “according to the contract”), so I’m just pointing out that the letter exists.

Writing is Hard: The Core of Advertising

Something else I need to get way more serious about learning is marketing. Our first try at Jesse James vs. Machine Gun Kelly was an example of that. Unless you read this blog or happen to love scouring the fine print in the back of the Previews catalog, you didn’t know about it. No wonder it was under-ordered. I didn’t even do everything that I know I’m supposed to do to promote a book.

I really should take some classes in marketing, but until then, I’ll keep on trying to learn from the wisdom of others. Like this post by Erica Friedman about the difficulties of advertising and promoting manga. I don’t write manga, obviously, but the concepts apply to anything you’re trying to sell.

The core of advertising is saturation. One of the tenets of advertising is that repetition is the key. The ad for XYZ car may annoy the heck out of you, when you see it on TV, hear it on radio, see it in a magazine and on billboards, but chances are, you’d recognize the car if I showed you a picture. Buying one ad won’t make a difference. A company has to buy many, many ads to establish in our thick brains that a series is out.

Saturation as the core of advertising isn’t her point at all, by the way. Her point is that even after you spend a ton of money saturating websites and print publications with your ads, no one’s actually going to pay attention to them. Depressing, but true.

The alternative, however, isn’t to not try to saturate. You still have to get the word out. How to do that effectively (both in terms of cost and results) is the hard part.

Writing is Hard: Alternatives to Print

Building on Wednesday’s post about the profitability of webcomics, I’m adding Fleen to my web-reading. I know absolutely nothing about webcomics, but I’m all kinds of intrigued now and Fleen seems to be a good place to learn more.

Take this recent post about knowing how to give your web audience what it wants:

To make a living from your website, you need a website that serves the needs of people who will give you money.

Web design, effective communication with audiences, community building … these are all skills that must be practiced and learned.

That’s sort of terrifying, but it also sounds like a fun challenge.

Another option I’d previously dismissed and am now reconsidering is Print on Demand. I’m not quite as excited about it as webcomics, but I’m at least easing up on my resistance to it, especially as a potential way to publish collections of webcomics. I think I’ll always rather have a publisher, but self-publishing is becoming more and more acceptable, even in the prose world.

I’m not completely sold on POD yet, but for my future reference, here’s an overview of the most popular comics POD houses.