Well, that didn’t take long. It turns out that Image will be the publisher of Mark Millar’s “Netflix Comics” imprint instead of Dark Horse. I read that the main concern with having Image act as a publisher for the imprint was that the work-for-hire nature of some of Millar’s projects would clash with the company’s reputation as a creator-first place. Of course, this argument ignores the fact that Image continues to publish plenty of work-for-hire titles from their Top Cow and Extreme imprints, along with “Spawn” whenever Todd McFarlane takes one of his periodic breaks from writing it. This is still seen as a temporary measure until Netflix can get its own publishing operation set up. We’ll see how that goes since the streaming giant’s focus has always been on, well, streaming so one has to wonder just how much they’re going to invest in an actual comics publishing operation. They may see it as better to just let Image keep handling things.
Who’s going to be the Next Big Thing over at Marvel? Right now, all signs point to it being Donny Cates. After generating a lot of heat with his creator-owned projects “God Country” and “Redneck” (at Image) and “Babyteeth” (at Aftershock) Marvel succeeded in getting him to work for them before DC could. Their investment has been rewarded so far with acclaimed and good-selling runs on “Thanos” and “Doctor Strange.” Now he’s the writer of the new “Venom” title from these solicitations along with a project based on the Cosmic Ghost Rider he introduced in “Thanos” (and whose identity was recently spoiled for me, grrrrrrrrrrr…). Cates also has a secret team book lined up at Marvel that some are speculating to be a relaunched “Fantastic Four” now that the Disney/Fox merger is set to bring the media rights to that series back under the company’s umbrella. I’m not so sure about that because I’m sure EVERYONE at Marvel is jumping at the chance to write “Fantastic Four” again once the green light is given.
The only catch here is that, in spite of the success he’s had on the two titles, Cates will be leaving “Thanos” and “Doctor Strange” soon. “Thanos” is missing from this month’s solicitations and Mark Waid will be re-launching “Doctor Strange” (IN SPACE!) a few months from now. I get that Marvel wants to put the writer on high-profile stuff that’s sure to sell, but it seems like a mistake to interrupt runs on titles that were going really well by all accounts.
So it looks like I might have to change the name of this column when it comes to talking about the monthly solicitations from Previews for DC, and Marvel. Both companies have announced that they’re leaving the Previews catalogue and will be publishing their own monthly preview magazines. They’re both large enough that they can get away with it, particularly since comic shops are so dependent on their product that they’re going to have to order these two new magazines so they can stay in business.
While they may be losing their biggest suppliers for the magazine, there is a silver lining for Previews here (at least as far as I’m concerned). The magazine will now be featuring a new section for manga that, in addition to spotlighting new releases, will feature essential backlist selections/suggestions and interviews with notable creators. I’m in favor of anything that will broaden the appeal (and sales) of manga so I hope this section becomes a permanent fixture in this new version of Previews.