As each day we get a little closer to the New York Comic-Con, I’m filled with excitement and trepidation. We didn’t exhibit there last year, and after hearing all the horror stories about the overcrowding, it was kind of a blessing we didn’t. But the mess in ’06 just proves how we’ve finally, finally got a great NY convention to go to, and that’s wonderful news for the industry. The fact they they’ve already rented the entire Jacob Javits Center for next year does have me concerned that we may get a repeat of the crowding difficulties this year, but I guess it beats the alternative of a mostly empty exhibit hall! So TwoMorrows will be there in force on February 23 at booth 975. Look for Draw’s Mike Manley, Write Now’s Danny Fingeroth, Alter Ego’s Roy Thomas, Rough Stuff’s Bob McLeod, plus me, publisher John Morrow, all crammed into our double-booth, pressing the flesh with anyone who can squeeze through and find us! We’re also donating a small portion of our booth space for the Jack Kirby Museum (www.kirbymuseum.org in case you aren’t aware of it), so look for Museum president Rand Hoppe to be on hand to sign you up for membership.
Okay, I don’t know who the joker is out there, but here at Casa Dos Morrows, we’ve been getting an awful lot of mail addressed to one “Stan Kirby”. Several have him listed as an MD. Others are offers for everything from credit cards to timeshares. A recent really nice one came from Lamborghini, for a car I didn’t even know existed (I’m more of a Honda kinda guy, but being in advertising, I could at least appreciate the work that went into the elaborate mailing piece). So whoever went to the Amalgam Universe and filled out the paperwork, your efforts have been rewarded by stuffing our mailbox full of junk mail for a guy who doesn’t exist. Nice work. (But man, if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had ever merged into one, imagine the ramifications for comics. Although if they’d been born as conjoined twins, they’d have probably killed each other.)
A few issues ago, Wizard Magazine ran a full-page feature called “Body Count”, listing all the characters who died in 2006 in the “Civil War” and “Infinite Crisis” series from DC and Marvel. They even listed the gruesome details of each character’s demise. And we wonder why kids aren’t reading comics anymore?
Yeah, I’m risking sounding like an old fart, but who’s reading this stuff? (Not Wizard, but the Big Two’s annual events; although I wonder about Wizard‘s audience sometimes too…) In my day, in between walking 12 miles to school, barefoot through the snow, with no TV or indoor plumbing, I actually enjoyed reading about the lives of my heroes, not their deaths. The occasional offing of a character was an event, and it really meant something to me emotionally. Looking at that list, I’m glad I didn’t pick up either of those series; I mean, how depressing to know the companies are croaking these characters en masse, just cause it’s time for their annual free-for-all to outdo the other. Really, what’s the point of killing the Trigger Twins, who may still have a couple dozen fans (assuming these are the same ones I remember from my childhood)? It just ticks off those fans who have fond memories of them. Wouldn’t it be more fun to try to revamp them for a series that might draw in some new readers? Just a thought. Of course, I still miss Earth-2, and Earth-S, and Earth-X, and Earth-whatever-Julie-felt-like-this-month, so what do I know?
Yep, the ol’ 20th anniversary dinner went off without a hitch. Pam hounded me all day Saturday to tell where I was taking her, but I didn’t crack. I did sneak out mid-afternoon to drop her anniversary ring off at the Fujisan Japanese Steak House, in the custody of Ping, the general manager. He couldn’t have been nicer about it, refusing the tip I offered, and telling me I didn’t look old enough to have been married 20 years (maybe he meant I didn’t seem mature enough…). Unbeknownst to me, they even added a nice ribbon and bow to the jewelry box, and while the chef was chopping off shrimp tails and tossing them into his hat, he reached in, pulled out the box, and handed it to my quite surprised better half. Ping did tell her later that she should settle for nothing less than 4 karats next time, but hey, comics mags don’t sell that well…
Great eats there, by the way. If you’re ever in Raleigh, stop by!
I’ve been asked by the fine folks who’re putting on the New York Comicon (http://www.nycomiccon.com) to host the 1960s Marvel Bullpen Panel, featuring Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, and Marie Severin. After pausing 8 seconds to pick myself off the floor, I immediately said “Yes”, before they could come to their senses and pick someone more knowledgeable or photogenic. Now the fun part; what questions can we ask these fine panelists that they haven’t been asked a million times before? Send your suggestions via email to email@example.com and I’ll use the best of them during the panel, which we’ll likely run in the pages of an upcoming issue of ALTER EGO magazine. You know the routine; all questions become the property of TwoMorrows Publishing, so don’t, like, try to sue us if we use yours or something. But we will try to credit you if at all possible when we print it, so you’ll get rich and famous from the exposure. Or not.
The NY Con is Feb. 23-25, by the way, and TwoMorrows will be at booth 975. If you can squeeze through the throng of people certain to be crammed into the Jacob Javits Center, stop by and buy something!
My wife Pam puts up with a lot. (As do other wives of comics fans, but let them get their own blogs.) Since 1994, she’s learned more about Jack Kirby and comic books than any woman other than Roz Kirby should have to. She’s followed me to countless conventions, and sat there patiently answering questions from fans who assume she’s as big a comics geek as I am (she’s not, folks). Which is not to say we haven’t had a lot of fun together doing the publishing thing, but most of it tends to come when we hang out with comics friends and DON’T do anything comics-related. Anyway, January 16th was our 20th wedding anniversary (and the 17th anniversary of opening our advertising agency, and Pam’s parents’ gazillionth wedding anniversary, and what would’ve been her godmother’s 119th birthday if she were still around; she lived to be 102). But having little kids and busy schedules, we put off the actual celebration until tomorrow night, when our sis-in-law’s in town to watch the young ‘uns. I’ll be taking her to a really great Japanese steakhouse for din-din, where I’ve arranged it so the chef’ll be tossing her a particularly blingy surprise in-between chunks of tempura vegetables and hibatchi chicken. I’ll let you know how it goes (thankfully, she doesn’t read blogs, not even her old man’s, so the surprise will be kept, as long as none of you spoil it). But believe me, anyone who’ll stay married to me for 20 years deserves all our praise. So next time you see her sitting behind the table at a TwoMorrows convention booth, stop over and tell her how much you appreciate her letting me spend so much time away from her, and with all of you out there.
In addition to those previews on Newsarama, you can search through entire TwoMorrows books at Google Book Search (http://books.google.com/). On our site (www.twomorrows.com), we’ve got links to the searchable Google links on each book’s description page. Once there, you can enter a word(s) (for instance, “Jack Kirby”), and it’ll pop up a list of every page where it appears (even if it’s in the credits box of a splash page, or in a word balloon)! There’s a limited number of pages you can view for free, but it’ll give you a great idea what a book is like, and let you do limited research. There’s links so you can buy the book at our site or on Amazon.com, and coming soon, you’ll be able to buy electronic versions of all our books at a reduced price. Ain’t technology great!
If you don’t regularly hit the Newsarama website (http://www.newsarama.com/), you’ve got one more reason to try. In addition to being arguably the top comics news site on the web, we’re now posting previews of each of our new books and mags there, usually a couple of weeks before they hit stores. So toddle by and check ’em out. (Since there’s so much comics news there, our previews work their way from the top of the list as new items get added, so we’re also adding direct links to those previews on our own site at www.twomorrows.com, so check our description pages for our new items to find a link that’ll take you right to them.)
Our 2007 Preview Catalog (listing a ton of new items we’ll be publishing, along with all our in-print older stuff) is at the printer now, and will be available FREE around January 30. Just log-in at www.twomorrows.com and select “Free Catalog”, then check out, and we’ll mail this full-color puppy out as soon as they arrive! For those who can’t wait (and have high-speed internet access), there’s a roughly 6mb PDF file of it available any second now at our site. We’ve got some fun stuff planned for â€™07, so check us out!
After a bit of computer hijinx interfering, we’re finally ready to start blogging! But aren’t there enough blogs out there already? Does the world really care about my life and times? Other than my wife Pam and daughters Lily (5) and Hannah Rose (2), I pretty much doubt it. But my company, TwoMorrows Publishing? Based on my burgeoning e-mail box, that’s something people care about! Thus comes the TNT (TwoMorrows News Today) Blog, giving you all the scuttlebutt on the company that’s celebrating the art and history of comics! I’ll do my best to keep it focused on TwoMorrows’ editors, books, and magazines, along with details about what’s going on with your favorite comics writers and artistsâ€”the very people we do our publications about. So sit back, tune in regularly, and let’s have some fun!
John Morrow, publisher
10407 Bedfordtown Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27614