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Year Ender 2004: The Publishers - Part II

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We conclude our Year Ender 2004 feature with a look at what Moonstone's Joe Gentile, Top Cow's Jim McLaughlin and Arcana's Sean O' Reilly thought of the past year and what is coming up from each of them in 2005...

 

JIM MCLAUGHLIN - TOP COW

BF: What were the goals Top Cow had set for 2004? Have they been achieved?

JM: Get more and better writers; eat more pie. So yes, and yes.

BF: What were some of the highlights of the past year for Top Cow overall?

JM: Personally, I LOVED Common Grounds. It's also VERY nice to fininsh the magnum opus that is Rising Stars. I'm also giddily proud that we now have three of my favorite writers working with us: David Lapham, Ron Marz and Mark Waid, with a fourth coming in 2005.

BF: Is Top Cow satisfied with its 2004 sale figures?

JM: You always want more. Always, always, always, always, always! But overall, yeah. I think we're also building a base we'll be able to expand on in 2005.

BF: What are some of the areas Top Cow is looking to improve in?

JM: Scheduling, proofing, yet more expansion of the talent base, and eating more pie.

BF: In your opinion, which was the best project Top Cow put on the stands in 2004?

JM: STRICTLY personal opinion: Common Grounds. I'm also massively happy with the current David Lapham run on The Darkness.

BF: Which was the most underrated project published by Top Cow?

JM: Am I a broken record? Common Grounds.

BF: Which of Top Cow’s creators (new or old) delivered the best goods this past year?

JM: I’d say everyone should pay attention to the name "Tyler Kirkham."

BF: In your opinion, which was the best book put out by a publisher other than yours?

JM: In no particular order, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Strangers in paradise and Stray Bullets.

BF: What can fans look forward to from Top Cow next year?

JM: That ever-expanding talent base. At least FIVE all-new books. Another one of my four favorite writers. And eating more pie.


JOE GENTILE - MOONSTONE BOOKS

BF: What were the goals Moonstone had set for 2004? Have they been achieved?

JG: Our goal was to be seen by more readers and retailers, and to continue to publish high quality books with more “story content” than other publishers.
On all fronts, we did well.

BF: What were some of the highlights of the past year for Moonstone overall?

JG: Signing Chuck Dixon certainly ranks up there, as well as Chaz Truog, Dave Dorman, and Mike Kaluta.

BF: Is Moonstone satisfied with its 2004 sale figures?

JG: What publisher is?

BF: What are some of the areas Moonstone is looking to improve in?

JG: Still trying to make our books even more of a high production purchase.

BF: In your opinion, which was the best project Moonstone put on the stands in 2004?

JG: Oh, they are all our children, so I can’t really answer that question.

BF: Which was the most underrated project published by Moonstone?

JG: Hands down, I would say “Blackshirt”, which is a 96pg GN by Adi (JLA: Age of Wonder) Tantimedh and a non-stop thrill ride.

BF: Which of Moonstone’s creators (new or old) delivered the best goods this past year?

JG: Oh, that is another dangerous question that is too difficult to answer…

BF: What can fans look forward to from Moonstone next year?

JG: BIG things: a Kolchak/Holmes crossover color mini series, a never before seen adventure of “Buckaroo Banzai”, “Grave Grrrls”, a sexy color horror romp, a prose anthology of Kolchak short stories by horror, crime, and comic authors. Also, more western action with “Wyatt Earp” (Chuck Dixon), “Geronimo” (Chaz Truog), “Cisco Kid”, and “Belle Starr” (Mark Ricketts) and great thrillers in “Revisionary” (Paul D. Storrie/ Eric J.), “Mummy” (Justin Gray), “Creature” (Mike Baron), “Lai Wan” (CJ Henderson), “Cleopatra” (CJ Henderson), “Genghis Khan” (Tom DeFalco/Don Hudson), “Pat Novak for Hire” (Steven Grant/Tom Mandrake). And that’s not all!


SEAN O' REILLY - ARCANA STUDIO

BF: What were the goals Arcana had for 2004? Have they been achieved?

SR: Our goal was to produce quality books on our bi-monthly schedule, to get recognized and to be able to make enough money to keep pursing our dreams.  We have definitely achieved all of our goals for 2004.

BF: What were some of the highlights of the past year for Arcana overall?

SR: SDCC was fantastic!  It was great to have lineups, meet our readers, work with Greg Horn.  That was all really cool.  It was also great completing the first Ant, Kade and Ezra arcs and seeing them each collected in a trade paperback!  I’m really proud of Kade as it’s something that I’ve been working towards for so long.

BF: Is Arcana satisfied with its 2004 sale figures?

SR: Overall yes.  The one that we know can be higher though is 100 Girls and we feel this is a legitimate book to break the top 200 (currently we’re in the top 250).  100 Girls has already won five awards and is gaining readership, but sometimes it’s tough for a new book to find its audience.  We’re doing some massive marketing for 100 Girls coming up and we are hoping to see the numbers the book deserves - especially after the trade where 100 Girls will be monthly!

BF: What are some of the areas Arcana is looking to improve in?

SR: We are working more and more behind the scenes producing projects and then soliciting them. Basically do three or four issues of an arc and then begin the marketing process.  It’s been tough to try and keep up with deadlines while looking to the future as well.  We want to take more time with producing a book and not having to turn it around in 24 hours because of a deadline. 

BF: In your opinion, which was the best project Arcana put on the stands in 2004?

SR: Tough question...it’s like asking a mother to figure out which sibling she loves the best.  Each project has shined in its own light so I would like to go through them individually.
Ant was a crazy phenomenon that created a tonne of buzz for us and the results can be seen on eBay as issue #1 has been seen for over $150!  I was one of the first to fall in love with Hanna and I know she is destined for great things. 
Ezra is still our best-selling title to date and that is a great feeling because it is such a fun book.  When critics compare Ezra to Peter Parker or Drew Barrymore... well we know we’ve done something right. 
Kade has been a personal project of mine and the fans we have are FANtastic.  I’ve received over 400 artists’ drawings of Kade and have every single one in a binder.  The new introduction for the trade and new direction we are taking Kade is really going to be off the chart in 2005.  
100 Girls has probably been the best received by critics and has quickly won awards in Wizard, CBD and other highly regarded institutions.  This is also only the first chapter in Sylvia’s life...and we have BIG plans for her. 
Starkweather gained us instant buzz with regards to transferring the property to different mediums.  Dave Rodriguez’ success in the video game industry instantly made this project a topic of discussion as a live action feature.  Currently we are talking with three studios and we know that this story amazing in any medium!

BF: Which was the most underrated project published by Arcana?

SR: I would have to say either 100 Girls (as mentioned) or Kade.  The first two issues of Kade were average and we, as a company, were really learning our trade.  I learned a lot and we got a brand new team on the third book that has done amazing work.  Sales and reorders have spiked up since then and with Ramos on the trade, as well as the fact that we COMPLETELY redid issue 1 and 2 telling the complete origin of Kade for the trade, it will look amazing as a completed package.  We know people will love what we produced as an end result.

BF: Which was the best book put out by a publisher other than yours?

SR: I would have to say Feather by Image.  I really loved that book thanks to its style and beautiful work.  We are really hoping that Steve Uy and Arcana can work together on upcoming projects.  You have to give credit to Dead @17 from Viper as well.  Great work!

BF: Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005? What will make you successful in 2005?

SR: I’ve learned A LOT this year and the trend in comics is everyone going from comics to movies.  From what I’ve seen, every comic book company has an agent and is talking with ‘Hollywood’ trying to land the next big deal.  I’ve always wanted to be grounded and realistic about these types of things.  I’m not one to ever count my chickens before they are hatched.  I’ve realized how much work and effort goes into making a comic and at the end of the day if you don’t love it this will be a short ride.  But it’s important to have a touchstone so you realize what’s important and what isn’t.  Our touchstone has been to have some fun and to tell stories about amazing people and places.  We want to produce books that we can be proud of many years from now.  As long as we’ve done that, we’ve been successful.

- Frederik Hautain

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