Monday, May 10, 2004

The HBO of yadda yadda. 

Kevin Melrose, in his third in a series of interviews centered around Brian Wood's and Becky Cloonan's Demo, talks with publishers Larry Young and Mimi Rosenheim of AiT/PlanetLar about publishing in general and Demo in particular.

On Demo:

Q: Brian Wood said Demo was "almost impossible for me to properly describe ahead of time." What was it about the concept that made you want to publish the series?

Larry: Well, there were several factors operating, here. First, I've known Bri for a while and we've not only been able to put out some good comics together, but we're pals, too. So we've been working together for so long that we have kind of a shorthand. I don't even remember how he pitched to me, but it was probably something that just organically came out of his work with Becky Cloonan on Channel Zero: Jennie One. You know, something like, "I was thinking about working with Becky on a monthly, and address some of the subjects I like in comics. Make it look really sharp, stretch our muscles." So I think, "Monthly, 'super' powers, written by Bri, with art by Becky? Self-contained, mini-OGNs, high quality production values? I can sell the hell out of that one." So he didn't have to pitch it to me, really. I totally respect Bri and Becky as artists on top of their games, so the last hurdle was me translating all the positives to Mimi, so she could see whether or not it would make financial sense for us. I'm the crazy man, and she's pretty conservative, so whenever we agree on a project right away, it bodes well for its success. And Mimi didn't need any convincing ...

On their publishing methodology and inspiration:

Q: From a publishing standpoint, you seem to zig when everyone expects you to zag. Just when most people start associating AiT/Planet Lar with graphic novels, you put out something like Demo. Then you wade into the superhero "genre" with Planet of the Capes. Are these calculated moves to do the unexpected?

Larry: Here's the thing: I pay attention to mainstream entertainment in other media, so the things that I respond to and are interested in and influence me aren't in comics. And for Mimi, that's even more true. We just like other things as well as comics, and try to bring a sensibility of what works in other media to that of comics. That whole "HBO of comics" thing you hear about our company, most recently on the Variety comics blog, was ironically in a review about a couple of our upcoming superhero books. So there's a place for superheroes, sure, but when we do them they aren't going to be boy's adventure stories. Planet of the Capes is an allegory for the industry, and Hench is a cautionary tale. The costumes are just the detailing on a fast car, not the car itself.

All very good reads. And forget not, of course, the DEMO GIVEAWAY, wherein we give you a metric fuckton of free trade paperbacks and comics (and original art, and a t-shirt, and so on and so forth) for telling us about what superpower you'd like to have and what you'd do with it.


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