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  • Why Not Wildstorm?

    So MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE #1 has made the rounds, and we’re getting excellent reviews for issue 1, like this and this.
    Here. And here. And also here. Not to mention here or here or here. Oop, almost forgot about here and here and here. And that’s not counting podcasts. Thank you, early adopters!

    Yet, in the midst of all the high marks, I keep seeing comments and discussion as to WHY this book is being done at Wildstorm. The short answer is “because Senior Editor Ben Abernathy asked Tom and I what we would like to do.” But I don’t know how to address people who feel WS is supposed to do only post-Watchmen superhero stories. Maybe… they’d like to try other things? I think that’s it’s a question that doesn’t demand being asked- a publisher wants to expand their base beyond superheroes into other genres. Should we look a gift horse in the mouth or give it some carrots and encourage it to keep pulling?

    I guess what I want to say here is- let’s stop putting everyone in boxes and be glad something like Mysterius can find a home (that provides nice coated paper stock to show off Dave McCaig colors). And if you have a moment, maybe write Wildstorm or post on their message boards and let them know you appreciate them branching out. Or buy Ben Abernathy a pale ale.

    Making the book go back for reprint, that wouldn’t hurt either…


    Comment from tom fowler
    Time: January 26, 2009, 1:22 pm

    gee whiz. i just plum bloggafied about the same thing.

    hooray for wildstorm. boo for people who aren’t paying us right now.

    Comment from Matt M.
    Time: January 26, 2009, 2:51 pm

    Man, I just said I was *puzzled*, not that it was a *bad* thing for Wildstorm to be putting out something like MYSTERIUS. It’s actually an encouraging sign to see Wildstorm trying to grow to put out something beyond Wildstorm Universe and licensed titles (yes, they’ve done it for awhile, but usually not stuff I actually wanted to, y’know, read.)

    Getting out there to hang with you and meet Tom was great. Coming back to stomach flu from my daughter (I await the virus’ rampage through the rest of my family) kinda sucked in comparison.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 26, 2009, 3:05 pm

    My boy just came down with that yesterday, poor kid. And I had some form of it, but he slept forever and now he’s okay.

    Comment from Butch
    Time: January 26, 2009, 3:42 pm

    I like how some people can’t figure out a book entitled “Unfathomable.” :)

    Comment from David Othen discoveakes
    Time: January 26, 2009, 3:50 pm

    I was also “puzzled” that it was coming out from WS, because of late it seemed that they didn’t want to do anything more than (fail to produce) WSU tiles and F13 apocrypha. More power to them for trying, and I can only hope they do something with it.

    But as for looking a gift horse in the mouth, you should always do that before feeding them carrots. As a fan, their recent history makes me uncomfortable supporting them because I can’t be sure it will be reciprocated. I don’t want to get two issues into Mysterius only to be told that next month there will be a new reimagined Mysterius written by Grant Morrison and pencilled by Jim Lee, only to have issue one cancelled before it is ever seen.

    And as a fanboy pretending he is a professional, I would check the horse’s wallet as well. Being paid for three issues at WS is better than being paid for none at ONI (? – I mean, what, this is a Marvel book?), but I would like to know that the kill fee check wasn’t going to bounce.

    But yeah, all props to WS for getting out of their comfort zone, especially in these chaotic economic times. And if it brings even one check to Fowler, all the more.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 26, 2009, 4:00 pm

    Well, I’m pretty sure Time Warner isn’t going to try to stiff us, and Tom and I need money too much to ever not turn our work in! Good note about venturing out of the comfort zone, because that is what’s happening here. Hope you enjoy it if’n you pick up a copy (or already did).

    Comment from tom fowler
    Time: January 26, 2009, 4:11 pm

    it was nice hangin’ (as the kids say) with you too matt.

    i don’t think jeff and i are particularly irked by the “why wildstorm?”‘s, just, as you put it, puzzled. and as i’d said over at my little corner of the interweb i’m not interested in scolding anyone (especially the nice people who said such nice things about us and our book), but it’s been said sooooooo many times that it was worth clearing up the process for people. wildstorm came a-knocking and we opened the door.

    funnily enough people will often cite in the same sentence how wildstorm’s current line of “post watchmen” supes is in sharp decline without a hint of irony.

    Comment from Matt M.
    Time: January 26, 2009, 5:02 pm

    What I wouldn’t pay to have someone besides process servers knocking on my door…

    And yeah, maybe the post-Watchmen thing just doesn’t have the caché it once did, so moving on could actually…make sense. Which would be really weird for comics.

    Comment from tom fowler
    Time: January 26, 2009, 5:09 pm


    Comment from odessasteps magazine
    Time: January 26, 2009, 6:06 pm

    I guess most people don’t bother to stop and realize that Ex Machina is a wildstorm book and doesn’t fit in a category either.

    Maybe Mysterius is in the same “unbox”.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 26, 2009, 7:01 pm

    YEAH, what about Ex Machina! Oh ho ho!

    Comment from Jason McNamara
    Time: January 26, 2009, 7:55 pm

    Congratulations on the Mysterius love. I read it today, along with my copy of Agents of Atlas (thanks for the awesome sketch) and loved em both.

    Also, Fowler’s not a bad illustrator for a Canadian. Looking forward to more.

    Comment from jack marlowe
    Time: January 27, 2009, 2:13 am

    For me the answer is simple. Wildstorm changed and evolved since the times of Image and migration to DC in 1999. Existed a precedent in Homage and Cliffhanger for comic-books that wasn´t exclusive super-heroes and was in Wildstorm.

    It´s true that Wildstorm in Dc had fewer issues and ongoing series. The super-heroes line don´t have the exit standard and his Universe has changed in different strategies for up the sales (eye of storm and Armageddon). The worse was the cancelation of good series how WILDCATS 3.0 of Joe Casey (for me is best work and visionary) and anothers with good quality.

    And yes, I bought the Morrison Wildcats and Authority, never finished but i enjoyed with Welcome to Tranquility of Gail Simone and Stormwatch Phd of Chirstos Gage. A shame that was cancelled after one year of life. Now i buy Wildcats and Stormwatch, enjoying with a company that have ideas without fear to execute.

    But I digress, the fact is that Wildstorm had the signatures system that publish tittles different of super-heroes line and isn´t negative because let people choose. Also true that Wildstorm every month don´t publish a lot of issues comparing with the two bigs. Wildstorm is special and company where the authors can publish is owner creations and keep rights of propierty. For this Misteryus won´t change of writer or artist: is a owner creation.

    And yes, Mysterius could be published in Image Comics: had a big number of independents comics and owner propierty. But in Image the making off is more hard anf often delays is normal. (I buy Noble Causes, Gemini and anothers with few ocassions big delays). Wildstorm guaranteed the publication of comic-book and a good monthly (I know that also had delays and cancellations).

    For close argument say that variety is good and i like that Wildstorm have open for new ways. And buy Mysterius !!. :)

    Why the comic-book can´t arrive the same time in Europe that USA? All people rode the comic and i´m waiting. :(

    Comment from Paul Tobin
    Time: January 27, 2009, 8:54 am

    I’d really love to see Wildstorm taking even more chances with their books, and I’m glad to see that you’re helping to kick open that door. There are simply not enough avenues for the alt. superhero category (which is where I put Mysterius, and where I would have put Preacher, Hellboy, etc.) and some of the past ones (like Vertigo, Dark Horse, etc.) have too much of a tendency to “capitalize” on early success by an editorial decision that ALL further books must be in that vein. It’s like publishers say, “Well, taking chances worked, so let’s quit taking chances and just emulate our core books.”

    Anyway….rant rant. Kudos to you, Tom, and Wildstorm for being door-kickers.

    Comment from Mike Jozic
    Time: January 27, 2009, 10:40 am

    Hey, you kick enough doors and sooner or later they just get left open, right?

    Branding is so important these days that companies think either people will get confused if Book A doesn’t fit in with their regular line, or that it will completely miss its intended audience. As Jim Lee’s company he could do whatever he wanted with it, just like the companies from the other Image partners, but as a DC imprint, it never really strayed too far from its super-hero roots. In fact, am I wrong or isn’t it a part of the DC multiverse now thanks to Grant Morrison and the 52 gang?

    There is also a lingering house style to the Wildstorm books. A lot of the work that comes out of there does have a slick super-heroey look to it so that even if it isn’t a men-in-tights title, a book like Danger Girl or the other Clifhanger titles were still easily identifiable as coming from Jim’s house of ideas. Mysterius does not share that aesthetic.

    Not that it’s a problem, it just gets mentioned because it does surprise people. In a good way.

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter who publishes the thing, as long as it gets out there and people read it and everybody involved with the creation and distribution of the thing get obscenely wealthy, right?

    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 27, 2009, 10:44 am

    As usual, I like Mike’s thinking. Especially that last part.

    Comment from Mammalian Verisimilitude
    Time: January 27, 2009, 4:50 pm

    > Yet, in the midst of all the high marks, I keep seeing comments and discussion as to WHY this book is being done at Wildstorm….But I don’t know how to address people who feel WS is supposed to do only post-Watchmen superhero stories. Maybe… they’d like to try other things? I think that’s it’s a question that doesn’t demand being asked- a publisher wants to expand their base beyond superheroes into other genres.

    Because – whatever it technically is – very few people see Wildstorm as a “publisher” any more. They see an imprint of DC Comics, a division of Warner Bros, a division of Time Warner.

    In that context, asking why Wildstorm shouldn’t branch out is like asking why Ultimate Marvel shouldn’t do a Vertigo-esque series with nothing to do with superheroes. Or, inversely but perhaps more intuitively, why Vertigo shouldn’t do a bright, shiny, kid-centric Superman book.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 27, 2009, 5:08 pm

    Hey ‘Mammalian Verisimilitude’, I’ll publish your comment but you have to put a real name to it like everyone else.

    Comment from Mammalian Verisimilitude
    Time: January 27, 2009, 6:26 pm



    Comment from Parker
    Time: January 27, 2009, 7:11 pm

    Talk about meeting me half-way! Fine, I approved it, but I don’t see what the problem is with putting a whole name to your thoughts.

    I disagree, of course. Wildstorm has done other genres in the past, I don’t see them as locked into their niche as Vertigo or the Ultimate line. And even if they were, it wouldn’t be the first time a publishing group looked to see what else might work. By that reasoning, Marvel would have stayed doing monster comics and horror and never gone to putting out the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. WS is owned by Time Warner, but they have their own offices a continent apart and a different hierarchy- it’s a bit more than an imprint.

    Comment from Agent_Torpor
    Time: January 28, 2009, 10:02 am

    Frankly, it’s a great sign for WS that WS is putting out quality like “Mysterius”. Reminds me of the good ol’ days when Warren Ellis was cranking out great stuff for the imprint back in the early days of the millenium.

    Comment from JohnnyZito
    Time: January 28, 2009, 10:52 am

    In times of economic struggle we’re all going to have to open up our minds to change. All publishers should be trying to diversify as much as possible. Especially if your the size of WS.

    Comment from Leef Smith
    Time: January 29, 2009, 10:36 am

    Hey Jeff,

    Great meeting you at Isotope last week! As much a fan of your Agent of Atlas work, it was great to see what you guys are doing with Mysterius. Love it! And can’t wait to see where you take it from this initial set-up issue. I wasn’t familiar with Tom’s work before, but the art seems totally in sync with your writing. Best of luck with the title!

    Comment from Mark Bourne
    Time: January 29, 2009, 5:18 pm

    My local store sucks. They didn’t get any. :(

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    Time: February 19, 2009, 9:52 pm

    [...] Publishing | Jeff Parker, writer of Mysterious the Unfathomable at DC’s Wildstorm imprint, asks, “Why not Wildstorm?” [Parkerspace] [...]