AICN COMICS Q&@: Russ Sheath talks to Titan's Steve White about their new creator owned imprint Titan Comics!
@’s by Titan Comics’ Steve White!!!
RUSS SHEATH (RS): Steve, Pushing into creator owned publishing is quite a move for Titan, why and why do this now?
STEVE WHITE (SW): We have made forays into the US before, with Lenore and Tank Girl. However, it has always been the long-standing wish of the company owners (Publisher Nick Landau and Executive Director, Vivian Cheung) to look at developing our own comic line and we've been watching the industry adapt and survive through the various seismic changes it's been undergoing recently, such as the digital revolution. There’s been a significant growth in the comics market recently and we felt this was the right time to launch Titan Comics.
RS: Is there an intent or interest in making this an endeavour to showcase UK talent specifically?
SW: No, that was just a case of locality and chance. Our plan is very much to look at any submission no matter where it comes from. We want to find talented creators from all over the world.
RS: How will new or less established creators factor into the imprint?
SW: You’ll see that a number of our first year titles are by new creators, who will play an important part of our publishing strategy.
RS: What is required of creators who are interested in working with Titan Comics? What are the mechanics of potentially being published?
SW: A creator recently asked me what we were looking for and I emailed back: something like a steampunk / noir / thriller / paranormal / Guillermo Del Toro / Studio Ghibli / supernatural / horror / pulp action /sci-fi-ish sort of thing. So a broad church. Some people bring in complete projects, others a rough plot, but if we like the look of it, they all go before our New Projects Meetings which we hold every fortnight or so, and are discussed by the Titan Brain's Trust. Once the project is given the seal of approval, the rest is history.
RS: How will Titan work with creators, what is Titan's role in the relationship?
SW: Creator-owned properties are a delicate proposition. You have to be part diplomat, part psychiatrist, part nightclub bouncer. We, the editors, are on hand to not just act as project managers shuffling pages. My team has a lot of editorial experience (I have a quarter of century's-worth and our publisher Nick Landau has even more) and as many of our creators are relatively inexperienced in generating comics, we like to think we'll be on hand to offer insights that will ultimately help produce a better comic - that can be anything from working to improve storytelling, figure work and colouring to suggesting better lettering fonts. Some creators take comments better than others and it can be a bit of give and take, but so far we think the ends has very much justified the means.
Our marketing team will also work closely with creators, offering full support including press, advertising, promotions, online and event marketing etc. Creators will definitely feel that there’s a team behind them marketing their titles to trade and consumers.
RS: How will Titan Comics work alongside the other publishing and retail business that Titan has?
SW: As well as using our books infrastructure to publish and market collections to U.S. bookstores through Random House, we have a strong foreign rights team that has great experience selling into different territories around the world. Our sister company Titan Merchandise specializes in collectibles, giftware and apparel and we can work with creators to produce items in these categories.
We also own Forbidden Planet - the number one entertainment/cult retail chain in the U.K. -, which gives us another outlet to market and sell our comics and collection. When a creator chooses Titan Comics as their home, they not only get a leading comic publisher, they also get the support of a merchandise company and a key retail chain.
RS: Will Mark Millar's CLint, which has published creator owned stories such as DEATH SENTENCE, factor into the venture?
SW: No, that is very much a separate venture.
RS: Thanks to Steve for his time in answering our questions.
Visit titan-comics.com for further information. And follow on Twitter @comicstitan.
You can follow Russ Sheath's blog Russwords here and @russellsheath on Twitter here.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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