Anything Exciting Happen Today?

James Tynion IV answers some lingering questions at the end of day one, and offers up a hearty thank you!

I want to say thank you so much… Like seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I cannot fully express how terrified I was to make this big move away from corporate comics into creator owned. I had no idea to what extent you would support me. I remember talking to Scott over the weekend, and I mentioned a number of paid subscribers that I would have been happy with at the end of the first week, but that I’d understand if I didn’t hit it. This is a platform folks aren’t used to getting comics on, and that folks might not be willing to give it a chance.

And then we cleared that goal post within three hours. And doubled it by the end of the day. I’m honestly taken aback, and amazed. Thank you all so damn much. The more sustainable this system becomes for me, the more I’ll be able to build you exciting, new comic books to read. I also wanted to thank all of you for the well wishes you’ve been sending in the comments and on social media. If you haven’t subscribed yet, it’s not too late! Just hit this button!

But, in the mix, I also saw some folks confused about a few things on twitter and in the comments section of the first post, and I just wanted to do a bit of an FAQ before the end of Day One, to clarify some things before we dig in further.

ARE YOU QUITTING NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE, SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN, WYND, or THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH?

No, I’m not. All of the above titles are owned either fully or in part by me and my co-creators, and none of them are ending any time soon. I think the most confusion is coming from some folks generalizing my announcement as “Tynion leaves DC” – but Nice House on the Lake is just getting started, and we have big plans for its future. 

I am leaving BATMAN with #117 because that was the end of the story I was writing that started with #106, and it’s coming up fast because Batman is double-ship the next few months. I’m continuing THE JOKER to the end of the yearlong story I built for it (#14 in April). And DC vs VAMPIRES, which Matt Rosenberg is writing based on my original outline for the whole maxiseries, is still launching in October, and I’ll continue looking over Matt’s shoulders as he works. Beyond that, I still have a good relationship with DC and my editors there! I’m not ruling out limited run projects and stuff in the future. It’s just not going to be my day job. 

This is a move toward making the comics I own my primary occupation, and any projects outside of that are going to depend on what works best for my creator-owned schedule. That doesn’t only go for Superhero stuff! A year ago I was in a position where if the right TV gig popped up I might have had to drop everything and give it a shot. Now I can afford to be picky and choose what projects work with my schedule and the creator owned books I want to make. And that’s only possible with all of you

WILL BLUE BOOK AND YOUR OTHER ORIGINAL SUBSTACK BOOKS BE AVAILABLE IN PRINT?

Short answer: Yes. 

Long Answer: I don’t have print deals in place for these books yet, though there are already interested parties. Part of it is me wanting to see what options will best serve me and my creative partners… But the real thing guiding this is that all of these books are books that I have been dying to create that don’t feel like they would thrive in the direct market out the gate. A non-fiction UFO comic feels like it’d be best served by a series of OGN releases when we wrap a whole big story, but in the process of writing it, if we find that it does break down into single issues easily, we might pursue that. This whole deal gives us flexibility. THE SUBSTACK DEAL HAS NO RESTRICTIONS ON PRINT PUBLISHING, AND SUBSTACK HAS NO INPUT ON WHERE WE PUBLISH THESE BOOKS IN PRINT. The decision is entirely in our hands as creators. I didn’t want to rush into any print deal that didn’t consider the needs of each of the books I’m building separately, so we can play to each book’s strength.

But Substack as a platform is where I am going to build the projects I feel would launch best on that platform. It’s also going to be the home of a lot of exclusive behind the scenes material in all sorts of formats that we’re going to play with and keep building, so if you’re not a digital comics fan, I still think there will be articles here that you’re going to enjoy reading. But even with all that said, there isn’t a single comic I’m developing that won’t end up as a print comic available on stands in comic book stores. It just might be a minute before you see them there.

The projects I feel would live best in print first are going to launch in print… I already have a few creator owned titles that I think will work best in print, and those are already lined up over the next couple of years, on top of the continuation and in some cases expansions (House of Slaughter is just the beginning) of my existing print titles.

Substack is an important leg of the stool of what I am building here at the Empire of the Tiny Onion, but it is only one leg of a stool.

DOES A PAID ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION GET ME PRINT COMIC BOOKS?

The only print comics included with a subscription are the six covers you can receive if you sign up for the Founders Tier, and the storage locker “bonus comic” you’re going to receive if you sign up for an annual subscription in the first 24 hours (which you have until 10:30AM ET Tuesday Morning to get in on!). 

Otherwise, all the comic projects will be released digitally as a part of my newsletter. A subscription might give you early access to get special covers for those projects when they DO release in print, but the annual subscription does not cover print comics beyond what I outlined above.

HOW WILL WE READ YOUR DIGITAL COMICS?

This is an exciting question. The answer is really “We’re figuring it out.” There may be more options available to us as we move forward, and I’ve been chatting with other Substack creators about how they are planning on delivering their stories to you, but right now the plan is to release my comic projects in shorter chapters, about 10 pages long, releasing biweekly. We’ll run those as ten images you scroll down through in the body of the newsletter itself. We’ll also have an option for subscribers to download a PDF copy, with a download link in the newsletter. But this is all evolving! If another creator comes up with a better way to put comic books in your inbox and it changes my thinking, I’ll go with what reads the cleanest and the best. You’ll see it all start to play out next month with the release of the first chapter of Blue Book.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR COMIC BOOK RETAILERS?

I have some big plans for comic book retailers in the next few months, that I need to keep close to my vest, but let’s just say that enamel pins were only the start of my merch operations. Retailers who have bought pins or issues of Razorblades: The Horror Magazine from me over the last year know that I’ve always prided myself in my retailer relationships, and I’m going to be making more cool stuff for you to sell. This is going to be the best place for you to find out about all of that cool stuff… But anything I offer on this newsletter will be available for retailers to order wholesale (Excluding the Founder Tier exclusive covers, which will stay exclusive to subscribers to the Founder Tier).

In addition, between Nice House, SIKTC, HOS, Wynd, DOT, and my lingering DC Superhero titles, you’re still going to have multiple print comic books from me in stores every month through next year and beyond. I actually pulled out a calendar, and I’m pretty sure there’s no month through the end of 2022 that doesn’t have at least two physical comic books in stores by me. And on top of that, I am developing more titles that will release in print first, and I am going to be leaning on all of the retailers I know and love to get the word out about those books and make them the success stories that you’ve already made my existing slate of titles.  

HOW CAN YOU WRITE ALL OF THESE BOOKS?!

Well, you see. I don’t sleep very much.

HOUSEKEEPING

Finally… I just want to give a shout out to the other incredible creators who launched Substacks today. I’ve already signed up to each of them, and so should you!

  • Saladin Ahmed launched COPPER BOTTLE, his own creator owned comic imprint!

  • Molly Knox Ostertag launched IN THE TELLING, where she’ll be serializing a brand new graphic novel!

  • Jonathan Hickman is building an entire comic book universe called 3W/3M, with the help of Mike Del Mundo, Mike Huddleston, Tini Howard, Ram V and Gerry Duggan!

  • And my good friend and mentor, Scott Snyder, is going to teach you all how to write comic books in COMIC BOOK 101! As a former student of Scott’s, I promise you don’t want to miss out!

You should check each of them out and subscribe. I’ll be continuing to give shout-outs to each new Comics Substacker as they get announced… Like I said, this is only the beginning.

Anyways. Tomorrow you’ll see your first Tiny Update… Now I just need to finish writing it!

James Tynion IV
Brooklyn, NY
8.9.21