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Okay, Okay, We’re Talking About It

See, I saw a couple of tweets here and there about something that looked interesting and I filed them in the “write about this” pile. Then I got an email from the PR guy at the responsible company, talking about how awesome this is. Got it, I thought, I really do want to write about this Then I got another email from one of the creators in question, also urging me to check things out. It’s a tactical PR exchange of a scale and depth that you’d normally associate with a Disney, or possible a mid-sized authoritarian regime¹.

If it weren’t all involving Jim Zub, I’d start to feel a bit put upon.

But as readers of this page know, I have great respect for Zub and his very generous nature, sharing more about how the comics business works with newbies² than anybody else I can think of. In superhero terms, he has the proportional strength and knowledge-sharing of three men.

And hey, I’d been thinking about mentioning his latest observation re: what sales looks like on creator-owned projects when he dropped a graph about the sales of the trade of his Pat Rothfuss collab on a two-IP crossoverganza, Rick & Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons. Spoiler: sometimes working in somebody else’s IP backyard means you sell a metric squatload of books.

Anyways, today Zub (and comiXology) would much like you to know about a new book, dropping today with no advance leaks or hints:

This morning, comiXology Originals announced and launched STONE STAR, my new creator-owned comic! Yup, we just pulled off a bit of a Beyoncé Drop, cutting through pre-hype and ordering hassles by making the announcement our simultaneous launch.

Anybody else, I’d say maybe they forgot or decided the promo budget was looking thin, but comiXology always has a plan, and being part of Amazon means they’ve got essentially unlimited promo resources. Zub, characteristically, shifted the attention from himself and onto his collaborators immediately. Like, before even describing the book:

Artist Max Dunbar (my phenomenal collaborator on Dungeons & Dragons: Legends Of Baldur’s Gate and the Champions in Weirdworld story), colorist Espen Grundetjern, letterer Marshall Dillon, and I have been working on this series in secret, building the characters and story while juggling our other projects, getting prepared for this surprise announcement and release.

The story? Sounds pretty cool, actually:

Stone Star is a mobile asteroid where entertainment abounds, and competition and celebrity are intertwined. Gladiators fight to find their fortune, but there are other secrets lurking beneath the surface as a new season of competition begins. It’s space-fantasy with modern-day sports entertainment that follows the story of Dail, a teenage thief pulled into the arena who has to decide where his loyalties lie.

The series launches today with a US$2.99 price point for issue #1, or free with Amazon Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited, or comiXology Unlimited; I’ve made my opinions known about books in the Amazon ecosystem previously, so I figured I’d be waiting to see if there was ever a print run that can’t be depublished for whatever reason, and godsdammit, Zub went and sent me a review PDF of the first issue.

It’s good. It’s real good. Characters³, setting, conflict, stakes all established and waiting to pay off after the requisite last-page cliffhanger. I’m still holding out for that print copy, but I’m going to be paying attention to this one instead just waiting for it to pop back up on my radar.

If you’re inclined to work with e-comics, I’d suggest getting in on Stone Star now. Alternately, Zub and Dunbar have just been announced as surprise guests at Wondercon this weekend, so if you’re in Anaheim, drop by booth 2151 to say hi.

Spam of the day:

Wear Glasses ? Your Eyes Are Headed For Serious TROUBLE

Oh, Christ, are you the glasses equivalent of anti-vaxxers? Get bent.

¹ But I repeat myself.

² In essence, creating competitors for himself down the line.

³ There just a bit of the late, lamented Leave It To Chance in the character designs. I’ve been waiting twenty years in case issue #14 of that ever drops, so that just a bit of resemblance is hitting me in the nostalgia gland.

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