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TRON Comic Issue 4 In July

By TronFAQ on Monday, June 25, 2007 at 8:25 PM
It hasn't been announced yet on SLG Publishing's site, but I'm calling it. It's obvious that Issue #4 won't be released this month. If the release schedule still hasn't been updated this far into June, and TRON #4 doesn't appear on Diamond Comics' next two shipping lists . . . it's a fait accompli. There was a remote chance it could have shipped on the 27th and this had yet to be announced, but the shipping lists prove otherwise.



Now, I hate to be all gloom and doom. But I have a couple of things to say that fall into that category.

First off, I hope SLG understands that all these delays must be killing interest in the comic. I've seen evidence on the message boards of various comic sites, where people became fed up with waiting for each issue's release. Not everyone is as patient as a long-time fan like me. More to the point, why are these tremendous delays continuing? Has SLG bitten off more than it can chew, with regards to the Disney licenses? I think so. It's been over a year since the release of the first issue, and we still don't have Issue #4 in our hands.

Second, co-writer Landry Walker has posted a message recently stating that despite earlier aspirations for a long run and spin-off projects, it looks like the run of TRON comics will end with Issue #6.

It's all rather disappointing news.

July 5th UPDATE: I've just found out that Issue #4 has been sent to be printed. So it shouldn't be much longer, before it finally becomes available in comic stores.

July 9th UPDATE: SLG's release schedule has been updated to show that Issue #4 will finally be released on Wednesday, July 25th!
 
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6 comments so far.

  1. Troff June 25, 2007 10:31 PM
    Look, please pardon my ignorance. But these are companies whose day jobs are to produce these comics. There have to be several THOUSANDS of professional or aspiring comic writers and several thousand again artists.

    ... has there been even the faintest of hints as to what's causing the problems in question? I mean, at least understanding it will lighten some of the bad feeling.

    On what are they basing the six-issue run? Sales figures??
  2. tronfaq June 25, 2007 11:37 PM
    Well, here's my speculation as to what's going on. (But I'd be very interested to hear from Landry himself, if he's able to shed any light on the matter.)

    SLG Publishing is a small company, that traditionally published comics which were creator owned. That meant they only had to deal with the creators, on a one-on-one basis. But for the Disney comics, they have to deal with the corporate machine.

    Getting licenses to publish Disney comics was an experiment, and one that apparently isn't paying off. It cost them a lot of money to obtain the licenses, and every comic they produce has to be sent in for approval. Then take into account that SLG has a very small staff that has to do EVERYTHING, and these extra levels of complexity when dealing with Disney are an added burden.

    Also take the sales into account - which are good but not spectacular - and it all adds up to: why did we bother, it's not worth it. And I'm not just talking about Tron, but all the Disney comics. But it's partly their own fault . . . like I pointed out, they seem to have bitten off more than they can chew.

    That being said, I can't entirely understand the magnitude of these delays. Every Disney comic has come out at a snail's pace, but none more so than Tron. After the change in artists, I thought things would get back on track but they haven't. I'm guessing it's either the people involved on the Tron comic are busy working on other projects that slows them down, the staff at SLG aren't being diligent in pushing through the comic so it can be released ASAP, or a combination of both.
  3. Landry Walker June 26, 2007 4:34 AM
    Troff: "There have to be several THOUSANDS of professional or aspiring comic writers and several thousand again artists."

    There are less available that are capable and interested then you would think.

    As for the rest, TronFAQ more or less sums it up. The license has been a difficult one for a variety of reasons. Concurrently, the staff of SLG has dropped by about 50% (or some such number) since the acquisition of these properties (the reasons for this are not really connected to the Disney arrangement). This has made it more difficult to focus on the Disney properties than was initially expected. Again, TronFAQ sums this ups sufficiently. There are alot of little things adding up into one great big delay.

    TronFAQ: "I've seen evidence on the message boards of various comic sites, where people became fed up with waiting for each issue's release."

    There are two facets to this. One is dealing with a promised release date that is missed. I understand frustration, but not the levels of disdain and rage that are so readily thrown about by some. The book coming out late is an unfortunate reality. Something that no one wants to see happen. The volumes of criticism people (not people here, I might add. This is actually an opinion I formed when reading some video game industry magazines) hurl at the producers of any project are absolutely 100% wasted. We already know. We're the ones looking at the unreleased material. We're the ones crossing off schedules on our calendars. We're the ones not getting paid. We know. And we don't like it either. And if there is anything to be done, we'll do it. Is it our fault? Well, it's our responsibility, and the end result of the two is synonymous. And of course we're sorry when these things happen. why wouldn't we be. Sucks more for us than for anyone. SLG made a mistake in regards to advertising the book at a bi-monthly schedule. I only agreed to that under duress, as I knew that problems could arise. However, I understand why SLG made the agreement. The license is an stretch of time thing, not a volume thing. That said, quarterly release is the standard in this particular corner of the industry. Four issues a year as opposed to six. Four issues this year is right about what we achieved. Pity we advertised it a bit different. That's our fault and for those who find these lapses frustrating, I apologize.

    And in the end, most of those that voice such complaints end up buying the product they railed against anyway. In the case of Tron #2, we actually saw a sales increase due to the lateness of the book. Because of online complaints and subsequent vocal dismissals of the series, awareness increased. One SLG staff member actually joked about releasing ALL the books late just to see that spike.

    The second facet I'll spare you. It's a bit of a rant.

    For the record, decisions about the length of this series have nothing to do with the sales of the comic itself. The arguable truncation of the series (bear in mind that at one point, it was mapped out as only 5 issues) was a decision not based on sales or rate of publication. There are other contractual obligations involved that affect the release and sales of any trade paperback. These obligations influence the length of the series.

    Not to say that sales are good or that sales don't have an impact. They have and likely will continue to do so. There MAY even be more bad news on the horizon. News that will make even the staunchest supporter weep in dismay. But remember, all to often these scenarios are binary in nature. We can do a Tron book and we can deal with the unfortunate realities that plague us, or conversely there could be no Tron book whatsoever. In my mind, something is inherently superior to nothing.
  4. tronfaq June 26, 2007 3:36 PM
    Thank you for the insight into the situation, Landry. Most appreciated. :)

    Concurrently, the staff of SLG has dropped by about 50% (or some such number) since the acquisition of these properties

    Ouch. Wasn't aware it had been reduced by that much.

    I understand frustration, but not the levels of disdain and rage that are so readily thrown about by some.

    Same here. The only real cause for frustration should be when a company doesn't respond to their customers after the sale, and not before. After all, a comic, game, what have you, is not essential to life and the creators aren't beholden to anyone. But I think that if such a product is somehow defective or didn't live up to promises made after purchase, then people have a case to complain.

    SLG made a mistake in regards to advertising the book at a bi-monthly schedule.

    Definitely agree there.

    And in the end, most of those that voice such complaints end up buying the product they railed against anyway. In the case of Tron #2, we actually saw a sales increase due to the lateness of the book. Because of online complaints and subsequent vocal dismissals of the series, awareness increased. One SLG staff member actually joked about releasing ALL the books late just to see that spike.

    That's the kind of news I like to hear. :)

    Just to sum up, I personally am trying to look on the bright side (though maybe not always succeeding) and understand that we could have had NO TRON comic. So the fact that a TRON comic even came out, is something to rejoice.
  5. Landry Walker June 26, 2007 5:27 PM
    I think one of the things that hurts perception of the Disney line is actually the name Disney. People see that name and associate the entirety of the corporation, complete with all theoretical resources, and expect the level of options that comes with said resources.

    But these are licensed properties. We don't see a dime from Disney. Instead (as you point out) we pay them. They are then free to use all material we provide in whatever capacity they so choose without any compensation or credit. Look at the small scandal surrounding the Tron GBA box cover for an example of that.

    All to often I hear that we should just hire a few more artists or that a book in black and white would be unacceptable. Well, yeah. It would be great to have a large staff of creators working on these books. I have two scripts I would love to see produced just sitting here. It would be great to go 100% with color. But then, it would also be great to take the comic and turn it into a film or release a new issue every other week. We just don't have the resources. Even before things became as bleak as they are financially, we lacked the resources to produce this material in the manner that most people would find ideal. This is one of the reasons I pushed for black and white in the beginning. Because it would cut down on production time and it would cut down on costs.

    To put things in perspective a bit: With non-SLG work, I typically, get paid 325$ per page of comics writing. That's on material I own. So I can take anything from that comic and reproduce it as I see fit or license it out to third parties myself. I have two actions figures and two t-shirts out as we speak. On Tron I get paid under 10$ per page and I cede 100% of all rights in the process. Originally, I was doing it for free, but my publisher insisted I should get some return on my work. Regardless (particularly when you take into consideration the large amounts of money I've personally spent in promotion), I'm still giving the material away. I'm paying out FAR more than I am earning, and I'm not (by far) the only one on this project that can say as such. But all people really see (understandably) is the Disney logo and a price tag of three-something per issue, and feel that they should be able to demand or dictate the direction the material goes in because they're a paying customer. That if we don't meet the expectations they have as a consumer, they will drop the title.

    Again, this is understandable. Why buy something you don't like? But I do believe that a degree of the expectations formed about this property are directly related to the company brand on the cover. And with those expectations being so high, it's makes the consumer much harder to please.
  6. tronfaq June 26, 2007 11:53 PM
    We don't see a dime from Disney. Instead (as you point out) we pay them. They are then free to use all material we provide in whatever capacity they so choose without any compensation or credit.

    This is what I was getting at in an earlier post on Tron-Sector. Just what is Disney doing for you guys? Nothing, except allowing you to use the Tron IP and collect the cheque.

    They're not advertising the comic in their publications or selling it in the Disney store, they're not advertising IN the comic itself to help you guys with the costs, they're not cross-promoting it with their other Tron products (which there are very few to speak of, but you get the idea) . . . they're doing NOTHING.

    And for the 25th Anniversary, they took the safe and easy path. Re-packaged classic arcade games on Xbox Live that cost them very little to produce (no physical packaging or media), and a collector's pin. Wowee! Amazing!

    When the people at Disney's film studio can't even understand what a "search engine" is, you know all hope is lost for a sequel. :p

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