2+2=5? Tom King, Ed Brubaker and Substack Comics
Consider this the result of the chattering classes. Or the Charretier classes. Because Ed Brubaker went on John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast to talk up his Reckless graphic novels but also his decision not to take the Substack Pro shilling offered to him and Sean Phillips by Nick Spencer. Bleeding Cool had mentioned that before, but Ed Brubaker went into further details. At which point many Little Bleeders got in touch, believing that Brubaker may have spilled a little CIA tea.
Ed Brubaker told John "I can't imagine having to send three newsletters a week and wrangling extra comic work. I had this big Hollywood thing that was about to start, so I was really flattered that Nick wanted me to do it but Sean and I are already kind of doing our dream version of what our comic life would have been 20 years ago would be to be doing what we're doing right now. And we're making better money than we were making when we worked at like Marvel and DC doing this stuff and… it would be great to have basically free money to create comics with people. And it did end up sending me emailing an artist that I hadn't worked with for a long time that I'd been wanting to work with again, just to inquire, when I was starting to think about it. But just the idea of having to schedule an extra thing… I'm too exhausted by the idea of having to try to do Substack on top of Friday and the Reckless books and whatever else I do with Sean, and the Hollywood stuff, I couldn't imagine trying to add two other comics on top of that. If it was ten years ago, fifteen years ago, and someone made us an offer like that, I would have been one of the first people to jump at it because it would have been like holy f*ck, getting paid to do exactly what I want to do… you know a lot of these guys have still been really just doing the odd personal thing you know like Tom King still does a lot of his stuff as DC owned properties and you know Tynion actually quit Batman to just devote himself full time to create his own stuff… eleven years ago when I quit working at Marvel, if someone had said, here's hundreds of thousands of dollars to just create whatever the hell you want to do when you don't have to pay us back, I would have been, what the f*ck is happening here, how does this work, but yes."
Which was enough for watchers to believe that Ed Brubaker may not be doing Substack Comics for hundreds of thousands of dollars… but that Tom King was? Especially considering that a few days ago, Tom King teased on Twitter "New, first creator-owned announcement coming soon. I'm nervous but hiding it."
And no, Sheriff Of Babylon didn't count, DC Comics/Vertigo took publishing and multi-media options and shares in such ventures until they revert, which they may never do. But Substack Comics? That would be creator-owned.
And if you really wanted to speculate, and that's what people were all doing this week. November artist Elsa Charretier has been teasing a new announcement a couple of days previously, showing art process and saying "some announcement about this veeeery soon (get ready to have your mind blown)". Both have collaborated together, and Charretier has made no announced Substack plans, but has been crowdfunding her own art books. Anyway, lots of joined-up dots, but it's possible that some of those dots are on completely separate pages…
Because Ed Brubaker told Bleeding Cool "I haven't heard from Tom King in years, and Nick Spencer didn't tell me who else was doing substacks when he and I discussed it. I don't believe he's allowed to share that information, even. This was just me misspeaking during a long week of interviews – in another interview I referred to LA's 105 freeway as "highway 5" for example. This stuff happens. Listening to the interview, I think I was talking about how substack could be great for this newer generation of creators who are still very tied up in working for the big two and just doing the odd personal thing, comparing Tom King to what James Tynion is doing. But in any case, I have no personal insight into Tom King's career or plans, other than being a fan of his work."
Well, whatever Tom King is up to, it may be coming sooner. He also tweeted "Worked for 3 hours on two sentences of cover copy for an issue one. Creator owned is hard. Oh well, as long as no one's used "The Worlds Greatest Comics Magazine," we should be golden."