James Tynion IV, writer of Batman and The Joker for DC Comics, has quit work-for-hire superhero comic books in favour of a new gig at Substack, who coincidentally have been distributing his newsletter of late. His first comic book published through Substack will be UFO-themed The Blue Book with Michael Avon Oeming, starting in September. But how much will this all cost you, the paying punter? James Tynion IV lays it all out.
- For $7/month, you get access to everything. Every comic. Every post. Early-bird access to special covers and merchandise, etc.
- For $75/year, you STILL get access to everything, but pay 9 bucks less over the course of the year. I'm also going to run a special deal… Everyone who signs up for an annual payment option in the FIRST 24 HOURS is going to get a signed single comic book in the mail that I'm going to pull from my storage locker. I'm going to try and nab you some goodies, some rare covers I have extras of, etc. No guarantees, no requests, no promises that they're going to be perfect 9.8's or anything, but I'm going to try to dig up some gems.
- And then there's something special called The Founders Tier, which I don't know how long I am going to keep open so nab a spot while you can. This is the super fancy deluxe version. For $250/year, you get access to everything I've laid out above (The first 24 hours deal applies here, too)… but you will ALSO receive six extremely exclusive covers from six different projects over the course of the next year that will not be made available to any other sales platform. They won't be on the webstore. They won't be available to other paid subscribers, monthly or otherwise. The ONLY WAY to get those six covers from me is to sign up for this option.
So what will you get for just under the price of a basic Netflix subscription, just over the price for ComiXology Unlimited, and around the same price for Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe? There are his first books – September's "Operation Skylight" is codename for The Blue Book.
- SEPTEMBER – OPERATION SKYLIGHT
- OCTOBER – OPERATION ZOOBOOK
- Q4 2021 – OPERATION TOPLOCK
- Q1 2022 – OPERATION NIGHTMARE
- SUMMER 2022 – OPERATION DIAL-UP
James Tynion IV adds more teasery details.
And then I'd give you fun details like: One of these is a no comic. One of these projects will be a Prose/Illustration series that will tie into one of my existing books. One of them is a Novella. One of them is a long form horror project (the "White Whale" I discussed above). One of them is a project that I started dreaming up back when I was a student of Scott Snyder in college. Two of them I'll be bringing on some very talented writers to work on with me. All of them have incredible art… And it would be honest and true to tell you all of those things. And it would be honest and true to tell you that I have EVEN MORE ideas of what I might be able to build in this format that I haven't started cooking yet, and therefore don't have catchy operation titles.
I'd ALSO tell you that, on top of the above projects, and the continuation of all my creator-owned books (with big stories I've been dying to tell since I launched each of them), I've got some MORE comic projects in development with artists already attached – that will release in print first over the next few years. This newsletter is going to be the best place to find out about those books and see them come together. This is going to be a great place to get behind the scenes looks at everything I'm up to, across the board.
And there's more.
- Every week there will be a free newsletter for all of my subscribers, letting you know what comics I have in stores that week, where I'm appearing next, news about me and my titles, reminders to buy things off my webstore, and nudges to sign up for the pay version of the newsletter by letting you know what those folks are going to get by signing up. I'll probably still stick a longform rant in there every now and then for old time's sake because I do love to ramble. This is basically a more regular, stripped-down version of what my newsletter has been over the last two years.
- As we build up to my last big Batman hurrah, I thought I'd pull together a retrospective on my Batman run. I know a lot of creators shy away from talking about how the sausage gets made, but I want to get into the gory details a bit, and talk about a few more what ifs. Want to know the original identity of The Designer? Want to know the genesis of Punchline and the other new characters? Read excerpts from different iterations of pitch documents as they evolved? Get some dirt on how this was meant to set up 5G? Then this is going to be your favorite recurring feature.
- Another key component to what I'm looking to build out over the next year is how I approach merchandise and direct sales to retailers and fans. My enamel pins and Razorblades: The Horror Magazine have taught me a lot, and now I'm getting ready to put everything I learned to the test. I'm going to have some announcements on this front over the next few months, about new merchandise and some cool variant covers that will be available exclusively from me. Paid subscribers to this newsletter are going to be able to get the first and preferred access to that stuff (and they'll get access to some hyper limited subscriber-only products and covers, too).
- I'm still looking into how I best want to approach this, but as I've been saying in this newsletter for a while now, I am planning on pulling up all stakes on social media. I'm going to stick around another month or two to keep pointing people in the direction of the newsletter, but ultimately my plan is to close the account and delete the twitter app from all my devices. I've got somebody I trust running the @ReadTinyOnion account on my behalf, but I won't be using it. This newsletter is really going to be the only fan-facing place where folks can interact directly with me. I am going to host some AMAs and things like that, trying out a few different approaches until I land on a version I'm comfortable with and make it more regular.
And why is this all happening anyway, James Tynion IV?
- The comics industry is undergoing a tremendous amount of change, and I want to experiment and try things, because I think creators making the books they WANT to make the way they want to make them is going to be the way we pave the road to the next few decades of our industry, rather than us just waiting to see what corporate publishing thinks they can sell, in the formats they dictate to us. It all comes down to a simple thing that I know I said up top. I want to make all the cool things in my head that I know should exist without having to ask anybody for permission to make them exist.
- If we play our cards right, this is day one of a whole new paradigm. Right now, you can't see the scale of this thing yet… But it's bigger than you think. Over the next few months, you're going to see exactly how big. And I hope your first reaction to all of that is "I want a front row seat for what comes next." And I hope all of the creators signing up with Substack see the potential. What happens when a bunch of the top creative minds in an industry are given the funding to reshape the future of that industry. Because this is the moment we get to decide. We've been given grants with no strings attached. There are no rules. There is nobody you need to get permission from to do what you want to do. Make the books you most want to make, the books you think should exist, the ones that it has driven you crazy that nobody is making. Make them yourself. Produce works by people whose work you absolutely love. Will them into the world.
- I think this is the best deal for creators the comics industry has ever seen, and with some ambition and some ingenuity, I think this deal, and deals like it, are going to redefine the next few decades of our industry.