By Christopher Helton
From my viewpoint it is always a good thing when local comic creators manage to make the jump up to the next level, whether it is because their comic itself gets the attention it deserves or because an outside factor jumps up their noticeability.
Con Artist Entertainment is a central Florida publisher of creator-owned comics in a variety of genres. Originally launched via a successful Kickstarter, CAE Studios super-hero comic Project: Overwatch became an ongoing webcomic (funding via a comic creating Patreon) in the spring of this year. Admittedly, delays plagued the Kickstarter, but could other factors have figured into this?
Blizzard Entertainment also has a long developing property that also just happens to be called Overwatch. Guess what genre Overwatch deals with? That's right, super-heroes. We've talked about Overwatch here before at Bleeding Cool.
Two projects with similar aesthetics, and both dealing with a modern approach to super-hero stories. In fact, one of the big delays for Blizzard Entertainment was issues with their trademark registration being denied. Twice. Could it have been that the earlier speculation that the trademark registration issues were having problems due to other, similar video games was off base?
Then, this official announcement was made:
Today, CAE Studios is proud to announce the rebranding of our on-going comic book series, Project: Overwatch. The decision to change the title of the book comes after a mutual agreement with Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment is slated to release an upcoming game titled Overwatch. CAE Studios has begun to take the first steps in rebranding Project: Overwatch into its all-new title Project: A.P.E.X.
"Despite the similarities of our titles, our respective intellectual properties are considerably different, and like Blizzard we wanted to avoid market confusion," says CAE Studios Editor-in-Chief and Creator/Writer Martin Dunn. "The team sat down and really put some thought into it. Project: A.P.E.X. really spoke to us."
"The new identity had to satisfy all of our existing expectations of what we were going for with the original title while simultaneously moving the brand forward. We still have a lot of story to tell, and we hope you all continue to stick with it," says Project: A.P.E.X. artist Javier Lugo.
Here is a look at what the new Project: A.P.E.X. branding will look like.
Purely speculation, but it sounds as if this "rebranding" could be to smooth over trademark issues. With a Fall 2015 release of the Beta version of the game, smoothing over any trademark speed bumps would be necessary, particularly since a San Diego Comic-Con panel gave a teaser of art for an Overwatch graphic novel.
Check out this official teaser from our upcoming graphic novel for Overwatch, announced today at San Diego Comic-Con! pic.twitter.com/bJ70USbWJA
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 9, 2015
Blizzard Entertainment gets the trademark registrations that it would need, particularly for expansion of the property into graphic novels, but what do the creators at CAE Studios get out of all of this? Time will apparently tell with that. I am told that CAE Studios will have a lot of Project: Overwatch branded comics and SWAG to get rid of at the Tampa Bay Comic-Con at the end of the month.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics. He also has a crowdfunding page to help offset costs of this summer's Gen Con coverage.