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Waiting For Tommy XXVIII
By Richard Johnston
 
RICHARD JOHNSTON: Erik, recently some ne'er do well rumour monger dared to suggest that you guys had the Street Fighter license. That right? If so, when by who and from whom?


Street Fighter art purporting to be from UDON.

ERIK: Yes, we do have the Street Fighter License. We are now working on finalizing a publisher, that is why we have not been saying much about it. But we have already been working on a lot of marketing plans and pre-production stuff.

RICHARD: Okay then, as a participant, what do you make of this whole nostalgia bandwagon? It's only a few months since Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats were topping the charts, that's subsided now but sales are still remarkably good compared to the rest of the chart. It's clearly not just the quality of the books, but the desires of the audience? How long can this last? Even if the books are great, can you see a bust coming after the current boom?

ERIK: Come on! We all know when Jim Lee comes back to comics, NOTHING can beat him! As far as the nostalgia thing goes, on UDON's end, we have a pretty good run on things working on BOTP, Thundercats, Robotech, and some GI Joe & Voltron. A lot has to do with the readership of comics nowadays wanting to see those characters. Seeing the sales of those #1 issues topping the chart, we know it is more about the licensed property more than the quality of the art and writing. No one knows what the story is going to be when they order the book. You might see some preview art online or printed, but the characters mostly are the selling point. Take Devil's Due for example, no one knew who they were before G.I. Joe, but they still manage to top the Diamond Chart. Of course, the product has to be of a certain standard to last so long at the top, but I believe it is the brand name that drives the sales, at least in the beginning.

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS #1/2 DF ULTRA LIMITED FOIL COVER

All those books sales are slipping due to a lot of reasons. Be it the hype wears off, or the quality goes down, shipping schedule slipping, those are what drive the sales down. But ultimately people's attention spans are limited. Haven't you figured out that no hype would last for more than 2 years? See, if something is great, then people want it on a regular basis. You slip with either schedule or quality, you fail and people leave you. However, you give them the great stuff regularly for too long, and then people get used to it and just take it for granted.

Marketable properties are drying up, and I believe with Voltron, pretty much the TV Cartoon nostalgia boom will come to a wrap. Really, what else is still out there? M.A.S.K, Silverhawks, Visionaries, Star Blazers... I can think of a few but it is probably too risky now that the flagship titles are flat lining.

It would be more interesting to see how these companies would do after this starts going slow. One day, some day, these titles might not be as profitable as they were in the beginning. How are they going to keep themselves afloat is what I am interested in seeing. I know some are going to expand for more licensed titles, while some are going to put out their own creation. Who is going to survive? Only time will tell!

More so, it would be more interesting to see how the comic business will survive. Seeing a lot of monies invested in these titles cutting out from the ordinary market share, something has to be trimmed in order for those to grow. Each customer, or even each retailer does have a budget. So for them to pick up 3 new books means they probably have to at least drop 2. Retailers are ordering heavily on Transformers before because they know those will sell and make them profit. But by ordering 10 extra copies of TF, they would need to cut down at least 5 copies of something else in case. I know some retailers that totally drop their independent comic sales to cash in on the nostalgia craze. Take within Dreamwave itself as an example: while the TF sales go sky high, all of their creator owned titles are going lower and lower. Short-term money does rise, but has anyone asked the question that when the hype is over, what it is there to fill the void? I am hoping now that the craze is settling down, more retailers will look at the new independent books and give them a try.

RICHARD: Is Street Fighter too late to benefit from the nostalgia boom then? What's the point of paying for the license when much of the appeal will have drained away?

ERIK: Street Fighter is not related to the nostalgia boom. It is a totally new genre on its own. It's video games stuff and if anything, we might kick start a whole bunch of video game licensed books.

We are doing Street Fighter because we want to do it, and we have faith that there are a lot of SF fans who wanted to see it done right. SF to video games is like Star Wars to movies. It is a classic that anyone who has played video games would know what it is. That is the business aspect of picking this license.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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