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WAITING FOR TOMMY: LARRY YOUNG
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Okay, okay, I think that.
LARRY: I mean, we add a few new folks every month to the mix, so to say any new guys and gals are "less than" the early ones is just not true. Anyone who says our mess of creators are "less than it was" is sadly mistaken. Every few months we add a new superstar or two to the mix, like Becky Cloonan or Manny Bello or Ryan Kelly or Ryan Yount. We're always on the look-out for new talent.

RICHARD: Oh now, did you really want to say that? After all, there are two thousand rejected Epic pitches out there.
LARRY: Sure, but a really good ANT-MAN project, or whatever, isn't going to play well if you just redesign his costume and call him INSECT MAN and pitch it to us. A good story is plugged into Hank Pym or Scott Lang or Dudley Do-Right, or whoever Ant Man is nowadays. And that long history of character has resonance's and dissonances that can be played off of to tell a compelling tale. Take out the Marvel back-story and the project has Styrofoam bones. Much better for someone to take the Epic experience and learn from it and craft their own story than waste everyone's time by sending AiT submissions editor Ryan Yount a warmed-over OMEGA THE UNKNOWN pitch.

RICHARD: Damn, cos like, you know I had this warmed-over MARVILLE proposal, I'm just waiting for *someone* to have a look at.
LARRY: Read the Image submission instructions and figure if that's what Image does, with their resources and brainpower, ol' Crazy Larry and his faithful ward Ryan need at least that level of commitment from people, too. Do a book and send it to us, what's the harm? If you send us a completed book, and it's not for us, what's the downside? Some publisher somewhere will publish a completed book, believe me.

RICHARD: Talking of completed books, the words on the street are Citizen Dave. The following to Astronauts In Trouble. Any sign on the horizon?
LARRY: Sure.

RICHARD: See? You are Bill Jemas.
LARRY
: Aw, there's nothing new to tell. Charlie's ready as soon as I finish it. It's been difficult lately to balance running every aspect of the company and also making time to be creative.

RICHARD: Ah, so you're Mark Millar then. Why did you decline to publish The UnFunnies, part of the Millarworld line?
LARRY: Well, it's not an AiT/Planet Lar book, is it? Like I said above; we get offered stuff all the time. Why do we decline, or approve, to publish anything? If it doesn't fit our scene, it doesn't fit our scene. As a fan, I love THE UNFUNNIES. As a publisher, it's not optimal for us to present that to the public. You may well ask me why we decline, or approve of, anything. Some stuff fits our scene, and some stuff doesn't. We publish what fits, and pass on what doesn't.

RICHARD: I just thought it was a fairly prominent book that's sold pretty well for its nature. But okay. what are the criteria for a book for you? What. well, 'fits'. Is it something you only know when you see it?
LARRY
: Well, there's no hidden list of criteria I consult, or anything. People always ask me how we pick the projects we publish. Since we only do 14-16 books a year, and hopefully I take a couple slots for myself, there really is a very long shot that someone's going to get the green light from us cold. There really is no set answer to "How do you all select a project to publish?" since there are too many variables to consider. Publishing a successful book is an art just as much as being able to draw correct anatomy!

But I tell the story about the Channel Seven cap to explain it in shorthand... when the first ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE story started to gel in my head, one of the first ideas I had for the cameraman, Heck Allen, was that he was an iconoclastic wise-guy working in a corporate world. He'd be so far from being a company man that it'd be a funny visual in-joke that he'd wear a baseball cap with the company logo on it. So then that meant that I had to have a cap of my own. I sent some quotes out to a few embroidery places in San Francisco, and it turned out that a minimum-run of caps would end up costing the company $750. The way I looked at it, I wanted a cap of my own so badly that I'd pay $750 for MINE, and we could use the rest as promotional items to send to reviewers, sell at cons, and the like. And that worked out, because they're a neat little profit center, and folks who get them feel like they're a part of the team.

That sort of evolved into the print-publishing philosophy, that, if we get a cool proposal, or see some art, or have a neat conversation with one of the talented friends we have... and I figure, "I want to read a copy of this book so badly, I'd pay $10,000 for MY copy, and we can sell the rest to other like-minded folks," then we'll go ahead and do the contracts. Obviously, that's a little tongue-in-cheek, but it's close enough to the truth that you can see why we have Mimi the MBA run the business side of things while I handle the creatives. We all do what we do best.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 Continued Here...

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