The Fate of Warlord of Io

5/5/2009 by Jennifer de Guzman

I have a lot to do this week, but I'm going to go ahead and skim some time from the top to note the response to Diamond Comics' decision not to carry Warlord of Io, the new mini-series by Rex Libris creator James Turner. The most considered one comes from Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter, who uses Warlord of Io's fate as a case study in analysis of the changing direction of the comic book industry:  "A shift from a model where an artist like Turner fails in the marketplace to a model where an artist like Turner is denied the opportunity to try, I think that's worth noting."

In doing a little research of the sales in our Boutiki store (where we stock all of our in-print books, as well as comics and graphic novels by other publishers), I made a discovery about just how much James "fails" in our little marketplace. I'll get into it in my Publishers Weekly column this week. Admittedly, the Boutiki isn't an accurate microcosm of the comics direct market as a whole, but that's kind of the point. As Spurgeon notes: "James Turner should be on-line and in comics shops, and the reason he's not going to be is because that's been decided for him. This decision was not solely made by market forces: he's able to make the comics and has someone willing to publish them. It was made in one leg of the capitalist stool by an interpretation of what those market forces should mean, not the forces themselves."

Warlord of Io, meanwhile, is going digital --  issue one is available to download now at our website -- and will be published as a graphic novel. To get an idea of what it's all about, check out Michael May's review at Robot 6* of The Warlord of Io and Other Stories, a kind of "issue #0" that was printed and distributed by Diamond. May calls James Turner "Rip-Your-Brain-Out-Of-Your-Head-Because-You-Won’t-Need-It-Anymore-After-This Awesome" and gives Warlord of Io and Other Stories five out of five tiki pirates.

- JdG

*disclaimer, as always: I do freelance work for Robot 6.