Wood Pulls Another AIT Title, Puts Online, AIT Rumors Result

Brian Wood was one of AIT/Planet Lar‘s early popular creators, publishing seven graphic novels through them plus a couple of supporting books. It thus caused some discussion in late September 2007 when he announced that he and artist Becky Cloonan were taking back the rights to their Demo collection (especially since AIT only published the collected edition in December 2005, less than two years earlier).

It’s since been announced that Vertigo will publish Demo in May of this year. That made sense, for several reason: Wood’s currently writing both DMZ and Northlanders for them; Demo is at core a superhero title, albeit an indy-twisted one; and DC’s one of the best for getting and keeping graphic novels in bookstores. (An area where rumors have been swirling around AIT, based on some creators reporting out-of-stock difficulties.)

Today, Brian Wood announced that he’s pulling another book from AIT: Public Domain, a book about the design and creation of Wood’s first major project, Channel Zero. However, this one is taking a different route. Wood mentions that it’s out of print, and he has placed it online for free download, accompanied by a donation button and a link to an Amazon store. (The free giveaway is a popular choice lately among forward-looking creators and publishers.)

Rumors about AIT (link no longer available) were a side effect of this action, so I thought I’d take a look at their publishing history over the last three years. Here’s all of their publications that shipped through Diamond, in rough publication order and with short notes. Starred (*) are comic-format; others are graphic novels.

Proof of Concept (collection of pitches written by publisher Larry Young)
Couriers 3 (written by Brian Wood)
Scurvy Dogs: Rags to Riches (art by publisher’s production coordinator)
Filler (creators Rick Spears and Rob G. have since formed their own publisher)
True Story Swear to God 2 (creator Tom Beland moved to Image after public disputes with the publisher)
* Black Diamond: On Ramp (written by publisher)
Smoke & Guns
Electric Girl 3 (I miss this title; don’t know what the creator’s doing now)
Full Moon Fever
Sunset City (creator is self-publishing new work)
Colonia 2 (creator slow; book 3 announced for 2009)
Demo Collection (already discussed)

Also two prose books:
Demo Scriptbook (also reverted)
Surviving Grady

* Sky Ape: King of Girls (fourth and final series volume, not listed on AIT website)
Continuity (released for free in PDF form)
Shatter (reprint of early computer comic)
Rock Bottom
Seven Sons

First Moon (Xeric Award winner; AIT-distributed)
Giant Robot Warriors (Re-release with new slipcover)
Last Sane Cowboy & Other Stories (collects Isotope Award-winning minicomics)
Homeless Channel (debut graphic novel)
* Black Diamond 1-4 (written by publisher)
Monster Attack Network

From 11 to 4 to 3 graphic novels (not counting re-releases and books they only distributed)… it’s easy to see why people wonder how the publisher is doing. Especially since Larry Young made the company by seeming to be everywhere online, and now it’s hard to find him except at the company site. And certainly, having a child (born June 2007) will cause all kinds of changes.

Fundamentally, it’s none of a reader’s business if creators and publishers, once appearing to be fast friends, now find their business decisions going in different directions. But curiosity is a basic human drive, especially in today’s connected world.

Update: Made a couple of additional notes above, and received the following in response to a request for comment from Larry Young.

I don’t have anything new to add to what I wrote to Rich Johnston back in July of 2006. We’ve been publishing now for nine years, and the whole thing has always ebbed and flowed. That’s just the nature of the business.

So fans looking for an explanation from the previously outgoing publisher will have to look elsewhere.

5 Responses to “Wood Pulls Another AIT Title, Puts Online, AIT Rumors Result”

  1. Larry Young Says:

    Well, jeez, Johanna, you didn’t ask me for an explanation of anything; you just asked me for a comment. I’m not sure what there is to explain; Brian doing what he wants with his creator-owned work? Yay! That’s the whole point of publishing creator-owned work. If Karen Berger wants to publish ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE, I’m going to Vertigo, too. A perceived slowing down in the number of books? Well, like I said in that bit you excised, Mimi’s mom died, my dad died, we had a painful miscarriage, all in 18 months. That’s gonna take the spring out of anyone’s step, I guarantee you.

    Scurvy Dogs, TSSTG2, EG3 and Colonia 2 were all collections of previous work, so I’m not sure why you’re counting those as GNs, and BLACK DIAMOND was six issues this year with 13 creators to wrangle on our first color book, so that was much more work than you’re making it sound. :)

    And I’m averaging about 1000 messages a year on Your Mom’s Basement, which was about my old WEF totals, so I haven’t really gone anywhere; there’s just more places for people to go, so you might not be running into me that often.

    Plus, as you note, we finally had a gorgeous baby in June! Proud papa likes spending time blowing bubbles and playing pattycake more than mixing it up over The Latest Outrageâ„¢ on message boards, nowadays. :)

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