Last December, CBR News told you about a new title to come on the market called “Atomika” from creator Sal Abbinanti and Speakeasy Comics. The series is set in the old Soviet Union at the beginning of the cold war, but it’s a very different sort of world than we live in. Well, things are about to change for the world of “Atomika” as Abbinanti has decided to take his book in-house with November’s issue #7 and will begin self-publishing the book through his own Mercury Comics. We caught up with Abbinanti to find out what’s behind the decision.
Even before Abbinanti signed with Speakeasy to publish “Atomika,” he had considered self-publishing the book through Mercury. “When I spoke with Adam [Fortier at Speakeasy], we seemed to be on the same page and he suggested I publish through him,” Abbinanti told CBR News Monday afternoon. “I said sure as I figured he could deflect some of the marketing and distribution work that I just don’t have the time to do. But, as time progressed, I realized that I really wanted to control more of these elements myself and keep a closer eye on what’s happening.”
As to the why, Abbinanti said he felt that “Atomika” has become like a child to him and no one will be quite as attentive to it as the child’s parent, so he’s welcoming his child back home after a short absence. “Plus, I do a lot of comic shows and a ton of promotion for Alex Ross anyway, so I figured I could tie it in with everything else that I do.” In addition to creating “Atomika,” Abbinanti also serves as Alex Ross’ art dealer.
When asked if there’s any sort of animosity between Abbinanti and Speakeasy, he responded, “None at all. I just feel a publisher, any publisher, isn’t going to do as good a job pimping your stuff and getting it out there as a creator would. That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned from working with Alex. You’ve really got to promote both your work and yourself as an artist because the publisher’s aren’t going to do it for you.”
But why not take it to another publisher, rather than take on all the publishing responsibilities yourself? Abbinanti explained that prior to even signing with Speakeasy he had approached both Image Comics and Devil’s due, but said he “…didn’t get a good vibe from them. So, I figured in the end nobody is going to care about these creator owned project as much as I am and so I thought I should just do it myself.”
Abbinanti’s contract with Speakeasy was for six-issues and a trade paperback and things remain the same as far as that’s concerned. Once the trade is out there, Mercury Comics will pick up the reigns and continue the 12-issue series with issue #7 in November. Abbinanti explained there will be a slight interruption in the publishing schedule, but it was planned in advance. “We had intended to take a month off after the trade because I’m getting married and will be away for a month in Italy,” explained Abbinanti. “So, that was a planned month off after the trade.”
To help promote this new launch, Abbinanti plans on taking out a double-page spread in the Previews catalog for September, introducing the world to Mercury Comics. “It’ll be a little confusing at first, but there’s really no easy to introduce yet another publisher,” explained Abbinanti.
Regarding long term plans for Mercury, Abbinanti said in a perfect world he’d definitely like to publish other creators work, but for the moment he’s not sure. Abbinanti has brought in Ohio comics retailer Chris Rupp, of Rupp’s Comics, to help with Mercury’s operations. “If some people are interested in publishing with us I’ll take a look at it, but my goal from the start was just to publish my own work and possibly some stuff with Alex Ross. For right now it’s just going to be ‘Atomika,'” said Abbinanti.
Publishing a book on your own comes with a whole new set of headaches, including the possibility of a decrease in sales, but Abbinanti is ready for the challenge. “It’s an independent book through Speakeasy anyway, so sales are always a struggle since it’s an independent book and my art style is definitely not as mainstream as most,” explained Abbinanti. “Yeah, I’m sure there’ll be a dip in sales because I’m going on my own and people may be suspect since we’re leaving Speakeasy, but it’s a necessary evil and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re going to be aggressive and advertise and fight and go to the shows to press the flesh, but realistically I know there’ll probably be a drop in sales.”
Abbinanti closed by saying fans of “Atomika” will be able to pick up a copy of issue #4, featuring a cover by Michael Turner with an alternate by Buzz, at this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago. The book will reach comic book store shelves the following Wednesday.