Friday, March 7, 2008

Summer of Superman

If you could fly, you'd probably spend most of your airborne time in the summer. Superman sure seems to.

He debuted in Action Comics #1, dated June, 1938. However, comics ship months earlier than their cover dates
—court records name April 18 as the date this one did (for more on this, see my future blog entry of April 18, 2008). But to the casual observer, it's immortalized as a summer son.

As I build a marketing campaign for Boys of Steel, summer has been pivotal. I sold the manuscript in early March 2005, and among the first questions I asked my editor (it was halfway to a beg) was if we could get the book out in time for the Superman Returns premiere in June 2006. I knew that the relaunch of the film franchise would lead to both increased media attention to Superman and Superman-themed tabletops in bookstores (probably for no cost to publishers). Alas, I was told that was not likely to happen.

We blew right past summer 2006, and even summer 2007, before even seeing finished art. We are on track for summer 2008
—but, another alas, not until the very last edge of it: August 26. While I'm thrilled we're less than half a year away from release, I'm also bummed that we're missing yet another summer. I will be involved with the following, but we're cutting it close, and here are some elaborations:

- Superman Celebration, Metropolis, Illinois, June - This is THE indispensable event for 75,000 diehard Superman fans (or perhaps 30,000 diehard Superman fans and 45,000 gracious Superman fan family members). It's held in the only living town in America named Metropolis and this year is not only the 70th anniversary of Superman and the 30th anniversary of Superman: The Movie but also the 30th anniversary of the Superman Celebration itself. I'll be there, and I'm working extra hard to make sure copies of the book will be, too. This will require drop-shipping them from China, which is as expensive as it seems. If we don't have enough books there, we'll be taking pre-orders, and either way, I'll be running what promises to be an unprecedented and really fun promotional event revolving around the book. Watch this space for the announcement.

- Summer of Superman, Cleveland, Ohio, June through September - Finally, Superman's real-world hometown is ramping up efforts to acknowledge their four-color legacy. Community leaders are already meeting and planning a series of diverse Supermancentric events from a comic convention to a screening of old Superman movies. My event is planned for August so that we will absolutely have books for it. And it will be similar yet even cooler than what I'm doing in Metropolis. You'll again have to check back for an explanation in the weeks to come.

- Comic-Con, San Diego, California, July - Random House (my publisher) will have a booth there and will be promoting the book, but we can't benefit immediately since it will not yet be for sale.
Do people forget things more easily in the suffocating heat of summer? Even if so, I'm going for word of mouth stimulation and hopefully a panel seat, too.

- Six Flags, all summer - These amusement parks feature Superman rides. I pitched them to sell the book in their stores and online. They seem interested but the late-summer release date again presents a problem since most of their season is over by then. No matter. I've gotten quite used to saying "There's always next summer."

How does the Autumn of Superman sound?

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