Why do comic companies drop the ball?

Graphic novels. Weekly rags. The @$$holes.

Why do comic companies drop the ball?

Postby Neo Zeed on Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:47 am

I think it's fucked up how comic book companies drop the ball. Crossgen was a company that was run by a millionaire. He could afford to relocate artists and pay substantial salaries for creators. However, I never understood why he didn't go with creator owned (at least generated) comics instead of that pre-set, convoluted universe of his. This guy could have ran his company like a real book publisher, with advances and stuff like that (with better product). It could have changed the way independent comics operate. I think near the end, he implemented some kind of creator deal, but it was way too late. Dreamwave was another one. These guys had nice production values but the writing was severely ass. They could have fired all their writers and just hired somebody decent like Peter David. It also didn't help that Pat Lee couldn't hire artists with anatomical skills. They could have hired guys with skills that fit their manga-mode (Mark Brooks or Skottie Young), and fired the rest. Really nice coloring, though.
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Postby Colin on Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:49 am

It's because there's no money to be made in comics.
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Postby doglips on Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:53 am

Which is sad when you think how much money Hollywood makes out of comics........
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:56 am

Comics need to change the way they are formatted and distributed. Hardcovers get all kinds of love from the mainstream press. Someone needs to take a chance on a blockbuster graphic novel that would appeal to a really broad range of idiots like the DaVinci Code did.
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Postby Neo Zeed on Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:44 am

burlivesleftnut wrote:Comics need to change the way they are formatted and distributed. Hardcovers get all kinds of love from the mainstream press. Someone needs to take a chance on a blockbuster graphic novel that would appeal to a really broad range of idiots like the DaVinci Code did.


True. However, I wonder how many people in American society care about the mainstream press, when it comes to comics. I think the perceptions of comics have gained loads of respect, however that hasn't really translated to sales. I know American society is very image conscious, especially when they get older. Society tells them to stop reading "funnybooks" and start reading "real" books. So even if something like Love and Rockets or Blankets is better than whatever novel they're reading, they'll say fuck it and go buy the novel. Because it sounds more impressive to their family, the hot chick, etc. It's also more frequent to talk about writing over art in this country. In high schools they cut the funding to art classes all the time, thus we as a country lose appreciation for the craft of drawing etc. (further "outgrowing" art). However, English classes are still around pumping novels round the clock, along with the air of self importance associated with them. Look at those fucks at the Barnes and Noble, "Look ma, I'm reading literature!" As if, reading any book with only words is awesome.
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Postby Colin on Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:59 am

Neo Zeed wrote:
True. However, I wonder how many people in American society care about the mainstream press, when it comes to comics. I think the perceptions of comics have gained loads of respect, however that hasn't really translated to sales. I know American society is very image conscious, especially when they get older. Society tells them to stop reading "funnybooks" and start reading "real" books. So even if something like Love and Rockets or Blankets is better than whatever novel they're reading, they'll say fuck it and go buy the novel. Because it sounds more impressive to their family, the hot chick, etc. It's also more frequent to talk about writing over art in this country. In high schools they cut the funding to art classes all the time, thus we as a country lose appreciation for the craft of drawing etc. (further "outgrowing" art). However, English classes are still around pumping novels round the clock, along with the air of self importance associated with them. Look at those fucks at the Barnes and Noble, "Look ma, I'm reading literature!" As if, reading any book with only words is awesome.


See, I'd have to disagree with you on that point. A graphic novel like Blankets has huge appeal to chicks. If it's a GRAPHIC NOVEL and not a serial comic pamphlet, it would get a lot more respect and exposure from the mainstream press, as Burl said.

The package is the first thing someone looks at. The second thing is the content. If it's Spider-Man, people may not take it very seriously. If it's an original autobio/romance/drama, people will take more notice.

If Blankets had come out as a monthly comic it wouldn't have sold anything until it was colllected and bound into that great big hardcover.

Fact.
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Postby Crayotic Rockwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:26 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:Comics need to change the way they are formatted and distributed. Hardcovers get all kinds of love from the mainstream press. Someone needs to take a chance on a blockbuster graphic novel that would appeal to a really broad range of idiots like the DaVinci Code did.


Well there has been some manga series put out in hardcover in North America, which didn't do so well.. of course manga is probably more niche than regular comic books.. or so i'd think

I think Calvin & Hobbes is out in hardback too, but again I guess that doesn't count
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Postby Colin on Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:52 pm

What's your point?
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Postby DennisMM on Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:24 pm

The trade paperback problem is sticky, because many comics writers and artists are making their livings on a month-to-month basis, as are lots of us outside the comics world.

For the creators, original trade paperbacks and hardcovers can be a risk. They need to have a substantial amount of work to show a publisher and get a contract, or at least a very strong proposal. If they can't manage that, they don't get the work unless an editor is very kind.

Specialty shop owners also face financial problems if serialized pamphlets slowly fade away and TPs become the norm. Their month-to-month available cash will be tied up in a much smaller number of products, leaving them more vulnerable should items ship late or be canceled.

Should a TP sell quite well, the creators may reap great rewards and greater confidence from the publishers. Many, however, will not.

Affecting both groups are the big-box book stores, which I believe are directly responsible for the manga explosion and the large number of TPs and comics hardcovers. These and smaller bookstores already encroach upon what had been the purview of specialty stores. This can be very bad for the specialty stores and very good for the creators.

It's a whole new way of thinking and selling for the publishers and a new way of creating for most writers and artists. If publication in whole becomes the norm, even popular creators may need day jobs or other sorts of work until they get up to speed.

Sorry if this seems obvious. It's what came to mind.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:39 pm

Crayotic Rockwell wrote:
burlivesleftnut wrote:Comics need to change the way they are formatted and distributed. Hardcovers get all kinds of love from the mainstream press. Someone needs to take a chance on a blockbuster graphic novel that would appeal to a really broad range of idiots like the DaVinci Code did.


Well there has been some manga series put out in hardcover in North America, which didn't do so well.. of course manga is probably more niche than regular comic books.. or so i'd think

I think Calvin & Hobbes is out in hardback too, but again I guess that doesn't count


It seems people keep reading only PART of my post and missing the part about the DaVinci Code. So what if Manga is released in HC. My mom wouldn't be interested in that. Think of it that way. Marvel or DC or some brave third party needs to put out a hardback comic that your mom would read. Is that a good description?
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:09 pm

It's going to take a miracle for comics to go mainstream, if they ever do. The characters can, b/c a character is franchisable. But the comics medium is burrowing into itself. This is mainly due to the fans and companies turning comics into what High Fidelity brilliantly called a "fetish" product. Gone are the days when any kid/yahoo could grab a normal monthly off the rack at the gas station. Now we're all forced to descend into the bowels of comic and hobby stores, places that (again) feel very much like High Fidelity (the music store).

Sure, Burl's mom could get at graphic at Barnes and Noble. But what happens if this entices her to check out single issues? Is she going to become a regular at the Android's Dungeon? Doubt it.

Then there's the kid who discovers Spider-Man through movies, cartoons, or games. Use to, he could just start reading Amazing Spider-Man and begin his path to comic geekness. Now, he has to choose between at least six different ongoing spider books, not mention whatever one-shots or minis are on sale. And each of these at $2-3 a pop.

I won't even go into the incestuous nature of the industry.

So companies drop the ball b/c there's not enough money in simply doing comics and doing comics simply. The reason there's not enough money is b/c us fans have put walls around the medium. To protect it, but mainly to protect ourselves (although the rep is better, comics still carry a "geeky" stigma).

Can it be fixed? Fuck if I know. Let's hope so.
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Postby Neo Zeed on Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:17 pm

DennisMM wrote:The trade paperback problem is sticky, because many comics writers and artists are making their livings on a month-to-month basis, as are lots of us outside the comics world.

For the creators, original trade paperbacks and hardcovers can be a risk. They need to have a substantial amount of work to show a publisher and get a contract, or at least a very strong proposal. If they can't manage that, they don't get the work unless an editor is very kind.

Specialty shop owners also face financial problems if serialized pamphlets slowly fade away and TPs become the norm. Their month-to-month available cash will be tied up in a much smaller number of products, leaving them more vulnerable should items ship late or be canceled.

Should a TP sell quite well, the creators may reap great rewards and greater confidence from the publishers. Many, however, will not.

Affecting both groups are the big-box book stores, which I believe are directly responsible for the manga explosion and the large number of TPs and comics hardcovers. These and smaller bookstores already encroach upon what had been the purview of specialty stores. This can be very bad for the specialty stores and very good for the creators.

It's a whole new way of thinking and selling for the publishers and a new way of creating for most writers and artists. If publication in whole becomes the norm, even popular creators may need day jobs or other sorts of work until they get up to speed.

Sorry if this seems obvious. It's what came to mind.


Really insightful post DennisMM. I've heard that Manga artists are serialized in magazines, and then their work is collected in trades. Sort of like how American comics are in single issue format then collected later. Sounds like a decent way to get paid while waiting to get traded up. However, I know that indy companies like Image don't pay you salaries except on the back end. I've even heard that with some companies, you have to pay them back, if you don't break even. Isn't that insane! As if the publisher had no part in bringing the book to the public, hated the book in the first place, and takes none of the financial responsibilty in it's failure. Where's the support? In that case "Creator Owned" seems like a fools paradise.
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Postby DennisMM on Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:43 pm

Neo Zeed wrote:Really insightful post DennisMM. I've heard that Manga artists are serialized in magazines, and then their work is collected in trades. Sort of like how American comics are in single issue format then collected later. Sounds like a decent way to get paid while waiting to get traded up. However, I know that indy companies like Image don't pay you salaries except on the back end. I've even heard that with some companies, you have to pay them back, if you don't break even. Isn't that insane! As if the publisher had no part in bringing the book to the public, hated the book in the first place, and takes none of the financial responsibilty in it's failure. Where's the support? In that case "Creator Owned" seems like a fools paradise.


Manga generally do appear in serialized form, but as part of a massive "phone book" format anthology rather than as a free-standing title of say, Lum. There are boy's and girl's specialty magazines, as well those aimed at romance readers, martial arts enthusiasts, businesspeople, sports fans -- a much wider readership that US and UK comics. It's as if the person who reads and enjoys many of the "funnies" in the newspaper had a comic geared in her direction. On the whole, this makes any given feature more likely to sell.

Month-to-month gets harder all the time. A Japanese-style system might be a good idea if only the format could crack the walls of its ghetto.
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Postby Shane on Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:14 am

well if we all picked up more monthlies there'd be more to go around.

hint hint
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Postby goodfeets on Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:04 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:It seems people keep reading only PART of my post and missing the part about the DaVinci Code. So what if Manga is released in HC. My mom wouldn't be interested in that. Think of it that way. Marvel or DC or some brave third party needs to put out a hardback comic that your mom would read. Is that a good description?


If the publishers writers and creators knew how to make something as popular as the Divinci Code, then they certainly would. Same goes for movies, books, music, television, etc. When something becomes a hit, it is a fluke and is pretty much unrepeatable.
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