Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Friday, February 03, 2006

Larsen's Latest Column @ CBR

Erik Larsen's latest "One Fan's Opinion" over at CBR is worth a read. He makes some interesting comparisons between the modern-day and back-in-the-day comics industry, commenting on how all change is not necessarily good.

(you may want to go ahead and read the article to put my thoughts below into context)

I've got to admit i'm kind of a loyal guy down to the core, so i've always been a fan of long runs by the same creative team on my favorite titles (even if they have crappy stretches)... You know, like the olden days. It's definitely taken some getting used to the revolving door of writers/artists per title since i've been back into comics. You never really get a chance to settle into a book it seems because of the fear that this creative team you love might be "moving on" here in the next arc.

Larsen makes a good point that, in today's comics industry, where individual flops are $3 an issue, writers/artists don't have the same leeway (from their publishers) to write a shitty arc, which could end up costing us $15 to $18 bucks. Publishers see that drop in sales (even if over a few months) and start looking for a replacement team. I guess i can understand that... comics are so damn expensive these days that i'm inclined to start thinking about dropping a title myself after even the first let-down issue, and certainly by the second or third in a row.

Another of Larsen's resonating points is that writers and artists these days have such an incentive (to much of one?) to stay in the headlines - and jumping from publisher to publisher and/or title to title is a sure-fire way to get your name in articles at Newsarama and posted all over the blogosphere. Does Stan Sakai's new issue of UY (or Larsen's new issue of Savage Dragon) ever get any press? Luckily they've got established fan-bases right? Seems like a lot of forced change (and for all the wrong reasons).

When i got back into comics last year things in the industry had changed mightily. Some things for the better, some for the worse. Creative teams short runs is one for sure, and the idea of a trade paperback or HC collection was completely foreign to me... I don't remember there being many comic "collections" back when i was a kid; my comic collections were short and long boxes full of flops.

Don't get me wrong, i LOVE the idea of collecting flops into TPs (and HCs are a collectors dream), but along the way, the simple idea of collecting a few issues into one "book" seemed to have morphed the entire industry. Everything from the length of our arcs (which often feel either stretched OR compressed to meet the 5-6 issue mark) to the planned stays of our creative teams seem neatly tied back to the marketing experts determination of how many issues will fit into the next TP.

Read Larsen's article (esp if you're a comeback kid like me). It will get you thinking (and probably a lot more eloquently than i).


03 February, 2006 16:05, Blogger joncormier said...

I came to a lot of similar conclusions as Larson did a little while ago. I too returned about a year or so ago - whenever Identity Crisis happened.

I didn't articulate it the same way Larson does because I'm not as plugged into the whole business side of the, well, business. The conclusion I came to was - no book loyalty. I want to be, but I'm not really rewarded for being loyal. If I like creator I'll read his or her stuff. IF they lose me on a few issues I'm off to something else.

Basically if I'm expected to follow someone around and be led by the nose I just won't take kindly to it. I'll go where my time and money are appreciated. AS long as companies are treating their creators like their readers - constantly trying to shuffle it up, then that's how my buying habits will go in return. Don't expect me to be brand loyal if the brand itself isn't acting that way.

04 February, 2006 11:08, Blogger zilla said...

i gotta agree w/ you jon... book loyalty is a huge issue. when i was a kid i was FIERCLY loyal to certain books (so much so that when i got back into comics after 15 years i started w/ essentially the same list of books i left with) and these days... not so much. Writer and/or artist loyalty trumps any feelings i have for any title (or character even).


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel