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Author Topic: What is wrong with comics today?  (Read 6988 times)

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Offline Yoc

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2012, 05:28:57 PM »
Issue Zero - always loved that non-concept.
Blech!

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2012, 05:28:57 PM »

Offline a nonny moose

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2012, 06:12:43 PM »
Issue Zero - always loved that non-concept.
Blech!

I think DC is missing a huge market for other issue numbers. Think of all the irrational numbers that haven't had issues yet. Issue π! (that's a 'pi') Square root of two! e! The list is endless (literally!)

Offline John C

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2012, 05:48:57 AM »
I think DC is missing a huge market for other issue numbers. Think of all the irrational numbers that haven't had issues yet. Issue π! (that's a 'pi') Square root of two! e! The list is endless (literally!)

And Roy's negative numbers (didn't someone do that?), and then imaginary and complex numbers!  You'd never have to reach the (apparently hated) second issue, and you can reserve the complex numbers without real parts, for dreams, hoaxes, and...oh, what's the term...?

It mostly amazes me that they need an entire "gimmick" month so soon to support the new venture.  And I find it very amusing, scanning down the page, at how far they needed to reach to make the month work.  Some "highlights" that caught my attention as sounding like that scraping sound you heard was the barrel's bottom:

• Jonah Hex’s early life is accounted for...and it’s plenty ugly!
• Where was the Scarab before it merged with the current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes?
• What exactly was the Unknown Soldier before the experiments that changed him forever?
• What is the dark truth behind Grifter’s powers? Find out in this issue!
• The horrible curse that unite them is revealed!
• Witness how Andrew Bennett became a vampire!
• Frankenstein meets his maker…literally!
• The New 52 origin of Guy Gardner!
• The introduction and origin of a surprising new Green Lantern!
• Do you really need another reason to check out this issue?

I think my favorite is the Guy Gardner one, not even trying to convince us it's interesting.  It's an origin, take it or leave it, I guess.

Honorable mention goes to Frankenstein, where they apparently didn't realize that literally meeting one's maker isn't the shocking development that figuratively doing so might be.  Gosh, how will they meet?  Will it be an intimate dinner?  A dental appointment?  A poker game?  The suspense is killing me...figuratively!

(It might have worked better if they had put out a mess of collected zero-issues cheaply before the "new 52" launched.  Then the boring origin stories could have been previews of the brave new world, and the numbering would have divorced it from the ongoing/ending universe.)

Talented writers + talented artists = good stories
good stories -direct market + price point + digital download =  sales.
Why is this hard?

Actually, that's not even the question anymore.  They clearly think (along with many other companies) that they're in a monopoly position with a product required for survival, so no matter how shoddy, expensive, or inconvenient the product, money will apparently roll in, even if that happens to not be a factual result.

The real question I have, at this point, is why there's no competition.  An entire industry revolving around recycling last year's concepts for this year's readers (who were also among last year's readers) and making you jump through hoops to spend too much on the product...where are all the wannabes putting out a decent digital download undercutting their prices and without having to sign up for a magic service?

(I had high hopes for Jim Shelley's Flashback Universe books, but that seems to have been more of a hobby to test the waters than a business, and sort of collapsed into another blog complaining about comics/reliving childhood memories of comics.  A real shame.)

Offline Roygbiv666

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2012, 05:54:09 AM »
I think the 1970s Jonah Hex series had a story about how he was scarred up:
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20060505232504/marvel_dc/images/3/3b/Jonah_Hex_v.1_07.jpg
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Jonah_Hex_Vol_1_7

The rest just seem like regular stories.

I don't think they are necessarily more gimmicky than stuff we read in the 1970s, except instead of having online previews we had covers with ridiculous promises of the contents.


• Jonah Hex’s early life is accounted for...and it’s plenty ugly!

Offline misappear

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2012, 07:37:11 AM »
After reading comments for several days, it strikes me that a total collapse of the big two might not be a bad thing.  Perhaps a true artform could rise from the ashes.  One thing for sure tho, the current corporate models don't lend themselves to production of sustained quality over a drenching of cheap and unmemorable garbage. 

The war between DC and Marvel for market share continues. 

Does anyone ever really win in a war?

--David

Offline John C

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2012, 03:56:02 PM »
The rest just seem like regular stories.
I don't think they are necessarily more gimmicky than stuff we read in the 1970s, except instead of having online previews we had covers with ridiculous promises of the contents.

I don't know how the stories will be, but by "gimmick," I meant an entire month of zero issues which all involve origin stories of one sort or another, many of which come in variant covers.  They might be well-written, but the selling point is clearly intended to be COLLECTOR'S ITEM.

And what drew my attention to the Jonah Hex issue was the "...and it's plenty ugly."  Because Confederate Civil War veterans are generally known for having led such coddled existences.  Most of the rest just struck me as "let's turn a one-panel concept into twenty-two pages."  I mean, I'm pretty sure I can guess how Andrew Bennett became a vampire.  I'd like to think that the Unknown Soldier used to be a...uhm...what's the word...a soldier.

Offline bcholmes

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2012, 07:19:10 PM »
Does anyone ever really win in a war?

The people who sell the bullets.

BC
I make comics!
"In school, all the other kids laughed at me because I was just a brain in a jar."

Offline chaard

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2013, 03:42:16 PM »
I think I'll revive this topic and throw in some vague generalities.

What's wrong with comics, or cinema, or text fiction, or any narrative artform? Indifferent writing. Boring stories. The rendition may be technically superb, but if the story doesn't grab me RIGHT AWAY, then bleh. Compelling storytelling can carry weak (audio)visuals; great eye-ear-thumb-candy can't rescue insipid stories. And I find myself with zero interest in constantly rebooted universes, or overused stale old universes, which include many multi-sequel-prequel franchises.

Supply+demand economics rears its head here. Despite all the zillions of authors in the world, relatively few REALLY tell compelling stories. The major studios+imprints always find it easier and more profitable to exploit and re-churn old formulae, than to risk innovation. And they still sell the stuff, so why bother taking risks? Meanwhile, my ex-sis-in-law is an NYT-Bestseller author -- who pays her bills with franchise novelizations, not her own excellent original stories. It's a McStory world.

Webcomics and other creator-owned media may shake the majors, or maybe not. A micropayment system might ensure economic viability - would you pay US$0.001 (1/10th of a cent) per page for digital downloads, if almost all the money went to the creator? Can quality work be produced without corporate intermediaties skimming the take?

I won't go into subscriptions, tablets, clouds etc here. Those are details. The big picture: Deliver compelling stories at a fair price.

Offline narfstar

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2013, 05:50:39 PM »
I bought some comics recently from Cloud9. I was surprised to find several had 4 of 5 issues out. This would indicate to me that they had some success with the earlier issues. I hope that is the case. I also have bought some of the "submitted" issues on Comixology. Supporting the little guy. Both offer several types of previews sometimes the first issue free of a series. These are usually what entices me to buy the rest because I want to see what happens. Some like Amber Atoms and Matriach left me satisfied and/or wanting more while others got tired before I finished but may have bought the rest because they were not too much anyway. Sometimes money wasted sometimes well spent. But if the cost compared to new paper is factored in I came out way cheaper than buying paper books that I did not like. Comixology also allows me to buy digital from my LCS to help support them.

Offline KevinP

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2013, 02:48:08 PM »
a return to "all ages" stories ... Part of it has to be - their first exposure is the movie or cartoon - to them, unlike us, the comics version isn't the "real" character


They do offer a few kid's comics, but they are just that - written down to what they think a kid would read.  That's a far cry from the actual all ages books that used to be readable by kids and adults.  The comics I grew up with in the 50s and the 60s had intriguing stories, not too gritty or complicated for kids but not too simple for grown ups. They used to say comics were becoming dumber because writers like Fox and Broome had read real literature, classic and pulp, and the ones who followed them had read mostly comics.

And it's not just the kids who don't recognize the "real" characters, because there no longer is a real version, what with a "New 52" type reboot almost annually.  The characters on kids' bedspreads and backpacks don't reflect today's savage hawkmen or sword-wielding wonder women. 

I think that with the success of THE DARK KNIGHT FALLS and WATCHMEN, writers decided that ultraviolent heroes and villains were more "mature" than heroes who outwitted their foes instead of just being meaner. Neither book was intended to become the model for the whole industry. Some comics, notably the Bat-books, now read like they hired a bunch of death-obsessed psychotic inmates to write them.  That's just being immature in the opposite direction.

         
"Stories are signposts to help the world choose between the darkness and the light." ~Arago

Offline narfstar

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2013, 05:14:33 PM »
The most successful cartoons like Bugs Bunny, etc were written for adults at the movie theater. Kids and adults love them. Dumbed down not only happens in kids cartoons and comics but the ones for adults also. I find very little humor in many of todays comedy movies. But then I think back to enjoying Jerry Lewis movies and wonder if they were really that much better.

Offline John C

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2013, 04:55:47 AM »
At the other end of those decisions, I'll just quickly mention that I roll my eyes a bit, every time I hear someone insist that "comics aren't just for kids anymore."  First, because early comics clearly weren't.  Second, because kids actually like some pretty good stuff.  Third, because I learned quickly growing up that the kids who talk about how mature and grown-up they are...tend to be the most childish.

I wonder if that's indicative of the industry, now that I think about it:  By pretending it's art and anybody who doesn't like it just doesn't understand, the creators convince themselves to an extent that a good product is a secondary concern.

Offline KevinP

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2013, 06:59:42 PM »
Love that opening statement.  Note that the superhero movies that are so big with the general public right now (Marvel at least) have all the optimism and wonder of the original, early comics.  I'm a little worried that they're moving into the darker and more cosmic stuff too soon, with Thanos and Winter Soldier and the like. 
"Stories are signposts to help the world choose between the darkness and the light." ~Arago

Offline paw broon

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2013, 05:33:19 AM »
Moonled, I have to agree what you wrote about, "today's savage hawkmen or sword-wielding wonder women.".  And, "Some comics, notably the Bat-books, now read like they hired a bunch of death-obsessed psychotic inmates to write them."
I find the Bat titles almost unreadable but then, I read very few modern superhero comics.  This from someone who still has Batman in his top 3.  But Batman of other eras - Beginnings, through the '40's; later '50's - early '60's; Adams and the different looks from Garcia Lopez, Wrightson, Gulacy etc.  But I remember doing a wee t.v. thingy years ago with the bloke from F.P. , Pete Root and others and all being agreed on how we felt Dark Knight saved comics.  How pretentious that sounds now. Hindsight is a great thing but looking back, I wonder if , rather than saving the industry, it darkened it and let the big 2 continue to fight it out when perhaps, without Watchmen or DK, other companies and creators might have popped up with alternative forms of comics entertainments.
It's interesting, to me at any rate, that other comics cultures have/had such a huge diversity of subject matter and these industries are reasonably successful in selling their products.  In part because there are, in Japan, Europe, S. America, lots of different publishers, all competing for market share so there almost has to be a diversity of subject matter in order to appeal to as large an audience as possible.  Here in the U.K. there was a huge comics business (sadly mostly disappeared, in the main because of the arrival of American comics in the '60's and more and more people looking down their noses at comics and their readership - we are not, nowadays, a comics interested country) with few superheroes or Masked Men but papers filled with all sorts of subject matter, sports, adventure, war, s.f., funnies, school, ( for girls and boys) etc.
I looked at my recent American comics purchases and they are mainly non- superhero.  And the books I read from Izneo are all detective, adventure or historical.
Well worth a look at Cloud 9, Izneo, Comixology and others, if only to see what can be done without resort to sword-weilding Wonder Woman or the disgrace of turning Hawkman into something horrible (something which isn't new, if you cast your minds back to the Dark JLA of many years ago)
Stephen Montgomery

Offline startreksteve

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Re: What is wrong with comics today?
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2013, 04:07:56 AM »
I got back into comics after a long break, stopped subscribing to Spider-man when I was 16 (couldnt afford to pay for it being posted to the UK from the US) Im 55 now and got a Motorola Xoom and a Nexus 7 for comic reading. I try and buy a couple of comics a month to keep my local shop a little healthier. If I paid for all the comics I download, I would spend hundreds a month, a lot of them are disposeable and not worth keeping. A lot I couldnt buy anywhere anyway, I recently discovered the delights of The Invisibles, The Boys, Transmetropolitan, The Authority, Planetary and all of Alan Moores work. These are classics and I've bought several of them for the joy of owning them physically. Am I wrong to download them? I could never have afforded to buy them all, although one way I got back into comics is because when visiting the local library every week, I noticed all the graphic novels and came out with an armful every week! I feel I would have miised a great deal of comic-book culture by not reading some of these classics, I cant beleive what was produced in the 80's and 90's that I wasnt even aware of - girls and motorcycles kind of got in the way, I didnt read so many  ordinary books in those days either. My 18 year old wounnt read a book to save his life unless it was on Facebook, but my 8 year old devours the printed word and comics as much as me - probably a bit more at the moment, around ten books a week at the local library, full books not the little kiddie ones with 50 words total in them. He reads for at least two hours a night, he's definitely a mini-me! Im a bit annoyed with all the multiples of spin-offs of the classic comic series, I mean I dont even know how many Avengers are going to press every month!
Rant over...
Steve