Come In Alone: Issue #43

Fri, September 22nd, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Warren Ellis, Columnist

Travelling The Road Of Hate

MAGGOTS

[Chris Claremont]
Chris Claremont
Stop talking about Chris Claremont being moved off X-Men again like it's important. It's not. It doesn't affect anything. The book won't be readable by humans until it's been extensively operated upon. And even then: it's X-Men. Financially, it's of limited importance to Toy Biz Marvel, whom, as we all now know, are in the Dolls & Stuffed Toys business. Culturally, it's of minimal interest to anyone. The film told its one-size-fits-all alienation parable far better than the comic has in twenty years or more. The comic is irrelevant. Stop wasting space and breath on it.

X-Men and Uncanny X-Men are beautifully drawn, but are simply not relevant. Quit pretending otherwise.

SCUM
I'm on the verge of taking my custom as a buyer of comics away from comics stores that can't be arsed to display comics in the window. I'm sick of the argument that putting Pokemon in the window brings new people into the store, because all it does is bring in people who buy Pokemon shit and fuck off out again. If you want to be a toy store, then open a fucking toy store and quit pretending you're a comics shop. If you're afraid to sell comics or embarrassed of selling comics, then frankly we don't need you. If you believe in the medium and are proud of being in the business, then display comics in your window. I don't hear bookstores telling me they need to window-display WWF figures instead of books or else no-one would come in off the street.

And that would be because it's bullshit.

FILTH
Speculation on comics prices is shit. Let me say that again for the hard of thinking. Speculation on comics prices is shit. It is for the emotionally and ethically retarded. It is a game for human filth. Rabid speculation led directly to the state of the comics market today. I'm amazed that anyone needs reminding of this. Specifically WIZARD Magazine, which was around to report on it all. And now WIZARD Magazine is promoting speculation once again, jabbering about "portfolios" of collectible comics, its founder Gareb Shamus frothing at the mouth on live TV in his comparisons of comics to stocks and outrageously unsupportable claims of the probable financial returns of comics speculation. "If books are in high grade (condition) there is really a lot of demand for them, especially today." Says Shamus. "Where do you find that demand?" asks CNN? In the pages of WIZARD and the electrons of wizardworld.com, owned and operated by Shamus. "The popularity of movies like "X-Men" create a lot of buzz in the comic world, adds Shamus. And that can only mean good things for collectors, sometimes in unexpected ways."

Yeah. God forbid anyone should read the fucking things. Wouldn't want comics to have any more cultural value than your average fucking stamp, would we?

"It can be a better ride than the stock market. Who knows? Even with comic books costing a couple dollars nowadays, if you hold on to them, in the long run you may be able to cash in a fortune."

Remember: if you're online, there's absolutely no reason to be reading WIZARD. For news, you've got the Comic Wire and Comics Newsarama. For interviews and articles, you've got Popimage and Savant. For pictures of fantasy women with unfeasibly large breasts, you have Usenet. And, in fact, if you are online and buying WIZARD - then you must be buying it for the price guide. And so we will be able to identify you.

Filth.

TURDS
The new issue of a comic I supplied story ideas to, X-MAN, shipped this week. X-MAN is a science fiction comic based on X-Men related concepts, work I was careful to make accessible to new readers in the spirit of illustrating that X-books do not have to be hermetic soap-operas. It was shipped in a plastic bag which also contained an AOL CD. This increases the weight of the comic by 50%. Comics stores pay the freight on their delivered comics. Their freight bill is somewhat larger this week, and they have been given no credit on the freight against paying for shipment of something they did not expect and did not order. At least one representative of the distributor, Diamond, has informed retailers that no freight credit will be forthcoming. In retaliation against this elision of their profit margin, some retailers are stripping off the bag and tossing the CD before putting X-MAN out for sale. One retailer, Phil Boyle of the Coliseum Of Comics chain in Florida, has suggested that if AOL considers this promotion a success, then it may lead to comics being seen as an avenue through which anyone may distribute anything - at cost to the retailer.

Like the direct market wasn't damaged enough. Like retailers aren't in trouble enough.

If you are a retailer, and you are stripping the CD, then you may wish to go to http://www.aol.com/info/feedback.html and tell them that their promotion isn't working, and why.

I can be contacted by email about this column at warren@comicbookresources.com. My terribly beautiful website, updated last week with a new front-page essay and now containing an online store (carrying most things listed in INSTRUCTIONS) and a 24-hour rolling news service, is http://www.warrenellis.com .

Yes, I know I still owe a response to REINVENTING COMICS. It's occurred to me, though, that the best way to write something about RC would be to do it as a comic…

My other column, BAD WORLD, can be found at http://www.opi8.com/badworld.shtml.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read JUDGE DREDD: THE MEGA-HISTORY by Colin M Jarman and Peter Acton (Lennard Publishing, 1995), listen to WARABE by Kodo, and visit the dot-com deadpool, fuckedcompany.com, at http://www.fuckedcompany.com.

Today's recommended graphic novel is JUDGE DREDD: AMERICA by John Wagner and Colin McNeil.

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