The Basement Tapes: Issue #62.5

Tue, December 6th, 2005 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Joe Casey & Matt Fraction, Columnist

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Sometimes, this is what happens when two writers e-mail each other:

An ongoing conversation behind closed doors, equal parts experience, opinion, critique, and outright rambling, THE BASEMENT TAPES are an attempt to present somewhat serious discussion about the somewhat serious business of comicbooks between two writers waist-deep in the perplexing and ever-evolving morass of their own careers.

And, sometimes, THIS is what happens instead. Somewhere between too much tryptophan in the turkey and real life getting all huffy and holding its breath as a ploy to get us to pay it attention, we just didn't get much of a conversation going this past week. As such we've not got much of a column and are looking for some small shred of honor in our cop-out.

And yet, there, way up there, his bright light burning through the heavens like a ray of pure hope, comes Tom Spurgeon, erstwhile Comics Reporter. Tom, whose interview with Joe in "The Comics Journal" a few years back inadvertently started THE BASEMENT TAPES, has once again sat down with Joe (One would assume he was sitting; then again, maybe Tom has posture and spine issues and handles his emails standing. Who knows? It is one of Spurgeon's many mysteries.) and went back, Jack, and did it again.

It's certainly worth a little of your time and attention:

SPURGEON: I hate to put you on the spot as speaking for the entire mainstream, but I don't get a chance to talk to too many creators in your position. Drawing on your own experience and what you're seeing, is there a qualitative difference between working for each of the Big Two right now or are those kind of differences in approach more a figment of the fan's imagination and/or marketing people?

CASEY: I think there is a difference right now... because what I'm seeing from both Marvel and DC demonstrates very different philosophies in terms of what makes a successful superhero comic book. DC's is pretty obvious. Marvel's... not so much. But I only look at that particular situation with mild interest, really. I'm writing a lot of stuff for Marvel so if I feel they're missing anything -- and that would be completely my own opinion -- then I'm in a position at the moment to try and provide it. Other than that, I'll leave it to much more qualified pundits than me... like you and Heidi, the new gold standards of comic book culture-and-news blogging.

Actually, I do think the fans who pay attention to the industry are more savvy than even they realize. When they try to speculate on any one individual's personal agenda, they're usually way off the mark but in terms of the way the Big Two market themselves and how they put themselves out there... they tend to be pretty right on.

So if you could divert your kind attention to that interview and check back in with us next week, that'd be just dandy.

Thanks, kids.

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