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Tue, September 21st, 2010 at 1:58pm PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

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A LITTLE BIT OF THIS, A LITTLE BIT OF THAT

  • If DC packs up and moves its offices to California, you know what will change for the comics you read? Not much. It might mean more comics that are obviously written for, or with, movie adaptations in mind. Thought it was bad when Wolverine started looking like Hugh Jackman a few years back? Imagine the synergy that might lead to closer integration from DC.

    No matter where DC works out of, most of the same people will still be in charge, and all the same attitudes will be there. It's just that they'll be looking at the sun setting on the ocean, rather than rising over it.

    Comics aren't a centralized world anymore. Artists aren't dropping their pages off at the NYC offices. Heck, they're not always shipping them overnight. So much stuff is done in the computer now that you might as well tell all of DC Editorial to telecommute, and just replace that insane monthly lease with a high telephone bill. WB would still save a ton of money.

  • When's the last time Jim Lee or Geoff Johns tweeted? They're usually prolific. Why so calm all of a sudden? As of this writing on Monday night, they have a combined total of one tweet since September 18th. Maybe they took off Sunday and Monday to catch their breath? Nah, let's be conspiratorial and suggest they're laying low until after news breaks this week.

  • I am not convinced that there is any news to announce, by the way. By the time this is published, I may be proven wrong, but this wouldn't be the first time the echo chamber of internet rumors has whipped itself up into a frenzy assuming one thing when no solid facts ever informed such speculation. It reminds me of the times Apple announces a new product and people complain that Apple didn't release the item they assumed they'd be releasing, even though that assumption was based on wild speculation and rumor-mongering.

  • Old news now, but August 2010 sales were down. Big whoop. It's just a timing issue. Last August had a lot of big event books ship in August, where this August didn't. I'm not crying for the death of the industry because of one down month.

    Oh, I think the comics industry is in a downward spiral as far as periodical print publishing goes, but August 2010 is not the proof of it. You have to look much longer term for that trend.

  • Dear Comic Publishers,

    The only way to get out from Apple's approval guidelines for your content and to truly set your own prices -- those that don't end with ".99" -- is to circumvent the App Store.

    I urge you all to write fancy PDF readers with a comics theme and then offer PDFs for sale through your own stores. Those PDFs could be transferred from a person's computer to their iPad or iPhone for reading.

    That would be the perfect solution.

    You'll learn it eventually. I'd just prefer you not repeat the mistakes of the recording industry for a decade first, losing half your sales in the process.

    Thanks,
    -Augie

  • If you want to see lots of cool art, go peruse Ryan Ottley's TwitPic account, where he posted a whole bunch of sketches he did at a convention over the weekend. There's some amazing stuff in there.

  • And, if you enjoyed my "Smurfs" review a couple weeks back (the book is on the shipping list for this week, at last!), I point you to J. Scott Campbell's Smurfette sketch. It's not quite on the same level of Greg Land's Strawberry Shortcake art for "Wizard" a few years back, don't worry.

  • Is sketchblogging the new self-promotional tool up-and-coming artists should utilize? While I'm out of touch a little with the on-going churn of monthly comics, there are certain names I now look out for based on sketches I've seen of theirs posted on the 'net.

  • Comics reminds me a lot of politics. Everyone is wrong. Everyone thinks they can do better. Everyone is screaming at each other. Nothing gets done. Nothing's going to change. Everything is cyclical. Don't like the current powers in charge? Give it some time and the other guys will swing back in power. Marvel vs. DC. Events vs. Done-In-Ones. Writers vs. Artists. Bright vs. Dark. Humorous vs. Serious.

    You can vote in the next election and, if enough people agree with you, your side will have the chance to screw it up in a new way. In comics, you can vote with your dollars, and maybe enough people "vote" the same way and maybe the publishers will learn the right lessons or maybe they'll find a new way to screw it up.

    It's tough to change an institution. They have a certain inertia that can be tough to defeat. That goes for Congress and that goes for the Direct Market.

    Or maybe I'm just in a mood this week. Next week: Comics are like television networks: The good stuff gets no marketing and dies a quick death in a horrible time slot, while the lowest common denominator sells like gangbusters and drives devoted fans to other media.

    Hmmm...

  • Image's $1 comic this week is the first issue of Joe Kelly's "I Kill Giants" miniseries. This is a great way to get people interested in a great product. For only a dollar, they'll get a teaser for a standalone graphic novel that they can pick up in a couple of different formats: higher end hardcover, or standard trade paperback. Makes more sense to me than "Liberty Meadows" #1 for $1, at least.

  • This is also the week that "Skullkickers" #1 sees print. Pick up your copy, read it very carefully, making sure not to dog ear the corner or stress the spine. Then, gingerly place it in a bag and board, and put it up on eBay. Pay for the eventual collected edition that way.

  • I've been doing a lot of eBay auctions lately, trying to get rid of some things and raise cash for new camera-related toys. It's been an education. So far, no horror stories, and I'm halfway to my goal based solely on an auction of "The Walking Dead" #1-25. For some stuff, there's a real high end market. For the other 99% of auctions, everyone wants a bargain and good luck recouping enough money to make up for the time you lost.

    It's a mental thing, I know, but people seem to like 99 cent auctions with a reserve, more than an auction that starts closer to what the reserve would have been. eBay is like poker: There's a lot of math involved, but you need to play the people to make the most money.

  • I have a simile for everything this week!

  • I'll be first in line for any movie that might ever get made based on the original founding fathers of Image Comics. Heck, I'll put in my request for a ticket to the NYC premiere of the movie. Or a press screening. Anything. Sign me up!

    If that Facebook movie does well, it'll be a good sign for Rob Liefeld's script. Plus, we'll also get to relive that fun time in graphic detail, as everyone will dispute Liefeld's reportage while Liefeld points out the drama necessary to carry a movie. Fun!

  • A quick classic from the Sequential Tart archives: "See Our Breasts!" Sung to the tune, of course, of "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast," this one highlights the lunacy of Antarctic Press characters and their frontal lobes. Lisa Jonte did a good job with the rhymes on this one. ("See our breasts!/See our breasts!/Jutting pertly from our chests!/Let us focus on the mammary,/And disregard the rest!")
THE COMICS OF 1999

Eleven years ago this week, I was reviewing "Herobear and the Kid" #1, a month after picking it up in San Diego:

"Tell your retailer you want to see this one, too. I don't want to go so far as to call this one "The Next Bone," but it's as close to it as I've seen in the past 5 years. I can't wait to see where the story goes and how Kunkel handles the scheduling."

As I recall, the schedule went out the window pretty quickly, not that Kunkel didn't have plans for a quicker schedule. But it's certainly fun to look back on "Herobear" and see what didn't happen. We can start with the musical question, "Could 'Herobear' be the project that saves traditional animation?"

Nope.

But guess who was co-writing the movie script? Jeph Loeb.

Also, in a better sign of the times, I also reviewed DC's "Superman & Savage Dragon: Metropolis." Get a load of this paragraph:

"Why is everyone complaining about the price on this book? This book is 48 pages of story, uninterrupted by ads. It's $4.95. The average "Savage Dragon" issue is $2.50 and comes in at around 22 story pages. So for DC's $5 price tag, you get a book that has glossy pages, squarebound format, cardboard covers, and more than twice as much Dragon story pages for just a nickel under twice the price. (Granted, there is no Dragonbert or Desperate Times or letters column, but this is a special event.) So quit complaining about the price. Complain about other needless intercompany crossovers that run $6 and are crap."

These days, $5 for anything more than 30 pages of story is a steal.

And, wow, I hadn't thought about "Dragonbert" in years. I appeared in that strip onceā€¦

How to get in touch: Twitter @augiedb || E-mail || Pipeline Message Board

Where else I hang out: AugieShoots.com || iPhone Photo Blog || VariousandSundry.com

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