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#581532 - 12/28/10 11:21 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
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Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Re: "I think the advantage will be to those creators who can sit down and make a 200+ page graphic novel."

The core issue here remains HOW does one eat while creating/completing such an expansive work?

The recent Vertigo revised contracts indicates clearly that the long-viable (initiated by Dave Sim and the Pinis) use of pamphlet/floppy comics as vehicles of serializing longer works (and ensuring income as the work is completed, chapter by chapter) is no longer marketable.

This is one of the biggest challenges for the marketplace and the medium: HOW does one sustain the work? How does one eat while doing the work? Let's not forget the many models we've seen: MAUS, FROM HELL, LOST GIRLS, CAGES, etc. took many modes and publishers and venues to reach completion, and even then, works like MAUS and STUCK RUBBER BABY were completed only due to windfalls (e.g., a Guggenheim grant, Howard Cruse's partner Eddie landing an unexpected prize from the gay community, etc.). These AREN'T viable models for future work.

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#581544 - 12/29/10 01:56 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
I'm not sure being able to earn a living will be feasible for a while. Maybe for a quirky individual here and there. Someone who's addicted to ramen and can produce a page an hour all day every day perhaps. But I think there could be a time in the near future where comics are made only by people who want to make them. Great for the comics that actually get made, not so much for the people who are already pulling down a day job, whether or not they have a family.

There will be niches in industrial or educational comics. [Joe Kubert still does the art for PS Magazine] Marvel, DC and probably a few other licensing companies will need a few artists on the payroll. Comics are entrenched enough in the bookstores that the publishers and retailers with access to those markets will be looking for for options themselves. This last is where being able to produce a couple hundred pages every year will be a benefit.
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#581550 - 12/29/10 07:24 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
The core issue here remains HOW does one eat while creating/completing such an expansive work?

How do people eat while they're writing a regular book? They get an advance-against-royalties deal. They keep a day job. They move in with their parents. Any number of ways.

The core issue, for me anyway, is deciding what it is you're doing. If it's intended to be an ongoing serial, why lay out the story in "arcs?" I've been reading the collected Peanuts editions and Schulz doesn't bring the story to a crashing finish on December 31st.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
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#581555 - 12/29/10 11:02 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Allen Montgomery]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
The core issue here remains HOW does one eat while creating/completing such an expansive work?

How do people eat while they're writing a regular book? They get an advance-against-royalties deal. They keep a day job. They move in with their parents. Any number of ways.


The problem with that is comics are generally a collaborative effort. The number of people who can not only write and draw but do all the other things necessary to create a comic is fairly small.

Mike

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#581558 - 12/29/10 03:57 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
The assembly line process of creating comics is a construct of trademark servicing publishers, and should be wholly rejected.
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#581572 - 12/29/10 08:36 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
In fact, the problem is the LENGTH OF TIME necessary to do truly novel-length comics. Whether solo (MAUS, CAGES, STUCK RUBBER BABY, etc.), collaborative (WALKING DEAD, FROM HELL, LOST GIRLS, etc.), and/or creator-owned or not, it takes YEARS to see these projects through.

Allen, you talk with rather bullish authority. But you're acting as if the solutions of the past apply now. Given the imploding publishing/print modes, and the rise of digital methods still not providing replacement models as yet, we're in a curious period of transition and major change.

The problem is, the publishing model typical for books and writers falls miserably short of the mark with comics, due largely to the exponentially larger work period necessary to write AND DRAW anything of substance. As many case histories indicate, even the most generous advances simply do not bankroll a work that takes five-to-ten years to complete, with the creator(s) working full bore.

Let's face it: if we lose the serialized "floppy" format—and thus, the model that most recently made WALKING DEAD viable (floppy to slim trade collected to hardcover, fuller page count collected), we're in trouble in this current generation. There are solutions being put out there: SCOTT PILGRIM embraced the manga multi-volume format, foregoing floppies altogether; and it's interesting to see mainstream book publishers trying to establish something else (e.g., Charles Burns's latest, first volume just recently out), but we'll see what flies, won't we?

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#581581 - 12/30/10 12:56 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
Allen, you talk with rather bullish authority.
That's the way he talks about most everything.

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#581582 - 12/30/10 01:04 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
...There are solutions being put out there: SCOTT PILGRIM embraced the manga multi-volume format, foregoing floppies altogether; and it's interesting to see mainstream book publishers trying to establish something else (e.g., Charles Burns's latest, first volume just recently out), but we'll see what flies, won't we?

Darwyn Cooke's Parker adaptations are another example. I saw an iFanboy interview were he spoke about how they actively tried to make the book coverss look as much like a prose novel as possible, for shelf placement by genre, instead of with the graphic novels.

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#581592 - 12/30/10 07:22 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Joe Lee]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
Where are those Christopher Golden Hellboy prose novels shelved, I wonder?
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

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#581593 - 12/30/10 07:44 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Allen Montgomery Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
Let's face it: if we lose the serialized "floppy" format—and thus, we're in trouble in this current generation.

Let me be clear. I love the serialized floppy format. What irks me about it, however, is that the stories in most of them are now being specifically formatted into "arcs" to fill the TPB, which is how it's kept in print (if it's kept in print beyond that). This yields many story mechanics problems, like, "We won't find out who the killer next issue because it's only part four of six!" or, "How in the flark are they going to wrap up all these subplots in one issue?

The example I've used several times here is Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman where she had WW go round-and-round with some stupid new murdering villain for six issues, then just figured out how to kill him in two panels on the last page. Why didn't she do that five issues earlier? Because they had to put it into a TPB format, that's why.

Adam Warren doesn't seem to have any trouble putting out his series of Empowered OGN's. Without going to check, I'm thinking they're like 96 pages. Each one is a series of shorts that build to a complete story in each volume. Dark Horse keeps them in print in that original format. Mark Crilley is doing something similar with his new book, Brody's Ghost (although it has more of a "to be continued..." vibe to it).
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

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