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#478318 - 11/03/01 12:48 AM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
I seem to see comics as probably the most conservative of industries. Everyone has had trouble coming up with the name of a new great writer. The only name that seems to be occasionally thrown out is Bendis. My feeling on Bendis is that because he is the only new talent, everyone wants him. The first couple books I read by him were very good reads. Now, it seems like he's writing thirty different titles and switching titles every other day. The result is that he's written some weak stories. The name Bendis doesn't necessarily mean a very good read like it use to. I'm sure if he narrowed himself to a couple titles and stuck with them (and before someone points it out, I know with some titles it wasn't his fault he left) then the quality of his stories would go up. But the reality probably is that to only write a couple books probably doesn't make enough money to call it a full time career. The industry itself fragments and stretches thin writers because every publisher wants to just use an established name to sell books and could care less about the quality of what they might be writing. If publishers were out there actively recruiting new talent then maybe Bendis wouldn't be the only new talent. Maybe there would be several great stories out there, which would bring more readers into comics, which would make overall sales go up, which would mean writers could afford to focus on just a few books and put fourth their best writing efforts. I still believe in the Field of Dreams comparison. If the comic industry produces good stories then I believe readers will come.
Zeus

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#478319 - 11/03/01 01:58 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Captain Testicles Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/01
Posts: 34
Loc: Pudendum, Mi
how do you kill something thats already dead???!!?
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#478320 - 11/03/01 06:07 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
JeffMason Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 591
Loc: Gainesville, Florida, USA
I think that there are plenty of new ideas and new creators coming into comics all of the time. At every convention I attend, there are at least two cartoonists I've never met that I want to publish and meet a half-dozen or so that I think should be publishing comics... I get dozens of submissions every week with exciting new ideas and exciting new creators. I just have to be very picky about who I publish within my small publishing company.



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Jeff Mason
Publisher
Alternative Comics
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Jeff Mason - Publisher
Alternative Comics

Web: http://www.indyworld.com/altcomics
Forum: http://www.talkaboutcomics.com/index2.php?c=28#alt

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#478321 - 11/03/01 08:01 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Jeff,
You might very well be publishing the most innovative comics in the industry with new ideas and new creators. The sad thig is I've never seen a single one of the comics you publish at any of my local comic shops. I and numerous other fans probably don't know they exist. My criticism if you want to call it criticism is more directed at the major publishers. If there are new creators and new ideas out there, they seem to be mired in low distribution independents that have been squeezed out of most struggling comic shops. The major publishers won't take a chance on new creators and new ideas because they are strapped for money. The comic shops won't take a chance on carrying independent titles they haven't heard of because they are strapped for money.

One fact just hit me that I think really sums up my point. Think about the writer that has popped up most as being new talent in this discussion. Brian Michael Bendis. Now, think about who really was the first to give him a break in mainstream comics. I know he did some stuff before then, but the first time I read something carried by Bendis at my local shop was Sam & Twitch. Todd McFarlane was the first one to really take a chance on Bendis. It was only after McFarlane gave him the shot that Marvel recognized the talent and snatched him up. DC and Marvel are good at snatching away talent from independents, etc, but seem to be struggling to develop new talent on their own. When Todd McFarlane is the only one bringing new writing talent into the industry, you know there is a problem.
Zeus

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#478322 - 11/03/01 11:02 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
JeffMason Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 591
Loc: Gainesville, Florida, USA
Actually that's not true -- Brian Michael Bendis did AKA Goldfish/Jinx for a few years for Caliber (1995-1997) and hit all of the comic book conventions and worked his ass off. I recall him being a one-man wrecking crew in terms of knocking the doors down to get his books into stores. I recall getting a lot of mail directed to my mail order business from Brian to get me to carry his stuff...

This industry has plenty of talent and plenty of new ideas. Why should DC and Marvel "develop" talents when they can pay better writers and artists to do stuff for them? I won't "develop" talents either -- that's why I won't publish someone who hasn't self-published, done minis, or been in an anthology...

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Jeff Mason
Publisher
Alternative Comics

[This message has been edited by JeffMason (edited 11-03-2001).]
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Jeff Mason - Publisher
Alternative Comics

Web: http://www.indyworld.com/altcomics
Forum: http://www.talkaboutcomics.com/index2.php?c=28#alt

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#478323 - 11/03/01 11:52 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Jeff,
I won't profess to know a lot of Bendis's background. But what you are saying doesn't change my point. Bendis worked his ass off, publishing for a small publisher (caliber). He probably should have been picked up by Marvel or DC way back then. It took Todd McFarlane and Image to give him his break in the mainstream (I use mainstream as a synonym for DC, Marvel, and Image since they are virtually the only companies with titles in the top 100 sales and they are virtually the only publishers I see at most comic shops).

And your last statement backs up my point to "that's why I won't publish someone who hasn't self-published, done minis, or been in an anthology..."
So you're basically saying if someone you had never heard with no comic experience sent you the next Watchman or the next Harry Potter (in comic version for kids) that you turn them down. Why wouldn't it be based on the quality of the story, why wouldn't you publish a book that was a great read regardless of if the writer had any experience?
Zeus

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#478324 - 11/04/01 05:14 AM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
JeffMason Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 591
Loc: Gainesville, Florida, USA
How would this person send me the next Watchmen? You are going to tell me that someone who has never completed one story for an anthology or printed up one mini-comic is going to be ready to be published? I guess we may be comparing apples to oranges -- I don't hook up writers and artists. I don't accept scripts as submissions. I also don't accept samples of artwork as submissions. I accept full project proposals as submissions. Nope -- I am not going to publish someone who doesn't know how to put a comic book story together.

There are more good cartoonists out there that can put something together on their own than I am able to publish, so why agree to publish a project from someone who has no idea what they are doing?

I wouldn't publish Harry Potter nor Watchmen anyway, I'm not really into that genre stuff. And if you are only talking about superhero comics being lacking in new talent, I don't think you are right as I see new names attached to superhero comics all of the time.

Most companies are unwilling to hire absolutely new talent for absolutely new projects because the new talent has no ability to generate sales for that company because of their lack of name recognition. The new project would most likely fail because comic book readers, perhaps like yourself, need the name Brian Michael Bendis or Kevin Smith to buy a comic book from that company.

You are arguing a tautology in that you say "there is no new talent and the companies aren't taking a chance on anyone new" -- actually there is new talent and the companies are taking chances on new folks, but you don't think these new talents have achieved something some set of criteria to appear on your radar.

I can think of many dozens of new cartoonists/writers with loads of promise from the last ten years: Jason, James Sturm, Ben Catmull, Graham Annable, Nick Bertozzi, Matt Madden, James Kochalka, Jason Lutes, Ed Brubaker, Adrian Tomine, Tom Hart, Jon Lewis, Paul Pope, Jessica Abel, Kurt Wolfgang, Ariel Schrag, Ben Katchor, Brian Biggs, Brian Ralph, Craig Thompson, Derek Kirk, Ellen Lindner, Gabrielle Bell, Jason Little, K. Thor Jensen, Kalah Allen, Lark Pien, Lauren Weinstein, Laurenn McCubbin, Robyn Chapman, Ron Rege Jr., Sam Hester, Sara Varon, Steve Weissman, Jen Sorensen, Tomer Hanuka, Robert Ullman, Jeff Smith, and Scott Morse just to name a few...

[This message has been edited by JeffMason (edited 11-04-2001).]
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Jeff Mason - Publisher
Alternative Comics

Web: http://www.indyworld.com/altcomics
Forum: http://www.talkaboutcomics.com/index2.php?c=28#alt

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#478325 - 11/04/01 01:58 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Oscar Solis. Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/00
Posts: 62
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
I think the answer would be a bit of both.
But it's true of all mediums. Hollywood studios don't want small stories, they want blockbusters that'll cover the losses of all the other "blockbusters" that didn't make it. I think it's the same with the comic industry (the majors, I mean). After all is said and done it's a business that's beholden to the market.
Still, I find it interesting that "From Hell", perhaps the greatest graphic novel of all time (imho), didn't come from the majors. Why would we expect it to? No superheroes, no exploding galaxies, no "I'm the best at what I do and what I do isn't very nice". It's just a historical novel that examines the society that allowed 5 murders to happen. But it's the highwater mark. Do I expect the majors to hit it? Nah, They may try, but I don't think it'll happen because chances are they'll try it with superheroes and when all is said and done, it's still too damn hard to take a guy in trunks seriously, no matter how well crafted the story is.

The best hope lies in the independent creators. The ones who don't aspire to working for the majors. They'll be the ones that bring the best stories to fruitation.

And perhaps it's time that the comics shops took a good hard look at what they're selling and how fast it ends up in the half price bin.

If you want an idea of what great levels the comics form can reach check out Eddie Campbell's list of the best graphic novels at the end of 'Alec: How to be an Artist".

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#478326 - 11/04/01 06:20 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Jeff,
I can't tell if we are agreeing or arguing. My entire post started with that publishers are not willing to take chances on new ideas or new creators, and you're basically saying even as a small publisher you aren't either.
You seem to be raising the counterpoint that someone with no experience can't create the great American comic book. I would argue though that they could have gotten their experience in short stories, magazines, or some other medium. Or they just might be a very good natural talent. Personally I have the upmost respect for the small publishers and self publishers. But I think the mainstream is overlooking them currently as well. My entire point is that it should be based on the work. Publishers should look at if the story is a great read and that should be irregardless of if the writer and/or artist have tons of experience, a little experience in independents, or no experience at all. Instead they are just looking at the name. They will stretch the few big names in the industry thin trying to slap their name on every book to just move product. And maybe it's working somewhat now. But I as a fan am starting to get tired of seeing the few good writers in the field hired on to do six issue stints and then switched to another title. I know it's a clever trick to get fans reading that title and then hope they keep buying after the star writer has left. And it probably works for a couple issues, but as a fan I am getting frustrated.
I find it surprising that while many have pointed to writers thy consider great working in self or small publishing and while many have agrued that there are better comics than the Watchmen, very few have focused on my original point that new ideas and new creators are not being developed by the mainstream comic industry.
Zeus

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#478327 - 11/05/01 01:11 PM Re: Is a lack of new ideas and new creators killing the comic's industry?
Ayo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/01
Posts: 1077
Loc: New York
I don't know...doom and gloom was me in high school.

I think that solid talent, diverse ideas, and SOUND BUSINESS PRACTICES can resurrect this god-forsaken industry from its deathbed.
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