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#582329 - 01/13/11 04:48 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7074
Originally Posted By: MBunge
You care about these bullshit amateur theories on comics that apparently make you feel smart. Any time anyone tries to show you how your bullshit amateur theories are in error, you throw a little hissy fit.

Well, you're welcome to join in that discussion about future comics distribution models any time you feel like 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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#582330 - 01/13/11 04:56 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Strenuous Teddy]
MBunge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Strenuous Teddy
Excelling at holistic comics creation is hard but no harder than excelling at any other complex task.


I'm not sure there's any need for a phrase like "holistic comics creation", but I think I get your point. I'm not sure you quite understand how the use of "assistants" in Japanese comics undermines it, however.

Fundamentally, though, I've got to ask a question. Have you ever created a comic? I have to ask because you don't seem to appreciate that the ability and skill to tell a story and the ability and skill to draw have very little connection.

Mike

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#582331 - 01/13/11 05:18 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Allen Montgomery]
MBunge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: MBunge
You care about these bullshit amateur theories on comics that apparently make you feel smart. Any time anyone tries to show you how your bullshit amateur theories are in error, you throw a little hissy fit.

Well, you're welcome to join in that discussion about future comics distribution models any time you feel like it.


Well, it would be nice to discuss the subject without having to deal with your bullshit amateur theories.

Mike

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#582333 - 01/13/11 06:55 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Originally Posted By: MBunge
Originally Posted By: Strenuous Teddy
Excelling at holistic comics creation is hard but no harder than excelling at any other complex task.


I'm not sure there's any need for a phrase like "holistic comics creation", but I think I get your point. I'm not sure you quite understand how the use of "assistants" in Japanese comics undermines it, however.

Fundamentally, though, I've got to ask a question. Have you ever created a comic? I have to ask because you don't seem to appreciate that the ability and skill to tell a story and the ability and skill to draw have very little connection.


They better have a connection when one has to tell stories through drawing.
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The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#582335 - 01/13/11 07:04 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Charles Reece]
MBunge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Originally Posted By: MBunge
Originally Posted By: Strenuous Teddy
Excelling at holistic comics creation is hard but no harder than excelling at any other complex task.


I'm not sure there's any need for a phrase like "holistic comics creation", but I think I get your point. I'm not sure you quite understand how the use of "assistants" in Japanese comics undermines it, however.

Fundamentally, though, I've got to ask a question. Have you ever created a comic? I have to ask because you don't seem to appreciate that the ability and skill to tell a story and the ability and skill to draw have very little connection.


They better have a connection when one has to tell stories through drawing.


They have to be linked, which can happen with a single creator or through collaboration with others.

Mike

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#582336 - 01/13/11 08:24 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Strenuous Teddy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 361
Originally Posted By: MBunge


Fundamentally, though, I've got to ask a question. Have you ever created a comic? I have to ask because you don't seem to appreciate that the ability and skill to tell a story and the ability and skill to draw have very little connection.





That would appear to be an ad hominem. Allen has made comics. He even took course on the subject. So I guess that means you accept his judgment on the matter? There is no point in me answering this question.

As to the rest, I said I would not repeat myself but perhaps one last time. Separately there may be no major connection between parts. Their connection is relative to the unity of the medium, its goals and means. Storytelling is about communicating an experience. The particular media through which the story is told is operating on your perceptions. Drawing too operates on your perceptions to communicate a subjective experience and it is the essential narrative tool in comics. The art is the storytelling in the medium of comics. They are inseparable.

Independently, drawing and storytelling generally share that goal of communicating an experience. Both require a well developed sense of observation and viewpoint. An ability to look beyond the superficial. An appreciation for ambiguity. They both employ rhythm and require ability in emphasis and subordination. They both draw on certain basic principles employed according to a unified structure. Storytelling is unified by its overall progression and is formed by characters, motivations, conflict and story events. Drawing has its own visual composition consisting of elements like line, shape, and value. If you want to be good at drawing you break down the basic individual elements and learn them and practice employing them together through the act of drawing as well as studying works that exemplify good drawing. Learning to tell stories follows a similar scheme. And so learning to see this process in pursuing one gives a helpful framework in pursuing the other and ultimately in learning to break down and assemble the principles of comics craft. Learning the power of suggestion rather than explicit statement in drawing can directly help one understand analogous concepts in writing and the same for balancing complexity with simplicity, and so to with grasping the difference between technical academic aptitude and true expressive communication.

Quote:
They have to be linked, which can happen with a single creator or through collaboration with others.


You are shifting the argument again. I already said that I don't rule out collaborations or that I haven't enjoyed some. I simply stated that I don't think specialists are more likely to create good comics. In collaboration you are dealing with mutually ignorant entities, one able to draw but evidently having no honed storytelling aptitude or practice, the other able to tell stories but having no practical experience with the tools directly being used to communicate those stories. Your mileage may vary but I generally find the “linking” less effective in collaborations because it is harder to find that unity of purpose and aptitude as it relates directly to the medium of comics in multiple people each possessing only a part than in one person possessing the whole.





Edited by Strenuous Teddy (01/13/11 08:41 PM)

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#582337 - 01/13/11 08:36 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Strenuous Teddy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 361
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Strenuous Teddy
Allen, Mike raised the issue of collaborations and you made a statement about the assembly method in response.This seems to indicate that either you do indeed consider all collaborations synonymous with the commercial assembly model or your response was a non sequitur.

As in the specific variant Mike presented — a married couple working together — I believe there can be collaborations not driven by commercial ends. As I said before, if the relationship of the collaborators supersedes the work, that is supportive of my position. If the relationship is simply formed from one or more persons being hired to do a job, that is what I'm referring to.


So what you are saying is that in a collaboration motivated by mutual creative ambitions and respect the creators would have an arrangement that did not necessitate paying rates like in a WFH situation and so the concern Mike raised would be made moot without WFH? I'm not prepared to get into the intricacies of copyright and compensation agreements and I can imagine that some collaborators might actually still arrange to give up copyright for compensation but I really have no idea. But that's an interesting point.

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#582343 - 01/14/11 12:47 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Strenuous Teddy]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Re: Allen's comment: "Okay, Steve, you win. Apparently there's no answer. Everybody quit drawing comics and get jobs teaching college. Not enough job openings you say? Okay, the rest of you can curl up and die."

Well, Allen. What to say? You're being a complete prat.

You've misrepresented and dismissed everything I've said in every case of my weighing in.

I've worked professionally since 1976-77. Over the two decades+ I worked in comics, I wrote, drew, edited, packaged, published, and co-published comics and book-format anthologies (TABOO, SHRIEK), eventually working almost every side of the equation; my subsequent years in the video market taught me the ins and outs of retail and dealing with distribution, in a marketplace considerably larger than the comics market. Though I retired from the mainstream American comics industry in 1999, I never stopped working in the book market as an illustrator, writer, and occasional packager. I regularly review current contracts from all venues, between my own projects, overtures from publishers (including recent dealings with Marvel and DC, writing intros for their hardcover collected editions), and contracts my students and our alumni ask me to review. Tomorrow, I'm winding up an ongoing negotiation on an upcoming project with one of the largest mainstream book publishers in North America (hoping for the best); I'm completing work on a print-on-demand book (TEEN ANGELS) this month for publication in February/March, and I post/publish daily, and have for years, so I'm familiar with some aspects of the online potential and realities. I compare notes regularly with peers and pros who do work in multiple venues (including, most recently, Rick Veitch, Steve Murphy, Colleen Doran, and Dave Sim).

I'm not bragging, but hey, quit treating me like some piece of patronizing dogshit you scraped off your boot, could you?
________________________________________________

Let's talk about reality, shall we? CAN we?

Here's the latest data (link compliments of Rick Veitch) on what's selling in print in the contemporary comics industry, and what's selling via online/digital/web titles:

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/12...omics-and-what/

There's some enlightening info being shared here.

"If you go by the top ten series, the Big Two are responsible for just 30% of ComiXology's units sold. This is a sharp drop from the 77% they control in the Direct Market."

As I've argued for some time, this demonstrates (to my satisfaction, at least) that DC and Marvel are very much the fringe of the comics/graphic novel market now, NOT the mainstream. A redefinition of terms is certainly overdue.

It could be easily argued that the Direct Market share DC and Marvel maintain is due to their almost absolute control of that ever-shrinking market. Sustaining a 77% share of a monopolistic distribution network that both companies essentially have a lock on, but one that no longer accounts for the primary means of distribution for the medium and industry, is hardly a badge of honor, much less a means for sustaining growth. It's a death-grip on an increasingly marginalized niche market, at best.

"Further examination of the Top Ten Series on ComiXology reveals even more interesting data. Creator-owned books are 50% of the list."

This is heartening news; I'd love to know, though, how the money is sifting out and whether livings are being made by these creators, or if they're still struggling to get to the back-end paydays down the road.

"...these sales show that brands work differently online. Marvel and DC are playing second fiddle to companies that they dominate in the Direct Market, and Image is going for the crown."

(An aside: Image may be "going for the crown," but they completely blew me off after seven months of negotiations to work with them on a project they supposedly wanted. It was disappointing, to say the least; I still haven't heard a peep from Image on my terminating the venture. I must say, I have been surprised that a venerable New York publishing house has moved much quicker than Image seemed capable of, which doesn't bode well for their being able to go "for the crown" if it requires quick action or turnaround.)

Of the venerable comics publishers, it definitely looks like Archie Comics is the big winner—and Archie, to touch upon a point being bandied about (in quite convoluted ways, sadly), is a COMPLETELY work-for-hire publisher, with among the most aggressive work-for-hire terms and policies of any comics publisher of the past 30 years.

There's still plenty of working creators laboring under work-for-hire, under terms with precious few perks or benefits; make no mistake, the plantations are alive and working.

And the plantation owners are being amply rewarded in the marketplace.

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#582345 - 01/14/11 02:50 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7074
I'll dig more into your post later, Steve, but your plantation reference brings me back to something I keep editing out of my posts. The names in the credits boxes these days are less familiar to me, and not only insofar as I don't read much in the way of mainstream fare anymore. They sound more like foreigners.

I've gone to the websites of a few of these guys, and those are usually in a foreign language. Now, DC of course had their "Filipino wave" back in the early 70's, but I do believe they brought those guys to America, and paid them the same going rates as everybody else. I'm curious as to whether or not this current influx of foreign (especially South American) talent has anything to do with the downsizing trend, if they are being paid a cut rate, etc. Anybody know?
_________________________
"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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#582346 - 01/14/11 02:52 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: MBunge]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7074
Originally Posted By: MBunge
Have you ever created a comic?

Have YOU?


Originally Posted By: MBunge
the ability and skill to tell a story and the ability and skill to draw have very little connection.

I'll take that as a NO.
_________________________
"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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