Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Wisdom of Dirk Deppey -- I don't know how I missed this Dirk Deppey post at The Great Curve, but it's a brilliant summation of the state of the industry, and a great set of principles upon which to build a successful comics shop (and industry). Here's what Dirk has to say:

1) Don't expect salvation to come from Marvel. As the recent past demonstrates, structural limitations prevent the company from taking advantage of the position it holds.

2) Unless the editorial departments are restructured in a fairly fundamental way, don't expect salvation from DC either. DC is a collection of corporate fiefdoms, each frequently working at cross-purposes to one another in an effort to protect turf. Unlike Marvel, DC isn't hopeless and CAN be reformed -- but is far too dysfunctional to do any real good at present.

3) 70% of the Direct Market is a hermit-like one-genre network, and thus might as well be selling leeches so far as the general public is concerned. This isn't a slam on superheroes -- if they sold nothing but poetry chapbooks or radioplays on audiotape, they'd be just as useless. For any number of reasons, money poured into attempts to build this segment of the market might as well be set on fire. Innovation must come from elsewhere.

4) The above point aside, that still leaves 30% of the Direct Market in play. The store owners who comprise THIS segment of the market would do well to get to know one another better. (May I suggest a trade association? Have Seth or James Kochalka design your literature, for no other reason than that it'll keep the proprietor of Bob's Hero Hut away from your doorstep, thus conserving resources for those for whom resources will do some good.)

5) Change is ALREADY coming, and the basic building blocks have been in place for several years now. The major indy publishers already draw significant portions from their income from the bookstore trade, and have been around long enough now to learn to deal with such things as returns. It can be done, and there's really no alternative to doing so at present. Get used to it.

6) Likewise, publishers aimed at the youth market had better get used to surfing alongside manga, and learning from their present and future competition. Mike Gold's barely concealed wish for the manga "cycle" to end is whistling past the graveyard in almost humorous fashion; it also demonstrates a total ignorance of the enormous sea-change that manga represents. If your sole goal is to create a gateway to the same old superhero comics you want everyone to read, you don't get it -- and likely never will. The One True Genre is just another form of Stalinism. If this notion offends you, you're a dinosaur in need of a tarpit. Die, already.

7) If the industry cannot figure out how to appeal to women and children, it DESERVES to die.

Some of the truest words on the comics industry that I have ever read. Dirk's understanding of the industry is put to good use every six weeks or so in the pages of The Comics Journal, the magazine for which he is the managing editor.

In other news, two great pieces up today at Comic Book Galaxy. Chris Allen revives Breakdowns with a jam-packed column full of reviews, and a biting look at DC's spectacular failure to make the 2000AD and Humanoids lines viable. Also today, The Galaxy's Mick Martin looks at Peter David's first last issue of The Incredible Hulk. Go read.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Three Simple Steps to Enjoying Comics -- Logan Polk has learned his lessons well: Here are his Three Ways to Enjoy Comics. Flout them at your peril.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Monday Briefing -- New today in the Galaxy's review section is a review of Kevin Huizenga's Or Else #2 written by Jog of Jog: The Blog fame. It's a very well-written critique of one of the best comics so far this year. Kevin Huizenga is just a fascinating talent with an eye for character and a tendency to take his strips into extremely unexpected places. Check out the review and tell your retailer you want Or Else #2.

Still working on the new website I mentioned yesterday; the template was finalized yesterday afternoon and I got started building all the pages. I should be able to tell you more about this project within a few days.

The Super-F*cking Contest is still underway, with your chance to win original art, comics, a hardcover American Elf collection and more, courtesy of James Kochalka, Top Shelf Productions and Comic Book Galaxy. If you haven't entered yet, get to it!

As I was reading James Kochalka's daily comic strip this morning (and yes, he's back after a disastrous server crash) I remembered a dream I had last night that involved a meeting I arranged between James Kochalka and The Shield's Michael Chiklis. In the dream, I was trying to convince Chiklis to use a Kochalka song (you know he's a singer, too? Has his own band?) in an episode of The Shield. Yes, it's weird, but look at the lengths my unconscious went to to justify this: Kochalka's catchy, kid-appealing songs like Monkey vs. Robot and Hockey Monkey were used in my argument, the idea being that Chiklis's character's austic children would somehow be reached in new ways by Kochalka's unusual, dynamic songs. I don't know how long this dream went on for, but it was quite a while, until Kochalka and Chiklis wandered off together and I was left stranded in one of Farmington's crime-ridden alleys, wondering where it had all gone wrong.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Sunday That Wasn't -- Man, this day went by quickly. About the only comics reading I got done was some Zero Zero issues from about ten years ago...anyone out there have, or know where I can get, Zero Zero #18? I need a few later issues, too, but that one has the final chapter of one of the serials that I really like, and I haven't been able to find the damned thing anywhere.

Spent much of the weekend working on a new website for one of my best comics internet friends, a site devoted to promoting one of the best comics of the year (and one of the best in years). If you're Christopher Butcher, you can probably guess what this is, but if you're anyone else (and chances are, you are), you'll see it soon. It's gonna be a fun and informative site, hopefully that will allow you easy access to some great comics by some very, very talented creators.

And now dinner is done and I am going to go eat. Coming tomorrow: At least one spectacular review of one excellent funnybook. Oh, and if you haven't yet, go register for the Super-F*cking Contest, so you have a shot at winning comics, original art and more from James Kochalka, Top Shelf Productions and your pals here at Comic Book Galaxy!

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