We have a lot of stuff to get to in today’s post, but before we can start our discussion of our BLOG OF THE WEEK, I need to make mention of the header for this week … and what it means.
When writing this blog, I do not assume that my fanatic readers are “plugged-in” to every nook and cranny of the comic blogosphere. So often I’ll post and/or talk about stuff that I find on the internet. Yep, you might have seen it already, but I’m betting that busy fanatics from here to Hereford, Texas may not have seen it.
Like Will Eisner Week. Did you see this one? Or did it get past you in the blasting noise that passes for information in the 21st Century? Quoting from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website: “The first week of March will mark the inaugural Will Eisner Week, a celebration of Will Eisner’s legacy in graphic novel literacy and free expression. A collaborative project of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation, and a variety of comics institutions, Will Eisner Week is chaired by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Assistant Professor Barbara Schulz. Will Eisner Week will be celebrated this year from March 1 to March 7, commemorating the 92nd anniversary of Eisner’s birth. Continue reading
Once you’ve seen the character PRIME drawn by artist Norm Breyfogle, it is difficult to think of anyone else doing it. If you’ve seen anyone else try, you were struck by two things (1) either the artist tried to capture the magic that Breyfogle put into the character (and usually they only came close) or (2) it just didn’t look right at all.
There was something about Breyfogle’s approach to the character that was perfect. Let me repeat, not good, not great, but perfect was the matching of Breyfogle with this character that was both new but also resonated with many classic comic characters that had come before.
If you read the post below, you know that I flew to England during the formative stages of the ULTRAVERSE launch, to ask Alan Davis to be the penciller for one of the first books we were planning to release, PRIME. To which, he announced his pending retirement to focus on being a Boy Scout leader. I flew home to California having failed in my mission.
Multiple covers around the same printed comic pages. They are a little piece of hell that comic readers and collectors either tolerate or celebrate depending on the how’s and why’s of your comic buying habit. There are a number of trains of thought about the benefits or lack thereof.
They do allow, under the best of circumstances, for publishers, creators and retailers to put a few extra badly needed dollars in their pockets.
Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Accept them as a tolerable but unavoidable evil?
First, a quick caveat before I start assigning blame. As the publisher at Malibu Comics, I absolutely employed this marketing gimmick a number of times to “encourage” sales on behalf of the company and the creators who would also benefit from additional sales. Guilty as charged.
If I have my history correct (and please feel free to correct me if you feel it is necessary), the first time this “technique” was employed in comics was 1989 with the release of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1. The decision to put the multiple covers on this book almost assuredly came during some kind of meeting between Bob Wayne and Bruce Bristow at DC Comics. But I don’t blame them.
If you look at it under a slightly skewed kaleidoscope (like I do), Frank Miller is to blame. Yeah, that’s right, you read that correctly, I blame Frank Miller … well sort of. How is that possible? He didn’t write it or draw it. He didn’t even do the cover art. Let me explain.
The circumstances were these. Legends of the Dark Knight was a Batman concept book. The idea was to get top-notch creative teams to create four-issue story arcs on a new continuing series that wasn’t tied tightly to regular Batman continuity. This would free creators to tell a wider variety of stories and also lend themselves to replicate the success of Frank Miller’s run on Batman #404-407, (better known as Batman: Year One) which became a super successful trade paperback in 1988.
Inevitably, if you’ve ever had a job at a comics company, you’ve had an experience where someone asked you what you did for a living. Before the Simpson’s made Comic Book Guy famous, before comic book movies were known as box office blockbusters, before Entertainment Weekly even existed (let alone ran reviews of graphic novels), most people only associated comics with either Richie Rich or the Adam West-Batman television show.
Back in those days, many professionals fell back on, “I work in publishing” or “I work at a magazine publisher” and hoped the questions ended there. I remember very clearly telling my future father-in-law (this would have been sometime in 1981) that I planned to pursue a career publishing comic books. He tried to put up a brave front, but the blood drained from his face. Clearly his mind had fixated on the abject poverty that his daughter would have in her future if she married the “comics” guy.
Even today, if you can proudly tell family, new friends and strangers that you work in the comic book industry, you probably get the same response, “Well, that must be fun … “
The unfortunate truth is that on a day-to-day basis, having a non-creative or semi-creative job in the comics business is like most other office jobs: struggling to make office equipment work properly, negotiating with difficult customers, haggling with finicky suppliers, desperately trying to make unrealistic deadlines set by your boss and dealing with the peculiar office and personal habits of your co-workers. Fun very seldom entered into it.
When it is your job, you tend to take very seriously the issues surrounding your career and the industry in which you work. Sometimes it is easy to lose perspective, especially when what you do is viewed by the outside world at best frivolously and at worst with open contempt.