Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

Amazing Spider-Man Message Board >> View Post
·
Post By
Cbasfrench

In Reply To
mjyoung

Subj: Re: These times, they are a changin'
Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:54:06 pm EDT (Viewed 124 times)
Reply Subj: These times, they are a changin'
Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:29:41 pm EDT (Viewed 147 times)



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      I was recently reading something on comicartfans.com about a commission piece by Jim Lee, notorious for being late. The commissioner said - I paraphrase - something to the effect that Lee had only done a couple of books throughout the entire past year but it was okay because he's such a good artist and he's worth the wait. My first reaction was "huh?". In what kind of world do we live in where "worth the wait" is the main argument to not get angry with an artist who is late?



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    It's various factors. Most people don't care if an issue slips late. They can spend that time reading backissues (since they've been fans for years), picking up another comic, or even just saving that money for something else. I think complaints about delays come mostly from the older readers.


You sayin' I'm old!!?? I'm only thirty for Pete's sake. \:\)
It just bugs me when they advertise a certain limited series - for instance Civil War - and then it ends up being fairy late and being inconsistent timeline-wise with other books coming out around the same time.


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      Coincidently, on another website - I apologize for not remembering which one it was - a poster mentioned that Lee went to form Image with those other guys because they weren't concerned with deadlines and allowed their creative teams to take as much time as possible to publish issues (paraphrasing once again here). The poster in question mentioned that he liked that approach. I had one of those WTF moments. What kind of mentality is that? Is the prospect of making lots of money from the sale of a book, by allowing it to be published sporadically and late, more important than meeting deadlines and delivering a product to fans, as promised months before.



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    From the fans perspective, quality is more important than being on time.


There are plenty of fishes in the sea. If one really good artist ends up being considerable late - say a couple of months - why not get another really good artist to assist the first one with the art chores. There are plenty of Jim Lee wannabes in the world - taking his DC work as an example. I think both the quality of a book and that book being a time should be able to be achieved. Just give the artist more time before soliciting a series.


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      Regardless if you agree with JB's comments that a lot of artists today treat making comics as a hobby, the bottom line is that books should not be allowed to be late as they are in this day and age. As many of you have mentioned in previous posts, if this happened 20, 30, 40 years ago, they would have hired somebody else to finish the job, regardless of sales or how good the stories were. Too bad, the powers-that-be don't see it that way.



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    I think the problem with your viewpoint is that comics have changed radically since the previous decades. It's not just one factor that has resulted in delays, but multiple ones. You (group, not individual) continue to have the mindset that you have had in previous decades without taking into account certain changes. It's like the complaint of "Back in my day, we only had three channels. And they stopped at 10pm." So what?


Comics are essentially still produced the same way they were before. Dude writes it, passes it to the dude that pencils it, who in turn passes it to the dude that inks it, then color it, etc... Not everybody drawing today put in a million detail in every panel. It can be argued that, back in the day, artists did not draw a lot of background. That's fair enough, but they made up for that by working on two to three books per month, versus just one. So the total amount of work was just about the same, if not more.


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    Comics no longer have a shelf life of a few days, but can last for years as collections. Look at Watchmen still being a top seller after years. So this means that the collection will have more value for a company than a monthly comic. So this means that a publisher will accept a delay in a monthly comic since it means collections will sell better in the long term.


But there is no guarantee that they will sell better. Forecasting revenue is never 100% guarantee, if you know what I mean. More times than enough it never works out as expected.


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    Superhero comics have changed dramatically. Instead of only 12 comics a month, Marvel now publishes around 80 or higher. I delay in 1968 meant a 10% reduction in profit for the month. Today, a delay results in 1/80th of a reduction in profit for a month. That's a huge difference, and that 1/80th reduction isn't going to be important.


True. Marvel has to look at it from a business point of view but if you can sell 100k copies of a book per month but you can only publish the book six times a year, should you not look into making changes so you can publish it twelve times a year and get higher sale numbers, or even 75% of those sale numbers. Also, their revenue is split into quarters, so you also have to take that into consideration.


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    There is a much stronger focus on quality these days. Drawing is much more complex. We expect backgrounds in our panels. We expect complex costumes. We expect each figure to be drawn well.


More details does not necessarily equate better quality. I disagree with you there. It's about storytelling. If an artist, without the use of any background, or dialogue, can tell a story, then he is ten, twenty, a hundred times better than any of those cross-hatch-lovers artists. Take a look at John Romita's 'Nuff Said Spider-Man issue that did not have a single piece of dialogue. JRJR is not known to be a very detailed background kind of guy anymore - mainly because he made the decision to change his style in order to meet deadlines - but his storytelling abilities are so good that you can pretty much figure out what is going on without reading the dialogue. I would take that over any artists who just uses lines after lines after lines to give dimension to his/her work.


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    Fans are more likely to follow creators than just characters or titles.


Which, I think, is contributing to the downfall of comic books today. It shouldn't be about the creators, it should be about the character.


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    Comics have also become much more a of a luxury item (for various reasons). Fans expect higher quality since they are paying more for the product.


I don't think you can compare quality versus costs. Comics were cheap back in the day, but everything was cheap then. Take into account the inflaction and all that other stuff and there is a reason for comics to be that expensive today. In other words, the cost of comics is relative to when they were published.


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    I could go on.



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    Of course, I think there are compromises to be made. Have more realistic timeframes. Stop making every book a monthly. Keep fans as up to date as possible, including telling them the reason for ANY delay, progress on the title (page 15 of 22 done). Compile story arcs to be released monthly, with delays coming between arcs. If a main title is delayed, put out a separate miniseries in it's place. Assign multiple artists to a title.


I agree with you on this.


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    I could go on.





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