On Byrnerobotics, there is a discussion about lateness with comic books and I thought it would be interesting to see what you guys think about it. The following is a message I posted on there, so feel free to add your thoughts.
Quote: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?
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.
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.
We're really talking about multiple things here. Some artists (and writers) can handle a monthly schedule. (I've certainly been spoiled by having JB be one of my favorite artists.) Some can't. Why they can't varies and I'm not going to automatically assume it's because they'd rather be playing Wii than working.
A story lasts a lot longer in "finished" form than periodical form, so I'd rather it be done by the original artist as intended even if it in the short term it ends up late. George Perez injured himself while drawing JLA/Avengers, which made the last issue late. Would it have been better to get someone else rather than wait for him to recover? I think not. And yes, he's one I'd call "worth the wait." (I don't have many artists I'd say that for.)
But it shouldn't be a question of "do you want it good or do you want it Tuesday." It comes down to planning. If you have an artist who can't do 22 pages a month, DON'T PUT HIM ON A MONTHLY BOOK. Or alternatively, plan ahead. Get the issues in house, then solicit, and then get another artist to fill-in while the "primary" one works on the next story. You do that, you don't have late books. And that's what we're really complaining about. Yeah, in some cases, I'm mainly getting a project for a particular creative team. In those cases, I don't necessarily want someone else filling in. OTOH, I buy, say, Detective for a monthly Batman fix. As long as the person providing it is of good quality, it doesn't have to be Hot Artist Guy.