Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good Art vs. Good Business

So last week in an interview with Jim Lee, he mentioned that WildCats #2 has been re-solicited from its original release date (yesterday) till next March. Now, Lee insists that the comic will come out well before March he just doesn’t know when. That is more than a little frustrating, not simply because I was really looking forward to the issue, but because it is just another in a long line of delayed books. Planetary, Seven Soldiers, Wonder Woman, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Ultimate Hulk, almost all of Marvel’s main titles, the list of comics that have regularly missed their release dates is starting to grow and grow (I’m not even going to mention Daredevil: Father or All-Star Batman and Robin). I do not want to become want to be one of those people who bitches and moans and shakes his finger at the comic companies. The years of enjoyment they have supplied have earned them a level of loyalty from me. However, I can’t help but wonder why the number of late running books have increased. I think it’s a question between art and business.

A good business makes money; the comic book business is no exception. A good comic business finds ways to enhance the medium while making said money. This doesn’t mean variant chromium covers on some meaningless crossovers *cough* the nineties *cough*. No, this means finding the best writers, artist, inkers, editors, etc., and putting out quality books. The more well known these creators are, the more money they are going to bring in. That is why you have the superstars of our industry working so many books. Sounds like a great idea, an infallible plan.
Writers and artists gain recognition—hit that A-list status—based on skill. They write just a little better, draw just a little better, whatever. These are the people who dominate the industry, who get a ton of the work, and I’m not saying that they don’t deserve it because their art (I’m using the word in the all-encompassing term) is that good. Here’s the problem though, here is where that infallible plan shows its holes.

You see good art takes time. Hell, as an only okay creative writing MFA student, I can tell you that bad art takes time. We wouldn’t respect Jim Lee if he put out stick figures, just like we wouldn’t appreciate Warren Ellis if he wrote crappy stories. These artists put a lot of work in the pursuit of creating a comic that they feel is excellent. There are only so many hours in the day, so many books, T.V. shows, or movies one can work on. Thus our books get delayed. Thus we don’t buy them when they do come out. That’s bad business.

As I said I’m not out to complain about the books not coming out monthly. These guys work hard, and they have a lot on their plate. But I can’t help wondering that if there is a solution for all this. Maybe don’t put the majority of your creative responsibility in a core people. There are a lot of good writers and artists, try them out because maybe then they will hit A-list. Or maybe the artists who are getting the work should just remember to limit themselves like Kurt Busiek with Aquaman. However, to quote Jim Lee:

It's so easy to say, "Yes."[to an assignment] To please the fans, the editors, the marketing people, the retailers.

Don’t take this as pissy. But I think the fans, the editors, the marketing people, the retailers would all be happier with books that came out on time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Sorry about the lateness of the post. Life outside Those Wednesdays getting the better of me. Never fret though, I'm not about to go on another "break". Like that condition you're embarassed to tell your doctor about...I'm here to stay. Today I’m going to talk about something that is related to the world of comics, but not in the world of comics. I’m going to talk about Heroclix.

For those you unfamiliar with Heroclix, it’s a game put out by Wizkids. You build a team using figurines based on popular comic characters and fight them. Before you scoff about its nerdiness, remember you are reading a comic blog.

Today the newest expansion set hits retailers. “Supernova,” arguably the most hyped set in months, showcases such great characters as Thanos, Hyperion, Silver Surfer, Super Skrull and this guy.

That’s right, the freaking Red Ghost. Can you believe it? Has Heroclix gone through so many Marvel characters that we are left with redone-clix or “Z-list” villains? With eleven Marvel sets under our belts, I think we all know the answer. I mean come on! With that red jumpsuit/fur lined parka combo the guy looks more like a bad guy from a 70’s TV show than a super villain. “You’ll never stop me Col. Steve Austin, these stylish periwinkle boots allow me to out run you and six million dollar powers.”

See what I mean? All that is missing is his genetically altered monkeys. Oh wait…