Hey all – I’ve been working on a bold Blogfox experiment for this month, which I was hoping to roll out this week – but that’s been back-burnered for a few days… so I’ve given myself ten minutes to jot down a couple of things I *have* to get down regarding “ye olde funnybooks” before they become too dated: One is about the value of a “hit” in any media, and the other is how to really look at “profit margins” when comics publishers move into digital distribtuion. Napkin calculations ahoy! Read more
Posts from the ‘funnybooks’ Category
I re-read this post on digital comics yesterday (based on Brian Hibb’s post on Digital Comics sales), and I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. For starters how many frustrations I actually had with comics buying compared to pretty much every other recreational aspect of my life. But more importantly, I realized that I have fallen into buying comics in ways that are actively harmful to how I’d like to see the industry as a whole develop. Read more
If you follow my twitter at all (bastion of such visionary insight as this) you know that I have nothing but the highest opinion for the Savage Critic himself Mr. Brian Hibbs. He’s one of the strongest writers about the realities of the direct market in comics, and is a true credit to all the hard working retailers out there who have really kept the comics market alive through the various recession periods (as Brian himself will point out the comics retailers, not the individual fans are the actual customers of the distributors since what they buy is largely nonreturnable).
I do want to write a bit of a counter-point to his latest post though – not because I wish him, or any retailer really, ill – but because it’d help clarify some thoughts I’ve had for a while about the state of digital distribution in comics. Read more
I’ll admit it, I’m torn. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival used to be this cool little bi-annual secret of the city. I was there at the beginning in 2003 and it was like hanging out at the worlds coolest indie comic shop book-signing; Fast forward six years and I’m sitting in a sold-out Harborfront Center listening to Adrian Tomine, Seth, and freaking Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Scott McCloud is sitting in front of me and a veritable horde of girls keep chattering behind me because they are trying to surreptitiously photograph a guy they assumed was Jeph Jacques. I don’t actually remember if it was Jeph Jaques or not… (although it’s pretty funny if they just assumed some random guy was Jeph Jacques) but that’s not the point. My point is that this memory is the diametric opposite of a “tiny well kept secret”. </preamble>
This years line-up is ridiculous, and there’s a truly staggering amount of info available on-line to plan an assault on the ‘fest – given that it’s free – there’s not a single reason to not at least drop by the Toronto Reference Library. The size actually is now well into dangerous territory. In the past I could always wander around the exhibitors and pick up some random mini-comic stuff just for the heck of it. Those on twitter know I’ve been devouring The Comics Journals exhibitor preview and, I kid you not, my first draft “have to pick up” list would literally run seven hundred dollars. May need a re-think on that one. But there is a bounty of riches.
Just in case you need something cool to check out at TCAF – here’s a really quick list of five Toronto-based projects I’m totally stoked about – and you should be too:
SWORD OF MY MOUTH – I’m 100% jonesing for Jim Munroe and Shannon Gerard’s stand-alone follow up to the post-rapture adventure THEREFORE REPENT! I unfortunately can’t make their launch party tomorrow (so no free seeds for me… but it’s stop number one on Saturday before you all buy up all the copies. Well maybe stop number two. Depends on who’s closest to the front door between them and my other Toronto art-crush… Read more
I hope everyone is having as lovely an Easter weekend as I’ve been blessed with (although in my case that’s a long weekend where I can do the same work I was doing during the week… but from home… so I don’t have to walk so far to the tea kettle… or wear pants).
In any case just a last minute note that I’m auctioning off one of the very rate Kate Beaton / Nikki Rice Malki Ponys with all proceeds (and then some) going to the (awesome) Operation Sock Monkey. You’ve got until tomorrow afternoon (EST) so get bidding!
I don’t know what else to do people. You can come over and borrow my copy of Never Learn Anything From History, you can flip through her exceptional National Post work (which probably plays a larger part than I’d like to admit in why I subscribe to a daily newspaper where I disagree with a significant portion of the editorials). Heck it’ll cost you nothing (but some well spent time) to just go read the Hark a Vagrant archives.
The important thing is that we immediately start the movement to get Kate Beaton officially appointed Canada’s Cartoonist Laureate.
It looks like “Lord of the Rings” accounting will be back in the news as the Estate of JRR Tolkien is suing New Line over their calculation of profits from the three blockbuster films. You may recall that Peter Jackson and Saul Zaentz have sued New Line as well claiming they saw no royalties on the film either (although both those cases were settled out of court).
I get asked a lot how studios and distributors can get away with claiming that films never turn a profit, especially on fare that clearly has… say Return of the Jedi. The short answer is that when studios have huge slates of films (many of which, aren’t successful) it’s difficult to track what bona-fide operating expenses should be allocated to a well-performing film versus the dozens of films in a slate that have recouped no money. It gets equally complex when there are many deals through many different layers of companies – each of which is entitled to their own share of revenue before it gets to the producer.
For a great example of this from a different field, and it’s been ages since I’ve talked comics (which is odd given that there’s great stuff out there right now), I highly recommend Colleen Doran’s blog series “The Perils of Colleen” wherein she recounts her relationship with the “second-worst” publisher she has ever dealt with. It’s a doozy of a story, and should be required reading for any independent contractor in any artistic field, but it also goes into detail (especially in part III) how her contract was structured to ensure she never saw a royalty nickel, no matter the sales of her books. Thankfully Colleen’s story has a reasonably happy ending (although with some bizarre twists you wouldn’t believe if I told you) – but it does a very nice job of showing a case study of the myriad ways a distributor/publisher/studio relationship can go south in a big way.
It’ll be interesting to follow the LOTR case going forward, especially if the Estate gets any leverage with their claim that they have the ability to revoke the rights for the upcoming “Hobbit” prequels.
I know you mean well, but you can really stop pummeling me with coverage about “Archie #600”. Even if the developments therein weren’t being covered by every single newspaper in the city… let alone all media , now known or hereinafter devised – I’ve been “Hangin’ with the Riverdale” crew for over twenty years now. I have three different re-prints and collections containing Pep Comics #22, I own the crossover with the Punisher, heck I own Dan DeCarlo’s spicy pin-up collection (not the really spicy one… just the “kind of unnervingly saucy” one). I remember January McAndrews, Jughead’s Diner, and the amazing year-long advertisement that was “Archie’s R/C Racers“. I can generally narrow re-prints down to decade based on the backup features (Katy Keene, Frankie and Me, Lil Jinx, Josie and the Pussycats). I know the name of Sabrina’s uncle. I can’t find a good link to Sabrina’s uncle… but I guess he was on the 90s live-action sit-com as well as the 00’s manga reimaginings… so that’s not as obscure as I’d hoped. Listen Internet I don’t need any lip from you… do you remember when “The New Archies” turned Dilton Doiley into an African-American kid named Eugene and gave him a superfluous sister? No? I do.
If two decades of a weird hybrid of fandom and “scholarship” have taught me *anything* it’s imaginary stories about “how the love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veroinca is going to work out” are always…. always really disappointing.
Except when 40-something Jughead does bad late 80s “rap”:
Update: Robot 6 points out that the Archie characters have their own blogs where they post about plot developments… and that Betty’s weekly post is just about the saddest thing on the Internet.