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General Comics related News


#1

Not spotted a previous thread on Comic creator & related news from the Comics field, so here we are.

Jamie Hewlett is having an art exhibition (NSFW):

http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/nov/17/jamie-hewlett-the-suggestionists-saatchi-gallery-gorillaz

I’d really like to see another Hewlett comicbook and doubt he’ll be back doing sequential art anytime soon, but apart from Milligan I can’t think of another current writer who’d work well with his anarchic style.


#2

John Layman posted this on Facebook:

[quote]Edited for clarity: This is not a cry for people to feel sorry for me. A couple bad days does not equal a bad year, nor is my career or life in the tank. Everything is fine, so read the following with a big grain of salt:
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Discussion thread: Self-pitying comic book grousing. Non-comic readers Muggles feel free to move along.

Please note: I don’t talk in too great of detail about my personal life. The tendency toward oversharing on social media always sickens and embarrasses me and so I try not to do it. And without going into any detail, this has been a monumentally shitty week, and today was probably the capstone of shittiness, all personal stuff that you don’t really need to know because it’s none of your goddamn business.

But then I get home and click on a comic book website and get a particularly depressing new kick in the nuts. One that I ought to just shrug off, but it’s been such a lousy week, that it hit me far harder than it should-- and this is at least something I feel comfortable talking about.

Comic Book Resources, one of the very best comic sites if not THE best, released its “Best 100 Comics of 2015” list and this year, for the first time, we weren’t on it. Last year we were #19. Before that we’ve been #28 in 2013, #29 in 2012, #26 in 2011 and #13 in 2010. This year we didn’t even rate. And I know “avoid ‘end of year best-of’ lists” is right up there with “don’t read the comments,” but if I had to sum up the year for me, at least professionally, this was it.

Nothing that’s considered hot stay hot forever, I know that and I accept that, and I’m fine with that. CHEW succeeded far beyond my expectation. Got me awards and has taken me across the world, afforded me some financial security and changed my life almost completely for the better* (*except for the death threats I got this year, but that’s a completely different discussion.) And I’ve been lucky that I ate shit and struggled for more than a decade before Chew achieved “overnight success” for me. When suddenly CHEW was red-hot and I had a big circle of new people kissing my ass and trying to be my best friend, I was already pretty secure in the knowledge of who in comics was my real friend and who was not.

But, after 55 issues and 3 specials, our heat has settled down. CHEW does great in TPB sales, we’ve an ever expanding line of merch, and our publishing mini-empire continues to expand around the world. We’re currently in 11 languages and counting.

But we’re not the hot shit. This was the year that CHEW dropped below 10k per issue in floppy sales (still pretty great that we made it 49 issues before crossing that mark.) At SDCC this was the first year Image didn’t have CHEW has part of it’s con banner, and I wasn’t asked to participate in any panels. Marvel and DC, who used to call me because of CHEW heat, no longer give a flying fuck about me. I can count the number of web sites that still cover CHEW on a single hand and the reviews, at least, are still, “CHEW is still good as ever.”

Even so, this many issues in the can, with the end in sight, there are no good jumping-on points. Even my friends are behind on the book, and it’s easier at this point to wait until the book is over and read the whole damn thing rather than juggle it mostly along with three dozen other monthly books. At this point, with the finishing line in site, for the reader and retailer, it’s easier to just wait it out a short period to the end.

And part of it is the comics medium is consistently focused on what’s new, and reinvention, more than long-term delivery. The retailer who has XX of dollars to devote to Image Comics, sees all these bright new shiny things, and it’s easy to lower orders of a book that’s 44 issues deep to make room for what’s shiny and new. I KNOW this.

Meanwhile, the focus on “what’s new” and “what’s next” is so ingrained into comics it is now the primary question I am asked, and my answer is to site the marathon runner who is focused on the END of the race, not the NEXT race. Me? I don’t give a fuck about what’s next. I’m concentrating on trying to wrap CHEW up in the most satisfying way possible. But I suppose that does not make for the most scintillating interview fodder.

The industry has changed. Even in the relatively short time that CHEW has been running, since 2009. That fact that we are one of the higher-numbered books on the shelf is testimate to that. The Big Two are constantly rebooting and renumbering in order to stay fresh and keep the attention on them.

And if I was to go back in time and do it again, CHEW probably would be 50 issues, not 60, and even that is probably too high a number. And if I had advice to give to anybody planning to write their definitive comic book epic, I’d say keep it to twenty-five issues. Anything longer, and I think retailer and the comic book media lose their attention span, even if the readership does not, or at least not to the same extent. I’ll never do anything as ambitious as CHEW again (which was my plan regardless of all this.)

Anyway, not looking for pity or affirmation here. More of a musing about the “always be new” nature of the comics medium, and how it’s especially challenging these days to try long-term, long-running comic storytelling.

But I won’t lie. After spending 5 years on the CBR best-of list, going from #19 to nothing really sucks.

And it’s been a SHIIIIIIITTTY fucking week…[/quote]
One of the interesting bits is that he advises keeping a run to 25 issues maximum. Looking at various series, you really don’t see the 50 or 60 issue runs anymore. They seem fairly rare in today’s market.


The DC Comics Thread
#3

I find that a mixture of sad and refreshing.

Refreshing because of John Layman’s transparency.
He’s a writer I rate, I think his run on Detective Comics was extremely underrated, however I’ve never liked the concept of Chew, which has stopped me from buying it, although what I have read of it I found enjoyable - it was just a bit too silly for me, the whole cibopath element to it.
I’d probably buy just about anything that Layman were to do next.

One thing I’d say is that I looked at that CBR top 10 and I wouldn’t have any of the books that were in there in my own top 10. Or my top 20 for that matter.

(EDIT: Reading this thru again I’m being a little bit unfair here: The Fade Out is a quality book and I have not read March 2, or Step Aside Pops.
People are still enjoying Saga, but looking at first and second spot I’d think this was a top 10 for 2014

But Bitch Planet & Unbeatible Squirrel Girl? Really?)

And I’m sure that, although a few of the same books popped up in many of the end of year lists on here, everyone’s list would be different depending on what they are reading.
CBR is not a great site. It paints in very broad stokes, it’s the comic community’s equivalent of a tabloid newspaper.
He said it himself, these lists need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
I actually looked at the whole top 100 as they were releasing it and it seemed there was very little rhyme or reason to any of it - it felt like they are behind the curve in many respects.

I hope he finishes Chew off in the manner he’d be proud to end it and that he is happy with the reception. I think that concept was always going to tail off in the end, but then I’m not reading it so I don’t want to be ignorant here.


#4

Layman’s right though. I can’t believe he or anyone does 50-60 issue runs anymore. I think you need to go epic (like Fables or like Lazarus is shaping up) or keep it pretty short.

I’ve said this before but I don’t understand why Image and Vertigo types of books aren’t published in “seasons” like an HBO show, with a small break in between seasons and a new number 1 every time. That way you can still do your epic but the book stays fresh, potentially gets a new round of hype every year or two, and the trades are accessible.

Mark has figured this out as far back as Ultimates, and up on through Kick-Ass and the Jupiters books. Alan Moore figured that out with LOEG. These are really successful books! More people and publishers would be wise to take this approach.


#5

I’ve not read Chew at all this year. I still really love the series, and I have bought each trade and fully intend to catch up, but my interest has been poached. I used to be one of those people who loved it when it first landed. Strange to think that Saga and The Wicked + The Divine may look this way in a few years from now, Saga’s already lost steam really. It must be strange for creators to ride in on a wave of hype, then a few years later get polite applause from news outlets when they wrap up.


#6

Some books do go in “seasons” though in some cases, it was more a survival tactic than a predetermined plan.

It does raise the Fanboy Catch-22: “I’m sick of books constantly starting over with a new #1 but I wish they had better jumping-on points for new readers!”

Being realistic about it, the days of comics with high numbering are pretty much dead. There will be exceptions like Savage Dragon, Spawn and Walking Dead, to name a few.

I do agree with @RobertB that Mark’s model of volumes/seasons is probably the best model for the current market.


#7

I think a large part is the sheer volume of material of that kind now. I still read Chew and it’s as good a book as ever, there’s no dip in quality to blame but maybe shifts in attention.

When the likes of Preacher and Sandman and 100 Bullets were doing epic runs they didn’t have that much competition for that kind of material, edgy genre stuff for adults. Now Image put out loads, along with Vertigo still going and Boom, and Dynamite and IDW and recent addition Titan now putting out similar material.

It’s also true that a lot of these books read better in trade and are better value, like with Rucka a couple of weeks back he’s saying those are going really well. I don’t really know an easy answer to that, it needs a rethink to the business model or at least as Robert suggested the ‘seasons’ idea to maintain focus on a book.

(Rucka said he’s strongly considering that for Lazarus).