Continued SD09 mop-up

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Sorry…it’s just staggering on, and I wanted to link to a couple of reactions to my novella yesterday.

§ Don McPherson talks to the SD police to find out what REALLY happened during the con. It turns out we are a peaceful, law abiding folk after all.

Monica Munoz, media services manager with the SDPD, said there were few incident reports related to the comics and pop-culture convention last week. She said there was only one arrest at Comic-Con this year, which was for shoving an officer on duty just outside the event. The police department only recorded a single Comic-Con-related arrest in 2008 as well, and that was for being drunk in public, she said.

“This year, we had four kids who were separated from their parents, but they were all reunited with family,” Munoz said. “Other than that it was a successful event, as it is every year.”

As those limited, minor incidents suggest, the San Diego Police Department doesn’t experience a spike in criminal activity or disturbances during the convention, Munoz said, even though tens of thousands of attendees descend upon the city for a few days.

§ This blogger wonders about movie comics and why folks don’t like them:

So here are a few questions, not meant with any snark at all; I honestly don’t understand, and am curious to know. What makes a comic seem more like a movie pitch or “media property” than a “proper” comic? And why is that a problem? I don’t understand how the goal of making a comic that’s a good movie pitch or media property is inconsistent with or divergent from the goal of making a good comic, period.

§ Mark Evanier liked most of my con report, but chides me a bit for not giving more attention to the pioneers who got us here:

The place was crawling with comic book folks, past and present, and there was plenty of interest in them. They just get ignored in the fan press because, I guess, it’s more interesting to cover Robert Downey Jr than it is to cover anyone who ever drew Iron Man. I got Stan Freberg, who is kind of a legend in animation, down to the convention and he was mobbed and we turned away hundreds of folks at the Freberg panel…but that’s received nary a sentence in the convention coverage. We had a Golden Age Panel that has gone largely uncovered. I did a panel with comic creators from the seventies that has been noted on one website so far, and a particularly historic panel — the first-ever reunion of the three main “Bob Kane” ghost artists on Batman — that I’ve yet to see mentioned anywhere online…


Not to be morbid, but in the lifetimes of many of you, Geoff Johns and Bendis will be sitting on an old-timers panel, God willing, talking about what Steve Wacker was really like. We really do need to treasure the past more in the present.

§ ALSO…thanks to all for the kind notes and comments on my essay. I’m impressed that anyone got through it, and please know each was very much appreciated.

Comments

  1. Heidi, if you can march through four-plus days of Comic-Con coverage, we, your loyal readers, can scroll down a report that was worthy of our attention.

    Having scrolled Google News during that weekend, there was very little reportage on comics. Marvelman got some press, but most of what was reported was media hype.

  2. “What makes a comic seem more like a movie pitch or “media property” than a “proper” comic?”

    I can answer that one. Not having read the whole piece, I can only say that what people who use comics for their movie pitch (and why it’s always a challenge to bring new readers into comics) don’t understand, is that comics are a language all of their own. If you take the time to understand the language, still pictures will move before your eyes. The things within them will come to life and talk to each other; will talk to you for that matter. Movie people can’t see that, so they can’t create that. They only see story boards in bound paper, which is not how a comic works at all. A movie doesn’t need the viewer to keep plodding along. It plays out if one, one hundred, or no people are watching. These days, anything but a great movie is like death in motion, each scene dieing for the next, until the movie is over. A comic can’t be that. The brain wont except it. A good comic waits for you to come along, and connect your life with it’s own; to take you into it’s world, and allow you to travel back in forth (though time) through it’s pages. It needs no projector, or electricity to come alive, only you or I. Maybe, that’s the magic for which Alan Moore talks about.

  3. Synsidar says:

    Books have also been criticized for being written as movie pitches. I’d guess they resemble novelizations, with thin plots, lots of snappy dialogue and action, and little stream of consciousness text, thoughts, descriptive sequences, and other material that wouldn’t translate well to the big screen.

    Some people come right out and say they’re doing comics as movie pitches. I’d guess that a typical example has a neatly packaged origin, a simple power (e.g, super strength) or set of powers for the hero, a comely love interest, and a standard villain (cabal, corrupt corporation, vicious psychopath).

    SRS

  4. Synsidar says:

    Heidi’s SD09 essay weighed in at approximately 7300 words, a couple of hundred words short of the upper limit for a short story. SD09: The Novelette would have been either neat or scary.

    SRS

  5. Ben Morse says:

    Steve Wacker will never die.

  6. Treasuring the past more often in the present is why I never throw anything away!

    I thought it was an excellent report, Heidi.

    You know, all the media and movie stuff – yeah, it’s certainly got momentum. But on the comics side of things, my overall experience hasn’t changed all that much. In the exhibit hall, if they moved the artist’s alley and illustrators booths over to abut the independent press pavilion, I don’t think I’d ever go past aisle 2500. Or need to.

  7. Here’s a reason why some of Evanier’s panels weren’t attended or covered with much enthusiasm: The fans who even KNOW who the older creators are (like me) have decided to pass on the “chaos circus” the Con has metastasized into, and the younger crowd (the ones with the strength to endure this slog) don’t seem to have much interest in the more history-oriented material Evanier is so good at presenting. Compounding the problem is the higher profile comic news sites, who are all too busy hanging on Didio and Quesada’s every word (and breathlessly Twittering it) to devote any resources to the far-less glamorous presentations the old-timers care about.

    So, to Mark Evanier, there are lots of people still interested in the old-timers, so maybe coverage has to come from venues other than the zeitgeist-chasing, starry-eyed comic news sites. Such a venue doesn’t exist yet….but it should.

  8. michael says:

    the blogger who doesn’t get why some comic book film pitches are bad is obviously not a comic book fan or needs to read more comics.

  9. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    The problem with bad “movie pitch” comics seems pretty clear to me. They’re bad when they don’t function well as comics.

    “Why, hello, hero that looks like a popular actor but has no characterization!”

    “And now, for a montage! Pay no attention to the fact that it is less interesting without moving pictures and a sweeping soundtrack.”

    “Time for a car chase!”

    Yeah. You know it when you see it.

  10. Thanks very much for the mention, Heidi, and to everyone who took the time to offer insight on my question.

  11. This was my post on the other guy’s blog:
    A lot of the time you can tell if a comic is just a pitch cause of the art work. It’s drawn by a storyboard artist, or a want-to-be, with a storyboard mentality. No thought of line quality, placement of blacks to help the eye flow, making room for text and balloons, and the panels not working together as a page in themselves.

    The other give away is, well, people will often just tell you. Mostly as part of their sales-pitch to you… I’m talking about at con, person to person. This comes off like comics are a consolation prize.

    They couldn’t get anyone interested in making their movie nor financially backing it, so they made it into a comic. What were those reasons? Story? Character development? To innovative? What?

    If it’s innovation, and they want it to be made into a film… why didn’t they make a low-budget film. Even if it’s on a handy-cam, made with friends on weekends. Lots of people break into the film industry this way, George Romero for one. It shows (to me) a lack of conviction in their own work, not to just make it into a the medium they envisioned for it.

    I would rather buy a comic from someone that wants to make the best comic they possibly can, then someone that just couldn’t get their movie made. I would rather buy THAT persons low-budget film.

    There are two kinds of people when it comes to this kind of thing. Those that just want to make money, first and foremost, they don’t care how or from where. And those that are following their bliss, and hopes that money comes sooner or later, but just want to make something that means something to them. The comic-as-pitch-for-movie comes off as the former.

  12. Mark: the Room 2 and Room 8 panels I went to were fairly full. The Kirby one was esp. crowded; it was standing room only along the back wall. So there ARE some of us among the sold-out crowd of 125K interested in such history-oriented material being presented at SDCC. I suppose it’s a Comics ‘continuity’ thing that makes people sit down at one…

    Funny though, is this: I remember half, and quarter-full rooms with similar topics in the mid ’90s. 75 people out of 30K back then vs. 250+ out of 125K now—- quite equivalent ratios! Maybe the portion of Con attendees interested in the topics that Evanier presents is a CONSTANT?

    But, it’s heartening to see those Rooms fill out in the same proportion as the growth SDCC has undergone the last 10, 15 years!

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