The News Blog of Comics Culture
Via Fast Company, of all places…
So this is going to be the Minutemen Frontier? No surprise there. And, of course, it does look great.
Beautiful. I will always buy anything Darwyn Cooke does.
Man I love Darwyn’s art!
I like Cooke’s technique. It seems to reside in a retro zone. Fun to read, easy to understand. Not flashy, just readable, darn it, and worth purchasing.
“Intriguing”, I said.
I’ll buy anything Cooke does. It looks great.
I’m still against this from happening, but I love Darwyn Cooke.DC, you hell-spawn torturers D:<.
I’ve kind of felt that the Minutemen angle was the only truly workable angle left in Watchmen. This looks pretty cool. I hope it works out in the story!
Artists should respect other artists. I love Darwyn’s work I am disappointed he would do this. Then again he works for DC.
Even beautiful Cooke artwork won’t work on me. I look at this and think, “What a waste. You could be doing something with that talent instead of pissing it away for a paycheck….”
Soooo because he does work for DC he’s some cold hearted corporate pig? You really haven’t read much about who mr. Cooke is. And as for artists respecting artists didn’t Alan Moore write a story with characters he didnt create hiding in a Brobdingnag’s vagina while in coitus? Let’s not kid ourselves like there’s ever a higher moral in comics.
Here’s the perfect page summarizing why Cooke is a hypocrite:
Here’s a wicked little suggestion for Alan Moore, if someone wants to pass it along:
Mr. Moore should do his own Before Watchmen. I know, he couldn’t use the characters he created (!), but he could create characters fairly close, especially if he could find a publisher willing to take the issues on.
He should do it for the single purpose of showing DC up. I have no doubt that, while some of these books will be entertaining, not a single one of them will approach even a fraction of the depths and complexities in Moore’s original. These are hired guns paid to come in and service a franchise, for Pete’s sake.
I’m sure that Mr. Moore could find many quality artists willing to work with him, and I think they should deliberately approach the project with the purpose of blowing DC out of the water.
In fact, I think Moore should work the issue into the story itself, satirizing DC and making the point of their creative bankruptcy to a much larger audience.
That said, I think Mr. Cooke will create a thrilling comic book!
I think Alan is wrong about 1 thing. He says he thinks DC would rather him sue and be quiet. I’m sure certain people at DC loves it every time Moore talks negatively about the project. He gives it major publicity and makes it controversial. 2 things that work really well to sell comics.
It looks wrong.
Chris Hero–why is that perfect when it uses JG Jones’ cover for a book that Cooke isn’t working on? Here’s work by Cooke. See the difference?
What a charming style. Wouldn’t it be awesome if DC gave these ‘Before Watchmen’ artists the same paycheck to develop NEW projects?
You actually have to read the quotes under the artwork to understand the hypocrisy.
“What a charming style. Wouldn’t it be awesome if DC gave these ‘Before Watchmen’ artists the same paycheck to develop NEW projects?”
Every time I see this I laugh. They have. How did Spirit do for Cooke? The last issue of Spaceman by Azzarello sold 13,492 copies.
People don’t seem to want new, even from well known creators.
@John Weeks–Because DC knows from past experience that the market almost never supports new projects.
If new projects sold well, Marvel and DC would be cranking them out. And then everyone here would be accusing them of doing new projects only to make money.
I read Watchmen when it first came out and enjoyed it. I thought it was great but the elitism that has surrounded it in the last 25 years has ruined it for me. It’s not from Alan Moore’s ascent to the Heavens as The Only Comic Book Writer Ever and his unhappiness about the project (and seemingly everything else) but from people holding it in such high regard that they villify the creators that are involved with this project. If I still cared about Watchmen, I would definitely read Cooke’s comic but the endless slagging the project before it has come out “on principle” is starting to get old.
“How did Spirit do for Cooke?”
That’s hardly a NEW project. Will Eisner is turning over in his grave at your very suggestion. Cooke loves to bring on the retro feel in his art work, but it’s still a nostalgia pastiche.
“That’s hardly a NEW project. ”
But Spacemen is. As well as many of the new titles coming out from Vertigo in the next couple of months.
And through all these title, I can pretty much guarantee you the title with the highest numbers will be “Fairest”, directly based on an ongoing property.
People are simply not as interested in new material as they are in established properties. It’s been proven over and over and over again.
I don’t know why people just can’t accept that aside from very few and far examples, DC and Marvel are not the place to go for new properties and there’s not really anything wrong with that. They do what they do…buy it or don’t, accept it and move on.
Go to Image, go to Avatar, got to any number of indie publishers if you want new ideas and IP. In this age of digital, it’s becoming easier and easier to do.
They can all co-exist.
I don’t go to Burger King expecting tacos. Nor if I went to Nobu would I expect Ethiopian food.
There are different business models and creative goals for different companies. I don’t know why people feel the need to make it out like every comic company is going to operate their business the same way. Jeez, not even Marvel and DC operate their business the same way (just look at the way they approach their trade programs to start).
It all just is what it is. Your dollar is still the most vocal vote.
This is directly from DC’s about us section on their website:
“DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games.”
The following is from Marvel’s website:
“Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.”
Both companies descriptions of themselves sets no expectation for new material or IP. Their own descriptions about themselves point towards the essential exploration of existing material. To expect anything other than that ignores the companies own descriptions of themselves.
Can it be argued that this might not be the best future for these companies? Perhaps (although both companies still sell the lions share of product, at least to the direct market, over any other company, mostly based on existing properties…so the general market would prove even then that the bottom line says the bulk of sales is in existing property) but to out and out expect these companies to be mostly interested in anything outside of exploration of existing properties is flat out ignoring what the companies themselves are claiming about themselves.
This is the Watchmen project I’m most looking forward to, and the story I think that is most worth doing.
DC is smart, man, why innovate when you can just get diminishing returns off a past success?
It’s odd to me the most successful comics every year are new projects.
- Walking Dead
- Dork Diaries
- Scott Pilgrim
- Adventures of Ook & Gluk
- Bone (well, not new anymore, but compared to Superman or whatever)
- Diary of a Whimpy Kid
So, this argument that the market doesn’t want new stuff? I’m not buying it.
“why innovate when you can just get diminishing returns off a past success?”
Because you get no return on innovation right now. And any creator with anything innovative is going to have to trade something (partial ownership doe example) with a DC or Marvel in order for it to make business sense for them to invest in it.
It’s a catch-22 system and is way more complicated then “creators innovating for a company” or “a company simply falling back on diminishing returns”
DC captured all of the top ten in units last month all with concepts that are pre-existing. The first original concept I see not based on a pre-existing property on the chart for last month is Fatale at number 90 (if there is another or if this is based on a pre-existing property that I am not aware of, please feel free to correct me).
At the very least, comic book stores (and by way of what was or was not pre-ordered by customers in those stores) are voting with their dollars that new properties do not sell.
It’s fine for people to try to make this “DC and Marvel should innovate and create new properties” argument over and over again, but the simple math and statistics of the market show the market just simply will not support new material in the way that it will support existing material.
While an argument can be made over the comparisons of the final product over what inspired it, even the origins of Watchmen existed from pre-existing characters. Dark Knight Returns = pre-existing characters. Daredevil: Reborn = existing characters. Many of the books revered in the 80′s for launching the modern age of comics are all derived from pre-exisiting characters.
Hell, even in it’s beginning, Superman was rejected over and over before finally being published because it was a new concept.
There seems to be some revisionist history that the comics industry has all ways been this fresh new thing the rewrds new concepts and innovation. The real history of comics show nothing could be further from the truth.
Success from innovation (i.e. Robert Kirkman/Walking Dead – and even this can be argued as real innovation) is the xception, not the rule.
It’s hard to figure out what the market wants honestly. I personally like superheroes and I tend to like properties that belong to Marvel and DC. I prefer the characters at Marvel but read more DC comic books. I read Invincible, G.I. Joe, John Byrne’s Next Men and Astro City. I read Hellboy and Fables in trade. I’ve read Usagi Yojimbp I prefer my noir to be movies or television so I skip most Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka indy books and I’m not a fan of Manga. I equate most comics with corporate owned superheroes, I’ve browsed through Scott Pilgrim and Walking Dead and found them not anything that I would want to spend money on. So I’m a very particular comic reader and many independents don’t appeal to me.
“It’s odd to me the most successful comics every year are new projects.
So, this argument that the market doesn’t want new stuff? I’m not buying it.”
Naruto is 50 volumes in and it can hardly be considered a new property. Neither can Bone (as you note) or Walking Dead. Many of the mentioned above properties also have other media tie ins (TV and movies) which automatically put them on a different playing field then other properties from a marketing standpoint alone (Scott Pilgrim, Persepolis, Diary of Whimpy Kid).
These numbers are all taken from Bookscan charts, which do not include Direct Market numbers and where the bulk of the money is made for major and indie periodical publishers. Not to mention a completely different marketing and release schedule needed for items marketed to a bookstore market vs the direct market. I’d imagine, outside of Scott Pilgrim and Walking Dead, both titles with major multimedia tie ins, the GN list looks much different from a DM standpoint.
Your examples point out nine books, out of which you could argue 6 of which aren’t really new properties (I would argue anything 5 years or older being around isn’t really a new concept) any more.
Even with 9 unique properties, your hard pressed to prove to me this proves the over all market is want to support more new properties than exisitng properties. 9 unique properties is a very small percentage of the existing properties that when added up dominate the overall sales of comics and graphic novels.
Not to mention, these are new properties in the bookstore market, which is a completely different customer base then the direct and periodical market base. Many of the books on the list you provide are directed to a younger audience and are books that I, as an older monthly comic reader don’t have an interest in reading.
The bookstore market vs the comics direct market is really an apples/oranges argument.
“Many of the books on the list you provide are directed to a younger audience and are books that I, as an older monthly comic reader don’t have an interest in reading.”
There’s your money statement. The DM, and the DC/Marvel comic industry, is dying because of that reasoning…selling only to older readers who only want to read books their way.
Everything else in your comment was the rationalizing away of the bigger picture – the comics market is sooooo much bigger than what’s in comic book stores. This isn’t the fault of the retailers, everyone owns a piece of that blame pie.
I could go on with new properties that make money like mad, but I’m not trying to make a comment that’s one long list. I was just highlighting the best selling books from just last year.
“The DM, and the DC/Marvel comic industry, is dying because of that reasoning…selling only to older readers who only want to read books their way.”
As a consumer, I’m going to spend money on what I like. I’m not going to spend money on something to diversify the industry if it’s not something that I like. That would be like me continuing to buy X-Men comics that I don’t like to keep them from getting cancelled.
No one’s saying it’s up to you to buy anything you don’t want to buy. You can buy whatever you like. I’m simply saying by *only* selling to a very small, niche market, DC and Marvel are giving up getting any of the big money.
I *really* liked the old Kanye West mixtapes in the early 2000s. I was one of his biggest fans back then. Those mixtapes sold around 10k-20k copies. In order to reach a larger audience, he had to go beyond working only with his friends and begin to make work that sold to a larger audience. I would have been in 7th Heaven if he kept making albums like his early work, but the market was bigger than just the small backpacker crowd.
Why is Order of the Stick making money hand over fist with people throwing money at it? Because it’s a quality work appealing to a large audience…an audience no comic from Marvel or DC has bothered to try to sell to.
A) I don’t think that link proves Cooke to be a hypocrite at all. There are plenty of quotes on that page that have nothing to do with the matter at hand, and the others generally point to a thoughtful, smart guy who’s actually addressing many of the same points you are.
B) I agree with you that readers ignore lots of great new work. That WHO IS JAKE ELLIS and LOOSE ENDS sell in the sub-10,000 range while HAWK & DOVE and VOODOO sell many times that is a shame. But it’s the way it is.
The argument that catering to older, established comics readers is short-sighted may be somewhat accurate, but that’s who comic shops target. When books cost $3.99, twelve year-olds on their bikes can’t buy six or seven of them like when I was a kid.
Slick paper, full-color, and highly detailed artwork (with artists paid a living wage), that gets expensive. And that’s what the market demands now.
The direct comic book market colliding with the book market is what has got us where we are now, and we may be on the cusp of something newer, more diverse, and more culturally relevant (god, I hope so). But that’s where it is, and making TINY TITANS, as good as it is, isn’t going to change that.
What sells in the DM is very different from what sells in the real world. Brian Hibbs did a great analysis of Bookscan’s graphic novel numbers. DC mostly placed with Watchmen and a couple of superhero books and Marvel stuff sold like crap. Both were outdone by non-superhero stuff.
I disagree with a lot of what you say. I was gonna be quiet cuz I think my point was missed so spectacularly that trying to say more would be a waste of everyone’s time, but…
TINY TITANS is *exactly* the wrong kind of book. It’s a book that has cute art but is written for older, monthly, floppy readers. It’s crap. The jokes only make sense if you know DC continuity, there’s no narrative, there’s no imagination…it’s a poor man’s TINY TOONS with none of the fun or wit. Beyond that, kids hate it. It’s forced on them by parents bound and determined to make them read comics.
Going after Tiny Titans is mean. You big meanie!
All kids hate it? Oh God…my niece has been lying to me all this time?! Thanks Chris for showing me that my niece is a liar.
@Chris Hero–if you think I’ve missed your point, I’d like to hear how.
Your points seem to be: “I think Darwyn Cooke is talented but he’s a hypocrite.”
“Kanye West was better before but now he makes more money.”
“New books (not that most of my examples are new) are the top sellers.”
I addressed the Cooke thing; I’m not familiar enough with Kanye’s old stuff to comment on that point; and while I prefer original work that is generally creator-owned, you only point to the TOP sellers, ignoring that there are hundreds of other creator-owned titles that were huge losses for their creators.
The point is that the market, wrong though you and I both think it is, supports established, pre-sold properties. The question isn’t “why don’t creators tell their own stories?” but “how do you get people to buy those stories?”
I guarandamntee you (to quote John Wayne) that most of those creators would vastly prefer to tell their own stories if they could make a decent living at it.
“while I prefer original work that is generally creator-owned, you only point to the TOP sellers, ignoring that there are hundreds of other creator-owned titles that were huge losses for their creators. ”
Thank you for making my point so much more competently than I could.
I like it and it looks good. Too bad its a mini-series and not an ongoing. But who knows after the event ends? They see success and milk it as long as possible.
Here is my earlier point. Moore, more or less asked other artists not to do this. Pretty simple. Has he worked on other properties sure. But I know of no other artists who have asked him not to work on a license and he has. At the end of the day Watchmen is Moore. It is not a license he came on board and then defined. It is his at least intellectually. I am lost as to why anyone would be interested in reading characters the man created when clearly the “fans” don’t like the creator. So you like and respect Watchmen as art but the artist himself is of no value and to be ignored? Well at least Rorschach will make an interesting member of the JL, or Batman team-up. Wait for it….
@Matthew Southworth and blacaucasian
If the two of you can’t see the difference between 70 years and hundreds of creators working on Batman and Superman, or Cooke, JMS, et all working on Watchmen versus a sole creator making Bone or Naruto and being successful at it, I’m wasting my time.
If you can’t look at Penny Arcade or Order of the Stick and see the phenomenal success there, I’m wasting my time.
And if Scott Pilgrim, Ook & Guk, or Persepolis isn’t new enough for you, I don’t know what is.
So, yeah, I’m just kinda wasting my time here talking to people who only want to see a perspective where more Watchmen comics are the only choice.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your Watchmen comics. I also hope you continue to enjoy whatever else you like. I wish no ill will to either of you.
Tiny Titans is a fantastic book and I’d like to see Darwyn Cooke do a fill in issue.
Sorry. I was so incredibly frustrated by Matthew and blacaucasian twisting everything so incredibly out of context I kinda lost my temper a bit.
But Tiny Titans is a wretched book. It’s only good quality are the cute character designs. The writing is totally impenetrable except to dyed in the wool superhero readers and maybe a handful of actual children. But my opinion doesn’t matter…what does matter is Tiny Titans sells a fraction or the numbers Bone and Ook &Guk do, so scoreboard!
First off, thanks for the patronizing tone.
Second of all, I 100% understand the difference between 70 years and blah blah blah b/c I live that difference every day. I draw STUMPTOWN, which has been drawn only by me since its inception; at the same time, I also work on licensed characters, and I know the different results, rewards and frustrations of each side. Intimately.
I know what it means to launch creator-owned material, what that means financially, what that means in terms of finding other work, what that means in terms of people reading and enjoying what I do. It’s not theoretical for me, it’s something I deal with literally every day.
Third, as a matter of fact I don’t particularly like the idea of Watchmen prequels; I think WATCHMEN is a near-perfect book, and I love it now and will continue to love it in the future. But I like the work of the people doing some of these books–Darwyn Cooke in particular–and I will buy them because of my enjoyment of their work. I also enjoy Alan Moore’s work immensely, and I buy his stuff. But I don’t feel the need to take a political stand against everything I disagree with (or agree with).
Put your money where your mouth is–go buy what you like, and if you don’t like the Watchmen stuff, don’t buy it. I HATE piles of crappy comics that come out every month, and I don’t buy them. I also try to turn people on to the things I do like, like LOVE AND ROCKETS, for example, that they won’t find on the DC or Marvel rack (and BONE, and SCOTT PILGRIM, and ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY, and anything by Paul Pope, anything by Darwyn Cooke, anything by Alan Moore). There is WAY, WAY more creator-owned material on my bookshelf than superhero stuff.
My point still stands–it’s not whether A is better than B, it’s that stores don’t stock as much of A, readers are wary of taking a chance on A, A doesn’t have the marketing muscle that B does, so if we like A better, how do we get people to buy it? Because let me tell you, A doesn’t pay a lot of bills for the majority of people who make it. Not even close. Ask around.
It’s not that I don’t understand your point, Chris. As a matter of fact, I agree with some of it, and that’s why I asked you how you felt I’d misunderstood you. Sorry I “wasted your time”.
Chris I’m going to call you Ritz because when it comes to Tiny Titans, you’re crackers.
So— the PARKER novels are Cooke’s “passion” project and this MINUTEMEN the “paycheck” one?
As long as it funds more of the former, giving him the financial cushion to pursue that personal project: good for him. Maybe after Stark, he can adapt some Len Deighton novels? It’s not as if he’ll ever work with Alan Moore anytime soon…
(But if I were him— and all the rest of nuDC’s BEFORE WATCHMEN “creative teams”— I’d keep an eye out for a Roman Snake God lying in wait in the shadows, hungry and biding its time to strike. Release the Glycon?)
Some people are viewing all characters as the same. If it’s okay to write new stories with one, you can write new stories with any of them. But all characters are not the same. Some are built and intended for never ending serial fiction (ie Spider-Man vs. badguy of month or story arc) and some have complete stories with a beginning, middle and definite ending (Watchmen) on purpose. The Comedian isn’t intended for never ending serial fiction, nor are any of the other Watchmen characters. They all have their stories to tell within the story of Watchmen. Shoehorning in additional stories goes against why they were created in the first place. You might think Alan is against it because it’s his characters but I’m pretty sure if DC were to hire freelancers to do new Vertigo Sandman stories against Neil Gaiman’s objections Alan wouldn’t be in favour or that either. There is nothing hypocritical about recognizing certain characters were not intended for serial fiction and saying they shouldn’t be used in that way.
I’m sure another major reason he’s against it is it’ll make DC money. Alan clearly feels that DC has lied and stole from him (among other things) I’m sure it burns his balls that they are getting rich off his creations.
ME BLOODY SNAKE GOD WILL TAKE WICKED RETRIBUTION UPON YE.
In a perfect world, Alan Moore would never have written Watchmen for DC Comics back in the 80′s. I wish I was being sarcastic but it would silence people who don’t think that DC Comics should make comics.
“I sincerely hope you enjoy your Watchmen comics. I also hope you continue to enjoy whatever else you like. I wish no ill will to either of you.”
I don’t know why you automatically associate our disagreement about current buyers and market trends with me “enjoying my new Watchmen books”.
I never once claimed that I wanted to read or was excited about new Watchmen books. Your throwing a straw argument out, and quite frankly a bit of a temper tantrum out there because the numbers and facts of current market and sales trends, both for book stores and for the direct market do not fully support the argument your trying to make.
Quite honestly, I could care less either way about the Watchmen prequels. I know I’m in the minority, but I think Watchmen is way overrated for what it is and will likely not be picking up the Watchmen prequels because they hold no interest for me as a reader, much as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Ook & Gluk hold no interest for me. To immediately dismiss my argument as an interested party in these books and as such I must be “rationalizing” their existence is just flat incorrect. There’s a fair share of new concept books I do support with my dollars froma whole slew of independent publishers. The simple fact of the matter is many of them get cancelled because the majority of the market, both direct market in floppies and the bookstore market once collected in trade,do not support them.
If you look at Vertigo, just for an example, there have been some books that have sustained past their lower periodical sales due to higher trade sales (Scalped, DMZ, Fables, just a few examples) but there have been far more books Vertigo has put out with just as much critical acclaim but could not sustain periodical or trade sales for them to stay in print. This is the MAJORITY of Vertigo books that fail. DC gives these books extra rope periodically because they hope trade sales pick them up to keep them finaical viable to be published. Many of these are new concepts (and even some recycled concepts from Vertigo fail spectacularly.) Again, if you look at the numbers, and overwhelming majority of new concepts, innovations and IP fail because neither market supports them.
Your point I believe was that look to Bookscan and you see new properties are being bought. The data of sales show that new properties unique to the bookstore markets do sell. However, to look to the Bookscan charts, while the charting of books is different then the direct market, the same trends of franchises being established and being purchased over and over again is the same. Direct market is selling lots of different soup, bookstores are selling lots of different sandwiches, but the direct market tends to sell the same soup over and over again and the direct market tends to sell the same sandwiches over and over again.
Extrapolate that out to the ability of the Bookstore market to expand that market out beyond the franchises they constantly sell, and I’m not so sure that’s apparent. Your argument would seem to say that the Bookstores are the future and show potential of expanding readership more then direct market, and the data does not show that to be necessarily true.
Your subjective complaints about Tiny Titans aside (my experience with this book is that the continuity jokes in the book are for the adults and in no way diminish the enjoyment of a child enjoying the book for what it is), it is an attempt by a bigger company to appeal to another market and and attempt they must feel is working or it wouldn’t have made it to whatever issue its on now.
I get your vitriol against DC as I’ve seen you post against them over and over again. But your vitriol should at least be based in some of the actual facts of what is going on in the market right now.
I bought an issue of Tiny Titans for a little girl that goes to the same babysitter that my daughter does because she loves superheroes. She LOVED that issue.
We have to accept the fact that regardless of what types of comics are released, good/bad or indie/mainstream, they will always be sold to a niche audience. ALWAYS. There are not enough people who are interested in the medium for it to ever compete with other forms of pop media.
Remember, videogames killed the comic book industry in the 90s, because that’s what kids prefer. Not because of too many capes. I actually mainly read non super hero comics, but I don’t delude myself into believing that is what’s responsible for keeping the industry in a niche state.
The majority of new everything doesn’t do well. The majority of new TV shows, the majority of new musicians, the majority of new prose novels, the majority of new actors, the majority of new athletes in professional sports, the majority of new businesses, etc.. that the majority of new/original comics don’t do well is not a surprise.
But if the creator and publisher think it’s worth their time, effort and money to try then they give it a go. The truth is the audience often doesn’t know what they want until they see it (Watchmen is a good example of this actually). When it pays off, it pays off big, which is why it’s worth it for both parties to try.
@Chris Hero and anyone who’s interested–
Anecdotal (and seemingly convenient, but I swear it happened) evidence: today at Comics Dungeon in Seattle, I was the only customer, until a mother and her 7 or 8 year old son came in. First thing he did was go to the spinner rack with kids comics and exclaim
“They have it, they have it! Can I get it?”
In his hands: TINY TITANS.
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