Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 7/12/10

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§ Abhay does what Abhay does best and finds out Weezer was to blame:

British fish have ovaries in their testes; the message is clear: even Jason Statham’s days are fucking numbered.

Via the Forbidden Planet International Blog, a nice little video primer on graphic novels by Robin Valenza:

Robin Valenza has uploaded the Graphic Novel Companion Hour, a very cool wee animated video which introduces readers to some excellent graphic novels in a very accessible (and amusing) manner, touching on Charles Burns’ Black Hole, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, David B’s Epileptic, Alissa Torres’ American Widow, Will Eisner’s Contract with God, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Season of Mists, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings. The animation was created by a group for Valenza’s Graphic Novel course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

§ Marvel’s main editors-dudes Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso are now doing a regular Q&A feature at CBR and it touches on many, many things, including Brevoort’s comments on why there are so many damned Deadpool titles, or whatever:

I’ve learned from fans’ questions that the true intent underneath is often “Why are you making so many of these? I really would like to buy ‘Green Lantern’!” to which my answer is “I’m going to make two more!” Because the last thing in the world I want is for you to spend your money on somebody else’s books. And up across town, they’re also sitting in a room going, “How the hell can we get them to buy Green Lantern and not one of those shitty Deadpool book?” That’s part and parcel of the competition that we engage in. At a certain point, you hit a moment of diminishing returns where clearly you’ve gone too far. And then you sort of dust off things, and as a group, you pull back. We’ve trimmed and pruned lines in the past when they’ve grown too far, too fast, and certainly we’re always vigilant that we may completely destroy something by beating it into the ground. For all the people that feel we do that – and every once in a while I think we do – we’ve also maintained a pretty good bedrock in all the various areas around the Marvel Universe.

§ Jhonen Vazquez is now selling things at TopatoCo. (Via Gary Tyrrell.)

§ Kevin Nowlan reprints hate mail he received for drawing NEW MUTANTS #51 better than anyone had any right to expect.

§ Johanna Draper Carlson surveys the current digital distribution landscape.

201007120407 Kibbles n Bits    7/12/10

§ Speaking of artists who do things better, David Brothers had a recent series of “& Artists” who are all very, very good at certain aspects of the cartoonist’s art:
Ed McGuinness
Chris Bachalo
Paolo Rivera
Amanda Conner
Richard Corben
David Aja (Above)
Doug Mahnke
All of which reminds us of one of our frequent bar conversations: Is there an artist or two whose style defines the current superhero look in the way that, say, Neal Adams, John Byrne, Jim Lee, or Bryan Hitch once defined the current look? What do you all think?

Comments

  1. Nate Horn says:

    That’s a frequent bar conversation? Clearly I’ve been hanging out in the wrong bars. Lately, it’s been a lot of crying in our drinks over how screwed Cleveland is when it comes to…pretty much everything in life.

  2. The comment from Brevoort shows just how out of touch Marvel editorial is. Virtually no one is trying to decide between buying Green Lantern or Deadpool. The few that are, aren’t going to be swayed by how many slots the character takes up on a store’s rack. No consumer ever thinks, “Check out the size of that character’s footprint.”

    When people are making their purchasing decisions, they look to (in no particular order):

    1. Familiarity
    2. Perceived quality (not *actual* quality)
    3. Buzz
    4. Fills a need
    5. Brand loyalty

    I am seeing fewer and fewer sales on each new Deadpool series. Even Wade Wilson’s War, which has gotten terrific reviews from my customers that read it, had a lot of people who buy other Deadpool comics give it a pass when they saw it on the shelf.

    I also doubt that a single person at DC thinks that Green Lantern and Deadpool are competing in any direct way. They both fill different needs.

    Some of the Deadpool comics have been good, some have been terrible. If you make more good ones, and fewer terrible, then you’ll sell more overall.

  3. Kid Kyoto says:

    “Because the last thing in the world I want is for you to spend your money on somebody else’s books.”

    That has to be the most honest thing written in a long, long time.

    It’s a marketshare and mindshare game, each company wants a monopoly on our time and money she they are going to take any perceived uptick in interest to seize as much as they can get.

    My solution was to stop buying monthlies and only get TPBs after seeing reviews of the finished product. Great for me, not so great for the shops that need weekly buyers.

  4. “Because the last thing in the world I want is for you to spend your money on somebody else’s books.”

    The problem is that it’s had the unintended consequence that I don’t buy your books either. I’m no fan of trusts and collusion, but I sometimes wonder if the comics industry would be better off if DC and Marvel sat down and agreed that one of them was going to do nothing but continuity-based crossovers to appeal to the fans who like that, and the other would do independent creator-driven series for the fans who like that, instead of both of them fighting over the same audience and neglecting the other.

  5. I was trying to figure out the answer to the question about who defines superhero art myself earlier. DC seems to have embraced a group of superficially similar artists–Ed Benes (and his various studiomates/understudies), Joe Bennett, Ivan Reis, and a few others have fairly similar styles, and they’ve all had runs on DC’s big figures.

    Over at Marvel, the street level books (and also Captain America and Atlas) all have a kind of Michael Lark feel from pencils to inks to coloring. It isn’t exactly the same, of course, but you can draw a pretty easy line from Michael Lark to Steve Epting to Butch Guice to Mitch Breitweiser to Gabriel Hardman. Spidey’s been uneven in terms of art style, but fairly high quality in terms of art skills. X-Men is similarly varied, going from Greg Land to The Dodsons to Whilce Portacio on Uncanny alone.

    I think we might be past the point where one person’s style defines an entire genre or company. Each line (Bat, Super, Spider, Street, Avengers, etc) has its own flavor and generally complementary styles, but there’s outliers even then.

    Which, I mean, it’s a good thing, but it’s also interesting. I’m wondering when that kind of diversity started gaining ground. IIRC, Bendis’s Daredevil went from Maleev to Dodson to Maleev again, and then Maleev-like from there on out.

  6. i think Epting has quietly established his style as the late 00s / early 10s look. kinda going off what David said here before me, but i don’t attribute it to Lark (though i guess that could easily be done instead). the reason why i chose Epting is because Captain America became a bonafied slowburner hit in the second half of last decade, and Epting was really the one that took point on that.

    i know the Epting look hasn’t been quite as big at DC, but i’ve noticed that they seem to pick up on era-defining styles a bit later, in most cases. Roleau, McGuinness, and Bachalo developed their more animated look at Marvel, and then brought it to DC (and imprints) later on around the turn of the last decade, much the way that i suspect the Epting look will eventually take hold over at DC in the next couple years.

    before it was Epting, i think it was McNiven that had the most defined and imitated look (mid-00s). as for what look is next, i have no idea. i never would have pegged the Aja/Epting/Lark style to become so popular.

  7. “Is there an artist or two whose style defines the current superhero look in the way that, say, Neal Adams, John Byrne, Jim Lee, or Bryan Hitch once defined the current look? What do you all think?”

    I don’t think there’s one, but that’s not such a bad thing. I see main stream versions of David Mack, with layouts that look like Alex Ross, while Neal Adams, Dave McKean, Ash Wood, and Bryan Hitch pepper the hearts and minds of many of today’s artists, and that’s just for starters. It’s an exciting time for that reason.

  8. Marvel seems to have some diversity in the hero books from the Buscema types (JRJR, the CrossGen folk) to the Quesada types to Hitch and Marcos Martin types. DC is different. So many of their artists are from studio systems in Brazil, Italy and Spain, that you get an odd similarity to it all. The best ones like Reis or Pacheco are tremendous–then there is a second tier of B level talent like Joe Bennett–then the rest, who are weaker copies of the better tiers without their vision. The disparity between artists at Dc and Marvel is one of the most disturbing trends in comics today–Marvel simply has better skilled and more interesting super hero artists than DC, and DC simply doesn’t look interested in anyone but their top talents. If they aren’t at Kubert or Mahnke level, DC seems to find the artists interchangeable. DC should stop obsessing over continuity and worry more about the art!

  9. DC ten years ago could have been said to have the better writing talent…until Marvel started stealing them away. Marvel Max and DC’s Vertigo/Mature titles are nowhere near close in quality and success.

    Other than that, it’s clear than one of two things is going on; really talented artists would rather NOT draw Superman and Batman because they don’t like them that much or..or…DC’s editorial system is driving away good artists. Bryan Hitch and Steve Epting, had stints at DC prior to their success at Marvel. Even though Marvel spent most of the last decade with bad colorists and bad lettering (remember that standardized lettering style that was impossible to read?), they knew how to use what they had.

  10. STT Mike:

    Don’t forget that for whatever reason DC has managed to keep hold of Morrison.

    I don’t recall the history, but apparently Morrison was lured to Marvel for a time and for whatever reason ended up gravitating back to DC. So that’s one feather in DC’s cap.

  11. I remember. Joe Quesada didn’t care for some of the changes he made to the X-MEN. He wanted Xorn and Magneto to be two separate people. Grant didn’t. Their got ugly from there.

    Grant may be a credit to DC but many would argue he needs to be edited. Look how haphazard his run on BATMAN was.

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