Neil Gaiman chats it up on best comics, digital comics, etc., etc.

201010151111 Neil Gaiman chats it up on best comics, digital comics, etc., etc.

Vulture has one of the chattiest interviews with Neil Gaiman we’ve read in a while. He talks about co-editing BEST AMERICAN COMICS and much more:

It does seem as if web comics have been much more the province of individual creators and that the business opportunity seems to be with iPad. It seems as if the big players see that as more of a potential for publishing.
But it levels the playing field. Everything about the web has been about leveling the playing field. Yeah, it’s why Scott was right in Reinventing Comics, and why it’s a terrible book. Because it’s a manifesto. It’s not a book. It’s a manifesto to something that doesn’t exist yet, and, furthermore, his solution is wrong, which is you can micro-monetize this stuff. But the basic gist of the manifesto is simply: The moment you’re on the web, you don’t have to publish the book, you don’t have to get the book into Barnes & Noble, you don’t have to pay for ink and paper and the office costs of somebody to promote it. And all of that is true. You are absolutely playing on a flat field with somebody who has millions of dollars of marketing behind them.

Comments

  1. “You are absolutely playing on a flat field with somebody who has millions of dollars of marketing behind them.”

    Not true because that somebody with millions of dollars of marketing behind him has 10 years to catch up with the succesfull webcomickers out there

  2. Word. What Mario said.

    Marketing money is moot if you don’t know how to spend it and with an even playing field it’s up to the savvy to grab your/our collective attention while scoring a piece of the pie.

    Meanwhile, the content makers have been pushed to sacrifice and trade some of their creative time for marketing/branding/etc., on their own time with their own dime; shrugging off those who are supposed to be doing it for ‘em and failing miserably. Unfortunately, that could mean some content will never see the light and, soon enough, senior year won’t be about a senior thesis but about how to market/brand yourself because you/we seem to do it better than anybody else.

    Bottom line: if it’s good, it WILL sell.

  3. Favorite exchange:

    “There’s some retro-nostalgia love out there for Howard the Duck.
    No, there isn’t. I do not believe that. It’s there and it goes away the moment you watch it. You can feel it in your heart and then you see that dwarf in the duck suit clomping around and you go, ‘Aaaaaaaaaah …'”

  4. Jon_in_Austin says:

    “Bottom line: if it’s good, it WILL sell.”

    Hey Dean, I’m a marketing guy so excuse any perceived bias here, but if people don’t know the material is out there on the Web, no one is going to find it.

    Marketing (online marketing, social media marketing, trade press PR, etc.) draws attention to an artist’s material. It takes time and some work to do it right, but there’s nothing that says that every small creator has to have the same level of press clippings as Neil Gaiman to succeed.

    Jon

  5. “Bottom line: if it’s good, it WILL sell.”

    Making a quick mental list of the most popular webcomics, the most popular super hero comics, and the most popular Japanese comics (Not to mention the most popular songs, movies, and TV shows) tells me that quality is not a factor in popularity.

    Jon is right. While most marketing on the web is done via word of mouth, without raised awareness of your comic, you won’t be making a living off of it.

  6. Jon – I think we’re saying the same thing. Still, by declaring that “Good will sell,” I’m making a broad abstract that, despite all efforts to employ tried, true, black-and-blue marketing tools, the comix playing field has been leveled by the critical mass of social networking coupled with the scrutiny of the blogosphere. The stuff that entertains and MEANS something and is DIFFERENT will rise to the surface and prevail, or, at the very least, get a shot at gaining a substantial audience. If that lasts 15-minutes or 15 years — is up to the author/s and audience relationship w/the material/s. Not many of us need a yacht to prove our success or make a living.

    Comix fans can smell wholesale hype a mile away and, for some reason, they don’t like it. We live in a world now that rejects obvious hype. We comment on it we and cringe at it. We are no longer the captive audience of yesterday. Appointment TV is dying and blockbuster movies are anomalies. Once 3D loses its luster the death of the movie theater will occur. Print [publication] is sadly, dying a long death and our “news” comes from FaceBook and Twitter. And, even though I do my best to alert the troops of the stuff I dig via the LIKE and SHARE buttons on FaceBook, it’s really up to the digital consumer to weigh in with their nickels and dimes. The day of directly supporting the auteur/s is upon us.

    William – “Good” is VERY different from “Popular.” Gosh — if ONLY my stuff were popular…

  7. Comix fans can smell wholesale hype a mile away and, for some reason, they don’t like it. We live in a world now that rejects obvious hype.

    Dean, looking at the top money-making comics, print and web, I don’t think that’s true either. The hype on the web may be less Hollywood-like than Marvel’s flash movies, but it’s there.

    Comics fans are as much a bunch of label whores as, say, Paris Hilton is.

    William – “Good” is VERY different from “Popular.” Gosh — if ONLY my stuff were popular…

    We are in complete agreement. Though I think you got the good and popular parts done already.

  8. I love Neil Gaiman works, want to see it more now.

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  9. William — I’ll concede that fans, comix and/or otherwise, probably buy the majority of the hype but it’s definitely being scrutinized more than ever before. Marvel and DC, alone, are reducing books, page counts, and prices because the deluge became a glut. I guess I just don’t necessarily sell what the Wednesday comics crowd swarms for but I’ve come to appreciate the art of the hard sell while backing it up with [fingers crossed] “good” content. I’m sure there is a middle ground between persona building and carpet bombing and I’m looking at cats like you to help the likes of me leave the break-even point in the dust.

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