Author Topic: Comic Book Thread  (Read 24774 times)

Offline Thomas Grey

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Comic Book Thread
« on: March 5, 2004, 12:41 PM »
I have a few things I'd like to rant about if people will entertain my thoughts...

1. Who is buying/reading/collecting comics besides me? What titles do you like right now? I would like to recommend a few titles I find to be extremely well written and drawn (outside of the Dark Horse SW comics, which vary). They are te following: The Losers (Wildstorm), Black Hole (Indy), Conan (DH), Batman: City of Light (DC/The Pander Brothers!), The Escapist (DH), The Moth (DH), Plastic Man (DC)... Notice please the lack of Marvel (other than 1602, I have no interest in Marvel).

2. The Slow Death and Immense Decay of Comics as we have come to know them...
Brief History: Comics come into being in book form from collected dailies. Sequencial art and storytelling becomes a lucrative business with unlimited possibilities. Heroes are born, heroes go to war while America is at war and they are popular and distributed everywhere. Comics have a tough time tring to recover from the end of the war. Horror and True Crime comics are the focus and they are eventually censored. Then we see ridiculous monster comics and then back to super heroes. The writing becomes very good and Stan Lee humanizes the hero. Comics become popular and are widely distributed. The 1980s. comics boom and start selling millions of copies per issues having to do several printings to sate the demand. They are at convenience stores, super markets, retail, drug stores. They are out there!!! They are advertising by being a fixture. Specialty shops are for the serious collector, but remain fairly covert.

Then Marvel has a great idea. Let's focus on the collector and forget the kids. Marvel decides that all they need is several thousand people to buy 3-10 copies of 'collectible' issues and they will do just fine. These select people invest as planned, but soon realize that there isn't a market for their 'collectibles' because anyone else interested has them or is trying to get rid of them. They stop buying comics. Marvel prints the few million or so comics expecting to have the continued effect and no one buys them. The market is flooded and there is no more demand. This makes Marvel  focus exclusively on specialty shops that order and pay up front and the distribution is taken from the public eye. Marvel goes bankrupt and almost kills the industry because the other companies followed Marvels lead. Indies fold, go under and suffer. Comic books are on life support.

They slowly creep back but stay limited to the specialty shops. Advertising by putting them in every retail store is gone. People don't buy comics unless they hunt them down in specialty shops. Graphic novels become the focus and the monthly books cut corners, artists and writers are hired for their speed and ability for meeting deadlines. The quality drops. Comics go from selling up to 2 million per issue in the 1980s and 1990s to considering good sales on a book being 15,000.

The movies come out and out and out and nothing is done to publicize the comic book industry. Comics are kept in a private world. 250+ million are viewing these movies and no one is buying comics because they can't get them. They are not there...

Rumors ripple through the industry that Marvel wants to focus solely on graphic novels and continue to focus on large corp. bookstore chains buying up front. The idea to stop printing monthly 22-24 page books is considered and could possibly come to be from Marvel.

DC stays true to form and doesn't want to shake things up. They are as concerned with quality as they are with profit. They sign the industtries best creators to contracts and recruit a house of legends by 2004.  Dark Horse also stays with the comic as an art form concept nad continues to put out quality books. Image is about the art and not the writing. But the art is worth the cover price.

Comics are hanging by a thin thread.

3. I love comics as a creator and a reader and a collector. I hope something is done to promote the industry better and to make comics more accessible to the average Joe.

I saw a kid (15 or 16) in a Borders bookstore reading a comic the other day. He had a mohawk going and looked fairly nerdy (who am I to judge). He was reading a graphic novel (more underground or independent).
I asked him why he was reading that comic and he said he liked the writing. I asked him if he collected or knew of a few titles and he said no. He was just starting to get into it. I asked if he knew where a local specialty shop was and he said... No.

My point is... The fan is out there, but the comics are not. This is going to be the demise if it is not amended. This art form must live on! I do not know if there is really anything we can do as fans. Just thought I'd air that out because it depresses me and makes me quite angry.

Hope the message is clear here. I tend to ramble when I'm all worked up.
« Last Edit: December 2, 2004, 01:47 PM by Scott »
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Offline Mikey D

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #1 on: March 5, 2004, 01:17 PM »
Extremely well written, Thomas.  I don't think I can argue with one thing you wrote.  I would say that Marvel is trying to escape their past ways and put out books that people can relate to, ala the golden age with Lee, Kirby, Dikto, etc.  Ultimate Spiderman, Daredevil, Ultimates (late shipping aside) and both the regular and Ultimate versions of FF are good stuff.  I truely believe Joe Quesada wants to move Marvel in the right direction and keep the fans happy.  This was evidenced when Waid got fired from FF and the fans spoke out.  Quesada righted the situation and now that book is one of the best there, IMO.

I have always been a Marvel fan almost to the point where all I bought was Marvel.  This was back in the day when I was dropping $30 - $40 a week on crap (Slapstick anyone?).  Then I went to college and I pretty much stopped reading and collecting.

I started up again when Devils Due re-released GIJoe and the glory days of reading and enjoying comic books came back.  I don't buy nearly as much as in the past and try to limit my grab list to select titles.  This doesn't mean I won't try something new, but I tend to stay with what I know.

Besides Star Wars, my top monthly grab is probably Ultimate Spiderman.  I wasn't on board from the beginning, but recommendations from the guys over at GH lead me to pick up the first TPB.  I was immediately hooked.  I've always been a fan of Bagley's art and Bendis' writing is one of the best, if not the best, out there today.  

I also starting looking at DC more.  Back in the day, I always felt they were Marvel's b!tch and couldn't compete with them.  Then, as you said, they started hiring top notch talent to exclusive contracts and started to put out quality books.  If it wasn't for word of mouth, my DC grab list would probably not be nearly what it is now.  Hawkman, Teen Titans and Outsiders are all excellent books, both with character development and action.  I picked up JSA when they had a crossover with Hawkman a few weeks ago and was impressed enough to add to my grab list.  

And I'll always defend Erik Larsen and Savage Dragon.  He has put out a top notch, quality book for almost 120 issues and show's no sign of slowing down.  He appreciates the fans, as evidenced by the number 1 letters page in all of comics and knows that without them, he wouldn't be doing what he holds so dear.  The relavtively few (in comparsion) buyers of his book know they're going to get a treat every time.

And I'm always open for suggestions for something new.
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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #2 on: March 5, 2004, 01:30 PM »
All I can say is that The Watchmen scares the **** out of me.



 :(

Offline Jeff

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #3 on: March 5, 2004, 01:54 PM »
I have a few things I'd like to rant about if people will entertain my thoughts...

1. Who is buying/reading/collecting comics besides me? What titles do you like right now?

2. The Slow Death and Immense Decay of Comics as we have come to know them...

3. I love comics as a creator and a reader and a collector. I hope something is done to promote the industry better and to make comics more accessible to the average Joe.

Hi,

Great post.  I agree with your take on the comic industry: peaked in the late 80s, early 90s and has been decreasing ever since...

1) - I'd recommend ANYTHING by Geoff Johns.  IMHO, the guy is one of the best writers out there.  He currently writes JSA, HAwkman, and The Flash for DC and his Avengers run at Marvel was great!  

The guy knows and loves the Silver age feel and tries to bring the Silver Age story-telling into the books (not always the characters, but the sense of story first, hype second).

2) Marvel did mess things up.  Thanks again McFarlane Spidey (the beginning of the end!)  ::)


3) - I think that DC tries harder thatn Marvel to recruit new readers.  They have a whole line of Cartoon Network comics as well as the "Animated" style books for the Teen Titans, JLA, Superman, and Batman.

A few years back, I wouldn't have wanted my 6-yr old and 8-yr old nephews reading comics because the content was a bit too mature, but DC's line of JL Universe and Animated Batman adventures are great for kids (which are tomorrows comics generation).  My wife and I bought my nephews subscriptions to those "animated" style books and they love them!  There is hope out there.

Also, DC does a much better marketing tie-in with comics because of the cross breeding with the WB/AOL/Time-Warner.  They can use the WB cartoons and cartoon network to advertise their comics.  I have noticed that in WB stores, there are DC comics as well as mentions of big DC Comic stories in Time/Warner magazines like Entertainment Weekly.

I think they are improving in getting comics back out there into stores like B&N, Target, and other places.


Marvel, however, yeesh.  Ugh.  Marvel needs to focus more on hyping comics when movies are hot.  I can't believe that Spiderman the Movie made $400 million, but sales on the books only went up 2%?  Huh?  Why aren't the kids buying the books?

I really think Marvel needs to stop with the "Marvel Max" and "Marvel Knights" crap and start producing books that are appropriate for kids.  Kids need a book where Spider-man fights Electro and not discusses his marraige with MJ or other "adult" junk.  I wish Marvel would introduce a more "cartoony" line for kids.

Ultimates was a way to re-boot the Marvel universe for new readers, but eventually lead to the same crappy places: love-triangle with Cyke/Jean/Logan, etc.  They focus too much on character relationships for kids I think.

Back in my day, (uh oh, here it comes) Barry liked Iris, Hal liked Carol, Clark liked Lois, etc. Buth the girl always like the alter-ego.  That way you didn't have to deal with the whole Superman and Lois might get divorced crap.

Anyway, Just my $0.02,
Jeff
 
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Offline Thomas Grey

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #4 on: March 5, 2004, 05:17 PM »
I am pretty old school as far as collecting and can relate to laying down $30-$40 a week Mikey D. I find myself buying more Silver age stuff these days, but do have a file at a local place. I think the Ultimate line is okay, but they stopped printing them on the primo stock to cut costs and it caused people to complain enough that they are bringing it back. I just think it's more of a 'What If' universe. They need to focus on the reality of the Marvel Universe. Daredevil has been the only Marvel title (in my opinion) that you can count on being solid each and every month. I just think Marvel is breaking in all these newer artists to work with established writers to save a buck or 2. It's just inconsistent and bums me out. Quesadilla is cool and I hope he starts to turn things around. Marvel was always the big dog to me until recently.

If I went to DC it was for The Watchmen, Swamp Thing, Miller's Dark Knight, Ronin, Animal Man, Sandman, Miracleman. DC put out the good epic stuff and Marvel made the good monthly books.

I read Daredevil and the Wolverine mini when Miller and Janson were on them, the Claremont/Burne X-men... I also loved the Indies; Baron & Rude on Nexus, Badger, Elementals, Judge Dredd, Mage, Grendel...

I am a fan to the core and just hope it can improve.
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Offline Morgbug

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #5 on: March 5, 2004, 09:37 PM »
Comics were the filler in the gap that was my toy collecting.  I bought comics from around 84-94.  

My history prior to that is filled with comics.  When I was a kid (no, no dinosaurs roaming the earth) we used to go to an Aunt and Uncle's cabin at a Lake.  They used to take in all the cousins and give the parents a break.  On rainy days, we could either play games or read comics.  DC and Marvel were present in pretty even amounts.  I'm fairly honored to say I held Amazing Fantasy #15 in my hands several times.  It was dog eared and the cover long since torn, but I must have read it thousands of times.  I later told my Aunt what it was worth and she said considering the peace and quiet it bought her on rainy days, she never would have sold it, no matter the amount :)

Unlike you Thomas, I was all about Marvel.  I loved Spiderman and he is still my favourite character.  Peter Parker was every kid, for the most part, save the jocks (of which I was one, but never felt like one, but that's a whole different story ;)).  He was the good kid, the nerd, etc.  But for me, the reason I loved Spiderman was the morality.  More than anything else, Pete tried to do the right thing, something I still try to abide by.  

From there I spread into other titles like Daredevil, Ironman then on into the X-titles.  I've also been a Batman and Superman fan, but the rest of the DC titles just didn't do it for me as I didn't really like their characters that much.  

I recall the switch from comics based on stories to comics based on promotion and gimmick.  Part of that switch involved Boobs.  Female characters prior to that had been fairly curvaceous but this bordered on the absurd.  Commensurate with the switch was a rapid decline in the quality of writing.  Sure, the artwork was fine, but the story took second place to the graphics, the more, um, graphic the better.  

I'm guessing I got out around issue 330 or so of ASM and haven't regreted it.  

The stories sucked.  If I wanted boobs, I could go out and buy a Playboy.  The art was good, but pointless.  I saved around $50 a week.  

Nowadays I don't buy comics.  Mostly because I simply cannot get over the cost.  I realize I'm getting old, but c'mon.  I was in Walmart one day and up here they display their comics in the toy section.  I spied a Star Wars comic with Leia being captured by some Imperial troops.  I read most of the book in the store and thought geez, this is pretty cool, I should get it.  Until I looked at the price.  $10 Cdn (around $7.95 US or so).  Do kids get THAT much money these days that they can afford it????  If I bought as many titles as I used to in my early twenties, I'd be dropping over $300 a week :o  That's ridiculous.  

I guess in part I'm tiring of the "collectible" mentality.  Yeah, sure, I contribute in a huge way by buying stuff.  Can't argue with that.  But you know what?  If they produced a billion Marvel Legends Red Skull figures or a billion R2-D2 Droids Kubricks, I couldn't care less.  

Comics need to drag themselves out of that mentality or sales will stay dismal.  I've got 13 long boxes of comics that say so.  BTW, I was not a speculator when I was buying comics.  I do have multiple copies of McFarlane's Spiderman #1 but that's about it.  Spawn #1 caused me to buy all of 1 copy.  I guess allowing for inflation, I would figure that comics at around $2.00-3.00 would be a fair price.  
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Offline Thomas Grey

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #6 on: March 5, 2004, 11:20 PM »
Don't get me wrong. I liked Marvel a lot in the 70's and 80's. The current status is what I'm sick about.

I can relate to you in that I was raised on comics. Classics Illustrated was always there at my grandmothers. Also Sad Sack, Mad Magazine, House of Horrors and the Classic Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge before anyone knew he was the artist drawing it. I also remember days when I'd be home sick. My father would come home at lunch with a fistfull of comics and among them would be Spiderman, Superman, Green Lantern, Incredible Hulk... That got me going to look and buy them at stores and read them into worthlessness. My old Conans and Strange Tales and Xmen are classic and worth tons in good shape. Mine are worth my memories and that's fine for me. I didn't know and had I knoown, I probably wouldn't have cared. I never bought a comic I didn't read. I just read them a little more carefully these days.

But having a father come home after he pops by the local convenience store and brings you some great comics to read is no longer. They aren't there. The sick kids are getting what? DragonballZ? It's just stupid if you ask me that they do not make them more accessible. It is art and literature and needs to be out there!
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Offline jokabofe

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #7 on: March 6, 2004, 12:05 AM »
i still read comics on a weekly basis... or at least whenever i can get my lazy ass to the shop to pick up my stash  ::) - and i still drop like $50 a week or more, which isn't hard when the average book costs like $2 now  >:(

but some of my favorite reads right now are:

ultimate spider-man
ultimate fantastic four
100 bullets
dreamwave's transformers books
any star wars books (duh)
superman/batman by loeb & mcguinness

plus whatever catches my eye when i'm there... the owner of the shop i go to is a good friend of mine, so he pretty much looks out for me, holding stuff he thinks i'll dig to the side till i get there, which has been once a month for a while now. but he's turned me on to some really great stuff, like 30 days of night a while back... one of the best books i had read in a long time.

Offline Scott

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #8 on: March 8, 2004, 12:07 AM »
I got a few hundred old Avengers and Captain America comics off of eBay in the past few months and I've been reading them here and there a few issues at a time.  They're all from the early 80's (right before Secret Wars) until the mid 90's...its amazing how different the art and stories are from what I know of the industry these days.  IMO they've shunned kids for the Collector much like a lot of toy lines have done.  Comics have also been killed by the introduction of the home video game systems, we were the first generation to have them but we held on to our comics, kids now don't need comics to waste time reading, they have much more visually appealing and stimulating activities in which to waste hours on end

I can't say much about the modern industry, I've paged through a few Ultimates books, checked out Ultimate Spidey a few times but that's been about it, things started to change right about the time I got out of my reading days ('89-'90)  Punisher and Wolverine were starting to take over the Marvel Universe and I remember my mom being a little uncormfortable of having her 15 year old reading such violent mags...and I look at the early 80's Avengers and have to agree with her.  The introduction of violence was happening then and is something they need to get rid of if they want to attract the youth of the world back into the Comic Universe.

Interesting topic Thomas

Offline SPIDERLEGS

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #9 on: March 9, 2004, 02:11 PM »
I'm a huge Vertigo fan. TRANSMETROPOLITAN is greatest comic of all time (have them all). I also love HELLBLAZER (most), PREACHER(all) & SANDMAN(all). Never got into superhero comics other than BATMAN (half) and SPIDERMAN (most of the McFarlane issues). Kinda dug SPAWN for a while. I have all the STAR WARS TPBs.

I mainly don't collect single issues unless the TPB hasn't come out yet. I love TPBs because I don't have to wait a month for the story to continue and you get complete story arcs. Plus, they are easier to keep in good condition.

I used to totally dig Darkhorse, but they've slipped, at least to me, in the last few years.

I'm about to check out THE WATCHMEN. I've heard good things about them.

The greatest comic artists of all time? Alex Ross, Darick Robertson, Steve Dillon, Joe Quesada. Greatest writers: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Grant Morrison.

Offline Thomas Grey

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2004, 11:50 AM »
Greatest eh?

I can't resist...

Vital comics that everyone should read at some point:
1. Watchmen (Alan Moore) - it will change the way you look at comics and life. - I also recommend V for Vendetta, his Swamp Thing run and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...
2. both Dark Knight series (primarilly the first) by Frank Miller), Frank Miller Collected Daredevil work & Wolverine mini series...
3. Sandman - Neil Gaiman
4. The Spirit - Will Eisner - long running comic, but the best!
5. MAUS - Art Speigleman (sic) - amazing!!!
6. Carl Barks Disney work (Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck).
7. Mage & Grendel runs - Matt Wagner
8. The Dark Phoenix X-men run - Claremont/Burne
9. Waiting for Nexus TPB - Baron/Rude
10. I like the collected old strips like: Tarzan (Hogarth), Flash Gordan, Lil' Abner (Frazetta years), Dick Tracy...
11. Animal Man
12. Steranko - Nick Fury
13. TBPs - Original Star Wars, Any Marvel Title - Stan Lee is brilliant and Kirby & Ditko are marvelous.
- many, many more... Just what I could come up with now.

You mentioned that you thought Dark Horse was sliding. I think you may want to look again. They are becoming very concerned with art and writing.
The following titles are really exceptional:
- Conan
- The Moth
- The Escapist

Good to know there are so many enthusiasts out there. Hard to keep the collections current unless you make a mint...



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Offline SPIDERLEGS

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2004, 11:15 PM »
I'll pick up some of the titles you recommended, but do yourself a favor:

pick up the TPB "TRANSMETROPOLITAN: Lust for Life"

You'll be hooked. Trust me!

SPIDER JERUSALEM tells the TRUTH!
(you'll know what that means when you read the book.)

Offline Thomas Grey

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2004, 11:51 AM »
Have it in single issue form and I agree, it's pretty good stuff! I usually scan the rack and look for indies that may be new or have decent covers (don't tell me the cover doesn't sell the comic). I saw the edgy art on the first issue and started buying Transmetropoliton and got into it easily. I do have a file at a store, but half the fun for me is checking the rack for the stuff I may not know about...
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Offline hansloroll

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2004, 01:38 AM »
The death of Comics began right around the birth of videogames.

Funny but true.
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Offline Scott

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Re: Comic Book Rant
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2004, 10:18 AM »
Check out these auctions :o

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