Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 6, 2012

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Todd Allen has a post up at The Beat that springs from Brian Hibbs' recent essay about Marvel's weak, recent, non-event numbers. I couldn't figure out how to read the numbers provided and I find some of the throwaway lines confusing -- somehow Before Watchmen isn't enough of an event to make the launch month an event-driven month? -- but the question asked is a good one. My suspicion is that both companies have a hard time selling comics that aren't event comics because there aren't enough readers to maintain high numbers on standard comic books. When readers are told what to buy, you have a hit. When they are joined by people that haven't been buying many comics at all, or at least that kind of comic, you have a potential mega-hit. But for the most part the system suffers from exhaustion and burnout. The real question may be whether or not there's a system there to be salvaged long-term, and if so, if the major players are able to make the necessary investments to make that system as vital as it can be. As long as people are rewarded for short-term bursts of sales and managing against expectations, the answer to the latter question is probably "no."

image* Chad Nevett talks to Joe Casey. WJT Mitchell talks to Art Spiegelman. Chris Arrant talks to Ian Brill.

* Fantagraphics' retail location was named Seattle's best comics shop and David Horsey the city's best cartoonist in the yearly Seattle Weekly Best Of awards. That "Starbucks" won for best music store may be the most depressing or most hilarious thing I've read recently, but also made me realize that all that time I spent staring at music in 1990s Seattle retail establishments is part of a bygone era for everyone now. Don't say the comics shops can't go away; don't belittle their accomplishment in not going away.

* Mike Mignola and DC Comics will be contributing to the benefit held by the comics shop in Aurora, Colorado. I think that's nice.

* not comics: I can't remember if I keep forgetting to link to this or if I've linked to it five times, and I'm too shy to look: Lisa Hanawalt clothes.

* I liked this comment from R. Fiore about Doonesbury's relative virtue. I don't really know how to process dismissing a work like that as was done in other comments and in the piece on which Fiore comments. I can certainly imagine a measured takedown of Doonesbury, and have my own list of things that the feature doesn't do well. But to deny it its place in comic strip history seems like it should be more difficult than to make up a few nasty, funny lines or to dismiss the entire enterprise as a fixation of the olds.

* Naomi Szeben on Unterzakhn. Rob Clough on Funny Aminals Vol. 3. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Grant Goggans on Esperanza. Andy Oliver on Days Of The Bagnold Summer.

* not comics: Nutmeg is a great name for a cat.

* the fact that all these weird but accomplished comics from the 1980s are never fully available as sets but available for pennies when they are should have more of an impact on the back-issues market than it does.

* in other Todd Allen news, digs into a projected model for comics profitability over at PW to see if this extends to the newer Image comics, using as a springboard the Robert Kirkman/Brian Bendis disagreement over comics career paths from a few years back -- that's probably a horrible way to describe it given Bendis' indy-comics roots, but there you go. At any rate, there's nothing more problematic than a construction that has that many parts and some of which are projections, but the general prognosis seems to be things are looking up for a lot more of those books.

* finally, I hope that the health of Kazu Kibuishi continues to improve. I hope it has improved in the time period between when I wrote this and when it finally rolled out.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

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