Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 8/18/11

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 8/18/11


§ Brian Wood gives an exit interview for DC Comics — he’s leaving his exclusive to concentrate on other ventures, such as THE MASSIVE, a new project for Dark Horse with artist Kristian Donaldson. Along the way he shows that an entire career path is dwindling away:

Yes and no. It’s the end of one era, I suppose, where I was doing all this work for Vertigo and not only earning a living but having that as a career — being a Vertigo writer as a career. I think the condition of the comics market these days, combined with all the recent changes at DC, I don’t think that exists anymore as an option for anyone. Well, certainly not for me. Vertigo’s output, as publicly stated by DC, is to be reduced, and I cannot expect to be able to write two plus books for them. Which breaks my heart, no exaggeration.

For a long time, “getting a book at Vertigo” was the ultimate career goal for lots of people. Where are they all going now?

§ Area Man Tim Callahan Reads 300 issues of Cerebus in 7 days”

Seven days later, I’ve not only read all 300 issues, but I finished reading the final page of the final Cerebus “phonebook” on August 12 and then proceeded to devour Sim’s annotations and look for more supplementary reading (interviews and articles and whatever) on the series. I should have changed my Twitter hashtag to #300issues12days. Not only did I not have to “plow” through the series and not only did I not find the final third to be a wall of crazy religious text, I found that reading the series, at least for about 5,600 of its approximately 6,000 pages, was terrifically enjoyable. Sometimes it was painful, but never in an artless way. It was painful in the sense that here was a comic that was filled with statements and ideas that were just plain wrong, absurdly disagreeable, but I didn’t find that off-putting. I found it engaging. Vibrant.

§ Dustin Harbin talks about some of the issues swirling of late:

Reading the new TCJ #301 interview with +Michael Kupperman and Al Jaffee, it occurred to me that declining industries seem to counterintuitively react by trying to cover MORE bases poorly, rather than provide better value for the things they’re actually most capable of doing well. Kupperman made a remark about magazines and print media responding to digital culture by dumbing down their content to hopefully attract a larger audience.

I think the same idea applies to specialty shops, bookstores, comics shops, etc. — in a changing market where suddenly you’re not the only available outlet for whatever it is you sell, the answer is not to sell MORE at dwindling profit (see Borders, et al), it’s to get BETTER at selling what you are best at selling, what you provide that another may not, or at least not as well as you.

§ Why had DC not made the Extended cut of the New 52 trailer embeddable?

§ A new site called Line-Con hopes to provide a home for pictures of…long lines of people. Only a few contributions thus far, but we hear they have some great stuff lined up. Tee hee!

§ Paul Gravett has added several cartoonist profiles to his site.

§ Tony Isabella has a new blog talking about longer stuff. in this post he has some pretty sounds advice about contracts:

A phrase in one of my e-mail conversations with a representative of the site kept coming back to me.  It’s the one where someone tells you that everybody signs this contract.  Well, if everybody signs the contract they sent me, every one of those “everybodies” is an idiot of the highest magnitude.

This latest absurd contract is freshest in my thoughts, but I can tell you about a couple others.  Like the contract that read as if I were contracting for the client’s services and not the other way around. Or the one that would have held me financially responsible for any screw-ups by anyone else working on the project.  Or those that didn’t specify deadlines, payment or payment schedules.  I’m not fond of contracts that essentially leave me at the mercy of a client’s perhaps fleeting goodness of heart.

§ Matt Seneca makes an impassioned argument that the trailer for THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is comics. Now, we love this trailer very very much and can watch it over and over, but we prefer to think of it as a demonstration of the principle known as “good film editing.”

§ As long as we’re talking form, this page on Baseball Nation was the best web page we’ve seen in a long time: Santiago Casilla And The Worst Plate Appearance In Baseball History. While we are often wary of hitting a video link, a short embedded gif is no problem at all, and provides vivid proof of the events discussed.

Perhaps this storytelling technique really is best suited to showing awkward batting stances of relief pitchers, though.

  1. The Harbin quotes strike me as good advice for the big 2 comics companies. Focus on a small quantity of quality products, connected by consistencies of theme and execution rather than branding or hype. Instead of more things done worse, try less things done better.

  2. Thanks for the link to Tony Isabella’s new blog. I used to go to his old comic book store, years ago now, in downtown Cleveland. I think he opened it in the late 1970s. The place was called Cosmic Comics and it was in a dicey part of downtown. I had to sweet talk my folks into letting me, a geeky teenager from an East Side suburb, take the rapid transit there to check it out. Lots of comic book memories are from his store in the late 70s and early 80s. Discovered Groening, Sim, Dave Stevens, Rude & Baron, and so many wonderful comics creators back then. The store is gone, but the sweet memories persist. So nice to see him in cyberspace. Thanks again, Heidi!

  3. Thanks for posting the Callahan essay on Cerebus. I really liked it. I guess one always likes a thing that thoughtfully demonstrates why what you always thought it right.

    There was an editor at TCJ a long time ago (maybe she’s still there – I’ve no idea what her name was so I can’t even check) who wrote a long essay about why she just won’t read CEREBUS. I think she’s right, too. If knowing the guy has some views that you’re really going to hate prevents you from liking it, just skip it. It’s not worth it.

    But if you’re willing to take it as a whole, it is really, really great. It’s sweeping. It’s brilliant. It’s rich. It’s crazy – sure. But it’s still brilliant. And often so funny and so gripping you just can’t put it down.

  4. I was also just thinking that Harbin’s points feel like an interesting point/counterpoint to the discussion here that followed the announcement of Dynamite’s revival of The Shadow.

  5. As someone who reads a lot of Vertigo comics, I’m sad to hear about DC reducing the number of Vertigo titles. As Vertigo always seemed to sell really well in bookstores, I would imagine Vertigo could get a bigger boost out of going digital than say the DC’s new 52.

  6. A friend and I have been making jokes for years about participating at Line Con for years, it somehow never occurred to us to set up a website.

Exit mobile version