Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Quick links — 2/22/11

Quick links — 2/22/11


• This story in the Baltimore Sun on digital comics, Diamond, and comics retailers doesn’t tell those of you who have been paying attention much you didn’t already know, but it sums things up and provides a nice picture of Diamond owner Steve Geppi.

Kelly Thompson wraps up part 4 of her Ladies Comics Project II in which women who have varying degrees of comics exposure read graphic novels. Once again, some very valuable market research:

So what did I learn of this latest Ladies Comics Project iteration? Well, for starters I learned that graphic novels are definitely more accessible than single issues for non-comics readers…which is really no surprise, but it’s nice to have confirmation. Most of the women seemed to appreciate longer more contained stories, as well as books that felt easy to jump onto the way any prose novel would, rather than the complexities of ongoing continuity.

There also, as I mentioned in my opening paragraph to part one, continues to be a real confusion between genre and medium and a general equation that comics equal superheroes. I don’t know how we fix this problem other than getting more and more truly good books – both superhero and otherwise – into the hands of non-comics readers. Great stuff (Scott Pilgrim?) spreads like wildfire…so the more great stuff we produce and promote, the more people are going to find it and love it and talk about it themselves.

Lori Weisberg and Roger Showley at the San Diego Union-Tribune look athow the proposed convention center expansion would affect overall convention business. If you thought that expanding would just help out Comic-Con, even groups like the map muddlers and kidney lookers are getting squeezed out:

As much as San Diego would like to cement its position as a prime destination for the nation’s larger, more well-heeled medical meeting groups, it is just as important to attract multiple smaller groups who could occupy the center concurrently, said consultant Steven Spickard. Enlarging the center by an additional 400,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit and ballroom space, would effectively add 365 more dates available to smaller groups, he said.

During the last year, 10 conventions accounting for 40,000 potential delegates, were unable to book at the center either because of insufficient space or lack of available dates, according to monthly reports published by the Convention Center Corp. Spickard concluded in an analysis released last year that an expanded center could draw on average nearly 250,000 additional convention and trade show attendees a year by 2017, which translates into $348.8 million in spending on lodging, meals and other expenses.

• Speaking of Comic-Con, Marshall Finehas had enough of the tyranny of the nerds:

The Comic-Con mentality runs roughshod these days, despite evidence that Comic-Con’s aesthetic is not the one that dominates the culture. Flops such as Kick-Ass and Tron: Legacy were expected to be massive hits, based on the reception they received at Comic-Con. But when actual people were exposed to these exercises in insubstantial style, they tended to ignore them.

Which brings us back to the question: Why are we ceding control of the movies to people who live for Comic-Con? They represent a segment of the audience – but hardly the whole viewing public. Why does that particular tail continue to wag the dog?

Yes, we’re everywhere. Marshall. Get used to it.

  1. Re: Marshall Fine has had enough of the tyranny of the nerds, a good related article and something of a response to his questions is the GQ article “The Day the Movies Died.”

    One point I took away from the article is that Hollywood studio films are becoming more and more like the US comic book industry — dominated by one “type”. For Hollywood that “type” is the fantastic action spectacular. For US comic books that “type” is the narrow sub-section of the fantastic action spectacular known as superheroes.

    Given the recent discussions here at The Beat about diversity in comics I found the article a bit unsettling. I also thought it might be useful to the comics community in better examining its own predicament.

  2. The “Pow! Bam! Kaboom!” headline on that Baltimore Sun story makes me want to stab my eyes out. Will that sort of thing ever die out?

  3. I don’t think either Kick Ass or Tron: Legacy qualifies as a flop. Tron had been dormant/a joke for 30 years and has made 170 million in the US and almost 400 million worldwide.

    Kick Ass didn’t do huge business, but it also had a small budget. It seems like Scott Pilgrim (much as I love it) would have been the better example here.

  4. TRON: Legacy opened at #1, and has grossed $170 Million domestically to date, which is what it cost to make.
    Megamind, $148 Million ($130M Budget)

    Kick-Ass cost about $30M. It made $96M worldwide.

    Scott Pilgrim cost $60M, made $47M worldwide.
    Speed Racer, $93M worldwide, $120M budget.

    Of course, that gross is split between studios (which take a huge cut for the first few weeks of release) and the movie theaters.

    This does not factor video sales (DVDs, VOD, airlines…) or merchandising. As was seen with Annie, a movie can be financed by licensing alone.

  5. The really successful movies may seem to target nerds only, but have an appeal to the non-nerd and semi-nerds around us.

    Hmm, now that I have said that, what are the examples. (… roots around in his memory…)

    Uh, maybe Despicable Me and Social Network? Social Network? SN: a story of a successful if devious, preposterously successful nerd. Despicable Me has the Wile E Coyote versus Roadrunner combined with cute orphans and a Chuck Jones visual repertoire.

    Tron and Tron Legacy combined nerds with cool graphics, but had no cute pet dog.

    I haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim, Speed Racer, or Kick-Ass, so they have not even fully succeeded in storming the nerd stronghold.

  6. “Tron and Tron Legacy combined nerds with cool graphics, but had no cute pet dog.”

    Sam did have a dog in Tron Legacy, Marv. I forget what kind, but I remember it being cute.

  7. I don’t think the point was movies about nerds but movies for nerds. Social Network may have appealed to a niche group of hackers and programmers since it was about one of their own but it was made for general audiences who care about social media and business and tragic heroes with fatal flaws.

    A movie made for nerds is a different thing, especially if it tries so hard to be so that it forgets things that general audiences need in a movie, like engrossing stories and relateable characters and consistent themes. Nerds need those things, too, of course.

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