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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Digital and Deadworld

I think this summer is when the digital explosion that everyone is anticipating is going to start to creep in. Not that I think we're going to see the mass eruption yet, but I think things are going to be setting in place. One of the problems with anticipated new technology is that we're able to see the possibilities before the tech is actually ready. For example, digital comics. Obviously,there are lots of problems in getting it moving. What kind of format? Will "readers" be necessary? What kind of protection is there? How much can be charged for content? There are some preliminary excursions already but none are completely satisfactory yet. It seems there are so many possibilities, as a publisher and creator, it's hard to choose who to align with and from most people in the same boat I am...right now, it's a waiting game. But I think we're getting close to finding workable outlets for the digital format. Now, there are a lot of naysayers who feel that most comic fans aren't going to utilize the digital format as they prefer the physical copies. They're missing the point. Most publishers and creators are not looking to siphon the current readers but try and obtain new readers. When I look at the products I sell on sites like Amazon or other websites, judging from the feedback I get, it isn't from comic fans who choose to buy from Amazon as opposed to a comic store, it's from people who don't go to comic shops and were intrigued by the concept. The way the current market is, we tap into comic readers and then try to get them to buy "our" stuff which usually isn't what those very fans associate with comics. Now the strategy is to get interested fans to buy the material that just happens to be in comic format. The success of titles like Watchmen, 300 and Persepolis (just to name a few) doesn't drive potential fans into comic shops but rather makes graphic novels as an acceptable medium. I mean, after all, if someone picked up something like the upcoming Whiteout and then walks into a comic store inundated with the superheroes, do you think they're going to sludge through all that material to find the few gems the store might carry? I have a background in comics and even had stores for a decade or so...but when I walk into a comic shop, all I see are costumed heroes which hold absolutely no interest to me. I'm not knocking anyone that the superheroes appeal to as I used to be into it as well...and I certainly don't knock the comic shops as they have to provide what sells (I've been there), but the fact is, most people are not going to start reading superhero comics no matter how much they liked Spider-Man or X-Men. There is potential for new fans out there and that's where I think the "small publishers" are going to succeed. It will be outside of the traditional comics market. We're certainly not there yet and most creators/publishers have a foot in both arenas and that one foot in the comics market feels like cement as the resistance to pull out is mighty tough. But, it's getting easier because of the lack of opportunity in the comics direct market. This isn't a rant against Diamond's policies because I understand what they're doing (although I don't agree with it...)but it does come down to the fact that the decision is being made for most creators or publishers. There does seem to be a trend developing, and I could be wrong and maybe it's a case of optimistic reporting by some folks, that there is a new audience starting to attend conventions to find some of the folks which provided the downloaded or ordered material. These new fans come in with no idea of who is the big name at Marvel or what reincarnation of Moon Knight is currently being worked on...they want to meet the creators of the book that the comics market has probably never heard of. Sometimes, I think, it's hard to see the dramatic changes occurring when you're in the middle of the storm but I think that looking back a few years from now, it'll be 2009-2010 that drastically changed things. Some irksome things. I often want to vent when certain situations come up but then I usually come down but there are some things that really get on my nerves when I have my morning coffee and check out some blogs and boards as well as my email. I actually wrote a couple of pages on those but figured, why bother? Some Deadworld news. Deadworld was announced with Framelight Productions and now the latest news is that Watchmen and X-Men scripter, David Hayter has signed on to do the script. After going through the beginning part of what the plan is for the story…I’m glad that David’s aboard as he “gets it” regarding Deadworld. Here’s some links. Variety MTV Producer Discussion


rafael said...

Oh, man! This is awesome news, indeed! Knowing how badly this book has been treated in the past by Hollywood, it's nice to see that you stuck to your guns until someone came along who not only understood the book, but wants to honor it. Congratulations!

Chuck-Y said...

You are sooo right Gary,
Here's my analogy: The big publishers have always fought each other for a larger piece of the (superhero) pie rather than try to make the pie bigger- or attempt to sell different kinds of pie in the traditional comic shop-a tough sell.

Now we're just entering an age where I can bypass the distributors and comics shops and sell my funky rhubarb pie on my own. This is going to get interesting, but I'm not sure if it will happen in the next 18 months.

Why am I hungry all of a sudden?

Anonymous said...

saw the new action figure.

totally rox!!!

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