Quote of the Day
“Comics used to be easy. You pitched something and if one publisher didn’t buy it, another would. Margins are tight now, and few comics are profitable. So it’s more like the Hollywood model of pitches and notes and so and so on while years crawl by. The same reasons I never wanted to write a screenplay are now present in comics. The ebooks let me just write the damned thing, and it’s out for public consumption within weeks.”
“I see a kid superhero like Battling Boy or Aurora West to be symbols of the potential of youth to do something new and different, to invent a new solution to old problems. [...] Too often, I think the superheroes we see in films and comics are too perfect, too established, too impervious to real fault or challenge. I like the idea of writing a story focusing on kid superheroes who mess up and must learn from their mistakes.”
“Just to be clear, I did not have incredible autonomy until afterward. I had signed most of my rights away in order to get syndicated, so I had no control over what happened to my own work, and I had no legal position to argue anything. I could not take the strip with me if I quit, or even prevent the syndicate from replacing me, so I was truly scared I was going to lose everything I cared about either way. I made a lot of impassioned arguments for why a work of art should reflect the ideas and beliefs of its creator, but the simple fact was that my contract made that issue irrelevant. It was a grim, sad time. Desperation makes a person do crazy things.”
- “Calvin & Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson, during a rare interview with Mental Floss covering his career and the direction of comics moving forward.
“I think everyone who works in the field gets asked this. What does it matter how little or long it takes to do anything? If I did a page in an hour would, that make me better or worse? If it takes me two weeks, does that make me better or an idiot for taking so much time? The only thing that really matters is the result, I would say.”
“I’m a big believer that if you buy a comic, you ought to own it. With Insufferable you pay what you will. The market will determine what it’s worth. My instincts are bearing it out. For every person who wants to take it for free, there are those who are willing to show support.
Going DRM-free moves the needle for us. I appreciate the fact that people are nervous about file sharing and piracy. I don’t share that feeling, but I appreciate that some people do. Share my stuff. I think of it this way: When you hear that people have downloaded your comic, appreciate that thousands are eager to hear what you have to say. The poetry club down the hall may not have the same problem. That’s a good problem to have. It’s the new economy. You must adapt.”
“I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, although I certainly know what that is. And what I love about that concept is as much as it’s a zombie story, it’s also Pride and Prejudice. It’s the exact same thing with Afterlife: As much as this is a hardcore horror zombie book, it’s still an Archie book. Who is Archie going to take to the Halloween dance? Betty or Veronica? Why does the zombie apocalypse start? Because Sabrina the Teenaged Witch messed up a spell, which she is constantly doing in the comic book. Who but Reggie would be the guy who runs over Hot Dog? If anybody has a dark secret like ‘I killed Hot Dog!’ it’s going to be Reggie Mantle.”
– writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, talking with Vulture about Afterlife With Archie, which debuts today. Deadline also has the exclusive New York Comic Con trailer for the series, which is illustrated by Francesco Francavilla
“What you’ve seen over these decades is less of a black and white between the heroes and villains. Back in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, you had clear-cut heroes, clear-cut supervillains. Today, you have more of a blend, more of a gray area between the two. You have the rise of the sympathetic villain and the rise of the antihero. You have a lot of characters who follow the motto ‘The ends justify the means,’ and depending on what the ends are, are they a villain or a superhero? That’s what makes supervillains today more modern. We’ll show their back story, we’ll show their motivation. It’s not just about robbing a bank of $10 million. They’re a lot more complicated and layered and thematically rich today than they were in the past.”
– DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that touches upon Villains Month, digital distribution, and the whereabouts of Batman: Europa.
“There are some really good reasons to do work-for-hire. It’s a valuable way to build a reputation. It’s probably not wise to devote 100% of your time to it, but only you know what your priorities and appetites are, and no one else has a right to judge them. And, yes, every job has its drawbacks and moments where it’s better to be flexible than absolute. I truly, truly understand having to take work you don’t love, or work with folks you don’t love, in order to make the rent. And early on, there are things I put up with that I now regret, and there are opportunities I lost because I pushed back, and there are still things I do sometimes to be a get-along guy that aren’t always in my best interests. Everyone’s threshold is unique, and sometimes you let someone take undue advantage because the cupboards are bare or because you’re dealing with a friend who’ll get yelled at if you don’t toe the line. I get that. Circumstances are circumstances. But if you never listen to another word I say, and I talk a lot, please know this: the only one watching out for your future is you.”
– industry veteran Mark Waid, from a lengthy “Open Letter to Young Freelancers” that’s a must-read not only for comics creators — of any age, and at any stage in their careers — but also for freelancers in other fields, to say nothing of editors, publishers and consumers.
“It might, if what DC was doing was impacting on their sales at all — but it really isn’t. Doesn’t mean we’re going to change the way we go about our business or anything, but for all that there’s a lot of uproar on the internet about whatever decisions DC is making, their sales remain constant. Sends a very clear signal to folks in charge both over there and elsewhere that it really doesn’t matter who works on what series, or how well or poorly they’re treated. So as a whole, the readership will reap what it sows.”
– Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president-executive editor, responding to a fan who wondered if, “with DC continuing on their weird way of interfering with creative teams and basically hating people does this kinda give you guys a new sense of that you’re on target for the quality of product and creative composure that needs to help make the industry thrive.”
“The circumstances could be more pleasant. You never want to take over a book when people leave on not the best terms, but the character is so rich and I’m such a huge fan of everything Greg [Rucka] and Haden and J.H. — especially J.H. — have done on that book, that I’m not going in to rearrange everything and say, ‘Everything that went on before is bad. I’m going to fix it.’ I want to do right by the character, and the character that they have done … I’ve got to say, the reaction on the Internet — I expected to be vilified, and drawn and quartered, and I’ve only been called ‘gay Uncle Tom’ by about three websites, so statistically, I’m ahead of the game. Statistically, the Internet’s been great to me.”
– writer Marc Andreyko, in an interview with CBR TV, discussing taking the reins on DC’s Batwoman following the sudden departure of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
“I really don’t understand why people keep trying to tell Marvel and DC how to do business. These are wholly owned subsidiaries of major multi-national entertainment conglomerates with a poor track record of rewarding the contributions of the individual. [...]
Not all comic book companies can be all things to all people. And it is increasingly obvious that Marvel and DC do not want to be anything but superhero publishers selling superhero comics to superhero readers through the supply chain that they have spent two plus decades optimizing to do so. And yes, this limits the amount of money they bring in from demographics outside what they consider to be their core target – straight white males. But it’s not as if Marvel and DC are the only game in town.”
— RM Rhodes at The Hooded Utilitarian, advising readers to stop telling Marvel and DC what to do
“These characters are part of our collective consciousness. They represent a lot more than just people in suits. Most of us grew up with them, and we want to be able to see them reflecting narratives that we identify with. For those of us who’ve recently acquired or who are still fighting for certain civil rights, for those of us who are still subject to a lot of discrimination, seeing the characters we love and grew up with fighting those same battles is gratifying in a way that seeing new characters we don’t know is not. It’s great that those stories are being written and told, and I appreciate every one of them, but there’s something much more powerful about seeing those stories told through the lens of characters that are practically part of our everyday lives.”
— A commenter named Tea, explaining why readers still care
It’s well worth clicking over and reading the whole article, as well as the comments, because both sides present their arguments cogently.
“I can’t, and wouldn’t dare, speak for anyone other than me: It’s vital. It’s essential. It is profoundly important to my entire creative process. Aside from pride of ownership, I just start to get antsy and itchy and bored writing the same genre again and again. The greatest concern I have is that the writing will read antsy and itchy and boring. Getting away from the superhero mainstream from time to time to do anything — Casanova, Satellite Sam, Sex Criminals — tends to keep me energized and excited.”
“Well, sex is OK. I like sex. Why are there so many books about violence? Why are there so many books and stories about violence? How much violence do you come upon in your daily life? How much sex have you had? It seems out of balance. I think sex is a lovely thing, something to be celebrated and explored in every form — in film, in comics, in all sorts. I touched on it in a book I did called Cages. I had a sex scene, and I was going to do an absolutely blunt, these two people are in love and they’re going to have sex. But I kind of shied away from it because then a great big 500-page graphic novel would be an X certificate book because of three pages. That seemed ridiculous. I always fancied doing a book that was just about sex and exploring the feelings and thoughts going on in your mind when you’re curious about sex. … I really loved doing it, but there were a couple things I didn’t get to, focusing on those little moments. Not necessarily big pornographic scenes, but attraction, a little bit of voyeurism, human play. I think that’s curious. I’d like to do something about that.”
– Dave McKean, discussing where the idea for his adult graphic novel Celluloid came from, in an interview with CBR TV
It’s funny, for such a unique fanbase and how until recently comics were really looked down on by mainstream America — which is another reason we wanted to start this company, and bring it more mainstream — there’s a lot of comic snobs out there, it seems to me. People who just go, ‘I won’t read that because there’s a scantily clad Red Riding Hood on the cover.’ Yet if you look at a Marvel comic or a DC comic, and it has a female character in it, they’re portrayed very much the same way, in my opinion.
So it does bother me a little bit. But then, at the same time, you can’t please everybody. I think the biggest success that we have is through word of mouth — people telling other people, ‘Hey, this is a good book, pick it up.’ Those fans will bring more fans to our brand, and if that wasn’t happening, we wouldn’t be in business. It is a little bothersome, but at the same time, I understand it, too.”
– Zenescope President Joe Brusha, addressing the perception of his company as simply a T&A publisher
“The metaphor is strong and it hasn’t gone away. Chris Claremont was the one who decided that it was a full-on allegory for race and religion and sexuality. I’m a Jewish kid, and I have a multicultural family [two of Bendis’ daughters, one Ethiopian and one African-American, are adopted], and with that comes all sorts of stuff that you witness or are a victim of. I have it pretty easy, and still I’m like, ‘Wow, you really said that right to my face?’ So it’s nice to have a book I can shake it off a little bit. I’ve never had that. [...] It’s not a mistake that Kitty Pryde, the most Jewish superhero that has ever lived, is the leader of the X-Men now.”
– writer Brian Michael Bendis, discussing X-Men in an interview in The Oregonian that touches upon his life in Portland, Oregon, his role in “full-on luring” other creators to the city, and his career at Marvel. Bendis and recent Portland transplants David Marquez and Michael Avon Oeming will be signing Wednesday at Things From Another World.