quote of the day Archives - Page 2 of 18 - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
“Seeing lots of ‘that’s how it is in this business,’ stuff in regards to the day’s news. It really isn’t, and it certainly shouldn’t be. To be a little more direct: the way DC treats a lot of their freelancers is absolutely abhorrent. When it happened to me on SUPERGIRL, I didn’t say much, because I didn’t want to dwell on the negative. But when you see it happen to so many good people, and the damage it does to their careers, their incomes, etc… it’s just not okay. I don’t understand the need for it, & I wish it were otherwise. I love DC, love the characters, & I know I did some of my best work there. And I’m VERY happy for my friends who have been successful there. But I would tell any creator — especially newer, younger ones — to be extremely careful in doing business there.”
– Nick Spencer, who was abruptly removed from Supergirl in 2010, reacting to Monday’s news that DC Comics had replaced newly announced writers Robert Venditti and Jim Zubkavich on Constantine and Birds of Prey, respectively, before their first issues had debuted
“What makes [Superman] interesting other than that he’s really, really strong? That question led me to want to redefine Clark in ways that made him more interesting and more flawed as a person. Not in a dark, mean, cynical way, because that’s way too easy. But as a true outsider whose heart is vulnerable. I wanted to emphasize the loneliness of a kid growing up knowing just how different he was from everyone else, who had to keep his distance for their protection and his own.”
– J. Michael Straczynski, on his approach to Superman: Earth One
That’s from a couple of months back, but it’s stuck with me. In the shadow of Man of Steel and questions like the one Gail Simone posed a while ago, I’ve been thinking lately about Superman and what it is audiences want from him.
I enjoyed Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s Lex Luthor: Man of Steel for its fascinating take on Luthor and why he opposes Superman so much. From Luthor’s point of view, Superman is just one bad day away from being the worst threat the world has ever seen. The problem is that perspective has become the way all of humanity sees Superman in the DC Universe, especially in the New 52. People just don’t trust the guy.
“I’ve seen more than a few well known comics professionals pitch projects on Kickstarter or Indiegogo have their campaigns fail. They either didn’t do any promotion and just expected their “celebrity” to carry them. Others just threw a random concept up and didn’t talk about why they thought it should be made, why they felt it was important. Kickstarter, to me, is almost like a barn raising where the community gets together to help one another. I pledge to a lot of projects because of that as well.”
– Jamal Igle, discussing his Kickstarter-funded comic Molly Danger
Totally agree! I review a lot of Kickstarter pitches for my biweekly Kickstand column on Comic Book Resources, and I have seen plenty of half-baked pitches. Often the idea seems very good, but there is no indication of what the comic looks like or how the creator plans to publish and promote it. When you’re asking people to part with their money, you have to give them a good reason. I also like Igle’s comment about pledging to a lot of projects; I suspect that beyond just being a good citizen, this offers creators the opportunity to see a Kickstarter drive from the consumer side, which would offer valuable perspective.
“In terms of 20th-century popular culture, he captures the notion of a Platonic ideal of the good. When Superman is done well, I am not embarrassed to call him a beautiful idea.”
– Prof. Benjamin Saunders, author of Do the Gods Wear Capes?, suggesting to The Observer that the reason for the Man of Steel’s enduring popularity is his embodiment of goodness
“When it comes to art, and especially a style of art, you can’t be wrong. If you like it, it is good. Really. That’s why there isn’t much point in seeking out validation from an ‘expert’ taste-maker. Hang on, what about technique? Surely, they can pass judgement on an artist’s technique, right? Yes, it might be possible to discern someone’s relative proficiency with a brush, but technique alone is not art. I’ll talk more about that later. So does all this mean that we shouldn’t look at the art we like critically? Of course not, and I’ll talk about that later, too.”
– Joshua Middleton, firing back at critics who argue that one style of art is objectively better than another.
To be clear, Middleton doesn’t believe that all criticism is worthless, and he explains as much in his post. He just thinks that criticism serves a specific purpose, but that critics sometimes allow their opinions to creep outside of the areas where they’re genuinely useful: like discussing proficiency with a particular technique or the artist’s ability to accomplish her goals.
It’s a thought-provoking, heartfelt read and the first in hopefully a series of articles Middleton plans to write on the subject.
(Image from Space in Text)
“One of the greatest things about working in digital is the sheer disconnect between comic book professionals and webcomic professionals — this gargantuan gulf I had no idea existed. Because the myth among us comic book folk is that webcomics guys, ah, yeah there’s a couple of them making a little bit of money, but by and large they’re all losing their shirts. You know: little kids doing their little thing on the side, that’s the myth. And the reality of it is, no, actually a lot of guys are making a decent living doing this, a lot of guys. And it doesn’t mean everybody can, but it means that there’s a lot more to that, there’s a lot more money in that ecosphere than you dreamed, and some guys are making really good money doing that stuff. And while making really good money is for me not the goal, it’s just to make enough money to keep doing it, the idea that it can be done is great. And what’s also great about the webcomic community is that I have yet to encounter any sense of selfishness, any sense of proprietary ownership, any sense of trade secrets and people being very hush hush with what they’re doing, because that’s stupid. Comic books tend to do that because we’re selling to an audience of 90,000 people, but among the webcomics guys they seem to get the fact that the potential audience is 6 billion people. There’s room for all of us out there. We’re not worried about competition yet among each other.”
– Mark Waid, discussing the financial aspects of digital comics, in a wide-ranging interview with Toucan that addresses his 25-year career, his approach to Daredevil and the Hulk, collaboration and more
“He’s not Superman. Spider-Man doesn’t always win. He’s us. We do our best, but sometimes we fall short. What makes him heroic is that he stays on the right path. There’s a victory in this story for Peter if you’re willing to see it. Any superhero can look heroic in the winner’s circle, when they’re adored and showered with praise. But when you’re in a losing battle, when the world’s against you, when everyone thinks you’re a menace, but you do the right thing anyway … that’s when you’re better than a superhero. That’s when you’re Peter Parker.”
“… the sentiment he’s complaining about is invariably the oldest one there is: ‘The first issue has to give me a reason to buy the second issue, and it didn’t.‘ Yeah: that’s not a ‘trend’ or a ‘meme’ or a ‘fad’— that’s the job. That’s always been the job. That ‘trend’ started at the dawn of the enterprise.”
“I don’t really know the hard numbers off the top of my head, but I know when it started at comiXology, we were doing 5% and as we’ve continued to work with comiXology and branched out into other digital platforms, we’ve seen digital sales go from 5% of print sales to we’re getting close to 25 to 30% of print sales. The digital market is jumping and rising and growing exponentially while the print market continues to grow. I can say that I’ve seen that on all of my other books, too, books like Invincible. The digital market continues to double over time, while the print market is completely unaffected. While I will say that there’s a lot of retailers out there and people who are hardcore fans of print comics that see digital as a threat, I can say that I’ve seen no end of evidence that that’s not the case at all, that we’re seeing a growing digital audience coinciding with a growing print audience and the two seem to be feeding off of each other in a way that seems to bring more sales to both, which is a really exciting and uplifting thing to see for the industry as a whole.”
“I don’t know if it’d be the same thing. I mean, of course I would do it, but I don’t know if it’d be the same thing. It’d feel strange, indeed, doing Constantine in that world. It’d feel surreal. All the guts would have to come out of him. It’d be amusing to see him wind up with all these superheroes while he’s all gnarly and scarred and carrying around a bottle of whiskey. If he was darker and practicing magic on his own, that could work, but a cleaned-up version wouldn’t work. He’s not Doctor Strange, is he? He has to be the mysterious Englishmen on the corner by himself, having a drink muttering to himself. A guy who has to sober up and get his shit together. A misfit among misfits. I’m very interested to see how they portray him, very interested.”
– longtime Hellblazer cover artist Simon Bisley, when asked by Comic Book Resources whether he’d consider working on the new DC Universe series Constantine
“Despite Marvel coming to me and asking for the Cap series, rather than my pitching it to them, it was constantly being sidelined and eventually dropped to my disappointment. Since Ultimates ended, I’d been less and less involved in a collaborative process at Marvel. They now had their various brain-trusts, architects or whatever the gang was calling themselves, and that was what led their creative process. It seemed a very closed shop and not what it was like when I signed up to do Ultimates at all. I felt like they wanted an illustrator not a creator, and that was very frustrating to me. I’d submitted several proposals for various series, getting nowhere; Cap was dropped, and I didn’t even feel involved in the story I was working on. It really felt like I wasn’t contributing the way I wanted to be.
Obviously the work I did there over more than ten years is a true high point in my career and, in looking at the Marvel movies, clearly influential, but I guess there’s a time when you feel like you don’t know anybody at the party anymore or nobody’s laughing at your jokes and it’s time to call a cab. Possibly, had I known the Ultron series was longer than the five issues I’d originally thought and if I hadn’t had the Cap book pulled from under me, I may never have considered moving on, but stuff changes I guess.
I don’t want any of this to sound anything other than light, frothy and pleasant though. There’s no regret or bitterness, far from it. There’s always things one could have done differently or better but I had an amazing time and got play with a lot of company toys, and it made my career in the best way possible. Now in going forward I feel like I have some incredible opportunities I might otherwise not have had.”
– Bryan Hitch, in a lengthy interview with Comic Book Resources, discussing his departure from Marvel following Age of Ultron
“As long as it’s not really Captain Carrot, I don’t care. If anything, I’m kinda amused by their rather lame attempt to fit an ‘edgy’ funny animal into the ‘New 52′ universe. Somehow, it reminds me of Warner Bros. Animation’s terrible LOONATICS UNLEASHED SatAM cartoon series. Where’s Ch’p, Thunderbunny, Jaxxon, Bucky O’Hare, Rocket Raccoon and Howard the Duck when we need ‘em?”
– Captain Carrot co-creator Scott Shaw, reacting to the announcement that the character will be reimagined in
DC Comics’ Threshold as “a borderline psychotic, booze swilling, whore-mongering rabbit” named Captain K’Rot
“It’s instructive to read something about a family wanting certain rights returned or better rewarded when most people really like what’s been done with those rights as opposed to their either not caring or actively hating the result. One of the reasons a lot of our comics-related issue discussions remain unsophisticated is that we frequently choose to fight our battles along fundamental “I like it”/”I hate it” lines and then kind of furiously stare at the other issues involved until we can find a way to make them comply to our initial impression. It’s no way to move forward.”
Spurgeon’s observation is helpful, because the first step in solving the problem is acknowledging the problem.
“I was [...] seriously disappointed when I’d heard about the demise of Vertigo’s Hellblazer recently announced, in favor of transitioning the lead character into the DCU entirely, not an idea I’m overly fond of. As a longtime reader of Hellblazer it was disheartening. I felt as if Vertigo was beginning to slowly be sucked dry, its life’s blood drained away. And with the departure of Karen Berger I have to admit that I’m feeling even more disheartened. And speaking as bit of a fan here, not an industry professional, I’m feeling torn between a struggle of anger about some things and rather optimistic for what the future may hold for Karen, and in turn for us as readers. As a creative editor Karen has something to say, always has, and I’m certain her voice will rise up out of the din and resonate with something new. And when that voice does sound, in whatever form that may take, I know I’m there to listen. Comics needs Karen Berger! ”
– J.H. Williams III, responding to Monday’s announcement that Karen Berger, executive editor and senior vice president of Vertigo, will leave after nearly 20 years at the helm of the DC Comics imprint
“Good editors are your partners in making good comics. They are on your side. They are the trained second pair of eyes who look at your stories without the baggage you bring to them (sometimes, sadly, artists can get too close to the comic they’ve been working on for years, and not see the occasional story snarl or character breakdown), and challenge you to make your comic the best it can be. They point out when a comic panel doesn’t read properly, when a character looks off-model, and sometimes they’ll even give you notes like ‘this looks awesome!!!’ with little hearts drawn in the margins. Good editors are worth their weight in gold.”
— Faith Erin Hicks, on why she prefers to work with an editor
Of course, I’m biased because I was an editor before I was a writer, but I think Faith hits the nail on the head here. Everything is improved by a second set of eyes. The whole piece is worth reading, because Faith talks about the sort of discussions she has with her editor and what she is and isn’t willing to change.