Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This is what webcomic creators really do

Thursday, February 2, 2012

There was never a sequel or prequel to moby dick or citizen kane. (Allen Yuen)

Note: The following was written by Allen Yuen, artist and writer of Allen Shrugged, in response to Mallville's Gary Cohen's earlier blog post. Enjoy :)

I have nothing against DC making money, but to print a Watchmen sequel is a desperate cry for help. Isn't DC already stretching it with the reboot and now this? Yes, they're going to make money but in the long run they give up something more valuable than dollars. By printing a watchmen prequel DC is guaranteeing that comics will never be taken seriously as an art. That's right I said it. Comics is a form of art.

And in a couple of years no one will look at Watchmen the same way. Couldn't they just kill Batman again, or is it Superman's turn. It's hard to keep up ya know.

Frank miller said it best when he said that 'every batman story that can be told has been told, all you can do is put a nose ring on the old stories' basically saying to re tell the old stories with a modern twist.

This also applies to movies, tv shows, books, whatever.

By not taking any creative chances in any of these mediums, the creative people behind these things will not inspire anyone to reach for something more. By rebooting batman and spiderman every 5 years, we're subtly telling the audience that it's ok to not push yourself and just copy what someone else did and fob it off as your own. Hollywood and comics are a Symbiotic entity that is creatively vapid. Don't be an original, just copy and paste cool things that you see on your Facebook page and get by.

America used to be the place that took risks, now it's just content to make money. Is it any surprise that other countries are kicking our ass everything?

People are starving out there to see something new, at least I am. But we have to spend our money on some form of entertainment, and if It's not new, it might as well be familiar.

Anyway back to DC. Marvel is kicking their butt and I don't know why because I don't read marvel. However I do know that DC won't get there with gimmicks and prequels to things that were made 25 years ago. Crisis infinite earth, final crisis, how's that going to be different than the next crisis?

I don't know, I don't care, I just know that I'm not inspired to pick up a comic book. What was great about watchmen was that it had a beginning and a end. Now it won't, which is sad. Couldn't they just write the one storyline that hasn't been written yet? Batman and Superman, star crossed lovers.

Shrugged out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why I Love The Idea of Before Watchmen and You Should, Too.

I want to let you in on a dirty little secret about DC Comics: they need to make money. Seriously, they have writers, and artists, and editors but beyond that they have electricity, and heat, and the guy who empties the trash. It’s what we call in the trade, “a business”.

Here is another secret: not all of the books they put out make money. It’s a gamble. If they knew exactly how to print the exact right number of books they would do it. If they knew the formula for combining a creative team with a character and a concept they would do that too. But they don’t.

Some things are safer bets than others. Like if you have the top selling graphic novel of all time and you take the characters and settings from that book, and combine it with some of your top teams, you should sell a few copies. And if this move is considered controversial and drums up tons and tons of free publicity? That won’t hurt sales either.

DC comics owns the characters from the Watchmen and they paid Alan Moore for them. Handsomely, might I add. And he deserved to make a lot of money it made a lot of money for DC comics. But people don’t want to talk about the creative teams on the books that didn’t sell for whatever reason. Because if those books lost money no one asked those creative teams to give their paychecks back.

See, that’s why creators chose to work for DC comics. They want that guaranteed paycheck. Could you make more money if you self published? If the book is a hit, then sure you could. But before the book is a hit you have to eat, and keep your heat on. and you also have to spend money promoting the book. That’s one of the nice things about having DC Comics publish your book for you. They have a marketing department and a publicity department. They add an air of legitimacy to your project just because they chose to publish it. And if your amazing book that you self publish doesn’t sell for whatever reason you will have nothing to show for it other than a stack of unsold comics and a stack of unpaid bills.

I’m glad Alan Moore has enough money to not need any royalties from the Watchmen movie. Dave Gibbons still took them and I don’t believe that makes him a bad person. Another “secret” is that no matter how talented an artist you are you can probably only knock out a page a day. A talented writer can write a book a week. Maybe more. So, as a writer Alan Moore can produce 4-5 times as much work as an artist. And he can write movies if he wants to. Dave Gibbons can’t draw one. But I’’m off topic.

Here’s the point I wanted to make. DC Comics finds a new talent. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me. (It’s probably going to be me.) As an unknown quantity it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to take a chance on me. But they look at their bottom line and they see if they have any profit this quarter. Like say they sold a bunch of Before Watchmen comics. Maybe they can afford to hire me to write a book that maybe won’t sell so well. Or maybe it will be a big giant hit and they’ll make lunch boxes and action figures and a TV series.

I’m all for profit sharing and creators being well compensated. Because well compensated creators are better equipped financially to create their weird niche creator owned property. The cash they get from their corporate work creates a cushion. One of my favorite comic books is called Action Philosophers. It’s terrific. It’s self published. The writer also writes for Marvel. And I’m pretty sure if he wasn’t getting that Marvel paycheck he probably wouldn’t be doing his awesome self published book.

I would love to think that royalties from his corporate work, and sales of his creator owned book would make enough money so he could tell Marvel Comics to go to hell. Because then there would be a job opening there for me.