But I Want it NOW!

veruca.jpgThere’s a trend in pop culture which is especially egregious in comic readers, which is the increasing demand for immediate and total gratification. We must have it, and we must have it right bloody now. It’s almost as if any delay is an insult to the consumers, and it can’t have always been like this. Deadlines are all well and good, but this is a creative medium, and when the people making comics start making product solely to meet deadlines and fill quotas, rather than doing work that matters to them, we’ll be in a sorry spot.

I don’t know when it happened, and perhaps it’s the advent of the web culture, where everything is available right away, but it’s almost as if people forget that there are people behind these works, and they can only make comic books so fast.

invincible4tp.jpgIt seems that as time goes on, the readers have less and less patience for the books. If you read a book in trades, the wait between volumes can seem interminable. I mean, Invincible is one of my favorite series, but I think I get a new book twice a year. That’s rough. But they’re still putting out a full book, semi-independently, and it never misses a beat.

I’ve heard lots of complaints that the window between trades and issues is too long. But I can understand why a comic company wouldn’t want to release the trade at the same time as the issues. For one thing, it builds value into the former product, the monthly issues. While I’m not much of a speculator, I can understand that it’s generally good for a company to have a little demand for their product, and even a perceived shortage can have good marketing effects for them. That’s why Marvel sends out press releases every times something sells out. (And according to Marvel, almost everything sells out.) It gets people talking about the books, and lets demand build up for when they release the hardcover, and then eventually, the trade paperback. While that might be slightly annoying for the consumer, it certainly isn’t a terrible business practice.

Then there’s the idea that a book must come every thirty days, or the creative team have failed in some way. This is view held by many comic readers, and I think that today, in an era when comic book art is no longer a factory industry. But clearly there’s a lot more time and effort going into the art on a monthly book now than there ever was 20 years ago. It used to be that working fast was almost enough, but now the superstar guys have to be so much more than just fast. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Bryan Hitch can’t do what he does within 30 days. But some would scoff at the idea that he can’t work faster than he does. Hell, most can’t do what he does in 60 days, or ever. So, if comics have to look at their model to find a way to accommodate these guys, I’m all for it. And I get that when a book comes out every 2-3 months, it’s difficult to follow. But that’s why you have the choice. We have something that comic readers have never had before. They put out collections of almost everything, and it really doesn’t matter when you read them. If you read them the day they come out, or a year later, it shouldn’t really impact the experience. (Podcasts with spoilers notwithstanding. But then, if you read Wizard, I have no sympathy for you.) Now, on the other hand, starting a project, and preachergonetotexas.jpgthen leaving it to go do something more lucrative (I’m lookin’ at you Kevin Smith, Allen Heinberg and Damon Lindelof), that’s a little tougher to forgive, but that’s a whole other conversation.

This happens in the rest of pop culture collecting, but there’s this habit we have of buying stuff the day they come out, because, well… they came out today. So many people put up lists of their weekly comics, and sometimes the lists amaze me. Someone will say they have 3-4 trades coming out that day, and they’ve got to pick them all up. I used to do that, but it got very tiring for me. Just like I used to buy new DVDs every Tuesday, it got to be too much, and I wasn’t even watching the stuff piling up. I was just collecting because it was there. I found that took a lot out of the enjoyment of stuff for me. I know that when I have a big stack of books, I tend to rush through them to get done with everything, and that’s never as much fun as leisurely enjoying something at your own pace.

The thing is, these things will never stop. Where a book might be delayed, which does indeed suck, another 10 will come out to tide you over. If you can’t do the wait, that’s fine, but it doesn’t necessarily make the creators worthless. Or, just wait five years, and buy all the trades at once. We’ve turned a lot of people on to Preacher, and they’re just ready when you want the next one. Okay, perhaps that’s extreme.

It sounds so silly and rote to say that “today’s internet culture has created a climate of instant gratification,” but it kind of has. Myself, I have to stave that off to some extent, and give myself a little breathing room, lest I be buried under this onslaught of releases and series, and mini-series, and one-shots, and limited edition oversized hardcovers. Sure, I can try to keep up with everything, but I’m not going to have any fun doing so.


  1. I do believe the internet and its hyperlinks have decimated my attention span and powers of concentration over the course of the last decade. I know that I used to be able to read with such focus that the rest of the world disappeared, but after a few years of reading things that link to other tangential things that link to other tangential things that link to news stories that link to videos, I must think, “Oh my God, what was I doing? How did I get here?” ten times a day. Whether the power of “point, click, have” has had a larger effect on my patience as a comic consumer, I can only guess.

    That said: I know you did not just compare me to Veruca Salt because my hobby excites me.

    As much as I would like to pin the now-now mentality on some sort of cultural problem, I think what you’re seeing is comics working exactly the way they’re supposed to be working. When you put out a product that is serial in nature, and compelling, and building to something exciting, frequently with a cliffhanger at the end so readers clamor for the next issue, well guess what? People clamor for the next issue. Mission accomplished, you wordsmiths, you. Now, add to that the fact that the creators usually begin this endeavor by declaring exactly the intervals at which new chapters will be released. “We’re going to excite you, we’re going to leave you hanging for a month, and then just as you’re about to fall off the edge of that seat we’ll show you what happens next. 30 of your earth days. That’s the schedule we worked out. It’s not even out yet and the writer is already working on issue 23. Steve McNiven started the pencils in June of 2003 and stopped going to church so he could do a page on Sundays. Everyone on the book got a divorce to cut down on the distractions. Every book in the universe ties into the story.”

    And then issue #3 is four months late.

    Yeah, that provokes a certain amount of discontent.

    In other words, maybe we are 30% brattier than readers of the eighties, but a good healthy chunk of that is Lucy inviting us to kick the football and swearing she’s not going to pull it away this time. People are calling for Damon Lindelof’s blood, but Scott Pilgrim gets off scot free; that’s because O’Malley said “you’ll see it when it shows up at the store; I am but one man” while Lindelof said “see you in 30, True Believer!” and a year later everyone at the company was blaming everyone else at the company. Expectation management is a two-way street; half of it is the reader, but half of it is the good folks hawking these wares.

  2. I will give it to you that expectation management is key.

    Your Lucy analogy is apt, but the sad part isn’t Lucy, but rather that Charlie keeps falling for it.

    That said: I know you did not just compare me to Veruca Salt because my hobby excites me.

    Heh. Did you wave your finger and wiggle your head when you thought that?

  3. Let’s just get Kirby to draw everything. It worked in the 60s, it can work now.

  4. I disagree. The issue is not that companies fail to meet some rigid fan-made deadline, but that they fail to keep their own promises. If a book is weekly, it should be weekly. If it’s monthly, then monthly. And if a book truly can’t come to any cognizable schedule they should just say “We’ll release as they are completed.”

    Instead comic companies promise a book monthly, but wait 4,5 and 6 months between issues. Managing consumer expectations is an important part of any business, creative or not.

    Also, you bring up that it’s a creative medium, implying that artists fail to meet deadlines because they are trying to make a better book, struggling with some writer’s block or refining touch of dialogue. This is rarely the case. Rather, books tends to be late, sometimes egregiously late, because the artist was simply busy with another project.

  5. First off…great blog Josh…you rule…

    Personally, I would rather wait longer and get a great story. As long its a great story. Things just take a while and that is just the way it is sometimes.

    I really think its a theme across the board that people just like to complain and its easier to do that than be patient about anything. A lot of it has to do with the internet…its why there is so much spam for anti-anxiety meds. People just freak.

    But I do say…as long as its good…

    I mean how great is the Chinese Democracy going to be 😐

  6. This is rarely the case. Rather, books tends to be late, sometimes egregiously late, because the artist was simply busy with another project.

    How do you know this is the case? You’re presuming. With Civil War, everyone thought there was some big conspiracy as to why. I think it was just more work than he had time to do, and I think he actually got sick in the middle, I believe.

    A lot of these artists, especially Marvel artists I here, work on razor thin deadlines, so if anything goes wrong, the whole house falls down.

    But I do think that there is some responsibility to be taken by the publishers, such as not soliciting stuff until it’s ready. That’s totally true. But readers still take it almost personally. It’s a product. If you’re unhappy with the delivery, don’t buy.

  7. Kirby was invoked. I think it is important to note, just for the sake of noting it, that while all the Marvel comics of the sixties were put out by four or five guys on a rigid schedule, the “Marvel method” by which they were done essentially consisted of Stan saying “Have Spidey fight Electro,” Kirby drawing whatever the @%#$ he wanted, and Stan making up dialogue balloons that fit afterwards. It might also be worth going back and seeing how many of the backgrounds in those old books consisted of vague building-shaped squares.

  8. I totally agree with Eudaimo. What happened to the days when DC was six months ahead on things? Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, and that was just a small number of years ago.

    In the case of minis, even the event minis, wait until they’re done before you solicit. Look at World War Hulk – that was supposed to come out last year, but then Civil War came about, and WWH was pushed back. So far, it’s been out on time – even shipping issues within two or three weeks of each other. This lead time obviously worked to Marvel’s advantage.

    As far as story arcs, that’s a bigger issue. The whole Action Comics fiasco sucks balls – and the fill-ins have been complete shit. I really don’t have a solution here – maybe break down arcs by issues and have similar artists work on each? I can’t answer that, but it really sucks.

  9. On CW –

    “I think it was just more work than he had time to do, and I think he actually got sick in the middle, I believe.”

    OK, many good arguments have been made, and I can really accept the argument that waiting to savour a few good books is better than buying up tons every week (I really do agree on that), but how many pages of CW main book over how many months? I really fail to see where there was “just more work than he had time to do.”

    The giant ORCA sized hole in that argument is two numbers – 52. Also, as someone who actually draws, I have to say that it actually takes far less time to do a series of gigantic splash pages that gobble up space, and stories made up of many small panels (like Michael Lark on Gotham Central or Daredevil, or even Epting on Captain America) takes far more time for the writere, artist, colorist, and letterer. Yes, Epting likes to take time and get it right, but how many delays in Captain America during CW were due to Brubaker and Epting who kept on schedule before CW, as opposed to Brubaker and Epting during CW, when Captain America fell off schedule? And what about Lark, Epting, Brubaker, Maleev, Cassaday, and so many talented people that DID produce on time? Giving McNiven, Millar and Marvel a pass on CW, in my humble opinion, fails to recognize that many people actually DO produce on schedule.

    I think you make excellent points Josh, but saying that CW (main book) just took this tremendous amount of time “to make sure the quality was there” falls a little flat.

    52, in contrast, was a special event (which makes it a special case), but what really made it possible? Editors and project leaders running a tight ship, determined to both keep on schedule, AND turn out quality. The vast majority of complaints I have ever seen on this forum about late books are the following –

    1) Sloppy editorial oversight and editors being far too lenient on very well paid people that are WAY past deadlines
    2) Editors and publishers doing more hype than getting the book out when promised.

    “Conspiracy”? No. Badly run FOR profit business? Yes. And BTW, where IS Mighty Avengers #5 and has the last 4 issues been worth the wait? There is a very good question.

    I fully understand if an independent book has an irregular schedule due to the artist and writer needing to take on much better paying gigs (Powers is the best example). But when you cite CW as some work that came out late “because he had so much to do” (7 issues??!!) you really damage your own argument, which is a shame because you make some good points.

    Just ask yourself, how many times were Bendis and Maleev late on Daredevil, or Brubaker and Lark on Daredevil, and how is the quality there? There’s lots of dialogue there, lots of wonderful pictures, lots of separate, nicely detailed small pictures, and a nice balance of lots and lots of finely rendered small, consistent panels and some wonderful large splash pages that make a nice pace — and how often was it late?

    So, I guess I am half with you, half not… if that means anything…

  10. I was gonna write something very polite and all but…

    People, stop whining! So, your favorite comics are late, boo hoo! There are people dying of hunger. You got it good if you can buy comics. I’m certain comic companies are there trying hard to put books out, cuz they make money off it. Writer’s and artist also work hard but I’m certain they also have an actual life (unlike some…). Get over it, its late, yeah… well don’t f**ng buy it or get a new hobby!

    I’ve got my flaws, hence me being forgiving of others. Hate me if you want to, can’t deny it is true thou.

  11. I dont hate you, Carlos, or your opinion, nor any of the opinions expressed here. But I have this terrible tendency to resist overly conceptual, ambiguous, and over generalizing ideas about things. I prefer to look at a problem in terms of practical logistics, with a nuanced view that examines factual reality and workable solutions. And on this issue, both Marvel and DC have both good and bad track records.

    I take this attitude when I look at anything, be it late comics or world hunger. To me a complaint about “everyone is whining too much” is equivalent to “just take what you can get and be happy, let them eat cake.”

    And living in a country (Japan) where “Oh don’t complain, there is nothing you can do” is a popular phrase, I’ve only seen mediocre overly commercialized art, social stagnation, and an economic and political situation nobody here is reallly happy with. That’s not an attitude I can get on board with, and why I love this forum.

  12. My point of view is that I don’t really mind if books are a little bit late. I’d rather wait a little bit and receive a high quality piece of art. But that being said I don’t think it’s fair of the publishers to expect that we SHOULD wait an indefinite amount of time to wait for something that is solicited as a monthly publication. I think that there HAS to be some sort of obligation on their (Marvel/DC/Image/whomever) part to adhere to promises they’ve made, which clearly solicitation in ‘Previews’ can be considered to be.

    I’ll admit that I didn’t read Civil War (I got annoyed with company wide cross-overs way back at Infinity War) but I think especially in the case of something like that where continuity and timing of the story is so critical the publishers owe it to their customers to be timely. And to fail at it as miserably as they did says something about the professionalism of the industry. Regardless of what the reasoning behind the lateness was there should have been some sort of contingency built in rather than “Fuck it, these chumps are still gonna buy the book… let’s just publish it really late.” Which is kind of honestly what it seemed like.

    To get back going in a sunnier direction, I think more publishers should consider putting books out every other month. If they keep telling us that they need that extra time to make a quality product for us, let them tell us that up front. Though I’ll admit our culture does have an obscene intant gratification complex, I also think that the publishers bring a lot of our ire on themselves by telling us one thing up front, getting us all excited and then back tracking on their original “promises”. Just tell us point blank, “This book will be coming out every other month, but trust us… it’ll be worth the wait.”

  13. That’s a pretty L O N G winded explanation of why you are “right” for reading some stuff (Invincible) in trades. Bottom line, you do what you want, I do what I want, they do what they want and it’s none of anybody’s business. Enjoy…

    Having said that I am a little bothered that 2/3 picks seem to be DC (perseption. I haven’t done the math, so don’t give me a comeback on that) and I don’t read any of that. Invincible and Walkingdead are the best thing going and they will never be picked.

  14. Comics always used to be sold in single-issues, rarely reprinted in trades, and they always came out every 30 days.

    Now they don’t, and it seems that the major publishers are content.

    This MUST be because the companies value the eventual trade more than the single issues, correct? Marvel must think, “Yeah, we’ll give Hitch and Cassaday and others 3 months to do what Jim Lee used to be able to do in 21 days, because it’s better for us to eventually have a trade with a consistent creative team with a high-quality style of art . . . because we can sell this stylized, high-quality trade in book stores from now until eternity, and that’s more valuable than getting a single issue with a 30-day shelf-life into specialized comic shops.”

    It’s about money, right? Trades are so much more profitable than single-issues that Marvel and DC do not care.


    Please address this–on the podcast would be great!–because after racking my brain and seeing the lateness issue discussed to no avail, this seems to be the only explanation.

  15. Yeah, I’m complacent. I know that its very hard to meet deadlines, especially when the product is much better than it used to be. I guess I don’t feel the need to over-analyze the industry, I’d rather ensure that the artists do the best they can. If they don’t, then they’d be replaced I’m sure. i love my comics but, I don’t know, I feel sort whiny if spend that much time thinking I would do a better job. There are other issues that may merit more of my hard thinking and questioning (state of the world?). I’m sure companies dont think “how can we fuck with our customers more”, but for sure, they think how much money they can earn, and I’m ok with that. Once I dislike it, I’ll stop buying.

    My comics are precious to me cuz they motivate me to do other stuff (music, art, love of others). That industry is not perfect, I can handle that. Otherwise, I’ll invest my motivation in areas I can make a change and where they may be sorely needed. Still, I understand the sentiments of others (almost to the point of hate) toward the industry that gives them the art they love and are passionate about. Musicians have been raped for decades, only now are we starting to see the balance of power shifting, thanks to technology. That I can get behind and will wholeheartedly fight the good fight. Again, my apologies for maybe not caring enough. Patience may be one of my virtues, but I also have experienced how some may view it as a weakness or a defect. I just care about getting good “art”.

  16. That’s a pretty L O N G winded explanation of why you are “right” for reading some stuff (Invincible) in trades. Bottom line, you do what you want, I do what I want, they do what they want and it’s none of anybody’s business. Enjoy…

    Having said that I am a little bothered that 2/3 picks seem to be DC (perseption. I haven’t done the math, so don’t give me a comeback on that) and I don’t read any of that. Invincible and Walkingdead are the best thing going and they will never be picked.

    It’s not a justification for what I buy and how, it’s a musing on how readers react. As far as I know, Invincible comes out on time all the time, as does Walking Dead. I was actually referring to the idea that some people complain that they come out rarely, which makes sense that we get 2 a year. They literally couldn’t come out any faster unless they used 2 artists.

    And seriously, there isn’t a book we praise higher than Walking Dead or Invincible. So the fact that it doesn’t make POW is kinda silly, since we did an entire show on Kirkman, and Invincible was in our Top 5 books of all time with our first video show. But yeah, I get that, for the show, it would probably be better to read that stuff in issues, but honestly, I’m totally proud that lots of people got to find that book because we preached about it. As far as 2/3 of the picks being DC, that’s just silly.

    And finally, we all know there’s suffering in the world. But this is a site for talking about comic books. So let’s just accept that this is all kind of lighthearted, and we all get that there’s a war, and dying people and genocide, and poverty, and that we’re all lucky to have homes and money to buy comics. There’s nothing about this site or podcast or comics that isn’t superfluous in comparison to that, so please don’t couch your arguments in that flag. We get it.

    Please please, carry on the debate though. I’m all for that, but let’s keep it cool like we always do.

  17. let’s just accept that this is all kind of lighthearted, and we all get that there’s a war, and dying people and genocide, and poverty, and that we’re all lucky to have homes and money to buy comics. There’s nothing about this site or podcast or comics that isn’t superfluous in comparison to that, so please don’t couch your arguments in that flag. We get it.

    Did I do that? You mean before when I was talking about people having to worry about enough to eat or having to rid themselves of parasites the other day? Or what Carlos mentioned? I agree with him but maybe that was a little heavy for a comics site. But I guess I (or he) was parodying the amount of thought, introspection or even self absorption in dealing with a topic that is for fantasy and escape from reality and is supposed to be for fun.

    And the thought of the 10 billion dollars per week that our country is wasting in Iraq. And what kind of return we could get for that kind of money if we invested it in this country’s infrastructure and social programs. And we will never get any return on the money we are throwing away in that shit pit. I just get a little irritated with taking comics that seriously.

    AND, I like the attention you have given to Kirkman. You’re right! I heard about Invincible from your podcast, got the first collection to catch up and have been reading it since.

    See now you’re making me talk too much. Bla, bla bla bla. One of the reason’s I have the time to indulge in this pettiness is becasue our stupid F@#king military had the wisdom to send me away from my family to do almost nothing. Didn’t mean to get personal jus then but what the heck. When I am reunited with them, I will have less time for this kind of indulgence.

  18. I wasn’t talking to you specifically. We don’t do politics here. We just find it works better that way. There are lots of places to talk politics on the web, but not here.

    There’s nothing that says escapism can’t be thoughtful. Otherwise, our show would be pretty boring.

    Man, I do wish that Trials of Shazam would come out more regularly…

  19. I thought Josh touched upon something that I have a really hard time with. Somehwhere along the way I picked up this whole “got have it”-ness that has been both a burden to my wallet and my sanity. When I was a kid growing up, it was the latest action figure or comic. In college, it was the newest movies (and it HAD to be the collector’s edition) or video game. And now, in full adulthood, I must buy every trade that I’m interested in right now.

    I have a list. Literally, I have a list of comics that I look at weekly that has all the titles I want to buy the trades for. I stare at it, loningly, because there is no feasible way for me to buy these books and keep up with my monthlies, my video game habit, and well, my rent.

    And as insane as this sounds, my brain constantly keeps telling me that I must buy these things before they go out of print. It keeps whispering, “Think about how hard some of the trades from 10 years ago are to find. Do you want that to be you?” I tell myself I don’t and suddenly, that itchy feeling comes. The one that makes me want to purchase items.

    I’ve had to force myself to stop, mainly because I was driving myself insane trying to move money around to get all the things I wanted. So far, many of my tactics have worked, and I’ve taken Josh’s approach, by waiting and enjoying.

    As someone who is far behind in the books he needs to read (let’s just say, I still need to catch up on about 10 titles), I appreciate that some things take time. And as an avid collector, I really appreciate when companies take the time to make something ultra sexy before I buy it (Invincible Library, Absolutes, and Omnibuses, I’m looking at you).

    I will admit that I do get annoyed when books have crazy delays (Action Comics, I’m also looking at you), but I still buy the issues. Then, when the run’s complete, I’ll read all the issues. If the story is good enough, I’ll dump the issues on eBay and buy the trade. Bing, bang, boom. I would prefer that some of these things take the time they need to be awesome, both on the story and the art front, than be rushed and shitty.

    As I’ve said before, comic readers are never happy. And I’m sure, being the true fan that I am, I will completely contradict myself in the next few months, when my new favorite title goes haywire.

    My only hope is that, as comics continue to change and evolve with the times, that the companies also begin to adapt new strategies to provide fans with great stories in a timely manner that will make all happy.

    Oh, and the world will be made of puppies, lollypops and sunshine.

  20. Guess what? I’m currently poor! I can’t buy comics! I’m eating sandwiches! I write from my borrowed wireless connection. Thankfully, this is temporary since I have a god job now and will be well off. I buy my favs in trades, others in issues, so what, I like it that way. It’s all good, in a few months I’ll catch up with the many good things to read I’m missing. Bottom line, I got patience and a handle on priorities. Honestly, lateness doesn’t bother me much. I do find kind of odd the feeling of ” I deserve this now” that Josh and some of you mention. Whatever, that’s what freedom is for, to feel however you wish to feel and let yourself be heard. Enjoy!

  21. Neb reminded me of something I meant to mention earlier. The primary reason I started rushing to the comic shop right after it opened on Wednesdays was partly because I was excited, sure, but it was primarily because the store (especially during Civil War) began selling out of books I wanted within half an hour of opening. Unlike a lot of other goods that can easily be picked up down the road, comics are lamentably only sold reliably in a couple of places in town, places with weird hours. I suppose I could just order online if there’s a sellout, but hell, the movie I can’t wait to see opening night will be out on DVD in a year. Theoretically, I could take the rest of 2007 off and get gratification next summer, but I don’t wanna. I like to be gratified.

  22. It’s funny, because a few years back, I was all about seeing a movie on opening night, and buying DVDs the day they came out, and all that stuff. Now, I wait a couple weeks. I don’t know what happened. I’m guessing that if it weren’t for the show, I’d probably mail order my stuff and read much more gradually.

    But you’re right Jimski. That’s the fun of it. And I’ve got to say that, today, I was having a lot of fun talking about this week’s books on the forums. And when we record the show, it’s always one of the best parts of my week. And if other people didn’t feel like that, our show wouldn’t be that big of a deal (not that it is relatively.)

    But there’s a difference between being excited, and being compulsive I guess. Either way, it started a good conversation, and that’s really what I was after anyway.

  23. Yeah, this was one of the more interesting philosophical diversions of the morning. I don’t usually log onto a comic book web site and end up thinking about the nature of desire over my glass of juice.

  24. I don’t tend to mind lateness for the most part because then I can indeed try new things, when Civil War and basically Marvel was delayed the way it was I dived into some DC and picked up some Image and Dynamtie trades with the saving in cash (I suppose I could have gone and given it to a needy cause or something…but I didn’t so there it is) and now I pick up mostly DC.

    My only real irk with it all is two things: If it’s in Previews, I feel there is a bit of a promise that is then broken, it’s not a big deal, but at my store when you do previews (Which I do to save some money) and a book gets re-solicitated I don’t get my money back, I get a presentage of store credit, but I have to call a week in advance of the book’s original release date. Problem is, in some cases (Like Morrison’s last two Batman) there isn’t a big deal made about a book being re-solicitated, so I end up paying like $4.50 for a book that is 2.99. It could be argued it’s my own fault for not looking at the original release date and what not, but when you order a book three months prior I guess one doesn’t think about it. Again this could be my fault, but it’s the only store by me and that’s their policy and I do end up saving money with Previews (mostly).

    My second gripe is that when someone ask a company about a late book, I get the feeling (this is my preception) that the person answering tends to say “Well there busy so deal, you’ll buy it anyway.” In a very nice and professional way, but I feel it’s still there. I don’t like that Allen Heinberg and Damon Lindelof can walk away from books and the company tells that fans “Well they’re working on TV shows that are very good, and they didn’t KNOW they’d be that busy. So wait and let them do there day job!” “Why did you hire them then?” “No furthur questions.”

    My last bit (I didn’t want to bring it up but it seemed like a good place) when it’s a case like All Star Batman and robin, and JIM LEE comes out and says “Yeah it’s my fault sorry.” I’m okay with him owning up to it, but when he starts posting about all his poker games that he holds, and he continues to do covers, and show up at cons and do all these other things, I have a feeling then that he’s just being lazy. I’m not saying the man shouldn’t have free time and fun, he earned it, but then don’t take a job you can’t do. Or take the job and finish it and stop doing cover to DC issue #1.

    That’s all. Again, it’s usually not a big deal, just something that makes me roll my eyes, but there’s SO much out there, I like to think I can then go out and explore, I’m like Magellan…

  25. “I don’t usually log onto a comic book web site and end up thinking about the nature of desire over my glass of juice.”

    …and you posted THE best description of the 1960s “Marvel Method” I have ever seen! (Great Stuff). Hope your glass of juice was made tastier by all that philosophical inquiry…

    I think the point about becoming more selective and enjoying much less, rather than becoming something like a comics junkie in buying habits is by far one of the best points Josh made and others have echoed in their own way very convincingly.

    But Neb and others have made some really good points about how the industry doesn’t…work, well, in the current model many times. The entire Previews system seems built on what Jimski notes – the fact that many of the best titles sell out in a few hours, and will not be available (if even then) until the next Wednesday. This is no philosophical discussion here, this is just bad business. I don’t believe in the “evil corporation,” but it was Brubaker himself (about famous #25) who said, “It’s just dumb to have thousands of issues sitting unsold in a warehouse despite retailers wanting to order it immediately, but can’t get it, ‘just because it’s not Wednesday.'” (BTW, Have you noticed how fast trades by Brubaker come out in paperback?)

    I guess what many of us are saying is that if the comics industry is going to recognize that they are serving a mostly mature, adult audience, THEN many members of that adult audience are going to expect the same professional standards of business conduct we are pressured about at our own jobs and see in every other industry.

    And yes, we do get a little pissed when the people who are supposed to run this mature business gives its adult audience immature behavior and answers for things that would never be tolerated where we work ourselves.

    It’s really quite simple — sure, customers get cranky, but at the end of the day, you know what? They pay the bills. That is always the fundamental truth, and should not be forgotten. Challenge us, we love it; cheat us, and we will roast you on the internet. We do, after all, pay their bills. Many of those artists earn a hell of a lot more than I do, get to work at home, have a dream job, and guess what, “with work comes pressure.” We understand that, us working people, and only get pissed when we sense that the company is not respecting that fact, and that we are the paying customers, and should be happy with “Oh boo hoo, don’t act like a spoilded kid.”

    Well, I can’t use that excuse at work, can anyone else? And can I have your job?

  26. My only real irk with it all is two things: If it’s in Previews, I feel there is a bit of a promise that is then broken, it’s not a big deal, but at my store when you do previews (Which I do to save some money) and a book gets re-solicitated I don’t get my money back

    I’ve never heard of that. That blows.

    Wally, you’re right about the customers having the power, but the fact is, in the end, they will buy the books. They might come and bitch on the internet, but believe me, the web chatter matters a lot less in the real world than it seems to right now. They buy the books. They get pissed off, and incensed, and type epithets, but 9 out of 10 do indeed still buy the books. And if they get really self righteous, they skip the issues, and then go buy the trade, for which the publisher makes more money.

    Also, I’d like to see some examples of the publishers of late books insulting the buying public. That’s a perception I don’t really see, but rather an imaginary scenary thought up by those looking to hold someone responsible for their unhappiness.

  27. After reading Wally’s last post, I had something closely related to a really good thought. What if the publisher’s started to try and figure out what stories are going to work in issues and are going to work in trades?

    Like, for example, The Brave and the Bold by Mark Waid was a lot of fun to read, but I have to go back and read them all together now because by the last issue I had no idea what the hell was going on. This is something that might better benefit to being in a trade.

    Could we see the business model change a bit? I’m not asking for strictly trades, but I just think there are some comics out there that would better benefit by being put all together than being released one month at a time.

    But that’s where customer choice comes in, I guess, but part of me hates buying 4 issues of a 6 issues series before I decide I just want to read it in trade. Like I posted earlier, I much prefer that a story is solid and reads well than that it comes out on time. I think if Civil War would have had a stronger story, people may not have minded that the delays were so crazy. I would be willing to wait for something in a trade over buying issues six months apart.

    Any thoughts?

  28. As a consumer I’ll accept part of the blame for wanting it now but certainly not all. You have to put some type of pressure on artist and writers to get their pages and scripts in on time. I don’t about you, but I was taught that if you say you’re going to do something you do it, end of story. If you know as an artist that you can’t meet the schedule of a monthly book, either don’t accept the job or insist that you be X months ahead before it is solicited. That’s where the other fault lies is with the publishers. I understand they need to hawk their books to build up interest but don’t do it until it’s ready. If as an editor, you’re aware that an artist can’t meet a monthly schedule, don’t offer them a monthly book or don’t solicit that book until they are far enough ahead to meet the shipping schedule.

    The bottom line of this argument is that if we, as fans, don’t like how it’s happening, we have to speak with the only voice we have, our wallets. The companies won’t listen to anything less.

  29. I love the fact that Ron, Josh and Conor have been writing so many articles lately. I don’t know what has spurred on this prolific output it’s making me a happy iFanboy!

  30. I like the articles! And who better to write than our 3 amigos. It is really good that they are knowledgeable on the topic, love them and yet are not ultra attached to them in a way that may bias them beyond recognition. Connor can still hate Batman issues, Ron can still call crap an X-men book and Josh can actually still pick a cape book as his favorite. I been reading for just 2 yrs and this and other podcasts has helped tremendously in my picking of good books (Invincible, Fables) and refine my views on artists. While I may be more in line with Josh’s tastes, I also appreciate the passion that Ron & Conn have for their favs (Ryan Adams has Batbooks). Of course, me being a musician just makes it all the better that all 3 are also music geeks!

    Anyways, thanks for doing this guys. The discussions are offbeat yet refined and passionate and have helped this noob appreciate another artform that I may have otherwise been overlooked. Your efforts are well appreciated! You guys rock!

  31. Generally, I don’t mind if a regular book is late, but a mini-series should be finished and at the printers before the first issue is on the shelf. Forget considerate; it seems like a smart business practice to me.

    As far as buying stuff the day it comes out, I only do that for comics because I started listening to the podcast. 🙂 (I stopped going to movies opening night years ago and I was never a big music or DVD buyer.)

  32. Aren’t the publishers the ones who determine when things are released? Why not just wait until the artists get about 12-20 issues together and publish them all then?

  33. most books that get cancelled because of low sales get canned before they get 12-20 issues done. But when the artist does that many, they’ve still go to pay them. So if the series doesn’t succeed financially, they’d be deep the hole already.