Name: Paul G


whatifwhatisisnt's Recent Comments
February 26, 2011 11:52 pm American Vampire Vol 1 is pretty special. Stephen King doubles up on each chapter, and the art is fantastic. It's not complex art, with busy scenes or anything, just very VERY good use of lines and color.
February 20, 2011 11:59 am As much as I like the technological possibilities of instant retrieval of new comics (monthlies, bi-monthlies, whathaveyou), I think it's considerably harder to replicate the physical experience in digital form. Yes, the books are printed from a digital file, but the end product is more expansive on paper. You see things in two-page spreads and unique text placement that a digital aid like Comixology's zoom/skip feature and Graphic.ly's own variation on that (which is also troubling because that means the experience for readers is different across those platform despite the content being identical) often have trouble mimicking. Imagine The Return of the Dapper Men on an iPad or a NookColor. I can't. I just can't.

So, either 1) digital comics are produced and formatting differently to account for a change in reading style, depending on screen shape restrictions, i.e., one-page-at-a-time story telling, or 2) digital comics are to be disseminated in a bundled flat cost rental arrangement that simulatenously lets casual readers not care about collecting and collectors being able to experiment more before collecting.

Anyway, if there's one thing digital will do is it will get quite a lot of people who wouldn't read comics before simply out of fear of showing what they're reading to their fellow mass transit riders to get back in the habit. Kind of like how the stigmatized romance novel genre has been experiencing a big jump in readership because of the anonymity of a tablet or e-ink reader. And if people think that that will inhibit the promotion of titles (based on covers seen by people sitting opposite you on the train, or wherever), I'm sure the internet and facebook and twitter are taking up the slack pretty well - and then some.
February 20, 2011 11:37 am ^^ *shone? shown.
February 20, 2011 11:34 am @everybody

Is it possible that the broad decline in comic book sales is a good thing?

You hear (or say) all the time how there's a lot of cruff to sift through to find the good stuff. I think it would be more of a problem if all the good stuff died out and only the crap remained. But that hasn't happened. Instead there seems to be an ebb and flow. Some good years, some bad, Some good again, some bad again.

Look, maybe the industry just can't string out the fantasy of being bigger and more mainstream any longer. Maybe it's best as a niche. Maybe it has to be. And you all know bookstores of all kinds are dying around the country. Not just LCSs. Borders is closing hundreds of locations. Barnes & Noble is headed there too. And, I'm sorry, but if comic creators started to do direct distribution themselves and say screw you to Diamond and adopt an indie music mindset (a la radiohead or no idea records or suburban home or third man records, etc.), I think that would refreshing. If digital has done one good thing above any, it has shone how little middlemen matter in disseminating information to the masses.

(At least Amazon is doing a pretty good job of stocking lots of reading. I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere on their whiteboard someone wrote comic monthlies as a prospective addition to their magazine subscription division. They already have a basic backend for managing subscriptions. Who knows, we might see something from them. Probably starting with Kindle. (From which they may hear a "surprising" number of people demanding the paper option.)

That being said, we dabbled in the dream of having practically anyone who reads anything to be seen publicly reading and discussing comics. But that's just not happening. Comics have always had a kind of underground, deprecated quality. That's kind of what made them so great. Spotlighting the outcasts. The freaks. Creating a "refuge" or whatever. For decades comics have been a pretty amazing distillation of sociological material. Fringe form or otherwise. But apart from Hollywood doing its thing with bringing the bizarre to widespread international attention, I don't know if comics will ever have or have ever had a real shot at becoming what some have believed they could be (if they only had the serious money that the movies keep stealing (because they've taken their ideas and they're not sharing the spoils.)

I don't think they will ever go away. I think there will be another so-called renaissance where sales rocket 20-30-40% year on year. Either because of digital or some title(s) went viral because Justin Bieber or Gaga Monsters or whoever is gung-ho on something. But, realistically, we may be a vocal minority, in which we may feel less stupid asking non-comically-inclined ladyfriends if they like The Walking Dead, but we're still a minority in the basement of another minority's house - that minority being James Patterson and Danielle Steele fans. Or just long-form book readers in general, who are also spending small change in comparison to monthly cable TV ;-)
February 8, 2011 10:41 pm Considering I'm coming back to comics after a long long LONG hiatus (15 years maybe?), I'm going to focus on new stuff, vs stuff that's been ongoing for years.


Who is Jake Ellis
Casanova (hopefully lcs still has #1 too)


Lil Depressed Boy (webcomic doesn't quite do it for me, though)
Adventure Comics (I tend not to want superhero stuff)

Other recents to search for: Daomu, New York Five
February 5, 2011 6:08 pm @conor, Yeah, I took it out of the comment field (because of length) to double check everything. I pasted it into textedit. I figured a barebones editor would be fine, because I only noticed the problem after posting. So it was too late. Won't do it again.
February 4, 2011 4:36 pm Sorry for the nasty spacing/formatting ^^. I don't know what happened.
February 4, 2011 3:19 pm p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Verdana} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Verdana; min-height: 12.0px}

Very sorry for the length, and I'm a first-time poster, but I think this is kind of important.


Digitally delivered comics are interesting, but they're far from being worth the price of admission. And I say that while also believing that the price of print comics is too high if the market wants to continue to entertain a new fanbase to replace the jaded and nostalgic thirty-somethings who make up a good chunk of the comic buying public today. 


And they will have to get new people buying because sadly, nobody is really superhuman and lives forever. (Insert anomalies here.)


You can tell me that digital is the future, because it's true. Just like iTunes and Amazon MP3 and whatnot are where retail music is going. But it's also true that iTunes et al are terrible if you want to continue to develop an industry with sustainable value. Because just like downloaded music, when you buy a comic for $2 or less from a digital proprietor, that value is going one way only. You don't own anything you're buying. Why? Because you can't do with it what you please. It's more like a lease. You have no assets or inventory whatsoever. Buy a hundred or a thousand digital intangible files of anything, and try to resell it. Nobody wants it? Oh. Damn. Too bad.


It's more like a rental situation, which, okay, fine, do that, because I think it's naive to think that people are going to pay $1-2 an issue ad infinitum, plus any applicable inflation. So either there'll be a system like Netflix for comics, where you pay one low fee for a month of all-access SERVICE from every provider (with exceptions, because of suit-and-tie executive stupidity), or it'll fail, because good luck getting the bulk of people with decent-sized weekly/montly pull lists to pay 50% or so of what they're paying now for what is essentially an infinitely greater loss than their getting sold now.


You might say, but look, Amazon is doing well with its ebooks, so you know, it can happen, digital can succeed. Well, let's see how long that lasts. Because you cannot deny that most digital music today is gotten through illicit means. The same will be for every other media, unless it's so cheap to get legitimately that, again, it's more like you're paying a nominal service fee to agree that you don't own anything and that you won't steal anything. (Also maybe worth noting, the public clearly values certain media over others. Movies are bigger than music. Music is bigger than text-based books. And text-based books are bigger than comics. So, you know, the value proposition just seems to drop precipitously when factoring in their intangibility and the elimination of scarcity in an industry that is becoming a rounding error.)


I will be the first to say that I love print. Mostly because it's a beautiful presentation medium. You can do so many things with it that you can't with a generally universal screen size/dimension. But I understand digital is a convenience that is inevitable. Yet, to think that print is going to go away because of it, is just not long-term thinking. I'm far more privy to believe that there will be a resurgence in an attention to quality of delivery. Because people are quickly going to be fed up with buying things that they can't even get rid of for few bucks at a garage sale. Or give away to Good Will. Or give their kids, or their kids' kids. (Formats change, but from what I'm aware, a 100-500 year old book is still visible and readable. Good luck to Adobe getting their technology to last so many centuries.)


Apologies to the dead trees, but if anyone is going to try to convince me that 6-7 billion people will happily live on a diet of a 2-5 year cycle of portable PC manufacturing, tell me, which is a more sustainable model? I know, how about we dabble, and have some of both, and quit it with the drama of thinking it's one or the other.