“industry shady, it need to be taken over”

December 5th, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

I hate writing about writing, because it is the most stereotypical and annoying thing a writer can do, but I’ve become what I’ve forsaken and the irony’s wild.

I haven’t written about comics on here in a month. I wrote about comics on ComicsAlliance a total of eight times in November, roughly twice per week. I did this Judge Dredd thing with Douglas Wolk that was actually a whole lot of fun, since I rarely collaborate and Wolk is one of the sharpest dudes around. (This week’s dance partner is Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress, who completely outshines me.)

I haven’t done it at all this month. I burned out. I needed a break. I’ll be back in a while. Maybe a week, maybe less, I dunno. Hopefully this post doesn’t come off too self-pitying or whatever, but it’s been bugging me and if I don’t write about it it’ll keep bugging me so… reap the whirlwind, I guess.

I quit because comics journalism, or criticism, or whatever you want to call writing about comics, is essentially free advertising. Which is fine, I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. When I write about something, be it Brandon Graham’s King City or Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman’s Hulk, it’s because I want you to buy and read it. Well, first and foremost it’s because I wanted to talk about it, but the buying & reading goes right along with that. I want to talk to people about these books. It’s not hand-selling, but it is recommending, yeah?

And I quit because every time I saw a review of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales working on Action Comics, I wanted to scream. The thought of Marvel caking off Fantastic Four 600 and dedicating it to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee makes my skin crawl. I can’t pretend like a comic set in the Congo featuring child soldiers and a warlord named Massacre is something adults should take seriously. Batman is already a dumb idea, but it has seventy years of inertia behind it. (“Massacre?” Negro please.) Or a million other things. “Check out this cool Tony Daniel preview!” “Matt Fraction is breaking new ground in the Defenders! What if Hulk… had a Hulk!” Pshaw.

I felt complicit in something I hated, and I decided not to write about it any more, barring my obligations at CA, and I eventually sent Laura a sad sack email begging off those, too.

(I didn’t quit reading comics, mind. I bought Thickness #2, a porn comic, and it’s grrrrrrrreat. I finished Twin Spica 10 over lunch today and it had a twist that I saw coming that still knocked me off my feet with its finality. I bought comics online and in stores. I just quit blogging about them for a while.)

A lot happened in that month, personal and otherwise. I had a hilariously awkward conversation with a PR person after I wouldn’t play the game. I spent a lot of time thinking about this post about Black Panther and War Machine. I wondered if I’d screwed up somehow, but I read it and reread it and reread the reaction to it and… I’m appalled that people came at me like I was calling Marvel a bunch of racist scumbags. I don’t even imply it, not even close. But you know, mention that two black characters share a thing, and speak of that thing negatively, and suddenly you’re… I don’t even know, bizarro David Duke or something. (I can’t think of a famous black racist right now. Sorry.) That got me to thinking about how insular and toxic comics culture is, how Team Comics has people thinking that we’re all in this together and leaping to defend corporations that don’t care about them, how comic shops actively hamper digital comics, how people claim to ignore Rich Johnston but hang on his every word…
November was a month that seemed hellbent to make me hate everything, including comics. I thought about every encounter with pushy PR people, every time I got someone in trouble because of something I wrote that some PR person didn’t like, the gross quid pro quo of maintaining access, passive-aggressive emails from Bluewater’s president because I told him I wasn’t interested in his ugly, stupid comics, and years of beating my head against the wall. Everything I don’t like about comics, I ended up processing alone or with a group of close friends, all of whom have been remarkably okay with me being such a Debbie Downer about some dumb old comic books.

I realized that I didn’t need any of that. I don’t depend on comics. I have a job. Life is short. Why should I do anything I don’t want to do, within reason? So I’ve been trying to figure out how I can keep writing about comics and entirely avoid, shun, or ignore the business side of things. I’ve gotten books early or for free, which is nice, but not necessary. (It also makes me feel really guilty. Friends make friends pay retail, yeah?) I can talk about comics I love at any point. I’m on a ’60s manga kick right now, so I’ve been buying used copies of Shotaro Ishinomori’s Cyborg 009. I can (and will) write about that at any time! (It’s wild racist, if you like/hate when I point that stuff out, but totally awesome, too.)

November was “How can I continue doing this thing I like doing when I’ve managed to surround myself with almost every aspect of it that I hate?” Sales figures, that thing where you read bad comics because you want to get your two-minute hate on or self-harm or whatever, paying attention to reviewers you don’t actually like in the name of… well I guess that’s masochism, too.

I ended up being The Digital Comics Guy somehow. Or A Digital Comics Guy, I figure. I think Brigid Alverson is the only other person to have really written repeatedly and at length on the subject. I’ve made some mis-steps (regarding believing sales charts, even!), but I’ve spilled tens of thousands of words on the subject. Maybe a hundred thousand, even. (Terrifying thought.) I’ve got a google alert for digital comics news and I’m on a bunch of mailing lists.

I saw an announcement that made me really happy. “Dark Horse Delivers Day & Date Digital Comics Same Day As Print!” They’re one of my favorite companies, they publish at least three of my favorite ongoing series (Usagi Yojimbo, Hellboy, and BPRD), and I own a bunch of their stuff. I’ve actually given away a bunch of DH stuff, because I had friends who I thought might dig it. Share the wealth, spread the word. I was really happy about this announcement, shot off a couple of quick questions to DH, forwarded the news to Andy at CA so he could write it up (being on my “oh poor me i hate writing about comics right now but am still gonna read comics news” vacation) and felt good.

On Sunday, Rich Johston reported that Larry Doherty of Larry’s Comics was refusing to shelf Dark Horse Comics over the price point. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a crybaby punk move. Digital comics aren’t physical comics. Digital books provide a different experience than print comics. This stupid “print vs digital” thing is a smokescreen, a garbage talking point. They aren’t direct competitors, and they certainly won’t be as long as the prices are so high.

But this guy Larry, this actual racist, this person who sent a friend of mine a picture of a woman with a bunch of hot dogs stuffed in her mouth after she rightly called him out on requesting DC do a XXX video fo Batwoman and Question “banging each other” because “chicks doing it is awesome,” this scumbag who two different people I know personally–and I live a few thousand miles from dude’s store–have been like “Oh yeah, Larry? I used to live around him, he’s a disgusting punk,” this guy, the last guy anyone should be listening to or hanging out with or associating with, period, is the one who’s banging the “WHAT ABOUT US POOR RETAILERS YOU OWE US” drum the hardest.

I read the news, rolled my eyes, had a few conversations about it, and moved on.

Today, I assume in response to Larry’s bleating on Twitter, Dark Horse caved. More specifically, they caved and said this:

Unfortunately, there has been a bit of miscommunication regarding our pricing strategy, and we would like to clear that up here. In our initial announcement, we did not come forward with any pricing information on our upcoming releases. However, some assumptions were made based on our current pricing model.

Earlier today, in response to some dumb DC news I shouldn’t have read anyway, I said “these could conceivably not be lies.” I instantly felt bad about being so cynical and skeptical, did a little more research, and proved to myself and a couple friends that the things DC said weren’t lies. Which is pretty screwed up, but that sort of shows you where I’m at with comics marketing. I’m conscious of the fact that it’s poisoned for me, and I’m working to correct it. But dang, man, almost every bit of news I read seems like more and more garbage. It’s not healthy.

But that thing up there, the quote? It’s, at best and at my most charitable, a falsehood. It’s a falsehood that offloads blame onto the press, onto the people who reported the news. Maybe there was some miscommunication, but there definitely wasn’t on my side. I was sorta surprised at how much I resented reading this, as if it were personal almost. But I take writing very seriously, even if I’m just doing research for someone else, so it is what it is and he said what he said.

And now I’m like… this is an industry where Mark Millar runs wild with comments about shooting people who don’t deserve it, wondering if black people can have Down’s Syndrome, telling people not to buy digital comics, and plotting “The Rape of Wonder Woman” for yuks. This is an industry where Alan Moore talking about comics he hasn’t read, and says he hasn’t read, and proceeds to talk about anyway, is front page news every single time. It’s an industry where people complain up and down the street about how inaccurate sales figures are, except when their own books sell out. Rushed events are blockbusters. Sub-par fill-in artists are something publishers pooh-pooh and downplay as necessary.

It’s where one of the best publishers in the industry publicly bows down to someone who has consistently been an embarrassment to what passes for the comics community.

And I’m having some serious trouble figuring out why I should even want to support this industry with my time and words. It’s not like I have a lack of stuff to talk about, things that don’t make my skin crawl. I’ll get past it, obviously–I want to talk about Cyborg 009 and Wonder Woman and everything else I’m reading and enjoying, and getting paid to write is really really nice this time of year, and a month is probably long enough to get over it, especially after this post–but right now, I’m seriously not feeling it at all. I hate it.

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36 comments to ““industry shady, it need to be taken over””

  1. I cannot believe Dark Horse gave in to ONE squeaky, douchey wheel. Not to mention his strategy of pulling DH books is straight up dumb. What better way to drive people to digital?

    The comic business can be shit sometimes, but any creative industry is going to be populated with more than a few nutjobs. Unfortunately they think just because we buy their books it’s license to get on the soapbox.

    Hope you get over whatever wall you hit last month, you’ve got a nice way of cutting through the bullshit.

  2. I love this post and what Scott Allie et al. did today is a disgrace. I hope to keep reading your stuff on comics, but if it’s not worth the cost to your sanity, so be it. I can’t exactly blame you.

  3. Oh damn, dude. That sounds like a seriously toxic environment you’ve been working in, and the burnout is an understandable result. 🙁 I hope you figure out a way to cut the industry bullshit out of your life and leave the good stuff, the stuff you like.

  4. Man this screams gray area, while one shop owner bent over DH over his knee, DH could force their readers to jump through so many legal loops to read the latest issue of a comic, then attach spywear onto their pc to spy on their creditcard accounts.

  5. As far as comics criticism goes, the majority of criticism has little to do with actual literary criticism. It irks the hell out of me, but what can you do? You can only control what you write. My favorite school of comics reviewing and criticism is: Write about what you like, and ignore the awful stuff. Bad reviews are still free advertising for a book, so if you really dislike something, don’t provide an outlet for discussion on the book.

  6. You could write about your favorite cheeses and I’d read it, so whatever you do, I’m in.

    Just remember: Comics marketing isn’t just poisoned for you, it’s mostly just poisoned, period.

    Write what you love, as you do. You’re great at it.

  7. In general, reading comics criticism is like digging for treasure in a toxic waste dump. If you want to take a break, then that just shows you’ve got more sense than most of us.
    Don’t fuck yourself up out of a misplaced sense of obligation. We need people talking about what they like and why it’s interesting. The rest is obnoxious noise. Corporate PR that justifies itself.
    Do what you want.

  8. I know incest when I smell it (benefits of being Afghan) and comics industry is the result of a whole lot of it. It’s going to die off because of all the inbreeding.

  9. I feel your pain David and definately feel the frustration. There are no easy answers and even when it feels like you have worthwhile insight, it feels like you get beaten down and derised to the point that caring is no longer an option.

    I may not agree with all the books you like or some of the opinions you have but this world would be a boring place if everyone agreed with one another. I appreciate the effort you put into these articles and the thinking method you use to craft them.

    Hang in there D.B.! Would be a real shame to lose your opinions from the comics landscape. :effort:

  10. Next time the president of Bluewater tries to get in contact with you, I can handle him. I’d like the chance to tell him that no one is interested in his ugly comics. :smug:

    In all seriousness though, sometimes a break is all you need. And I’d probably need a break too, if I was hip-deep in the bullshit like you are. I saw the DH redaction to cheaper digital comics on day-and-date and my initial reaction was “Oh, they pussied out.” I couldn’t imagine putting up with that on a daily basis.

    But I hope you don’t quit completely. Your site is one of the few I visit on a regular basis.

  11. I’m sorry David.

    If it means anything, I think you are one of the most necessary writers and critics around and the comics field should count its lucky stars to have you around in whatever capacity that you choose.

    So much of what you wrote here has resonated with my experience and with my own faults. I choked down a big event comic this year out of sheer love for the artist and quit North American comic books because of it. The comic which should have been my personal enjoyment strangled the love from me. It happens, I suppose. I feel like it happens to many readers and even more for writers.

    But I seriously struggle with what you refer to as the unpaid PR arm of the comic book industry. I felt fit to vomit when I read some guy insist that critics’ job was to essentially do DC/Marvel’s job for them.

    “Comics will break your heart.” quote commonly attributed to everybody: Kirby, Schulz, maybe Wally Wood. Is my memory spotty or does everybody experience this? Even my own meager attempts to “read comics, write what I think of them,” has worsened my attitude, confused my own personal values and separated me from my own enjoyment of the form. I hate comics because of comics. Even comics which I don’t hate bring little satisfaction because of the ordeal that the industry puts you through in order to patronize it. It’s just so much work, I’ve been reading Doonesbury instead.

    Looking at funny pictures of stupid shit wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. Something you love shouldn’t be so difficult.

  12. I know everyone wants to focus on the Dark Horse thing, but I’m actually far more interested that your reading habits have been trending away from US comics and towards Japanese ones. While the circumstances leading to it are relatively unique, it’s an all-too-common story throughout the decades: people who grew up with US comics finding themselves increasingly alienated by non-intrinsic yet ubiquitous aspects of their hobby and thus end up turning to comics from Japan/Europe/the web/etc. The companies who deal in those things don’t have the clout to play the “positive coverage in exchange for access” game that dominates enthusiast media, and they’re only slightly less shackled to the whims of the direct market.

    That said, these last few years I’ve been seeing it the other way around a good bit. I’m seeing people who grew up loving manga as kids now becoming disillusioned with its associated baggage, and looking into American comics and web comics instead. In both cases, it’s not so much that these people “grew out of their hobby.” They still want to love comics. But the respective industries aren’t putting out the types of stories they want to/used to read on any large scale. Dark Horse occupies a fascinating spot here, as they’re a company that specializes in releasing both US and Japanese comics that speak to these types of fans. “Man, I’m done with comics…but I guess I’ll read Hellboy/BPRD when that comes out” and “man, I’m so over manga…but I’ll read the next Blade of the Immortal whenever that comes out, I guess.”

    Maybe the two groups are gradually converging as media itself converges such that both of those hypothetical statements are increasingly likely to be spoken by the same person. Perhaps that’s why I’m now seeing most people I know who read comics tend to dabble in all of the above: just a few US comics, just a few manga, just a few webcomics etc at this point. On the US side, people largely get burned out by the activities of “the industry.” On the manga side, people usually get burned out by the activities of “the community.”

  13. this post makes perfect sense: everyone i know who loves comics is just avoiding as much comics-related ‘journalism’ as they can right now. its all an insular mess that doesnt reflect what we love anymore (for the most part)

    i love comics, reading them, thinking about them, trying to make them, talking with other people who love them. but a lot of what you say here illustrates my current feelings- and im sure you have it worse being ‘on the inside’. im burned on the comics press, the big two pumping out 95% shit in order to meet sales goals, books like AVENGERS: AVENGERS: THE AVENGED that no one in their right mind actually wants to read, creators acting the fool all over the internet,etc etc etc i dont have any grand insight here, just wanted to say: you get it.

  14. It sounds like, and you are sort of already doing this, the best solution to your problem is to shift your comic reading habits slightly. Moving over to non-DC/Marvel books or even just older DC/Marvel books, might help your state of mind immensely.

    I think I’m down to like maybe 3 books between those two companies at this point, and I don’t feel good per se after reading even those books. Whereas I was reading old Ashley Wood Popbots, and Sienkiewicz old marvel stuff–and was having a really good time of it.

    There’s so much brilliant stuff in comics to switch your focus to that won’t make you want to kill yourself after dealing with them. Move to those and write about those.

    I enjoy your writing whatever it’s about. Be happy. Love comics.

  15. There is so much to love about what you have said, and it needs saying by as many people as possible, as often as possible. As a woman in comics, I come across a lot of the same issues you’ve been hitting as it remains an industry dominated by right-leaning, white, straight dudes.

    I coped by stopping reading comics journalism at all, and stopping buying mainstream comics except from a select few creators I could depend on for not creating rage over their cavalier misogyny/racism/homophobia. I know by doing this I’ve probably missed some good comics, but I can’t really be bothered to sift through the rubbish for the overlooked gems.

    Don’t worry about old white guys grumping about digital comics. Their segment of the industry is dying, and they themselves are the ones sitting on its head and suffocating it. The great books of the future will not be from them.

  16. man, intense post. i agree with Darryl Ayo that you’re a necessary writer in this field, but if you ever chose to bail i sure as hell wouldn’t blame you and whatever else you decided to do would be awesome, too.

    i wish i had something insightful to say other than echoing what everyone else has written in this thread, which is all great. as a creator and not a journalist/writer i’m not really in the same arena as you are, i don’t think, but just being in the same industry where i’m in proximity to this shit gets me down, too. i try to keep sort of a wall up, i guess, so it’s easy to take a step back whenever i need to, whether a step back from the people or a step back from the comics themselves. sometimes i want to get out, too, quit comics and go get a day job at the bakery down the street or something, but i’m really trying hard to take what i like (if anything) and leave the rest.

    hang in there, man!! it’ll come together. don’t let comics grind you down.

  17. Man, this physically hurts me to read, because it’s true.
    I love reading comics but when you look up from the pages it just sucks.

  18. @Sarah Velez: I think one thing worth pointing out is that even though we’re rationally aware that there’s a whole world of media out there more to our liking, those are things that require at least some degree of drive to acquire because they’re not contemporary mainstream. And when you’re no longer down with that contemporary mainstream, it drains you emotionally. You lose that extra drive. A lot of the time, you go from consuming the mainstream media plus the slightly off-the-beaten path stuff to reading nothing at all.

    That’s true for comics, that’s true for animation, that’s true for film, etc. Maybe the only person who’d relate to this analogy is Gavok, but when both WWE and TNA are terrible, it’s a LOT harder to muster up the will to sit down and watch an alternative pro wrestling product such as indies, lucha, or puroresu. Or to go back through the archives and watch “the good stuff.” Certainly we KNOW there is so much awesomeness out there that if we focused just on that, we’d never see all we wanted. That we ought to just focus only on that stuff and ignore the rest. But getting to it requires exertion fueled by zeal.

  19. […] Random Thought! Ladies and gentlemen… David Brothers! […]

  20. @Daryl I just wanna say, as a wrestling fan for the last 15 years, you’re so right on the money. WWE is currently stupid, boring, depressing, and has been a shell of its former self for years. Even its bright spots like CM Punk or Mark Henry’s reign don’t drown out all the garbage filtering through. TNA, somehow, is even worse and more incompetent, to the point where every week, I’m almost surprised its still on the air.

    Now sure, I could go find the “good stuff”. Some of my wrestling friends watch puro, or old 2000-era WWE, or ROH, or whatever. But when the mainstream stuff stinks, the stuff you see and communicate with the most, the thing that represents one of your favorite hobby here in the now, you kinda just don’t care about any of it, ya know? It feels like I’m some nostalgic old bastard relieving the glory days, which is sad as fuck. Like I’m trying to hide from the real world with my VCR, watching No Way Out 2001 again.

  21. You’re swimming in the sewer dude, and nobody should say word one if you decide to wash off.

  22. Thanks for reading, everybody.

    @SomeRandomBookguy: You’re not making sense, and I don’t think that has anything to do with what I’m talking about.

    @Daryl Surat: Yeah, it’s partially looking elsewhere for entertainment and partially remembering really digging Go Nagai and Shotaro Ishinomori’s designs and googling around.

    I was actually just talking with Carl/SDShamshel about the differences between manga/anime & comics fans the other day, too. I fell out of anime hard, even after eating up stuff that’s retroactively obnoxious like Excel Saga, and now I watch old series or updates (like Mazinkaiser SKL or Cyborg 009) or one or two new series a year. I got pickier, or maybe just less patient. It’s getting to that point with comics, I think.

    You’re right about the bummer of the mainstream falling short, or falling out of the mainstream. Marvel and DC are inescapable. Marvel and DC publish more ongoing series than a lot of indie houses put out in five years, not to mention trades/miniseries/etc. They’re inescapable, and even when you make an honest effort to ignore them, they’re still going to be in your face. It’s like ignoring Nike at a shoe store or something.

    @Alex de Campi: Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad Ashes got funded.

  23. Thanks for updating us on what’s going on, David.

  24. I’d say just detach from writing about comics for now, David. That How to Make it in America piece was great, because it was coming from a clear headspace, which you don’t seem to have when writing comics. Besides, one Tucker Stone in the blogosphere is enough.

  25. […] David Brothers of Comics Alliance recently wrote about his personal burn-out after writing and working in the comics industry for a while. It’s honest, it’s sad, and it’s 100% accurate. You should read it. […]

  26. Thank you for breaking down some of the insanity of the comic industry. I was linked here from Let’s Be Friends again so I haven’t read a lot of your stuff but the past content is fantastic. A few months ago, I threw in the towel with a bunch of comics blogs. The three page Archie preview was the straw. I can’t say I hate you if you read Archie, but just throwing their preview up on your site as content is disgraceful. No one in the history of comics blogging has ever seen an Archie preview and said ‘Wow, maybe I’ll check that out’ which means some quid pro quo crap is going on. Tack on the fact that the lowest review I ever read from that site was a 7.5, I backed out.

    I know everything I’m about to say has probably been said before in some fashion, but I’d like to get it off of my chest. I used to have a massive, massive loose issue collection and just as many collected editions. I’d scour used bookstores before comics really blew up over the past eight or ten years looking for used trades, hit the quarter bin to complete sets, use MyComicShop.com for orders and eBay the hell out of books. But four things happened over the past two years that have changed everything for me.

    1. I finally collected every issue of Marvel’s GI Joe. All 155, plus the special and assorted Special Missions, etc.
    2. I sucked it up and bought the Absolute Planetary
    3. Fear Itself
    4. ComicZeal

    One of these things wasn’t enough for me to stop buying comics. I still buy comics now and again and there are some sets I’d like to complete. But when put together I had a few realizations. First is that I was collecting stuff because I couldn’t get the set that I wanted. I was NOT going to drop $150 on GI Joe 155, so I’d trickle other crap in to make up for it. When I found one for $60, it was like a weight was lifted. Second, the Absolute edition made me realize that all of the comics that are released month to month are simply brand building and advertisement. Sure, they are marketed as collectible but honestly: is there a single comic book that came out in the last twelve months that wasn’t some super duper pre-order VARIANT COVER edition crap that is worth more than you paid for it? Comics are worse thancars: they are literally worth nothing seconds after you exit the store even though older buyers like me still fetishize them. Third is that Fear Itself is insulting. I’m not even saying it was a terrible idea, or crossovers are inherently bad or that it was even a bad comic book per se. I just hated the fact that while it was churning out books there wasn’t a critical take on it. I feel like you either heard ‘Eh, it sucks but what do you expect?’ or you got some industry shill singing its praises from the rooftops. There was no real criticism of it, of Marvel Comics or the usually great Matt Fraction. Just ‘This is a summer blockbuster, what do you expect?’ Um, howsabout a story that is engaging, well plotted and meaningful? Instead, Thor dies? Really? Finally, ComicZeal for iPad alleviates the guilt I have about spending literally thousands upon thousands of dollars on comics over the years only to see them depreciate to literally worthless levels. Plus I can organize them, make reading lists and generally dig around comics I would have never, ever bought and figure out what the best stuff is. In fact, I’m now actually collecting trades of three series due to reading the old scans. (The comics from Norway’s Jason are amazing and I would have never found them on the rack or had them reccomended to me).

    In short, you have a small group of people (Marvel & DC) in charge of some of the most beloved content ever (X-Men, Superman) being pressured by a smaller group of buffoons (fanboys, retailers) to fix problems that don’t really exist. Rather than rethink things, make bold steps ahead and try to make the industry better it is way easier to bribe and placate.

    So thank you again for being in the position to talk about these things and actually doing, for trying to make strides without being The Angry Guy that Hates stuff and for cutting through the hype and BS. I’m now subscribed to your RSS feed.

  27. Hi,
    I don’t usually comment in any of the blogs and forums I follow. Maybe I’m shy. But today I need to use this space to tell you something: Thanks for your writings. I enjoy a lot following your ramblinsg about comics and picking some awesome titles I’d never heard of. So…if you don’t need the money, you don’t need the stress. Keep writing for us your friendly comic mates. We don’t pay you much, but we really apreciate your posts.
    Keep it on, for us.
    And for the comic stores, today is all about the collectors edition, the special edition the WTF edition. and some people NEEDS to buy them all (like pokemon, gotta catch em all). Keep those costumers, sell merchandising and Asume that the digital (until the neuro-implants arrive) is here to stay.
    I apologise if my english is not good enough. That’s one of the reasons I don’t comment much anywhere.
    Thanks, and, again, keep it on man. You’re great!

  28. David,

    I enjoy your perspective, and, as a dude who has never gotten into manga, I do hope you keep writing and podcasting about what good you do find in American comics.


  29. David, I think you’re a great writer but over the past five-six months you being burnt out has definitely shown. I had to stop listening to the podcasts (which I used to love and were my first introduction to podcasts so thank you for that) because you just seemed like there wasn’t much you like anymore. I don’t know you personally but don’t let the man get ya down. Esther seems like a great person but a lot of the time I constantly hear about what she dislikes over what she likes. Criticism is great but when you guys don’t sound like you like anything, it makes it real painful to listen to.

    You’re an awesome writer and extremely complicated man, which makes you the powerful writer that you are. You’re stuff on hip hop is dope. Keep at it and hopefully the comic stuff will come back.


  30. This is why I don’t worry about “the industry” and just go about my business making and reading comics I like.

    Remember back when people who loved comics just bought ’em, read ’em, shared ’em with friends and then put ’em in boxes?

    Good times.

  31. For what it’s worth, that War Machine/Black Panther post is probably my favorite thing you’ve ever written. 🙂

  32. I’m probably late on this, but man we can not lose you. You are one of the smartest voices in the pictures-and-words business and I frequently refer customers to something you’ve written, ideas you’ve expressed and shared your love of King City with them. In a telephone sort of way, the things you love have been handed down to someone you may never meet.

    You, no matter what anyone says, are a force for good. As a local comic shop flunkie, you are my invaluable resource. I hope the recharge goes well and you find your smile once more, sir.

  33. @Nawid A: +1,000

    Hell, I just started buying old trades last year, and the more I learn about the business side of comics, the less I want to leave the safety of my Amazon page.

  34. I was exactly like you, till I found myself aproaching to comics and culture more in an academic way, the neutral view I had while reading history texts, I ended finding everything really amusing and interesting. I mean even racism and sexism are valuable in investigation.

    The thing about industry is that after all is an industry, I been around in the literary scene in my country and the thing is not better in this suposed “high art”, nowdays for somereason the world has been pretty mad but It still goes the same way around, frank miller went from a revolutionary artist to a reactionary man of opinion, just like hundread years ago did Victor Hugo (Im flattering Milker too much). Alan Moore for example seems like a retired rock superstar, every other artist is going to be compared to him anyway and his personal tastes are taken as word of god, just like if he was a the Dali or Breton of comic books.

    The thing is to write about comics you need some kind of critisism system or a grasp in aesthetics, that works as an antidote that helps ypu view all on perspective, but few manage to keep the fun on It.

  35. Ooops. Pushed tab.
    Anyway, I know what you’re going through. I was far more interested in comics before I knew anything about them. I too was under the belief that some day, my #1’s would be a gold mine. I was an idiot, but one that was never told otherwise. Because neither comic company nor retailer felt the need to spoil this belief. It ups sales on both sides. Case in point the new 52 by DC.
    Yes it was daring, I guess. And honestly for the first 3 issues of many of them I found myself saying, “This was a great idea.” But now they’re all hitting their strides, and I find that I can only see my own idiocy again. I bought in…again.
    I’m sure this will keep happening. And maybe the longer I am away from the inner-circle of the business, the easier it will be to get roped in again and again. And quite honestly, I’d prefer it that way. There is nothing that I need to know that I can’t get from the pages of the comics themselves. Bad or Good, I’d prefer to rifle through and just read. Take a break from whatever becomes annoying, and find something else that makes me feel young again.
    I think you still have it in you, and I think everyone in the business, or having once been in, can agree with your sentiments. And the one thing I’ve come to see, is that people who work in the retailers, more often than not, don’t even read comics anymore, yet still have a very opinionated assumption of their contents.
    So keep reading, I’d prefer an annoyed view of comics over an assumed view.

  36. Ooops again. I have no idea what happened to the first part of the comment I had written. But I guess you are lucky, it was almost a full chapter of a novel. So, to make sense of the comment above, I’ll just say that I had worked for a comic book shop until a few years ago for a few years. I and many of the patrons had adopted and relied on the opinions of the owner and manager of that retail outlet, before being employed their and later becoming a manager myself, that is. I had just been a happy reader before. But then I became surrounded and submerged by the industry and the endless titles and politics. It was defeating. That which I used to love, became what I hated. But in that, I found that I would search for something else. This brought me to Daredevil, or rather, the retooled post-Miller Daredevil. I fell for the character. I read the entire Bendis run and caught up to the (at the time) newly started Brubaker run. It took a couple of issues, but I enjoyed the Brubaker run just as much, if not more. That shoved me to the rebooted Captain America from Brubaker. I fell for it just the same.
    I guess what I’m getting at is that if you get sick of a certain company, or some BS rumor or fact that you’ve heard, don’t give up on the medium. There’s still a nubmer of stories out there old and new from a major company, or just an independant or webcomic. There’s still some hope out there.