Raising a Comics Company Right.

November 9th, 2009 by |

Let’s say you’re reading the editorial on a comic, or an interview with a comics professional, or maybe just scanning the solicits for upcoming comics, and you see something that seems a little off.

Something a little inappropriate; both gruesome and coy.  Something that hints at terrible, momentous events but is played off as a detail. 

Something, in other words, that is guaranteed to get the serious and touchy fans burning up their keyboards.  And that is, kind of, the point.  (Or part of it.  The other part is the fact that comics professionals don’t take comics quite as seriously as fans – and a good thing, too, considering many of them work in close proximity and have sharpened pencils on hand.)  Interviews and editorials are meant to garner publicity, and unhappiness usually shouts louder than contentment.  Especially on the internet.

That’s where you get to the problem with shouting your unhappiness with this prospective storyline; it’s kind of like giving a kid a candy bar every time they throw a tantrum.  In time you will end up with a toothless, tantrum-prone child and a shortage of snicker bars and an alcohol problem.  I may be stretching the metaphor.

My point is, though, how does one criticize a company’s choices in a business where almost any publicity is good publicity?  Because the only way I can see turning these things to my advantage is telling you guys that clicking the ads on this site registers a formal complaint.

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6 comments to “Raising a Comics Company Right.”

  1. Man, this issue is right up there with people who buy comics “to watch the train wreck.” Because buying comics ironically has a negative effect on the company’s bottom line, I guess. And what you’re saying here is in line with Robert Greene’s books on power, where having people recognize you and talk about you is half the battle in becoming successful.

    I suppose one way of handling the issue is to do an inverse of “damning with faint praise.” I think bad, sensationalist comics would get less attention if they were dealt with non-sensationalist responses. Something along the lines “Eh, this isn’t that good, here’s why” would do fine. To be honest, all the hate Brand New Day was getting on Scans_Daily kind of made me want to check it out, which I guess supports what you’re saying here. But when that petered out and certain people just weren’t impressed with it, my own interest died as well (there were posts on the character “Jackpot” that did this for me). People can still respond intelligently to bad comics and even have strong feelings against them, but the whole “my childhood is ruined” stuff needs to end.

    And on a slightly unrelated note, I can’t back this up that well, but I do feel like the internet is getting a bit wise to all these events and sudden deaths. For instance, Frank Castle got killed by Daken. In all the boards I’ve visited, barely anyone is screaming bloody murder about it. Many people just state that Castle will be back in a few arcs and they will just be sitting the whole FrankenCastle thing out. I just get a feeling fans are getting a bit numb to it all.

  2. If you hate 4l!, I am more than willing to allow you to pay us to have an ad on the site saying “4thletter! sucks! Visit _____.com instead!” No joke. Email me, we can talk dollars.

    Honestly, the only way to MAKE THEM PAY is to ignore the bad comics. Most bad comics, unless they are just offensively over the top horrible. Ultimates 3 didn’t meet that bar for me, though it did for Gav. Generally, I’m just apathetic to bad books. There’s a lot of comics I don’t read. Interviews, too– Mark Millar has said some truly heinous things online (surprise at black people having down’s syndrome, Wonder Woman being raped for 22 pages, Spider-Bitch from Old Man Logan, others), and I soon learned that coming off the leash each and every time was just what he wanted.

    The best way to criticize is to do it in a clear and focused way. I feel like excessive hyperbole, die in a fire, “OHH I HATE THIS SO MUCH!”ery just kind of makes the company’s look and go “Oh, emotional reaction! Solid gold!”

    So yeah: apathy. Not everything is worth a response, though a lot of it may be horrible. Picking your battles, I guess?

  3. Of course now I’m trying to guess which storyline it is.

    I’m with DB on this: when I really don’t like a storyline, I’ll voice it to my friends a lot, but the best thing I can do is not buy the damn comic, not write about the comic, not show it to other people, not bring it to the light in any way I can avoid. SHUN THAT COMIC.

  4. Life’s too short to complain about crappy comics. Or deliberately provocative ones.

    Shocking, genuinely shocking comics, are another thing. And I mean shocking in a positive fashion, like shockingly good or shockingly insightful, those should be celebrated. But expecting a shockingly good comic from the likes of Jeph Loeb or Mark Millar is like squeezing blood from a cabbage.

  5. Matt said it way better than I did. Shoot, life’s too short to read mediocre comics, too.

  6. I always hear at least Quesada say this, but the worse thing you could do about a comic is not care. Not complain about it, not attack the creators, because inevitably, that just gives the title or people more attention. Which doesn’t really matter if it’s negative or positive, if it’s something, people will want to check it out, or like Dane mentioned, how people will be fine to even watch a train wreck.

    But if no one CARES about a comic, if everyone ignores a comic, then it’s dead, it has nothing.