Tuesday, August 2, 2016

THWIP!

A few years ago, at the Connecticut Comic-Con, I was interviewed by the fine folks at the Superior Spider-Talk podcast.  The interview just popped up on YouTube and you can listen to it right here.

112 comments:

  1. no more Spider-man stories to tell? What about Peter Parker makes an omelet. Clearly mushroom and cheese.


    Jack

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    1. Peter prefers spinach and onions in his omelets. At least he did when I was writing him!

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    2. Spinach and onion/ Spinach and onion? Well, at least we know that you were right in that interview, you shouldn't write Spider-MAn anymore, not because you have no more stories to tell, but because you don't get the character anymore. Not if you think that he would prefer spinach and onion on his omelette. Apparently you got out just in time.

      Have you written great Spider-Man stories in the past? Without a doubt, but apparently you have lost any connection with the character. I think you could do what no problem in the industry could do... permanently end Spider-Man. Not just in comics either, across all media. I don't know how a classic creator could be blown so far off course, but it has happened. Spinach and onion, really? You could kill a five and a half decade franchise.

      It boggles the mind as to how anyone could lose touch with a character so fast, as to have a view so disconnected from their core.

      Re: Kraven.
      I'm not sure that that mystical resurrection is all that natural or realistic. In fact that might be the definition of unnatural. Not a quality comment.


      Spinach and onion!? SPINACH AND ONION!?

      Jack



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    3. Kraven, on the other hand, enjoys a nice broccoli with grated elephant tusk omelet. With some borscht. But, then, he's very strange.

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    4. Well... at least you can still write Kraven stories. That's something... probably have to fight Daredevil though, given that you proved Spidey is off the table for you.

      What does he drink though?


      Jack

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    5. Weird jungle potions laced with psychedelics, of course!

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    6. Well... 70's Jim Starlin would approve.

      Honestly, Spinach and on...

      Wait a minute... borscht is most commonly associated with Russian peasants. Why would a self described member of the Russian aristocracy indulge in such common form of the culinary arts? Eat the food of the same people who ousted his family from their native land?. Answer fast, Dematteis.



      Jack

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    7. Young Kraven would sneak out of his mansion, wearing the clothes of his servant Smerdyakov (later known as the Chameleon), to see what it was like to live on the streets with the common people. And that's where he got his taste for borscht.

      And I can't believe we're having this conversation.

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    8. Yep, you live a pretty charmed life, and your welcome for it.


      Jack

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  2. Peasant food is some of the most delicious food regardless of culture. Maybe Spinach is a typo? Maybe you meant to say Sausage and it auto corrected it to Spinach?

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    1. Hey, if it's good enough for Popeye, it's good enough for me!

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    2. Yeah, but that canned stuff is the worst. I hope Peter at least had the sense to use fresh spinach.

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    3. Fresh, organic spinach...and ONLY fresh organic spinach.

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    4. I would still want some sausage.

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    5. It isn't whether peasant food is good or not, it i about whether the aristocracy would be caught dead eating it. Its sociological (and czarist Russian sociological at that) not culinary.

      As long as we are on the topic, have you ever tried it in a 50/50 couscous? Its pretty good.


      Spinach is great creamed. Spinach is great. It is even good in an omelet with onions.

      Its just that no one who had any connect, or even a basic knowledge of the iconic character Spider-Man would ever think that HE would prefer that in his omelet, especially with mushrooms and cheese in existence.

      Spinach is probably more MJ's thing... but not onion, tomatoes.

      JAck

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    6. This may be the silliest conversation in the history of Creation Point.

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    7. There was once a conversation about the dynamite level of mustaches in the Marvel offices in the 1980s. Which in turn lead to a conversation that stated that Mark Gruenwald was a cosmic being in charge of facial hair.

      Not to mention all that hope and friendship stuff people will bring up from time to time.

      Of copurse, if you want I can explain how Daredevil Born Again is connected to you Defenders run, and is also a counterpoint (probably unintentionally) to most Marvel stories up to that point, as well as now?

      Or how the 1979 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake is really about Baby Boomers being afraid to age?

      Would that be less ridiculous for the site dedicated to a guy who wrote a story about a guy dressed like a bug and his pal, a fast talking egotist from the future, stealing money to open a casino. And then finding out the island they built it on was alive and required a sea kin to save, only to have the punishment for the embezzlement to be doing extra chores, all the while with a pair of inept supervilians unable to do anything right?

      And don't kid yourself, you say the word and I will dive into either or both those topics.

      Jack

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    8. This whole thing just made me grin. And I see MJ as more of a Denver Omelet lady

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    9. There's nothing ridiculous about Beetle and Booster and KooeyKoeeyKoeey. It's actually based on my own personal experiences opening a casino on a living island.

      So what's the link between "Born Again" and my DEFENDERS run?

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    10. I'm not entirely sure what is in a Denver omelet, so I can't say for sure, so please fill me in. I will say however, it is possible that MJ would prefer a Denver omelet, but would make (possibly order) something else most of teh time for health/work concerns.


      As for you Dematteis, it all starts with Stan Lee, but then again what doesn't?

      So, back in the 60s Marvel increased the age of readership from elementary schools to High Schools and colleges. Part of this included the tackling of the issues of the day, namely the 60s. It also usually came out on the side of the radicals, a stark contrast to DC.

      Because of this many of the writers of the 70s and 80s were former Yippies, hippies, protestors, and heads, or at the least sympathetic to that idea.

      As such the turmoil of the 60s and 70s was set up as set up with the radical youth version being the right way. It set a course for the company, which for the most part continues today. Basic concepts like the establishment being the villain is deeply ingrained in the company's identity. There was also views on the changing roles of women and sexuality being widely accepted and even wink and nod pro-drug messages, albeit incredibly subtle and hidden.

      However, the 60s and its turmoil were not so cut and dry. While increased visibility for women and ethnic minorities was a very good thing, other aspects like drugs and the further reaches of the sexual revolution had far reaching negative effects.

      In reality, some people only experienced the good, some abandoned the bad before it was too late, some could control it, but some had their lives ruined by those negatives.

      People forget that inn the late 60s-early 70s many feminists praised pornography as liberating. IN the 80s feminists spoke out in hatred about what it had done and gave tours of Times Square's worst offenders. Some were even the same feminists from a decade and a half earlier.

      Drugs became an epidemic, in fact some people even think that the rise of normality in marijuana use took away the rebellion feeling and may have a role in the rise of opiot abuse we see now.

      But Marvel never addressed those issues for the most part, overall the 60s were always right ion their eyes. No one really suffered from those problematic repercussions. Sure, there were anti-drug stories, but most the character was always saved before their life was destroyed by addiction. Even Harry Osborn or Roy Harper (I know DC, but still)didn't have a very long struggle.

      Karen Page was the only sacrificial lamb for those ideals. She left the Daredevil stories in the early 70s, when she returns in Born Again a decade and a half later, she is a porn star, who was heavily abused and sold out Matt for a fix of Heroin. She was the only major character to suffer THOSE real world falls in a company that claims to strive for heroes in a realistic world.

      The whole book is almost a circumnavigation of the bronze age and the Hippies that formed it. Nuke is little more than Captain America if he had been created in the 70s, and faced down in part by Cap himself. The last image of the story is almost something out of a Silver age Superman or even a Romance comic of the era.

      So where does the Defenders run fit in? I said Karen was the only MAJOR marvel character to show the hazards of habitual drug use. As far as I know the first major character to show what that life can do to you after years and years was Sunshine in the Defenders, whose mind was so thrashed from excessive drug use magic didn't work on him.

      Jack

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    11. That's truly fascinating, and insightful, Jack. Thanks so much for sharing those thoughts! (I still think you should get a blog or write a book about comics. You've got so many interesting insights.)

      Who knew "Sunshine" was a breakthrough character? (And, in some ways, "Sunshine" was a rehearsal for "Sunflower" in MOONSHADOW.)

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    12. Actually, as I think on it, there was an EC comic about addiction back in the 50s.

      However, it is a very different take on addiction if I remember correctly. It was a bit more... sensationalized though. It was... it was different. Also in the 50s before drug addiction became so widespread in the 60s and 70s.


      The important thing is that you now have material for the Fearful symmetry prequel, "Kraven's Last Brunch."


      Jack

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    13. It's only Monday morning, Jack,but you've won Joke Of The Week. I'll have Stan send you a "No Prize"!

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    14. Oh, wow, this has to be one of the greatest conversations ever. Silly, insightful, and hilarious.

      I might give "Kraven's Last Brunch" joke of the year...what can I say? I have a weakness for puns.

      I never thought about BORN AGAIN that way, Jack, but you're absolutely right. It is a rare story that deals with the 'realistic' consequences of Karen's actions.

      If memory serves, JMD and Mike Zeck had actually planned to do a story about a contemporary super-soldier, but the project never materialized. Would have slightly predated Nuke, I think, if it had come to fruition?

      --David

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    15. Wow, David, you've got an amazing memory. Zeck and I were going to do a Cap graphic novel about the botched super soldier experiment BEFORE Steve Rogers...an idea I think others have plumbed since. But, yeah, we would've been there first. I forget why we never went ahead with it. Probably got busy with other things. I know I wrote an outline/proposal, and we were approved, but that's as far as it went.

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    16. Kind of funny that both your unrealized Cap proposals were predictive of where the industry was headed...sometimes twenty years later (as was the case with Cap's death in CIVIL WAR).

      --David

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    17. That's me, always ahead of my time! : )

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    18. Did you tell Jurgens about the graphic Novel? Because he did that with Protocide during his Captain America run. True story.

      http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Clinton_McIntyre_(Earth-616)

      Now I'm going to have to shoot myself for using a pun.

      Maybe some day soon, granted there has to be interest, I'll tell you the REAL reason why X-Men is the most popular comic and why it took until the 70s to catch on.

      And of course what the TRUE genius of Stan Lee was, and why it meant Daredevil lasted and X-men got cancelled.

      And if it makes you feel any better Dematteis, Nuke was retconned into a Deeply disturbed and murderous schizophrenic.

      Its a shame really. It takes away from the parable about the mistreatment of Vietnam vets. Fortunately its a Wolverine comic, I don't usually buy them, and therefore haven't read the story. BORN AGAIN is untouched in my mind. Point.


      Jack

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    19. Listened to the podcast last night and really enjoyed it.

      I can definitely see why you feel as though you've told every Peter Parker story you can. Looking over your Spider-Man work as a whole, there's a remarkable sense of completion about it, and "Spider-Dreams" is pretty much the perfect coda.

      That said, I'm going to make a prediction. At first, you're going to be resistant to the idea. You'll say to yourself, "No, no, I've really told every Peter Parker story I ever wanted to tell." And then, as the years pass, the tiny germ of some brilliant Idea will spread its branches across the vast expanse of your cosmic subconscious until one day, when you're doing something completely mundane, the Story will explode into the Universe fully formed.

      And that's when the phone will ring. It's Marvel. They know you said you don't have any more Peter Parker stories, yadda-yadda-yadda, but would you possibly...?

      And there will be much rejoicing in all the land.

      There is one corner of Peter Parker's world you've never really explored, and that's a point in his life where he's a father and a superhero. You touch on that in "Spider-Dreams," but it's a memory, not the day to day reality of it.

      I've been thinking about this because Marvel has recently announced a RENEW YOUR VOWS series written by Gerry Conway. If you haven't ever read the Dan Slott/ Andy Kubert miniseries, I highly recommend it. I'm not sure how the new book will work, and my point isn't even that you'll eventually get involved with this particular alternate universe, but rather that there's a space in Peter Parker's world you can still explore somewhere down the line.

      So whether it's connected to RENEW YOUR VOWS, SPIDER-GIRL, a "Spider-Dreams" prequel or something else entirely, I think you'd have a brilliant take on Peter struggling with parenting on a daily basis.

      Just remember this conversation when that call comes... :)

      --David




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    20. Nope, didn't tell Jurgens about the idea. I believe Kyle Baker did something similar, too.

      Okay, enlighten me: What was the true genius of Stan Lee?

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    21. I will remember this conversation, David, and, if you're correct, you have my permission to gloat.

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    22. As another aside, I've always thought KLH would function nicely as an ambiguous 'ending' to Spider-Man's story, much like ASM 200 (the anniversary issue where Peter lost his powers and confronted the burglar). Both stories give you closure and leave the future wide open all at once, like the best television series finales.

      On a completely unrelated note, I've been reading through Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories lately (again), and I think you'd love them. Duality, dreams that may or may not be the reality, it's right up your alley and they don't require a huge time commitment.

      If you're not already familiar with them, maybe give "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Birthmark" a look.

      --David

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    23. And I would also very much like to hear your take on Stan Lee's true genius, Jack.

      --David

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    24. Thanks for the recommendations, Jack: I'll try to check them out!

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    25. I recommended nothing. And that Kyle Baker comics was TRUTH, and was actually about an attempt to re-create the Super soldier serum. It was not a proto-super soldier.

      Also, Baker wasn't the writer, so I don't know who's idea it originally was.

      I feel like maybe your expecting too much from the revelation of Stan Lee's true genius. Its best to have low expectations in life.


      Jack

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    26. My mistake: I meant to say "thanks for the recommendation, DAVID." Slip of the keyboard!

      And, yes, I'll keep my expectations low.

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    27. Speaking of puns, it suddenly occurs to me that if SCOOBY APOCALYPSE ever goes Mad Max for an issue, you could call it "Seekers into the Mystery (Machine)"...

      --David

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    28. And now I'm going to have to find a way to work that in!

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  3. I'm less interested in a return to Spider-Man and more interested in more Man-Thing stories. I feel like you were the only one to get Gerber.

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    1. Thanks,! I wouldn't mind another shot at MAN-THING. We were just getting started when the book was cancelled.

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    2. Very much disagree.

      Not about wanting another Deamtteis Man-Thing tale or two, that would be great.

      I just disagree that it was very Gerber like. A lot have people have tried to echo that Gerber magic, some succeed, most fall short no matter how good of a writer. Never does it ever really grab any attention.

      The Dematteis run was almost the complete opposite of Gerber's. If for o otebhr reason (and tehre are plenty of tehm) GHerber's wa incredibly cynical, and the Dematteis run was all about that thin... what's it called? Hop? Heep? Heop? I'll think of it, some made up concept.

      That isn't a bad thing, though. I think the major reason why it DID work is because it was different than Gerber.

      If I remember correctly, it is kind of like night and day.

      And, you don't fool me Dematteis. If Marvel offered you a monthly 5-7 page back up feature for Peter Parker, where you could do what you want, you would jump at iot in a heart beat.

      A nice little out of the way chacne for character work with everyone's favorite irradiated bug freak? Sweet gig.

      Are you lying to us, or yourself about taking that.

      jack

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    3. I don't think it was about simulating Gerber's style or worldview, but more about catching his spirit of experimentation, of pushing storytelling barriers.

      Re: Spider-Man. I'm not saying that I'd never consider writing Peter's adventures again, just that there's nothing in my psyche screaming to get out. Given a chance, I'm sure my unconscious would get cooking.

      That said, my CONSCIOUS mind would jump at the chance to write new Ben Reilly or Kaine stories.

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    4. Go for the gusto with Spider-Kerouac and Kaine, but something tells me Marvel wouldn't allow too much freedom with them. Weird, because that is where you think you would get the most.

      I wold love that Spider-Kerouac series that never will be.

      As for Man-Thing, that very well could be what was meant, but it says "gets Gerber." So, I drew the conclusion I drew.

      That having been said, I'm not sure even the experimentation lines up perfectly.

      Jack

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  4. Jack,
    I never said it was Gerber like. I said he 'got' Gerber. By being the complete opposite of what Gerber was doing and embracing the Man-Thing as his own, DeMatteis did Man-Thing the justice he deserved.

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    1. Thank you, Douglas. My collaboration with Liam Sharp (who's doing such fantastic work on the current WONDER WOMAN series) on that book was a highlight of my career. If we would have been allowed to continue, I think it would have stood the test of time as one of my very best projects.

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  5. New WONDER WOMAN is a great book. Also the new AQUAMAN book is a great read. If you told me, an old dyed in the wool Marvel Zombie, that one day my favorite book would be AQUAMAN I would have laughed. P.S. Read the first issue of the new AUGUSTA WIND book. Great stuff!

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    1. I have a soft spot for Aquaman, since that was the first superhero series I was ever assigned, way back at the beginning of my career when it was a ten pager in ADVENTURE COMICS.

      Glad you enjoyed the first issue of AUGUSTA. The best, I think, is yet to come!

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    2. Sadly, I haven't had an opportunity to read the new WONDER WOMAN or AQUAMAN book, even though I'd love to.

      There's only so much I can get with my budget, and right now, DC is putting out so many great books I can't keep up!

      I'm traditionally a Marvel fan, but DC REBIRTH has gotten me really excited about their comics again. I'm mostly reading DC again for the first time since the 90s. Lots of credit to Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and everyone else involved. I really think they're on to something special here. For me, personally, it feels like they've struck a really nice balance between innovation and staying true to the core concepts.

      As far as Ben Reilly goes, who knows? We might see that JMD book yet. I'm sure CLONE CONSPIRACY is set to blow the doors wide open again, though what exactly that will mean, only time will tell! But it's been long enough and the demand is there.

      --David

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    3. Glad you're enjoying REBIRTH, David. That bodes well for DC and for the industry. As for Ben Reilly: I have no clue what the future will bring!

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    4. If you made me pick one new Rebirth book to get it would be AQUAMAN. The Bat books and Superman books hold zero interest for me. And with WONDER WOMAN I also get THE FLASH and GREEN ARROW. Kind of waiting to see if they bring back LEGION OF SUPER HEROES.

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    5. That would be nice. I know there are a LOT of LEGION fans out there waiting for that to happen.

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    6. GREEN ARROW is my favorite DC:REBIRTH book. Based on the strength of his writing there, I've been reading Benjamin Percy's novel RED MOON, which is also really, really good. If you dig the kind of themes expressed in X-MEN, but want something that delves a bit deeper than a comic book can, I'd highly recommend it. (The book is about an alternate earth but not terribly unlike our own where werewolves and humans struggle to co-exist.)

      And I think DC:REBIRTH's twice a month, $3 an issue format is great.

      I hope I'll get around to reading WONDER WOMAN and FLASH eventually.

      And Doug, in my humble opinion, the Superman and Batman books have been knocking it out of the park lately. I love seeing Superman as a husband and father, and Batman has come across as a lot more human and vulnerable lately, in a good way.

      Read SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #4 this week and LOVED it. Especially the twist regarding...well, I wouldn't dare spoil it here. Suffice to say I think fans of the old show will like it!

      And will get around to AUGUSTA WIND: THE LAST STORY soon, hopefully before the week is over!

      Best,

      David

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    7. Glad you're enjoying SCOOBY, David. Big question is: Did you catch the cameo by another famous Hanna-Barbera character. (Okay, it wasn't exactly a cameo, more of a mention.)

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    8. If I may interject some thoughts on DC: Rebirth...

      So, yes I too have been largely enjoying DC Rebirth. The most interesting one to me is Action Comics. Never having been a HUGE Supes fan, the fact that I am so into it is a little shocking.

      Detective comics is doing a great job with a large cast, though it has been largely about Batwoman and I hope Tim Drake, Clayface, and one of my favorites Cassandra Cain will get more of the spotlight.

      Nightwing is better than BAtman and Hellblazer and Green Arrow. Well, after them both coming form a series where I didn't recognize the characters and stopped reading early on... I'm largely optimistic.

      I can't wait for Blue Beetle and the return of Ted Kord, even if it is only as an advisory role. As far as I'm concerned this is DC correcting the problem from when Jamie Reyes was created i.e. Ted didn't have to die.

      That having been said, you mentioned budget. That is exactly my concern. They are $3.00, which is great and I hope Marvel takes notice. But, in teh end, for most of these you are paying $6.00 a month for the comic. That's fine, for now. Personally, I KNOW I'll have to make cuts with that being a reality. Something like half the books aren't even out yet, and my wallet is already feeling the strain.

      I understand the internal logic. The New 52 started out rough because they were all over the map, but still restrictive in many ways. The current policy seems to be "lets get these ones right first, then we advance."

      It even makes since that they are doing a two year roll out before, I assume, returning the DC U back to something close to what it was. The New 52 was objectively a failure, in no small part because it was pushed out with little warning (I didn't even know the universe was resetting until a month before it happened), and a doubling down on it when sales slumped.

      I understand all of it, and yes Batman and Superman will be able to do a twice monthly easily, I like the basic starter idea, and I AM optimistic. I just wonder what will happen when the twice a week thing gets going for a while. A decompression tone in a few books is already starting to wear on me a bit, and I assume that it is there because of the need for comics twice a month.



      Jack

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    9. I had to go back and re-read SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #4 to catch the mention, JMD. I'll admit that it totally escaped me the first time around--I thought it was some other character yet to be introduced! Very clever!

      --David

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    10. As for the REBIRTH format, I remember when it was standard to get at least one Super, Bat, Spider and X-book a week, not including the spinoffs. So there's a part of it that feels like coming home, with all the good and bad that entails.

      I think the format has moved the stories along nicely, as we're wrapping up the first story arcs in three months instead of six.

      And I think you've hit the nail on the head with the idea of 'correcting problems.'

      I don't think NEW 52 was a failure--it re-energized the books, if only for a short while--but also jettisoned the core concepts. I mean, I couldn't even tell you what the identity of most books was a year in. And even if I could, it would change the next month, so there was that...

      It's great that DC finally appears to be embracing the 'legacy' aspect of their books again, which has always, in my mind, been their greatest strength. I loved that Clark and Bruce were in their mid to late thirties and had built surrogate families around themselves. And then you had books like the Flash, where Jay Garrick was running side by side with Wally West and Bart Allen. Never understood why DC assumed their age was a liability, and glad to see that even the ones that haven't officially been re-aged are looking older, wiser.

      I think DC not only acknowledging but addressing some of the most persistent criticisms is pretty amazing in this day and age.

      --David

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    11. I have been enjoying the twice a month books with the exception of Wonder Woman. The even numbered books are a Year One Storyline and I have already been reading the excellent LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN for some time now and don't need to delve into that territory a second time.
      I am also excited for the new Blue Beetle comic.
      I am a little curious why the Dr. Fate comic has been unaffected by Rebirth. I would love for that book to get back to something I would be willing to read.
      But, for now, DC is doing a good job in getting more of my cash than Marvel is.

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    12. Maybe our mystery character will show up in the book one day!

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  6. David-

    Were there good stories produced as part of the New 52? Absolutely.

    That having been said, The New 52 was put together to take a lead in sales over Marvel. At the time DC still head a health completion with Marvel, it was just second.

    Over the course of the New 52 they lost half of their readership. Most of that was in the first 2 years. I don't know anyone associated with any type of publishing that wouldn't consider that a failure.

    Please anyone tell me how that isn't a failure. I'm not trying to be a jackass here, I really want to know. I want to understand how this happened. I don't get it. Anybody, please tell me how this wasn't viewed as a failure. I don't get it. I'm not coming from a place of emotion. I'm coming from a place of math.

    To ignore that fact, to me, is to say that sales don't matter,what fans want doesn't matter, as long as everyone is doing what they want. And that is a sure way to kill the industry, the industry, which without me and others like me would have died in the late 90s... or any time after that really. A job you love is still a job.

    That having been said, failure isn't inherently bad. If you learn from it. Which seems to be what DC is doing. That is why I think that they are waiting two years to have the big event, and why they are trying to get the big names and surer things in a row first.

    With that out of the way, I also remember whnen Spider-man came out every week in some form. I also remember how much readers hated it when they made every story divided among every book... even when they liked every writer.

    There is however a difference between Batman and Cyborg. And even Batman and Green Arrow for that matter.

    While I have liked most of what I have bought, there is a persistent decompression (most likely to try and meet a twice a week deadline. I find my self really liking every other book. The others just seem flimsy. If they didn't decompress, it would just be every issue knocking it out of the park.

    There are without a doubt kinks to be worked out. And as soon as my wallet says drop it... it won't be that hard. Not for quality, but rather for saturation.

    Of course, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the real plan is to take the more iconic characters, and do the long work of re-establishing them for when the universe is reshuffled,(most likely to something more like it was). This can allow them to hit the ground running.

    Although, this shows how much the industry changed, because after Crisis they just let it unfold.

    Anyone, feel more than welcome... even encouraged.. to join in.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3F2y2hRP4o

    Jack

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  7. For Rebirth I am buying Green Arrow, Aquaman, The odd numbered Wonder Woman and The Flash. Those books are doing a great job at twice a month with Aquaman being the true stand out. I think they have learned from their mistakes with the new 52 and it shows.
    As for losing that much of their readership; they are owned by a big corporation that can probably write it off.
    I am curious to see how long they can keep up the twice a month scheduling for this many books before experiencing some kind of burn out.
    Maybe I should send them my resume and pitch a Metal Men series. I could seriously write a great Metal Men series.

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    1. I loved working on METAL MEN with Giffen and Maguire. Fantastic characters and a delight to write.

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    2. That is an incredibly dangerous and inaccurate view of the situation.

      Automotive Industries, here in Detroit, was bought by Disney in the mid to late 90s, and by 2003 they were closed. And that was after far less of a loss of readers or market share.

      Another AI has come about since then, but it is not the same company.

      Don't kid yourself, DC was probably only allowed to right the course because of the movies and TV shows. And that fad is racing to an end, partially because of that very over-saturation.

      Fads end, I don't understand why people don't get that.

      WB already owns the characters, and you don't become a giant corporation by allowing drains on your profits.

      I mean, DC almost stopped publishing the comics in the 80s, to farm them out to Marvel. The only thing that saved them CRISIS and the burst of creativity that followed. And again, for less of a loss of readers, if I remember correctly.

      In fact, and this is actually good timing, I had dinner with a couple of people who worked in the publishing world as writers and editors starting back in the 70s.

      They were not super familiar with comics, but we got to talking about it. AS I mentioned each thing that was going on, they started to be able to guess the problems, and were actually shocked how little had been done. How long it took DC, how few people felt repercussions. And at the oddities in how the big two are running themselves.

      There is without a doubt something very atypical going on in those two companies, and it may become dangerous.


      As for the twice a month thing, I don't think that the plan is to make in permanent. I think it is only until the two years thing to happen to prevent a huge shock when the universe adjusts itself back. And of course to get to Action and Detective 1000 as quickly as possible. Its good marketing.

      AS for what I'm buying, since that seems to be the thing...

      Action Comics - Never a huge Supes fan by in large, but Jurgens has me interested.

      Detective Comics - Really good. Character work is strong.

      Batman - Not bad, but I think its a tad mor decompressed than needed.

      Green Arrow - that is the one that I really enjoy every other issue of.

      Hellblazer - Still a little early to tell, but it definitely felt like the character is pointing in the right direction.

      Deathsrtroke - Haven't read it yet, but I do own it and its PRIEST, so how bad can it be?

      Blue Beetle- Not out yet, but I have high hopes.

      I look forward to reading your Metal Men. i think I could write a good... you name it. Give me a shot Marvel and DC. What's more, I'm not set in my ways and am willing to learn. Plus a bonus, I can meet deadlines.

      Of course the increasing use of pitches over the last few decades has actually probably caused some harm. The submission and writers test was actually a far more logical way to do things.

      Hope you all enjoyed the Ramones take on Spidey's theme.

      Jack

      Delete
    3. I love the Ramones and this was great. I wish they would go back to the submission and writers test. And I also have high hopes for the new Blue Beetle. I have missed Ted Kord.

      Delete
    4. With Giffen and Kolins guiding the ship. I know it's going to be a solid book.

      Delete
    5. For me the comic entirely depends on how much Ted Kord is in the book. It can be one of the most amazing, spectacular, sensational, web of, comic ever, but if Ted is barely there I won't care.

      And by the by, when a company "writes off" a smaller company they own, it usually means driving it into the ground. So... it might be set to hope that isn't the case. In fact, when I talked to those two long time publishing world veterans, they actually suggested that might be what was going on. It isn't, but that should make you think.

      And the pitch way of doing things is actually far more destructive than most realize, and actually probably brought in one of the biggest problems in comics these days.

      Its bonkers. And with the supersaturation of the superhero genre, there time of that saving them is drawing to a close. These changes have to happen soon and fast.

      Here's hoping

      Ho yeah, the Ramones. I like the Ramones just fine... even if they did steal credit for the creation of punk from Detroit and transplanting it to NYC.

      Dematteis, this is for you, but you probably won't care:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOyulL76dtw

      Jack

      Delete
    6. You know what I miss? The good old one and done stories. Marvel Premiere, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-In-One. DC Showcase. Heck even those great four issue mini series that told a great story. I get the allure of a long form story that encompasses years of issues, but sometimes we want 8 pages of epicness.
      And we all know that Michigan started all the best music. It's a fact.

      Delete
    7. I'm a big fan of one-issue stories, Douglas. And I learned my craft writing 8 pagers. Those things were PACKED with story.

      Delete
    8. I don't think that I know anyone who doesn't want more one shots on the shelf.

      It funny, Axel Alonso recently said that you need to buy the actual issues to support books, not trades. That is very obvious, but when every story is six issues long, that isn't an easy sell to some people.

      I remember when Ultimate Spider-Man came out, some one recommended it, so I gave it a shot. It wasn't bad, but I remember reading that six issue opening and thinking, "Stan Lee had 10-15 pages in a cancelled book, and we knew by the end Peter was smart, couldn't get a chick, was bullied, hated everyone except his aunt and uncle, learned his powers, experienced a major loss, and changed the course of his life, and oh yeah... got an ongoing that has been in near perpetual printing for over half a century from what was planned to be his ONLY appearance."

      Not every story needs 6 issues to tell. The problem it seems it that everything has to be big and epic. The problem there is that when everything is an epic, nothing is.

      Peter David and Chris Claremont have two of the mos acclaimed and long lasting runs ever in comics, and some of the stories they are best known for are one or two issues.

      I think you accidentally hit the nail on the head, Dematteis. Writing is a craft, but I don't think very many people in the industry want to think of it that way. There doesn't seem anyway top groom new creators anymore, its just an expectation that they will know everything when they get there.

      And the more the use indie books as a pool, the more dangerous it becomes. Most indie books have a completely different editorial system.

      I will in conclude the point by saying that it is some what fortuitous that this was brought up after I had a link to Ann Nocenti.

      I always remember the words Ms. Nocenti said her number one rule in comics was that every page should move the story forward, deepen the character, or have something really cool on it. I think every editor should have that above their desk, I also think decompression and the rise of 6 issue stories for everything makes that harder.

      I will conclude the post by asking, Dematteis, How the Hell did you write Blue Beetle so much and never use him to reference the Fab Four? From now on when ever anyone asks me my favorite Beatle, I'm saying Ted Kord.

      JAck

      PS i know, I know sorry, but an important thing to keep in mind, the way the industry is now, very few of those classic stories/runs people love from the pre-2000s, and probably few of the writers and artists would have had their jobs... if it was run the same way then.


      Also they would have very few of us readers

      That is probably the most damning point of the problems in the industry. It wouldn't exist if this is how it was.

      Delete
    9. Wait. You're telling me that I never once made a Beetle/Beatle joke? There's got to be one in there somewhere!

      Delete
    10. I can't really speak to the publishing side of things, as I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and how companies like Marvel and DC measure their profits.

      I'm agreed that DC is setting things up to look more and more like Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis, with maybe just a little bit of the New 52 thrown in. But by and large, I think they realized that de-aging the heroes and jettisoning the core concepts simply wasn't the answer. I could be wrong, but I feel like most fans want Clark and Lois to have a relationship, they want the Flash books to have a legacy feel, and they want Batman to be thirty-something, if not early forties.

      With regard to decompression, it looks as though ACTION COMICS and SUPERMAN will feature several two-parters to follow up the six-part "PATH OF DOOM." Maybe that will be a trend across the board.

      I think there's good and bad in the way Marvel and DC pool for talent. It's nice that there aren't the same kind of geographical restrictions there once were, where you had to physically show up in New York offices and ask for work. So the talent pool has been opened up in that respect.

      On the other hand, Marvel and DC aren't committed to mentorship. They'd much prefer to pick up writers who've already broken into the business through a different company. There's really no substitute for learning your craft from a master.

      Though maybe that's changing, too. I see that DC has an upcoming book pairing young writers with experienced artists.

      Overall, I'm very optimistic about where comics are headed. I'm confident that there will always be good stories somewhere.

      I'm also really encouraged by DC's willingness to admit that throwing out the pre-Crisis, post-Crisis universe was a mistake. I like that they're trying--with great success, I believe--to pull what works best from their entire history.

      And it's really cool that DC publishes some genuinely fun 'classic' takes on LOONEY TUNES and SCOOBY-DOO but also wilder versions like SCOOBY-DOO APOCALYPSE.

      --David

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    11. SCOOBY APOCALYYPSE? Wow, David, that sounds like a weird one! (Actually, I'm sitting here writing a Scrappy-Doo backup story for #7.)

      Wonderful insights as always, David. Thanks!

      Delete
    12. A Scrappy-Doo backup? That sounds great!

      BTW, I did some more research about DC's new talent workshop, and this is what I found:

      https://www.dccomicstalentworkshop.com/writers-workshop/

      So yes, DC is back in the business of mentoring new writers. Looks as though this will be a once-a-year thing. I wasn't aware of it until I saw the solicits for THE NEW TALENT SHOWCASE #1. Maybe DC will do a better job getting the word out next year?

      Anyway, it's pretty exciting, and good for them!

      --David

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    13. Not just good for them, David, good for the future of the business. It's important that those of us who have been doing this for a while share our knowledge with new talent coming in. That's one of the reasons I launched my IMAGINATION 101 workshops.

      Delete
    14. Agreed, it's great for the industry. As is IMAGINATION 101! You've been championing mentorship and mentoring champions for a while now. That's a really rare and special thing these days.

      --David

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    15. Believe it or not Dematteis, I have not memorized the probably thousands of panels you worked on with Ted Kord, but... no, no, I don't believe you referenced the Beatles there.

      Just as well, John Lennon made some pretty noise and all, but he's no Ted.

      While I'm sure Imagination 101 is great, I would wager the more effective service you provide is as a Story consultant, which lets be honest, is just a nicer term than "freelance editor." Or at least that is how it sounds to me.

      The dirty secret ALL writers try to hide is that they are only as good as their editor.

      As for that talent workshop... I actually heard about way back when. It was only for published authors, and with a HEAVY preference for it being in comics. Which sort of defeats teh purpose.

      The fact is, geographical restrictions don't exist, not in a world of mail and email. Jack Kirby moved to California in the 60s.

      What's more the decentralization is not necessarily a good thing. Editors are always best when your in the same room, especially when your just starting out. Even if just a a new company.

      The Pool, of talent they use is self destructive. I can go into it later, but I'm very tired and plan on going to sleep.

      Would not say I am optimistic about DC, but I am hopeful.

      That having been said, this is a good start, but truth be told thy are cosmetic and there are fundamental changes that need to be addressed in both of the big two.

      When you you have a biog name editor go on social media and say that if you don't like what the company is doing you are probably a racist or misogynist, you have real fundamental problems that need to be addressed.

      It is also a good example of the growing rift between the industry and fans, and why some of us view the relationship as becoming contemptuous.

      Pretending problems aren't there or will go away on there own, is a sure way to die out.

      Everyone knows someone who LOVES movies. I like movies, some quite a bit. But, if I never saw another again, I wouldn't really care.

      I love comics. Despite this I have no problem saying that if the big two don't make some serious changes they will die out.

      What actually hurts, is to acknowledge that it isn't just times changing, or a bad hand. It will be 100% their fault.

      When the superhero media dries up,and it will
      and probably sooner than later, there will be no more safety net.

      I want comics to survive, I love them. Really. But this has to be


      Jack

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    16. From all I've heard about the DC workshop, you don't have to be a published author. In fact, I know quite a few folks who aren't published who have applied.

      My story consultation work is far more than just being an editor. The focus is much more singular, and personal. The workshops have the same vibe, but, because there are more people, there's a creative group energy that takes over that's really fun.

      Are writers only as good as their editors? Sometimes, but not always. Some of the best work I've ever done was work with little or no editorial input...or work I've, essentially, edited myself. That said, I've worked with some amazing editors who have made the work far better than it would have been without them. And in the early days of my career, I would have sunk without a trace had I not worked with editors like Paul Levitz, Len Wein, Jim Shooter and a host of others.

      Delete
    17. I don't know what to tell you about the workshop, Dematteis. On the website it said that you needed to be published, right down to the point where the required a list of published works to be considered.

      I even remember people kvetching about that fact in the comments section. So, if that isn't the case that is a a communication problem in the company.

      I apologize for not fully comprehending the story consultations. Though, I would argue that a one-on-one system would still be more beneficial. Does that mean that Imagination 101 is irrelevant? No, of course not. You need better self-esteem Dematteis. But when you have more than one idea, one will always be stronger.

      And the jokes on you, Dematteis. You proved my point. The only reason why you could self-edit so well is because you learned to the point hat you could be an editor that was beneficial. So it was only good... because the editing was good. So I was right... again.

      Jack

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    18. One of the problem with Marvel and DC can best be summed with a month... March 2016. Dematteis, I'm sure your going to say that doesn't ell us anything.

      Well, if don't get interrupted I can explain.

      March had Starlin's INfinity Entity mini series, Conway's Carnage, Len Wein's Swamp Thing, and 2/3 of the JLI team on Jl 300...wait did I forget my pants.

      The general view is that those were the best books of the month. Those books that were not the best of those creators, but rather good strong writing. Good Not great, from creators from 30-40 years removed. They out shined everyone else. It was because of how the industry used to view and groom talent, as a business for people who wanted to learn how to do it.

      Marvel and DC, to fix there problems are long process, that NEED to be started soon, very soon. And will likely be unpopular with many people working there, and may even verge on a complete over hall.

      But it is about survival. Without the TV and movies to prop it up, in a few years when the over saturation does its job, there will be no aid from the sales numbers.

      jack

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    19. Well, maybe I was misinformed about the DC workshop; but I've spoken to folks who applied who aren't published. That said, I've never seen an official application, so I suspect you're correct.

      As for the editor/self-editor point: We can argue aspects of that, but point taken.

      Delete
    20. Its very possible that the people whop applied may have just decided to do so anyway. I mean what do you really have to lose/


      If I could go back to the single issue importance, I think it is actually more important than mentioned. The combination of multi issue necessity for trades and pitches has to inhibit creativity. How do you pull of what is going on in your head that month is you are in the middle of a 6 part story, and committed to the story pitch that got you the position?


      I feel like I may come off as very negative towards comics as they are. I wonder if I should say some of the ideas that may help it along, and survive.





      Jack

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    21. I, for one, wouldn't mind a moratorium on dissecting what's wrong with comics. I'd rather we celebrate the medium and keep things positive. That said, feel free to share your ideas about how to make things even better!

      Delete
    22. I think Marvel and DC should do comic subscription giveaways on their tv shows.

      Just imagine what they could accomplish by giving away, say, a SUPERGIRL comic subscription to a few hundred viewers who probably aren't diehard comics fans, or maybe haven't ever picked up one at all.

      --David

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    23. I was reading some recent issues of Flash this past weekend, and there's a great scene where Barry not only apprehends some criminals with super-speed but also tries to find them help dealing with their powers.

      That's a shining example of the kind of heroism we need in comics. I believe the general trend is moving back that direction, too, as opposed to heroes spending all their time fighting each other or creating more problems than they solve.

      And that's just another reason why I'm really enthused about what DC has been doing with REBIRTH. I feel like their heroes are better role models now than they were a few years ago. That's not to say they were bad role models then, but it feels like they're aiming for a higher standard with regard to the consequences of their actions.

      --David

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    24. Excellent idea, David! Now imagine if comics were sold in the lobby of movie theaters showing superhero films!

      Delete
    25. Re: role models. It's almost like they're taking their cue from the Flash and Supergirl TV shows. Which isn't a bad thing!

      Delete
    26. I definitely think the FLASH and SUPERGIRL shows have been a positive influence on the comics.

      And both characters' powersets make for some creative uses of their powers that don't involve violence.

      --David

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    27. Agreed. Looking forward to the new seasons!

      Delete
    28. Barry Allen, a good role model? That doesn't sound like the Barry I know from the comics. Different mediums I suppose.

      Personally, I don't think we need every character to be some shining example of heroism more than I think they should all be deconstructionist creations who get a perverted joy from hurting people. I don't want John COnstantine being a sweet soul any more than I think Superman should level a city block.

      Its about diversity of ideas. It walys seems like the two big companies are going form one extreme to another. That is one change I would make to save the industry.

      Another is availability. I don't know why no one seems to get that this fad WILL end. And going into a specialty shop is always daunting, no matter what it is.

      The key there is to use the distribution centers used by WB and Disney's other publications. Put a little muscle on it and get comics back in drug stores.

      It doesn't have to be every comic they published, just the most profitable. This also can keep going after the world moves on from superhero movies in the next 3 years.

      I would pump the brakes on adaptions, since it is flooding the market and hurrying that lack of interest.

      Bring back anthologies, at a loss, but as a way to find new talent.

      Stricter enforcement of deadlines, since books are increasingly late, including issues to big events.

      Not hire anyone who moonlights in TV, movies, or indie books. That is part of the reason for the lateness, but you also have creators saying that they come up with an idea, and save it for their indie books so they can own it.

      Stop insulting fans, just because they don't like what Marvel and DC are doing.

      Bring more of the old guard of writers in as editors. That's probably the most important one. There is a deficit of that, and it probably caused some flow problems that exist.

      Lower price, that is the biggest one. The price of paper hasn't gone up in forever, and Marvel and DC are charging nearly 100-150% over what inflation is.

      its true. Jim Shooter pushed the creator rights, that pushed up sales. That was fine.

      Shooter lest Marvel in 1987. in 1987, comics cost 75 cents, here is proof:

      http://66.media.tumblr.com/c1764eccfa727012a5cedbdc175500a8/tumblr_nmldjvPP0F1qadt3bo1_500.jpg

      accounting for inflation, that should be $1.59, here :

      http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm




      That's about as much positive as you can get from me right now. After I watched that video, where Slott said they dropped two pages, and all this is still going on, I'm just not sure why I'm still buying comics.

      I, and people like me, kept their lights on in their darkest ours of the late 90s, and it feels like the industry views us as an annoyance they need to deal with.

      So, there are my two sense. In an attempt to respect you moratorium, I will now excuse myself from the conversation. I hope these ideas on how to fix the industry.

      I apologize, that I felt a need to unburden myself. But That comment just makes me feel like they are... I don't know, along with the rash of editors insulting fans who don't like comics... I just don't feel like being nice to the industry right now.

      I understand why you wouldn't want the dour tone about comics future, I just hope that you can understand my perspective.

      Thank you.

      jack



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    29. I totally understand, Jack, No worries!

      Speaking of Jim Shooter and the cost of comics. Shooter used to have a rule—well, a theory—that the cost of a comic book and the cost of a slice of New York pizza should always keep pace with each other. I just did some investigating and the current average for a slice of pizza in New York is $2.50. Make of that what you will!

      Delete
    30. I like to think that research was calling someone up in the city and telling them to go buy a slice at 9:00 am. Someone like, lets say Frank Miller

      JMD: Miller, remember how I let you give a positive blurb for the Moonshadow ads back in the 80s? Well, I'm calling in the favor. Go buy a slice of pizza

      Miller: Dematteis? Its 9:00 in the morning.

      JMD: And you need to report the price back to me, as soon as possible.

      Miller: Okay, ya crazy..


      But the real question is is a slice of pizza in the country's second most expensive city is a proper gauge for teh country asd a whole.

      Especially since New York has never been a cheap city and it has out paced its own inflation, in other words New York was a expensive city in 1990, but accounting for inflation it is even more expensive. Economists are actually somewhat concerned about this trend in major cities.

      Factor in stagnant wages, a complex unemployment rate, and the fact the most job creation in the past few years are in the service industry (and there for most often minimum wage). Now that is across the country, not just New York. Maybe that's part of the problem, it is a look at only one city and not the whole picture. Or maybe only following business records and not real world.or..

      Well, you get the idea, its increasingly more complicated.

      There was a fan, although seemingly very well researched, multi-part explanation of the comic industry and how it got from 1988 to now.

      I don't know how accurate it was, but it was interesting. It seemed to imply that the price increases were pushed in the 90s. Not by Marvel proper, but by the corporate raiders who owned them. Many of these increases were for no real reason other than just of increase profit. Now that IS teh real point of Marvel, tho make money, however when that goes to far people push back. Hell, they have pushed back there are far fewer people at my local comic shop on Wednesday than even 4 years ago.

      The real question is, if those increases were needless, then why wouldn't you be able to roll back? You'd think that the benefit would be that you have further to retreat if necessary.

      Jack

      Gerry Conway reveals Barry Allen's darkest secret:

      http://behindthepanels.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/justice-league173-GA.jpg

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    31. Oh, and another thing that may help...

      altreality press...

      I think it is strange that AMrvel takes offense to fans wanting the classic characters when they replace them. One way to counteract this, is for when the established character goes MIA, give them the main character in something else.

      When Bucky took over for Steve n Captain America, there was a series of one shots set in WWII. I think that caused a soothing action, Steve may be "Dead" but we could still read stories about him.

      Lets say Daredevil dies. Set up a series where its still the 80s, maybe early 90s, and write those stories. worst case scenario, fans can enjoy classic DD and whoever replaces him, best case scenario, when Matt Murdock does return, you have to series fans want to read.

      Just saying...


      Jack

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    32. I just want to add one more thing...


      This guy i know from the comic shop, Scott, he said he believes the drop in comics is economic.

      He said that it is working and middle class people who really get invested in comics, fantasy, science fiction, whatever.

      I can't say that I think he is wrong there. He also points out that those are the groups that have had the screws put to them for the majority of this millennium., after unprecedented growth.

      Maybe that is what it all comes down to, acknowledging that is who buys the product most. People who have a life that isn't awful, but not great. You have some extra money, but there is still a budget.

      Think about who you were as just a guy buying comics, and that is the plan. I mean, it seems the best writers of teh past 16 years have had one mantra, "what would I want to read." Not "what will make waves or can I use for a message I think needs to be said." Maybe that is what creators AND editorial have top do.

      I have read writers in the past year, who I may agree with politically , but don't like the story, because it isn't rooted in story or character. Just a lecture. Or its just trying to get into movies and TV, and if it is a good COMIC is incidental.

      I still think that Ann Nocenti cracked the code, that every page has to deepen character, move the story, or have something really cool. Because that is what people want to read/see.

      Maybe the real problem is that creators of old remembered what it was like to be a fan, you love a medium, you have some money to spend, but there are other obligations. The comic needs to be affordable, but you have to give them their money's worth.

      In the end, all I can do is speak for myself and hope it peaks for more than just me.

      If you had to pay rent, buy groceries, deal with every bill imaginable, and then entertain yourself, what is the best situation you can come up with?

      That very well may be the key.

      I would add, the further back you go, the more they seem to get it. Just like how appreciative they are of fans at shows.

      Just an observation.

      Jack

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    33. All interesting thoughts, Jack, as always. Thanks!

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    34. I really like that Ann Nocenti remark, Jack. I've heard it said that for comic book writers, the only mortal sin is boredom. (It's not a good thing in ANY medium, but I tend to think people are more forgiving with novels or films, where you almost expect things to slow down at some point. There are quite a few novels that I enjoyed on the whole, but had to force myself through a hundred page stretch or so. But that would be five issues of a comic!!!

      As far as money goes, I think that has a lot to do with customer satisfaction. What I mean by that is when a customer feels like they're really sacrificing to buy a comic, they're more likely to feel disappointed. Same with anything, really. If you can afford to go out to eat every day, one bad experience isn't as significant. But if you can only do that once a week or month, the quality of the experience becomes much more personal.

      When I was reading as many books as I wanted to in the 90s, I was pretty happy with most of them. In the early 2000s, when I could only afford one or two books a month, the experience felt less satisfying. Now I look back on the some of the books I thought were 'bad' at the time, and they were actually decent, sometimes really good.

      As far as the company/creator relationship with the fan community goes, I think the internet has brought on the whole 'best of times, worst of times' paradox.

      On the one hand, it's a real blessing that we're able to communicate with creators and editors so easily, but on the other, it brings a new set of complications. The sheer volume of communication is a bit overwhelming.

      I'm often horrified by some of the things people say about or even directly to creators online. It's one thing to say, "Creator X's work seemed a bit rushed in Issue Y as compared to his/her previous work" and another entirely to say, "How does Creator X still get work at Company Z?"

      On the flip side, I've seen interactions where I felt like the creator/editor was reading too much into a fan's comments, probably based on the burden of previous unpleasant experiences. And that's just human nature. We all react differently to stressors when we're having a bad day than a good one.

      My own personal philosophy, and it's taken years to develop, is that I try to always encourage the creators whose work I love, and just pass over the stuff that doesn't impress me. But if I enjoy a comic, I always try to drop the creators a message and let them know what I enjoyed about it.

      I think there's sometimes a mistaken assumption that creators understand their strengths and need their flaws explained. For the most part, I believe the reverse is true. Creators tend to understand the flaws, because that's part of the creative process. "I need Characters X and Y to bump into each other at Location Z, but that's an awfully big coincidence, but still, they have to meet..." Most stories feature these kinds of compromises, and the creator is fully aware.

      All this said, I think the old school letter columns are the best format for expressing praise and criticism. The letters aren't directly written to the creators, so it's not perceived as a personal attack, and they tend to be thought out more than tweets. So I'm all for writing in and saying, "I like X and Y, but Z is a weakness in an otherwise solid direction..."

      Anyway, I feel like I might have strayed a bit from the original conversation, but I appreciate the indulgence. Your thoughts are insightful, thought-provoking, and appreciated, Jack.

      Best,

      David

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    35. And I'm agreed that diversity of ideas is important, but I still feel like the mainstream superheroes should be role models who generally find creative solutions to their problems. They were created with that kind of approach in mind.

      I do love a good fight scene, just find it more satisfying when the hero wins by being smarter instead of a better fighter.

      --David

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    36. Wise words, as always, David. I'm always amazed when I see fans (on social media) attack a creator's work, sometimes in the rudest, unkindest way possible, with no sense that there's an actual human being on the other end of those comments. (I'm often reminded of the SEINFELD episode where Jerry's heckled and then goes to the heckler's workplace and heckles her. She's not thrilled.) That said, I'm equally astonished when a creator engages with this kind of fan and gets into public disputes. It doesn't really serve anyone.

      Always encourage and pass over the rest, is a great philosophy.

      Delete
    37. Re: fight scenes. The best ones aren't about who's stronger or who wins, but about the illumination of character. We can't always hit that bullseye, but we should always be aiming for it.

      Delete
    38. The Algebra threw me a bit.

      Personally, I never understood why anyone would want to expel that much energy on something you hate. I mean sure, I get it in the heat of the moment, or if you are asked about it. Going online, writing down all that hate, it just seems like a lot of work for something yo presumably want to forget.

      In the end social media is just catching up with the world of comics, the world of masks has a freeing and bizarre aspect to it. Every comic reader knows that. Anonymity just brings out who you really are... though perhaps just in that span of time.

      However, the creative side is not without blame. Editors and creators have gone on and criticized fans for not liking there work... including sweeping actions that include anyone. That's just bad business.

      To be fair, I am not connected t6o any type of social media, so this is purely as an outsider. This website is usually as close as I get to the platform. With that, I would say that in my mind if someone gets into those types of arguments on line (not conversing like here but the circular type that seems to have emerged more prevalent in the digital age) it doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong. Both sides are jackasses. Then again maybe there is some fun to it that I, as an outsider can't see.

      as for the monetary issue...

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    39. For me it isn't about monetary proportional to enjoyment. Its about the fact that I kind of feel taken advantage of with that giant canyon between what is and what simple economics dictates.

      With that said, I think your point is well taken.

      I remember a few years ago, when decompression was even more the rage, and a Marvel comic was still only $3.00, I was reading a new issue and said to myself, "did I really pay 3 bucks for a 2 and a half minutes of reading?"

      Was it good? Yeah, as I recall. It just wasn't an appropriate amount of time received.

      It especially becomes hard, as you eluded to, that most readers don't buy just one comic a week. If it were, there would be less of a problem. "oh I can swallow $4.00 a month to read Silver Surfer... he's my guy," or whatever.

      But volume of purchases is what fans want, and the industry needs. If we all only bought one comic per company a month. Well... bye, bye American art form, it was nice while it lasted.

      Think about it a pizza is nine dollars, a Marvel comic costs just south of half of that. Two comics for the price of a dinner for two, a family, one really hungry guy, what ever. If you buy $5.00, that's $20.00, that's more than a novel, which would probably take you longer to read and increase the time enjoyed. Also, 2 movie tickets (an industry often insulted for being too expensive), or a whole host of other things.

      And I agree with you, at least I think this is what you meant, that disconnect in price can skew opinion. A good work can be destroyed by pricing. Think of all the films that found a home in the world of renting... or streaming for those too young to remember the 80s and 90s.

      I mean, in just he past few years comics have lost a lot of readers. Its a rough economy, people want or need their buck top go further.

      A guy I know from the shop pointed out that the primary readers of comics (as well as fantasy, horror, and sci-fi) are usually working and middle class people. That's true. When pricing and planning, that probably wouldn't be a terrible thing to be in mind.

      In the Escapists, in defense of decompression, there was a thing about wanting to sleep for a beautiful woman for 1 hour instead of an ugly one for 2 hours.

      Aside from the obvious question of, what kind of weird situations are you finding yourself in where this is a decision to make, I just wondered why not a pretty girl for 2 hours. IN other words why not try for the best of both worlds?

      I think that defense of decompression, or something like it, is used in the industry to defend things all the time. Well, what about my question?

      The fact is when the superhero fad is over, that door will be closed hard, maybe harder than any other time in movie history. Like things, it has parallels with WWII... well, the post war reconstruction and the national identities and rise of anti-American sentiment in France. Still, WWII.

      The industry needs to start planning for that day, because no matter when, its coming like a bullet train.

      now, for role model talk...

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    40. NOw, as a long time Captain America fan, I have no problem with truly moral and heroic figures.

      There are two problems though...

      First is the nature of the beast. When that is the plan you start out with you tend to get boring characters. The same sort of thing happens when female characters are created with just being female in mind. There feels that there isn't any grit, because they can't falter.

      The second is, what is a role model. That question's answer changes from person to person. What I think makes a good role model isn't what everyone agrees with, or you may have a minority opinion and I hold majority approval.

      With the exception of maybe Captain America, every Silver Age Marvel character has a whole bunch of issues that most parents would not want their kids to have. That was even what the Marvel Age was about replacing the idealized role model with characters with feet of clay.

      For that matter, John Constantine could be seen as a role model. He may be a self serving prick, but he acknowledges it and has at least some hatred for himself because of it. He resizes he is a bad person in a world where fewer and fewer people even consider they may have flaws at all.

      Of course, if you moved the books to other locals, it wouldn't need to be nor should it be, every comic. Mostly just the big names of the big two. And characters that fit that bill, Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Hell-cow, should have as much universal appeal across age,gender, economic and racial backgrounds as possible,. They would probably be the ones people call role models most of the time.

      jack

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    41. I'm in Baltimore, Jack, and don't have much time to respond. I'll toss it to David or anyone else who'd care to join in.

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    42. With regard to role models, I agree with your point about John Constantine. I think every character has a different 'starting point' when it comes to their personal baggage.

      I'm even inclined to say Deadpool is a heroic character, given how he tries to do the right thing in spite of his tortured past. Of course, Deadpool trying to do the right thing is often all kinds of screwed up, but not so much so that you can't recognize the effort. And he often puts his craziness to use for the benefit of others in the best way he knows how.

      A lot of this probably gets back to your point about diversity of ideas. I'd argue, for instance, that the concept of Flash being unable to save his mother from Reverse Flash fits much more comfortably in the Peter Parker mold of heroism than Barry Allen's. Barry was a hero who was never driven by tragedy, so I think to imply he needs that kind of motivation is a bit of a misstep. It doesn't ruin the character, but it certainly complicates things when the simplest explanation works best.

      Barry Allen cares about people and wants to protect them.

      Then you've got characters like Batman, who can occasionally come across as a bit too cold and manipulative. I know it's a fine line, because part of Batman's appeal is his obsessiveness. I guess everyone has a different point where they feel like it's too much, but there have been times where I felt like the comic book had crossed the line.

      Just to use one often-cited example, there was the storyline where Batman used Tim Drake's ex-girlfriend to make him want to be Robin again, and got her killed. And then had Leslie Thompkins deliberately let her die to prove a point to Bruce.

      But I guess what brings all this to mind is that I feel like DC Rebirth has done a great job so far of making their heroes more likeable. Which isn't to say they were unlikeable before, but just to use the most obvious example, Bruce Wayne has come across as much more human and compassionate since the relaunch.

      But I'm the guy who doesn't buy into the idea that "Bruce Wayne is the mask, Batman the reality."

      So long story short, I think we're mostly agreed.

      And I agree with your point about giving readers the classic heroes in some form even when they're absent from current storylines.

      Marvel is currently in a weird place for older fans, since virtually none of their flagship heroes exist in their original incarnations. At least not the Avengers. And then you go over to X-Men, where Xavier is dead and Cyclops is a villain who is also (presumably) dead. I remember watching X-MEN: APOCALYPSE and thinking there wasn't really a comic I could turn to that would give me what I loved about that film.

      Compare that to, say, the new Supergirl comic reboot where they've incorporated the DEO and Kara Danvers' adoptive parents from the show. It's not exactly the same, but there's enough there if a television fan decided to give the book a shot.

      Best,

      David

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    43. I don't buy the "Batman is the reality" line either, David. I think that sometimes Bruce gets lost in the mask, and identity, of Batman; but Bruce is essential. Of course when you get to someone like Spider-Man, the character is ALWAYS Peter Parker, mask or not.

      Re: giving readers classic heroes, I agree. It must be very disorienting for movie fans to pick up the books and fall into a world that doesn't relate to what they know.

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    44. The Rebirth Flash is so busy with training new speedsters that the death of his mother is rarely mentioned. He comes across as a pretty classic version as does Aquaman. DC seems more like a single cohesive line of comics where Marvel appears more scattershot. That being said Marvel did announce their new imprint is Monsters Unleashed so I expect a certain Mr. DeMatteis to dust off his Man-Thing proposals to get Marvel to do the right thing.

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    45. So...much...dust....! HAKK! HAKK!

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    46. I'm pretty surer Monsters Unleashed is just going to be the work of Cullen Bunn.

      I can't tell you anything from the TV series, but as a long time comic reader I can say this (and I hope you read this, soak it in, and think because I genuinely mean it), Barry Allen is the absolutely worst role model in comics.

      Seriously. And here are the reasons ( I really hope yu read and take this in)....

      1.He is just aggressively dull. I hate the fact that this show has people have him being compared to Peter, because Peter Parker is always interesting. It isn't his fault, he was created in the 50s, and unlike some of his compatriots, no one directly addressed that. It was his brand. Then after CRISIS, he was built up as so much there was little wiggle room.

      However, Wally West and Jay Garrick both found a way to be wholesome flashes, and interesting.

      And really, no one should want there kids to grow up to be dull.

      2. He is a deadbeat dad. He was presumed dead in CRISIS, and they revealed that Iris had been pregnant with the Tornado Twins. Then they bring him back, and he makes no attempt to travel forward and raise his kids, or even get to know him.

      3. He committed mind-rape multiple times. He was the deciding vote in the mind wipe of Dr. Light, but after that he just started grabbing his rogues and demanding Zatanna "clean up their brains." Actual plot line.

      4. He committed mass, mass, mass murder four times. In Flashpoint he undoes that universe, fine. It was on the edge of Nuclear Armageddon, it still exists in some dimension, and i was horrifying and caused by a murder altering history.

      However he then combines the DC universe, Wildstorm, and Vertigo universes. Essentially destroying those three to create the new one. Every person in those universe ceased to exist, and many of its citizens got no counterpart, even.

      5. He was incredibly callous about the death of one of his long time colleges. At one point, in a major event, Hal Jordan expresses dismay at hat had happened to Green Arrow. Flash then shrugs it off, and says he didn't like what Ollie did to him, you know show him that black people have problems. If that sounds like a reach, well...

      6. Barry is kind of racist. In a Justice League issue penned by Gerry Conway, Green Arrow nominated Black Lightning for membership, at which point Barry says that he doesn't want "some token black on the team."

      Barry Allen is an awful, and ironically still really, really dull. Weirdest of all, every time they try to fix the problem, he just seems to come off like he should be in Watchmen, or something.

      Jack

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    47. Also, I don't think that Peter Parker is quite that simple.

      Yes it is always Peter Parker, but I always felt that the Spider-man mask made him even more Peter Parker, when not constrained by normal social norms. The one who isn't tied down. The anti-social, joker, sometimes jackass, rude, passionate, disrespectful, courageous, loving, nut job he always was inside... but couldn't quite access due to social pressures and obligations, or whatever.

      In fact, I remember a theory (presented by Pete himself) that all the joking around was a way of showing off, to all the kids who mocked him, and then the world at large.

      So, yeah, its always Peter Parker, but who is to say that means its is a constant in mask and out.

      Jack

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    48. Douglas, I'm agreed with your point about characters like Flash having a more 'classic' feel. Feels like that's the case across the board at DC.

      It will be interesting to see how Marvel reacts to DC Rebirth's success, especially at a time when they've pretty much taken all their classic characters off the table.

      --David

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    49. Jack,

      I'm not really that up on Barry Allen's history, so I can't speak to the specifics of your argument. My first entry into the world of the Flash was Wally West, and he has always been my favorite. But honestly, I love them all.

      Most of my opinions about the kind of hero Barry Allen is, or rather was, were formed at a time when Wally was trying to live up to his legacy. So, you know, twenty years of comics with Wally going, "Man, Uncle Barry was great, wasn't he?"

      So I'm probably conditioned on some level to feel protective of Barry, like he's some dear departed relative of mine. :)

      I'm really enjoying the current FLASH series about the Speed Force storm and Godspeed. There's a scene where Barry apprehends some Speed Force thugs and tries to find them help in dealing with their powers, instead of locking them up and throwing away the key. So for the time being, he seems like a good role model to me. That's certainly the kind of compassion I hope I'm striving toward, some days more than others!

      --David

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  8. armadillo attacks.

    Jack

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