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Elliott Serrano Presents:









It usually stars with an idea…

…whether it’s a story, a column or even a marketing campaign; some ideas catch on and spread like a virus, hence the term viral marketing. Viral marketing seems to be the thing right now, whether you’re trying to sell cars or comic books. And whatever worked last time is sure to be ridden into the ground and rendered ineffective the next. So I take that it’s quite a challenge to come up with a new idea, a new type of ‘viral marketing’ that’s going to generate the buzz you need to promote your product. And I kind of imagine the brainstorming that gave birth to the Marvel_BOy stunt went something like this:

‘So we need some new kind of gimmick to promote Secret Invasion…whadda we do?’

‘We can all dress up like Skrulls?’

‘Too expensive. The amount of makeup needed to cover Breevort alone would bust our budget.’

‘What about Who Do You Trust? billboards around New York?’

‘Nah. Everyone will think its Senator Clinton’s newest anti-Obama ad.’

‘Can we get Bendis on The Colbert Report?’

‘The producers over at Comedy Central have banned Marvel employees from their sets since Joe scarfed down all the fruit plates in their green rooms last time. C’mon guys, we’ve gotta think outside the box here. What’s the LAST thing that comic readers would expect from us to promote a book?’

‘Well, with they way some of them bitch and moan about them, we should-‘

‘Hold that thought!’

‘Uh- I didn’t even finish-‘

‘Bitch and moan-hmm-you may be on to something.’

‘On to what?’

‘What if we set up a blog where a former-fan-turned-Marvel-employee starts talking about how great it is to work here-‘

‘I thought we didn’t care for fan-fiction-‘

‘Don’t interrupt-‘

‘Sorry.’

‘-we have them drop little bits about the office here and there, to make it sound believable. But then things go south, and the employee will start getting disillusioned with working for us and start complaining about how they could do things better-‘

‘Have you been reading my journal?’

‘Quiet, I’m on a roll here – they’ll complain about certain writers or characters – like, like…’

‘Brian Bendis?’

‘YEAH! Bendis is always getting his balls busted for one thing or another. Then he’ll start giving away spoilers – but nothing that Wizard won’t have already.’

‘Does anyone really read Wizard anymore?’

‘Please, how do you think people buy into CGC graded books these days?’

‘Will Bendis mind?

‘Feh. With what they’ve been letting him do with the Avengers books, he better not.’

‘Wish I could get paid for writing two Avengers books while only writing one’.

‘Yeah, what the fuck is going on with New Avengers anyway? One month he’s doing Heroes for Hire, the next it’s Alias. Make up your mind already, sheesh.’

‘For a while there I thought he was writing the New Defenders. All it was missing was Nighthawk and the gal with the shiny steel brassier.’

‘Hawkeye, Nighthawk, same difference. Bendis writes them all the same.’

The pissed off employee should say that.’

‘Now you see where I’m going with this?’

‘Yeah, but won’t it piss some folks off if they find out it’s a stunt?’

Who says they’ll find out? Besides, as the caveat goes, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.’

‘So they shouldn’t trust us, is what you’re saying.’

‘Exactly! Who do you trust? That’s the theme.’

‘I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.’

‘Well, have a better one?’

‘Why not just make a really good book?’

‘Puh-leeze- that’s been done.’

And some ideas don’t seem to catch on…

So, the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica just took place this past weekend and I’ve gotta say I just don’t get it. Not the show, mind you, as I think it’s one of the best written, well-produced television shows out there. Never mind that its science fiction, it’s damn good drama; with compelling plots, fully realized characters, strong female leads and terribly relevant themes running throughout.

So why don’t more people watch it?

Is it because it’s on cable? Well, NBC tried giving the show some exposure by premiering it on the network and it tanked. How this could be while shows like Two and a Half Men and Beauty and the Geek get better ratings is beyond me.

Is the storytelling and subject matter too dense for viewers?

Well, while it hasn’t remained the ratings juggernaut that it once was, the mystical island mystery-drama show LOST hasn’t seemed to suffer as much from its equally (dare I say more) labyrinthine plotting and deep philosophical explorations.

The reasons why BSG hasn’t become the huge sensation many would have hoped it would be are hard to pin down. My editor at the Chicago Red Eye says that whenever he mentions the series on his Show Patrol blog, it gets lots of hits and comments, but not near the attention of say an Ugly Betty. What makes the BSG attention so remarkable to him is that it’s so consistent. Mention the show, do an interview, here comes the BSG fan, which means that while there aren’t as many out there as you’d need to make a network ratings hit, they’re incredibly loyal fans.

Unfortunately, I think it’s indicative of a reality that sci-fi fans are going to need to face: the genre, as far as television goes, is dying. (Don’t get me started on print media.) Gone are the days of Star Trek and Babylon 5. Dr. Who is hanging on by his multi-colored scarf (what? The new guy doesn’t wear a scarf you say?). And, if you think that the new Star Wars show is gonna save the genre, I’ve got four words for you: Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (George Lucas’s previous television production that, while critically acclaimed, failed miserably.) Heck, maybe science fiction is dead.

Ok, perhaps that’s overstating it, but really, outside of LOST, name a science fiction show that’s in the network Top Ten. (And I consider LOST the exception. Really, isn’t it more of a soap opera than sci-fi?)

Can’t do that?

Alright, gimme a sci-fi show in the Nielsen Top Twenty.

Twenty-Five?

What’s pulling in higher ratings: the latest Stargate series or America’s Best Dance Crew?

Is America really getting that intellectually lazy? Do we not want to be challenged anymore? It appears so.

Do we just think science fiction shows are silly? Juvenile? Oh wait, The Hills has that down.

I won’t research it, so you tell me. Give me some numbers. Make a case. Show me how science fiction has a future in television. Make a good enough case, and I’ll let you write a future Comic Culture Warrior column to give the CWR audience your point of view.

So have at thee. But, in the name of all that’s holy, don’t use that abortion they passed off as the newest Knight Rider. My dog ate my homework once and crapped out a better script than that.

Be well.

E. Ruben Serrano is a Writer/Columnist/Graphic Artist who absolutely LOVED the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He especially liked the episode where Harrison Ford appeared as an older Indy to talk about his days as a waiter in Chicago. He’s also a bit ticked off that his dance group, the Jammin’ Jellies, weren’t invited for a callback to the America’s Best Dance Crew 2: Steppin It To the Electric Boogaloo auditions. They would’ve rocked their world. He can be seen bitching and moaning about this and other topics on the Comic Culture Warrior You Tube Channel. You can also comment on this and other topics on the Comic Culture Warrior Blog.

E.R. Serrano

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