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The Indisputable Matt Maxwell Presents:









FULL BLEED 2:

NEEDLE IN THE CAMEL’S EYE

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who watched TV read comic books instead? Man, that’d be AWESOME. I mean, geez, even with a quarter of the regular TV viewing audience, comics would be completely revolutionized, utterly transformed. But what would happen if TV took some tips from comics instead? Let’s take a quick look at that.

And, by “comics” I mean, largely the Direct Market, which has its own set of unique quirks and idiosyncrasies. Outside the DM, there is a larger market, but it utterly ignores monthly comics, and embraces collections, whether that material is long form or one-shots. Great, small print aside.

The really awesome thing? I LOVE LUCY would still be running every week. Okay, yeah, they’d probably be on their fourth or fifth Lucy by now (let’s forget the whole Universe B Lucy fiasco of ’86-’89 where Ricky was dead and the fans spoke by embracing the explanation of the last three seasons having been a dream). Oh wait, that kinda happened, didn’t it?

But here’s your Premium Programming prime-time lineup, comics-style:

WAGON TRAIN, MY THREE SONS, I DREAM OF JEANNIE, HIGH PLAINS CHAPPARAL, GUNSMOKE, BONANZA, BIG VALLEY, ROOM 222, THE BRADY BUNCH (more like the BRADY CLAN, given all the grandchildren involved), VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and THE TIME TUNNEL (of course). Don’t forget the greatness that is DOBIE GILLIS, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, THE LONE RANGER and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND.

Can you imagine?

THE NANNY would still be running. Oh wait, it’s still running in Russia. No, really.

But man, look at the above. We could just be watching those shows over and over and over again. And don’t forget the most premium crossovers that bind all these shows together. Remember when the Brady Bunch found that time portal and ended back up on the Cartwright ranch which was under siege by similarly displaced Klingons? And who could ever forget Bobby Brady’s selfless and fearless resistance of torture at the hands of the Klingons? The dude was forced to eat three of his own fingers to buy time for the Cartwrights to set the TNT under the Cylon control saucer! That is hardcore.

Of course, you couldn’t just have any ordinary television to get programming like this. You’d have to head over to the local Premium Programming Outlet every week or so to get the decoders updated, because I mean we just can’t be casting this stuff out with the widest net possible, right? We gotta keep this to ourselves.

Of course, quality takes time. We can’t guarantee weekly delivery of episodes of this sort of Premium Programming any more. Delays of three weeks or more are not unheard of. That follow-up to the cliffhanger of the ANDY GRIFFITH/PERRY MASON crossover, where we found Andy locked in jail by a Barney Fife drunk with power, yeah, that was worth the eight-week wait, right? Of course, we sometimes stack things to that you can get an episode a week for three or four weeks in a row. You’ve got money for all those decoders, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I could go a lifetime watching reruns of WELCOME BACK KOTTER, you know where Barbarino went away to college and came back to mentor another crew of loveable misfits. But man does not live by bread alone, right? So we’ve got smaller, more intimate offerings for those whose tastes run to the idiosyncratic and perhaps less-plot driven. Trick is, the decoders for these might not actually show up at your local shop. You pre-ordered those, right? Well, maybe the guy selling your decoders is on the ball and got you a copy or three. Don’t worry, maybe you can get it in a couple more weeks.

Oh, you live in a big city, right? If so, you’re probably covered.

If you live in the ‘burbs, you’re rolling the dice, maybe you’ve got a ten-minute drive, and maybe you’ve got an hour. If you’re living in the Sticks, well, there’s always those folks who’ll bundle all your Premium Programming Decoders for every month and send them to you in a handy little package. See, we’ve got it all covered.

Yeah, those sneaky big box stores are catching onto the popularity of Premium Programming. Some of the boxed sets are showing up on store shelves. But that whole dice-rolling thing? You’re betting that the person stocking the Premium Programming section of Borders knows what the heck they’re doing and can keep the good stuff coming.

Of course, there are those who remember the halcyon days of Free Air, when you could go to any corner store and get a hit of comics, just toss your two bits down and walk right out with four colors in your back pocket. It’s a damn shame that the market started to reform itself and we had to move to Premium Programming Outlets, but it was that or be forced out anyways. Besides, how would you get people to shell out three or four bones for an episode otherwise? When you sell a specialty product, you can demand specialty prices. Just that you make the bar so high for new folks getting in, right? Not much of a worry so long as we keep the audience we’ve got.

I hear they’re gonna bring FAMILY AFFAIR back. There’s a lot of Mr. French fans untapped out there. But what I think we really need is more westerns…

--
I feel like I should offer an apology here. You might read the above and feel like I hate the Direct Market. The only thing I hate about it is the limitation that it puts on wider acceptance of the medium. This is not particularly the fault of the good retailers. Only that there’s just so many of them to go around. Would that I could clone the good ones and capitalize them seed them in towns all across the United States. Yeah, sure, we’d probably argue over who were the good ones. Let’s see, we’d need a beefed-up distribution system too.

Go to a good shop, and you’re going to be offered an amazing and overwhelming variety of artistic possibilities. Yes, a lot of those possibilities will be kinda glossy dreck. Get past that, though, and you’ll be rewarded. Go to a bad outlet and you’re going to find more reruns of glossy dreck.

That’s assuming you can get to a DM store. Not every town gets one.

Does this mean that building one in every town guarantees more comics readers? Not necessarily, but you gotta give folks a shot at your material if they’re gonna get it at all.

On a further note, thanks to JK Parkin of the Newsarama Blog who picked up the FULL BLEED resurrection and spread news of it for all to see. Thanks to all of my readers, all seven of you, for helping the dream take flight.

Matt Maxwell

Check out the trailer for Matt's STRANGEWAYS: MURDER MOON!:



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