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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:








 


POTPOURRI

So Virgin Comics is on the way out. You’ll pardon me if I saw it coming.

I actually liked a lot of Virgin’s output that crossed my desk- they put effort into hiring solid comics professionals to put their books together. And they brought some wonderful new talent to American audiences, such as CWR’s own Saurav Mohapatra and the amazing Mukesh Singh. Singh should never want for work as long as he wants it- that guy is fucking incredible. I could get lost in his pages, in the best possible way.

But here’s the thing- one of the easiest ways to see if a company is having issues pertains to their PR efforts and their outreach to reviewers. For a long time, I’d see physical packages of books in my mailbox from Virgin, along with a consistent e-mail directing me to where to download their latest issues. They worked very hard to get people talking about the work. And then suddenly…

Packages stopped. PR e-mails began to be sporadic, and they very randomly sent out links for various comics for review. No plan, rhyme, or reason. I see that these days, and I know. I know. It’s probably over. See: Archaia Studios Press.

I won’t cry for them or throw a pity party- it’s just the way things work. But I do feel for the talent involved, and for the staffers who have put their hard work into the company. Folks like Michelle Gomes have never been anything but a pleasure to talk to and work with. I hope they all bounce back soon.

*

Okay, I don’t mean to be nasty or anything, but how little attention do you have to be paying if you have stuff on Wowio?

PLATINUM STUDIOS, and frankly, anything run by Scott Rosenberg, has never shown the slightest bit of ability to make any money or actually pay anyone what they are owed. The kerfluffle with D.J. Coffman was well publicized, and the company’s financials have been dissected by Dirk, Tom, Steven Grant and Heidi. They’re a lumbering, debt-ridden house of cards waiting to be blown away by the slightest gust of wind. So if you saw that they were purchasing Wowio and left your material there… wow. What the fuck were you thinking? There is a better chance of an American kid being adopted by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt than of you making your fortune at a Platinum-owned Wowio.

*

Dirk has tackled this better than I ever could, but retailer Robert Scott’s comments about creator-owned work being more damaging to comics than Marvel or DC has to be one of the stupidest fucking things I’ve seen in forever.

While he does grudgingly admit that Marvel and DC do most of the exact same shit he tries to call out indy creators and publishers on, he fails to condemn it. Instead, he gives them a pass, because, let’s face it, that’s probably what his store sells best.

I mean, God forbid we don’t take the myopic worldview here. What do comics have to gain by continually publishing the same boring shit we’ve seen for the last 60 years over and over and over again? Is anyone stupid enough to believe that we can have a viable comics market in 20 years with the X-Men and Batman still at the forefront? Will any store survive that?

NO.

The comics creators of the 70s and 80s were influenced by those of the 60s, so they did more superheroes. But some of those 80s guys got the creator-owned bug and marked a new path. In the 90s, some of the superhero guys saw the creator-owned path and took their own superheroes to their own companies. That begat a new subset of creators who saw that creator-owned path and did books that weren’t superheroes but they still owned. And now?

Now we have a new wave of comics creators who have been influenced by Jeff Smith, Terry Moore, Carla Speed McNeil, Charles Burns… the comics creators of the 2010s aren’t going to come in looking to do superheroes. Their role models owned their work and made their own money. Despite retailers who want nothing but superhero horseshit on their shelves. They have broken into new distribution models, shifted millions of trade paperbacks. And of the retail community can’t keep up with the next wave, they’ll go the wave of the dinosaur. Because Amazon, DCBS, and e-books will pounce and capitalize, leaving another dead strip mall in suburban America.

See ya in fourteen.

Marc Mason

 



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