Thursday, January 08, 2004

I know, I know, content's been light lately. Been kinda busy at work, hence all the one-or-two sentence posts, and never seem to feel like sitting in front of the butterfly curtains. But I'm right here, right now, no matter where I go there I am, so I'm gonna ramble. Hang on and try to pay attention, there will be a test later.

The controversy du jour in the comics blogosphereiverse right now consists of reactions to the old "floppy pamphlets" versus trade paperback and how it affects the comics industry argument, and also damning by association those who (in the parlance) "wait for the trade", eschewing the purchase of the monthly book altogether. John Byrne, whose breath must smell like old socks all the time because he's constantly sticking his foot in his mouth, and Peter David, who usually shows a bit more common sense in his public pronouncements, (they're probably the two most prominent commenters, there are other message boarders who adopt the same position) are taking the self-serving stance that the death of floppies would ruin the industry, depriving them (both the majors and the creators) of the weekly income that they bring. Well, that's the way I understand it, anyway. Longtime readers of this here blog will hopefully remember that I have gone on record as saying that personally, I hope the monthly pamphlet format can continue. Maybe it's because I've been buying them for as long as I can remember, and nostalgia is coloring my judgment, or maybe it's because I kinda enjoy getting a monthly, or semi-monthly, chapter of a title I enjoy reading. Which is not to say that I am opposed to trades...I have been known to pick them up, when I can afford them. Usually it's to get acquainted with a title I haven't been buying previously; a recent example is the newish DC book The Losers. I didn't buy it from the beginning because I was trying to limit the number of new titles I was getting, while weeding out titles I had lost interest in, due to my unemployed state. I was completely unimpressed with the other series I had read by author Andy Diggle, the routine and badly dialogued Lady Constantine, and neither was I an admirer of the art of "Jock". After glancing at issue #1, I figured I could live without The Losers. However, after having recently found gainful employment, I'm looking around a bit more for things to read, and the admittedly snazzy covers for Losers caught ny eye. Noticing that there had already been seven issues see print already, and being unable to find #1 at my comics shop, I decided to add the upcoming collection of the first six issues to my holds and pick up #7 (which I liked, but the art was by a fave of mine, Shawn Martinbrough- review later). I am also still trying to decide whether to take my issues #1 & 2 of Superman: Red Son to the shop and sell them, and pay the difference for the trade which came out last week, or to get #3 on eBay and let it go at that. So what does all this mean? I don't really know, except I kinda like having a choice. For a while, it seemed that there was no way to know for sure if a certain series would get collected; now it seems like almost all of them do in some format or another (except, notably, The Legion) so that eliminates a resrvation of mine to trades. "But", the likes of David and Byrne splutter, "if the industry tries to go to all-trades, then titles like the Legion will disappear!" And that's true- but I am also a firm believer in survival of the fittest. I feel that The Legion is an exception- there are always exceptions- but if adopting an all-trades policy means weeding out the lackluster, the halt, the lame, in short, about 75% of what the Big Two issues these days, then how can that be bad? And while there may be an initial lag, due to creators turning in work that has a longer interval between finishing the job and the books hitting the stores, I have a feeling that all comics companies will strive to fill in the gap as quickly as possible, thus ensuring there is product in the bookstores and specialty shops. And in regard to the assertation that creators will get paid less if this comes to pass, it seems to me that trade collections/graphic novels will have more pages, and creators will still get paid by the page (and if they don't, then they should), so what's the problem? Anyway, as I've said many times before, I'll buy pamphlets until they stop making 'em, but I can adapt and move on. If the only way I can get an all-new Hellboy story by Mike Mignola is to buy his newest graphic novel, then I'll be right there, checkbook in hand. I think the market should dictate, and last time I looked, this is still the (mostly) home of the free and the land of the brave and if someone wants to buy TPBs/GNs exclusively, then by God, they can. And I have the right to be right there with 'em if I so desire.

I said I was gonna ramble, remember? And there's not gonna be a test, i was just kiddin'.

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