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Jimmie Robinson on “You Are Not Helping Comics!”

Jimmie Robinson is the writer/artist of Bomb Queen from Image Comics. He is also the writer of this week’s What If…? Wolverine: Enemy of the State one-shot from Marvel Comics, out tomorrow. He has a website here.

If you’re reading this, that alone makes you exceptional, makes you care about the medium of comics. You might even visit your comic store each week to see what’s new on the rack. You perhaps display a few trade paperback collections on your shelf at home. But let’s not split hairs here, while I applaud your efforts there’s no denying the fact; you are not helping comics.

Now before you launch a barrage of emails with store receipts attached, let’s clear the air. How much money you spend doesn’t fulfill your support of the medium. Sure, buying books keeps stores open and bills paid, but if we look to that as a barometer of industry health then I’m sorry we’ve already failed. The pulse of our beloved medium must beat higher than simple sales figures. When compared to other industries, comics rank low to poor in consumer acceptance. I’m sure some will respond that comics are a cottage industry, in short self-supporting, but that type of support, I’m sad to say, is exactly what we don’t need.

Creators, like myself, demand more from you than cover price. If you read my books, whether from Image, Marvel, or DC, then I expect you to share the love. Why keep it a secret? Why not tell others outside the “cottage”? You see I work with the “healthy industry” concept. I create books that fill a niche, or exploit existing trends. I self-published CYBERZONE when I didn’t see enough black female leads. I started at Image with AMANDA & GUNN because I didn’t see enough sci-fi. I switched to CODE BLUE when I didn’t see anything to match TV’s ER hospital drama. I changed to all-ages with EVIL & MALICE when not enough kid books were around. I sought out AVIGON back before manga was burning the sales charts. Nowadays, I’m working on BOMB QUEEN, which pokes fun at one aspect of the industry: Superheroes. It’s not serious at all. It plays on those stereotypes and needs a solid marketplace to acknowledge that. Granted it is very black humor and it splits the hairs thin as spandex, but that’s the deal. It’s made specifically for that subset of the comic’s community. But, I get worried when the entire industry latches to Bomb Queen like the new messiah. The court jester shouldn’t be King, or Queen. However, a healthy industry should support a diversity of titles from all companies, from the lewd Bomb Queen to the glorious work in THE AGE OF BRONZE, and mainstream sellers like my work on Marvel’s, WOLVERINE WHAT IF?. As a writer of books that span several genres and companies I hope for this ideal marketplace.

But… you are not helping.

I’m an old fart, trust me I’m “up there” in the age department, so I’ve seen a lot in this industry. I came in when nothing was going on except the “mainstream”. Well before the days of Image, and the Black & White boom. Back when self-publishing was unique and called, “underground comix”. I would draw my hand-made comics for my friends at school, but my style never matched what I saw on the spinner racks in the stores. I couldn’t draw comics the Marvel way. When I grew up I took a crack at self-publishing because I saw no other way to present my ideas to the public. My choices at the time were very limited, but nowadays sweeping change has come and gone several times over. At this point (in my opinion) we’re seeing the best times ever for diversity in comics, no matter what your entry level, presentation, or skills. Whether it’s print, or on-line, comics are everywhere and in multiple formats. We see this clearly with the new love affair between Hollywood and comics, or on the shelves of bookstore chains racking Manga. You’d think with so many arrows in our quiver the war of insignificance would be on the run. Sadly, not much has changed in reader buying trends over the decades. Within this small industry we’re fractured and split, drawing lines in the sand against our own, and we’re reaping the cost.

So, enough complaining and preaching to the choir; what can we do?

I’ll be honest, there’s no magic bullet. Each will have to form their own path in their own way. But one thing is certain, the road to ruin is clear, and I don’t see us steering away anytime soon. Thus, we need to support comics. No, not support selected titles. I’m talking comics… the art form. Share the love. Give comics as gifts, use comics in education, break the stereotypes of, “Biff, Bam, Boom!” newspaper reporting. Introduce kids to comics, buy comics in all forms, zines, self-published, web comics, strips, Independent, mainstream, all-ages, adult, trades and single issues. If you’re only shelling out for Civil War then you’re not helping. In short, supporting yourself – not the medium as a whole. I’m not advocating you purchase everything in the store – nobody is that rich, nor have the time to read it. But when I read that retailers speak of their customers “by the numbers” it worries me that too many are walking lock-step to select titles and not taking advantage of everything comics has to offer. Retailers listen to their customers, but most readers hardly talk to the storeowners, or clerks. Today’s retailer has hundreds, if not thousands, of titles to sell, but without your help that stock will tilt one way, or another. Retailers can’t read your mind, but they will try when they have no option. No help. What can you expect when so many are making a beeline to a book, to the register, and out the door? Stop, smell the roses. Show interest in books that you like, and let retailers know. Don’t merely hope it will show up on the shelf, ask for it by name.

The average person doesn’t live in a bubble. We all have friends, family, associates, business contacts, events and seasons – and comics can help in each of those areas. Comics are like Greeting Cards; they can match any and all occasions. Take advantage of the medium outside the cottage. Unlock the closet door, share the magic and open the bottleneck. And we can do it without forcing it down the throats of others. But most of all, we can’t do it…

…without your help.

113 Comments

I read the post, clicked on the link to Mr. Jimmie Robinson’s website and then threw up in my mouth a little. Bomb Queen is not helping comics.

“But, I get worried when the entire industry latches to Bomb Queen like the new messiah.”

Did this happen?

Did I miss the revolution?

Gee, I didn’t realize it was my job to help comics. I kind of assumed this was an enjoyable hobby and personal interest of mine, not a duty I was performing on behalf of comics creators everywhere. Kind of makes it seem like a grind, but if I haven’t been pulling my weight, I apologize. I guess it must be my fault that the industry’s in a slump–I didn’t realize it relied on me so heavily. I mean, here I was thinking that maybe the reason comics were failing was because they’d abandoned the 8-15 audience that’s traditionally been their bread and butter for an 18-35 audience that might not be there in the numbers to support it…but no, no, I was wrong. It’s entirely my fault. Because I’m not helping comics.

(Or was that a little too sarcastic? :) )

I read the post, clicked on the link to Mr. Jimmie Robinson’s website and then threw up in my mouth a little. Bomb Queen is not helping comics.

Now see, that’s part of the problem right there. I’m not a Bomb Queen fan, and that essay isn’t the clearest post ever written, but I get what he’s saying. We comic book fans are too judgemental and set in our ways, and that’s hurting the industry by forcing everyone to do the same kind of things.

It’s a fair point. There are lots of independent comics like Bomb Queen and Age of Bronze that cover a huge spectrum of diversity, but they only sell tiny fractions of the amount top ten superhero comics do. And stores aren’t going to order more independents if they don’t hear people asking for them.

Let me see if I have this right: actually laying down my money for the product isn’t enough?

Funny, I don’t hear the TV, magazine, radio, game or movie industries telling me that buying the product isn’t enough. I don’t know of any other PROFESSIONAL entertainment medium that demands that its customers also act as shills. That seems to happen automatically and organically. If people are excited about something, they tell people. If they are buying out of habit or for completism’s sake, they don’t.

You want to help comics? Kill Diamond. Break their stranglehold on the industry, and get the damn comics back out in public where people can see them.

That’ll help comics. Anything else is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

On one level, Mr. Robinson is correct. If we care about comics, we should be introducing people we like to things they would like. It is a dying medium and it does need fresh blood. I’m always trying to get my friends who don’t read comics to try something that suits their tastes. It’s kind of fun. However, it’s not just up to us to be bringing in new fans. The industry itself really needs to change its strategy. The fact is, comic book characters, through movies and cartoons, have never been more popular, and comic-style storytelling, in the form of shows like Lost and Heroes, are also huge. And manga is a growing market among all ages and, gasp, even girls! So why isn’t this translating into comic book numbers? I don’t really know, but the guys at Marvel and DC are really boneheads if they can’t find some way to capitalize. We could be doing more, perhaps that’s true, but they certainly could be doing more.

Didn’t we of the comic book portion of the internet just have this same bulltish discussion (argument) about 2 years ago?

About time you got to the discussion, Robinson.

Oh, and by the way, welcome to the 21st Century.

I don’t owe Jay Leno an explanation for not watching his show last night, and I don’t owe you an explanation for failing to promote comics enough.

It’s not my job. My job is to read what I like and hand over my cash. It’s not the retailers’ job. It’s smart of them to do it, but it’s not their obligation any more than it’s the auto dealers’ job to run Ford’s marketing department. The buck stops at the top. If Marvel Comics aren’t selling, it’s Marvel’s fault and nobody else’s. If DC’s not turning a profit, it’s Paul Levitz and Dan DiDio’s asses, not yours, mine, or Mile High’s.

If your handing out blame for “not helping comics,” look to the publishers. Their share is 100%.

Kill Diamond. Break them. They are the biggest problem, and they cause most of the others.

Content sucks because the publishers are conditioned to play for the direct market. They don’t know how to compete in the open marketplace anymore. Everything has to be tailor-made for the preorder; nothing can ever be an impulse purchase. Diamond did that.

Distribution sucks because Diamond will only deal in the most profitable conditions for them. They don’t have to compete, so they can be bloated and lazy and only carry books that they have decided the market wants. We can never have the chance to get something we didn’t know we wanted. Diamond did that.

Format sucks because comics are marketed as collectibles rather than as an entertainment medium. The only two viable formats for comics in a realistic competitive market are (1) in book form and marketed as books, or (2) in magazine format and marketed as magazines. The modern comic is neither. It’s a souvenir. Too expensive for an impulse purchase, too ephemeral to interest anybody but a current collector. Diamond did that.

Obsessive continuity and continuity-wanking are yet more hothouse flowers produced by the self-referential, self-absorbed, ever-inwardly-turning direct market. Diamond did that.

Kill Diamond and you kill the things that are killing comics.

But whatever you do, don’t tell me that I’m not doing enough to help comics. It’s not my job.

My take on what he is saying is that there is not enough talk about comics except with those who are already hooked. Lost became the big TV thing because everyone went to the office the next day and were saying “You need to see this show. Even if you don’t watch much TV, see this show”. A few years ago, Harry Potter became the biggest thing to hit publishing ever because kids were reading it and telling their friends “You need to read this book. I don’t care if you don’t normally read books, read this one.” And some of those kids did and then they went to their parents and said the same thing.

Except for those few who work in the comic industry in some way, when was the last time you want to someone who does not read comics and say “You need to read this story. Greatest story ever, I’ll lend you my copy if you want”. With few exceptions, doesn’t happen.

Man, that post raises my hackles just a bit.

Let me tell you about myself:
I got back into comics about a year ago. I buy comics via mail-order because the only comic shop in town truly blows. Every month, I comb previews. I want to buy more indy comics. Even though I’m not a fan of every genre (I pretty much stay away from the Lady Death-type/Zombie/Licensed property stuff), my tastes are pretty damn eclectic. Yet every month, I’m lucky if I can find a dozen comics outside the big four that spark an iota of interest, and generally when those dozen do arrive….well, Spurgeon’s law kicks in full force.

I’m not asking for much: something that makes me smile, makes me laugh, makes me think, or just plain makes me appreciate the medium, but apparently, that’s asking for a lot where comics are concerned.

I bought the original Bomb Queen series, and I’m buying the second iteration. I liked them fine, but I’m not going to recommend them to non-comics reading friends. In fact, there is precious little that I would recommend to non-comics readers.

Once publishers wean themselves from the collectible mentality (we’re going in the opposite direction now), we might be able to woo a larger segment of the general public into comic shops, but as of right now let me say this:
I would be embarrassed to hand the majority of the comics I read every month to one of my non-comic book reading aquaintances.
That’s right. Not only do I not encourage them to read those comics, but I actively hide the fact that I read them. Why? Because most of them aren’t very good.

So, before you start cajoling people to do your promotion for you, please make sure that your product is worthy of their time and effort. Lets face it, hidden gems don’t remain hidden for long in the internet age. Eventually, fantastic comics will bleed through into the public consciouness (although accessibility is also an issue – I love, love, love Godland, but I don’t think anyone who isn’t familiar with super-hero comics is going to get it).

Blah.

Perhaps if every comic book was on time, well written and well drawn, we would buy more comic books, in addition to the ones that are on our subscription lists, which I’m guessing retailers do know about. We may even be able to recommend comic books as easily as we recommend books or movies to a friend. Sadly, too many are lacking and not at all friendly to new readers.

The best writers of novels always try to make the next novel in the series just as inviting as the others were to new readers. Continuity is a tool. It shouldn’t act as substitute for a story.

Ray

I dunno…I feel like a few of you have missed his point.

The way I see it, just reading my comics is not enough. I make it a point to tell my colleagues, classmates, and students–at every opportunity–about comics that will be relevant to them. When I discuss WWII literature, I make sure to mention Maus; when I hear someone talk about the canon, I rave about Sandman. These are important things for us–those in the know–to do if we don’t want our precious medium to fold in on itself.

Diamond is only a corporation–there to make money. They will do what they do whatever we say. This is not the problem.

The problem is, if we don’t get out of the closet with our passion for comics to the civilians, the market will only end up bearing the lowest common denomenator-type stuff you all were referring to before.

I also take issue with the idea that comics are either an entertainment commodity or a collectible. Why not view them as an art form? The NEA funds art that is not marketable because society as a whole has agreed: art is important and should not be marginalized. Why would the rest of America extend that grace to our medium if we insist on talking about it in terms of commodity. But that’s tangential.

I think that what Mr. Robinson is saying is that we need to get vocal about this medium. Buying a painting is not the same thing as being a patron. Liking the Impressionists is not the same thing as teaching Art Appreciation.

Helping the medium is more than buying the comics that entertain you.

Sincerely,
Micah Faulkner

I could be out of line here, and this article was perhaps just another linkbait idea # 100, but poking folks in the eye with a sharp stick while enlisting their help might not be the best route to success.

Perhaps those of us who want to see comics grow in stature could promote the good stuff to friends and a acquaintances more. But making demands of your readers is an easy way to lose them. It’s you and your publisher who are ultimately resposible for promoting your work, not the reader.

As soon as we get a few more titles like Love & Rockets, Action Philosophers, Y: The Last Man, Preacher and Bone and a few less Wolverines, Batmen and books with “Cyber” in the title, I’ll start recommending comics to normal folks.

Besides, comics aren’t a dying medium at all. Direct-market superhero/sci-fi comics are. Manga compliations that cover a wide variety of styles and genres and paperbacks that reprint American comic strips that can be bought at any bookstore in any town in the US and Canada appear to be selling better than ever.

I’ll second that blah.

My two cents, since I missed out on this discussion the last time we had it: the medium of comics is doing just fine, thank you. Comics as an art form is alive and well.

So…what do you want from me, again? And you can just bloody well leave “our beloved medium, so sick, so sick” right out of it this time, if you know what I mean. Wow, you’re suggesting…no, scratch that, I just re-read this, you’re saying that people should buy things other than what they like, or they’re not being good comic fans! Give away what are essentially promo copies for “the industry” that are paid for out of their own pockets, badger family and friends and students with exhortations to read what they haven’t asked for and in all likelihood don’t want, or they’re not being good comic fans!

Gee, you’ve got a helluva nerve, Mr. Robinson. Maybe you’d like to talk salary? Or, failing that, perhaps you’ll be satisfied with paddling your own canoe. Gah, I can’t say any more, I’m too disgusted. Good luck with those New Fans of yours….I’m sure they’ll be here any minute now to save comics…meanwhile I’ll be over here not helping.

Paul O’Brien wrote a great essay deconstructing the idea that fans were responsible for promoting comics as a medium back when he wrote for Ninth Art. I really should go dig that up…

Good entertainment is viral and propagates, even if that propagation happens over the course of decades. The comics that merit the attention of readers who are not necessarily fans of the medium escape into the wider world and get the attention they deserve. Look at how many copies of Bone are in circulation worldwide; look at how long Watchmen and Sandman and American Splendor and tons of other titles have been in print.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the vast majority of comics do not merit the attention of the general reader. The overwhelming tendency of the Western industry, both in and out of the superhero genre, is to produce a staggering overabundance of inconsequential action-movie material that isn’t really about anything more that provoking a temporary adrenaline rush. We’ve gotten out of a domination of books about capes and tights, by simply substituting an abundance of relatively mindless books about guns, crime, zombies, sophmore humor, and titillation. There are exceptions, of course, and those books will probably work their way out into the wider market over time.

If anything truly artificial works against comics as a medium, it’s that many readers have a hard time getting the hang of following anything but the very simplest page layouts. Some people just aren’t visually oriented and have a hard time making sense of all the information that saturates the average comic page; they tend to expect a picture book and don’t know what to do when they get something more complex. This will probably change once the manga generation grows up and is hungry for new and different things to read. There will be plenty of interesting comics waiting for them when that time comes.

Well said, Lynxara.

Just wanted to pop back in so I can make myself totally clear: I’m not the Civil War completist, I’m the scouring-the-internet-for-Chris-Ware-stuff guy, you know? So that wasn’t “screw you and your caviar, I like my Big Mac!”, that was “so now I have to proselytize for crap to be doing my part, too?” Gee, wotta deal.

Who says I don’t spread the wealth?

I was going to write a pointed critique, but really… what a tosser!

BizarroBeachHead

November 29, 2006 at 3:46 am

I’m kind of shocked at the negative responses here. I mean, I understand being defensive about being blamed for the decline of comics, there are certainly more important problems than a type of “reader apathy” but the point he’s making is quite clear.

The average person’s brush with comics is either a superhero movie adaptation or some random article about Batwoman being a lipstick lesbian, and the usual repsonse is “who cares about comics?” It’s up to us to show them the Preachers, Fables, Sandmans, Y: The Last Mans, Transmetrepolitans, and so forth, of the comics world.

As an avid reader, I have tons of trades that I routinely hand out to people I think might be interested in reading something new. Because if I don’t tell them, nobody else will. I have a stack of about 15 Volume 1 trades of various titles that routinely get handed around at work. And with places like Borders and Amazon.com, it’s easy for people to follow the comics without hunting down a comic book store.

Obviously, I don’t think Mr. Robinson is telling us to spend all our money on extra comics to leave in people’s mailboxes, but when it’s relevent to a conversation, do you hype up your comics? I like to think that most people do, as it’s natural for me to do so. I can see how that might be the reason people take offense here, that is to say, being accused of not doing enough of something they’re most likely already doing, but I think he’s right on the money about this particular subject.

On one hand I do sympathize with the sentiment in the original post, but, as many have commented before, it’s a lot more complex than laying it all at the consumers to fix.

You do sort of get this sentiment in other media. It’s the same with movies whenever a particularly bad movie makes millions and sits atop the box office chart. Critics will throw their hands up when that sells, and notable independent, foreign, or Mike Judge movies don’t get the proper distribution and struggle, or flop. And it is easy to criticize the audience: the companies buy and make stuff based on what sells, so if Torture Horror Movies or Sicko, Lowest Common Denominator Comedies are what makes money, that’s what the companies have to put out to survive. And Robinson may not be intending to insult readers as much as he is trying to get people to subvert that system. But what Robinson seems to miss is that companies do play an active role, second-guessing and underestimating their audience. Lynxara is dead on about the lack in quality of most of what is produced.

I agree wholeheartedly with Micah about treating comics as art rather than a “hobby.” Someone may not want caviar, but there’s still better cheeseburgers out there than Big Macs. But I do agree with others, I’m all for diversity and quality and comics, as a whole medium, is doing pretty well. Manga and indies are fueling that, and many quality titles have a way of making the press or going through word of mouth. The superhero genre and what traditionally has defined Western comics may not be doing so well, and it’s comic companies’ fault for not learning the lesson about variety.

When I was working at a student-run movie theater, there were many times I was ticked that a movie I pitched and/or thought should’ve been big hits only resulted in a meager turnout. We were arthouse, but the more widely known indie/foreign that had buzz always were big hits, and promotion could only do so much for gems that were under the radar. But the thing was, we were still able to support showing underrated gems by those big successes. And there would be people showing up for those gems.

2 main problems with the industry:

– comics are still seen as being ‘for kids’ and as such draw ridicule

– price. its just way to expensive to become a comics enthusiast. Half the reason WHY people dont check out the indy stuff is because the spandex stuff they already buy leaves no money left over to buy something different

Puh-lease. Have you ever tried getting non-comic redaders to read a comic? I recommend stuff to people all the time, sometimes even with small degrees of succes, but not a lot. I don’t think I’m the only one who that happens to, Erik Larsen even wrote a column about it a while back on CBR. The threshold for people who have never read a comic book to try one is a lot bigger than for instance, to try a a new TV-show. See, everybody watches TV already, it’s an accepted medium. Comics isn’t an accepted medium and it’s not gonna be one overnight.

It is in Japan, for instance, or France, that’s why they have such a wide range of genres. You might argue that it’s an accepted genre because of the wide range of genres but I think it’s more of a 2-way thing.

If you would’ve told people 30 years ago they would be able to buy collected issues of a comic series called ‘Sandman’ in regular bookstores (or any other comic you can get there nowadays) they probably would’ve given you a pretty weird look. A while ago I got a present from my girlfriend that she bought at London’s Tate Museum of Modern Art; King of Dreams, an in-depth look at behind the scenes of the Sandman books by former Vertigo editor Alisa Kwitney. You can’t say nothing has changed, you just can’t expect public opinion to do 180 degrees overnight.

By the way, keep telling yourself that everybody reads Bomb Queen because it’s such a clever parody on superheroes and not because they’re 12 years old and horny.

I do see what he’s trying to say, but all I could hear in my head was DC SUX, MAKE MINE BOMB QUEEN.

Hey Jimmie,

Nobody cares anymore ya old fart. And your books suck. So you ain’t helping either. Make something more respectable if you want anybody to give a $#!t…

I agree with Jimmie R. to a point. Bomb Queen and his other works aren’t saving comics and neither is his Wolverine one shot. Making superhero comics, whether subversive in some way or not, is still playing to the masses of the comic book audience. The idea that the customers are the ones to blame when it comes to supporting art isn’t the answer either. Look at David Lynch. He makes art movies that almost nobody like to watch. You know many people that have seen ERASERHEAD? Is that the fault of the customer who has never heard of it? The retailer who can’t sell it? The distributer who doesn’t push it harder than the big sellers? The artist himself? All of them at the same time? If you want to get better comics you would have to go back in time before Wurtham destroyed the foundation for mature comics in the 1950’s. If The Seduction Of Innocence had never happened we would have had an extra couple decades to figure things out. Maybe comics wouldn’t have been overpowered by adolescent power fantasies of men wearing skin tight costumes and fighting homo-erotic brawls with cheesy sound effects.

I for one, am a little miffed at this report, how much research did he really do.. I for one buy the odd titles, I have not seen bomb Queen but given a chance I might like it.. I buy weird ones like the Edgar Allen poe ones and the remakes of some of our history, like beouwolf, and other titles like that..

I even own Lone Ranger, and Devil May Cry, and some other titels that have not come out but I am paitently awaitign the release of Darkcyhle Manga 3 and the new series Randy Queen is doing.. Buying comics is so big in my town, that we have over 4 comic book stores and they all compete with each ohter.. We talk about the comics and most of use wear a badge with our kids when we buy them I get lauged at as most of the stores as I collect weird titles, the most unusall I have collected are things like Sleepy Hollow and other titles.

Do some more research before you say we are not helping comics, I have given them as presents and I also have used many of resources to find that one comic that my shop could not get that I want, I collect DC, Image, topcow, marvel, darkhourse and other compaines..

Should we let one writer say we are not helping comics when he should have did something like a poll to ask what comics do you read, buy , and give away..

Hmmm I for one do not belive a word of what he is saying

And just to clarify: I don’t feel one tiny iota of guilt about “not helping comics.” I lend out my trades, I recommend books (sometimes even sight unseen–I just told a Buffy fan today about the Season Eight comic), I buy Christmas presents for non-fans that have the pretty pictures. I stump for the good shit at every turn, and I’m happy to do so. That’s not my objection to this essay.

My objection can be summed up in a single quoted sentence. “Creators, like myself, demand more from you than cover price.” Heck, I’ll even narrow it down to that one word, “demand”. Excuse me? You “demand” my active promotion of your work? Who the [bleep] do you think you are, Doctor Doom? No creator should ever “demand” promotion of their work; no creator should ever have to. Good work brings about promotion automatically. When I told my friends how great Preacher was, when I posted on MUSHes’ bulletin boards, “Hey, go read Transmetropolitan, it’s really great!”, I did it because the work inspired me to talk about it, not because Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis sent me hectoring emails complaining that I wasn’t doing my part for the team. They didn’t “demand” or “expect” their readers to love their work, they were honored and gratified by it. (And probably occasionally worried and unnerved–I’ve seen some Transmet fans that creeped me out.)

And that’s the fundamental problem with this essay, why it’s ticked off so many people. That’s not guilt, that’s righteous anger.

Comics are seen as being for kids but they aren’t for kids anymore. There needs to be a solid newstand line of top quality, all-ages comics WITH LETTER PAGES to build the fanbase of tomorrow. With all the comic book movies out today, I can’t believe there isn’t a spinner rack in every movie theater.

@John Seavey: hear, hear!

I agree with one thing he said. If you don’t ask for it by name you won’t get it.
I don’t think the blame is with diamond or even the fans, for the most part. Where else do you see comics advertised? No where right. Not in magazines, not on TV, not on radio, not on billboards. Comics are advertised in comics…preaching to the choir. So is it up to the fans to go out and advertise on billboards, on TV, in magazines? No I believe that is the publishers problem. I plunk down my $25-$50 a week for my comics. How much do I give for a magazine? $4.99. How much do I give for TV? None. How much do I give for DVD’s? $40 a month.
So you’re saying my financial support for comics isn’t enough. If I don’t go out and give more to comics, through money or support, then comics will disappear. If comics would disappear through non-support your Bomb Queen would have been gone long ago, as with your other books you so graciously put up here (nice resume).
“If you’re buying Civil War it’s not enough”
How much is Civil War selling vs. your book? And why do you think it’s selling 300 to 1 of your book? Because Civil War is good. Bomb Queen is bad. Bad comics are bad for comics. Who buys bad comics? Not non-comics fans. No it’s the hard core guys who get a chuckle out of the puns and jokes made about superheroes.
The short of the long. Don’t support bad comics.

I think the one of the difficult parts of getting non-comic readers into the fold is this:

• When most comic buyers (and I was like this up until a few years ago) pick up their books, they go into the plastic bags and into the box. So, when a particular book is recommended to someone, that person has to usually go the shop and get it themself. Not many non-comic readers feel comfortable going into a comic shop.

When it comes to music, you can always loan them the CD, or music digitally. There’s not a sense of “don’t depreciate the value of my book” mentality that I think we all have with our collection.

Nowadays, if I know someone pretty well, I’ll loan them the books in question and, if they liked it, I’ll volunteer to show them around a comics shop. This has worked about a dozen times for me in the past couple of years.

Most recently, I’ve loaned some of Eric Shanower’s “Wizard of Oz” books to a friend’s wife to read to her son and they BOTH got into the series. She didn’t want him reading superhero books, due to the graphic violence she’s seen in them. I gave her one of those Superman Showcase books and showed her in the store where she could find books for her son.

So now, he owns his own copies of WIZARD OF OZ, BONE, SHOWCASE BOOKS, TIN-TIN and MOUSEGUARD. She, in turn picked up PERCEPOLIS, BLANKETS and, believe it or not, SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE. They both now are into the Myasaki films too.

So, I think it’d help if we all as comic book readers, let go of the plastic bag if we’re trying to get someone into comics. The best way to get people into something is to give them the item in question to enjoy… not to have them hunt it down on their own, because that’s just not what people do.

I’m nor talking about Golden Age or Silver Age books, but stuff that’s more recent should be easily passes on, so long as you get it back.

Just my two cents.

A question for everyone who seems to have been offended by Robinson’s comments:

This week, have you spent *half* the energy in talking to non-comic people about our beloved industry as you have in bitching about the editorial above?

Just wondering.

Typical messageboard rant following a fairly straightforward plea. He was saying simply be proud of comics and get the word out on the truly good stuff that anyone who enjoys to read would look at.I saw in an earlier post that someone referred to non-comic reading people as ‘normal folks.’ That ‘s the garbage that he is talking about. I don’t know if I fit the helping comics idea he puts forth, but I do know the difference between respecting the artistic potential of comics, which is why I love the medium, and rambling on like an idiot who reads an insider column once a week and thinks he knows the industry inside and out. The only thing that amazes me is that creators try to have conversations with you messageboard thugs who use the anonymity to spout off at the mouth. Pathetic.

“You Are Not Helping Comics!”

Personnally, I feel this is quite an egocentric type of accusation. As far as I am concerned, anyone who dishes out the 3 to 4 dollars for a single independant comic, up to the big fan who reads all the issues related to a massive cross-over from the big 2 should not feel concerned by this type of comment.

Whether the reader chooses to privately enjoy his readings or start up a fan-based web site of his favorite caracter will not much affect the common behaviourism of the comic reader community. The latter might help launch a title or bring attention to a specific cycle of a series, but the final sales will more than likely correspond to the quality of the book, rather than to the quantity of web sites that were created for it. I myself have been offering comic book critics for both european and american titles on my web site for over a year now. And, although I get the occasionnal comment of having helped someone to discover a new title or a new artist they now adore, most of my readers will most likely not extend their current budget by much for the discovery of a novelty.

I would much rather think that the comic industry is the most responsible for not helping itself. Offering quite a vast variety of titles might be a very good idea under a marketing point of view, but overwhelming the readers with a massive amount of unremarkable product doesn’t help.

Secondly, whith some series following a strict and regular monthly publishing pattern, it is more that often difficult for smaller publishing companies to keep up with the rallye-type pace. But then, instead of announcing right from the beginning that the publication of their new series will be irregular, they start up regularly for three to four months, annouce the following chapters at the distributor, and then fall into oblivion for six months, after which they start over with a new set of promises. Why not simply state in advance that their new product will follow a bimonthly or quarterly scheme of publication? Wouldn’t that take a load of stress off of the artists along with their editor’s shoulders? Also, as regularity is one of the keys for success, shouldn’t there be a better assessment of the realization process prior to making politician-type promises to the readers?

Thirdly, although we live in a consumer based economy, collecting comics and reading one fifth or one eighth of a story over the same amount of months might not appeal to every person. Which is why there has been a gradual shift over to the sales of TPB’s, lowering those of the individual issues from the record-braking levels of the end of the eighties. Although this buying pattern will affect new series, it does show a great advantage for the best of what’s currently offered, by extending the title’s shelf life.

Fourthly, some of the publishers out there are having quite a lot of fun offering 42 different covers for a single issue, along with several merchant incentives from a 1:10 delivery basis, to an astonishing 1:1000 ratio! In reality, whom is this publication pattern supposed to help? The readers? Surely not, as they will be paying a cumulative amount of more than 20$ for a single reading, and will quickly get tired of overextending their budget over a single title. The merchants? Probably not either, as they will most than likely get stuck with overstock, which does translate in lost capital. The artists? Well, at first, they might be able to afford that Corvette they’ve been dreaming of, but when the accumulation of overstock will force the merchants to adjust their orders, sales will ultimately slow down to a leveled equilibrium, and then, they might not have as much fun filling up the gas tank!

Finally, with the Previews catalog being close to an inch in thickness, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that discovering a gem amongst all the other publications might be as easy as finding a neadle in a hay stack?

My 2¢ worth…

i think that given his output, the author doesn’t really have room to talk. imo bombqueen is the suck, and i don’t see how comic fans are NOT doing what he’s suggesting. everyone i know who reads comics does all of the things he mentions, talking them up to others, lending them issues, taking risks, going to conventions..hell a bunch of us are even going to donate all of our old or unwanted collections to a local library so that kids can read them for free.

the long and short of it is that he is in no position to analyze what’s wrong with the industry (if indeed there is anything wrong with it). maybe after he’s made some stellar comics and single handedly won over thousands of new customers he’ll have room to judge everyone else, but i seriously doubt that’s ever going to happen. insulting your fan base when they ARE trying hard is not exactly a good way to make friends.

Others have already expressed my opinions but I will state them even if they are redundant. It is NOT the responsibility of customers to sell products. Word of mouth sales happen because we want to share something we feel is fun and good with friends but it is not some kind of duty for us to do so.

If comics creators and publishers cannot create something and publicize it in a manner that makes it catch on with the general public, then it is their efforts and business practices that are at fault.

I spend hundreds of dollars a month on this hobby and as usual instead of being thanked for sticking with it even after all the times it has frustrated and infuriated me and even driven me away, I get one more self important creator acting like we as consumers owe him something.

As for encouraging others to get into this hobby, quite frankly I sometimes wonder why I have stuck with it for so long. There is more material on the shelf right now that makes me consider getting out than bringing new people in. I certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to buy Mr. Robinson’s material.

I gave out comics for halloween, and I recommend that everyone do so. Here’s a guide: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30496#16

Hey, remember when Warren Ellis tried to bully fans into helping comics? Remember how well that worked out for him? OH wait, he’s doing newuniversal, a book featuring concepts he would kick people off his message board for liking five years ago.

What is it with people like you, Robinson? Why don’t you go do something else if we’re so unworthy?

I WAS going to buy your What If? stuff today. But I think I’ll spend that money on something like Transformers: Escalation. I’m sure you don’t want my taint on it.

Err..Yes.

Comics Should Be Good, but so should essays. For all of this Robinson guy’s whining about how narrow the market place is, he seems to miss a crucial fact. Compared to a decade ago diversity is alive and well within the comic industry. \
While the blockbuster titles are still your good old spandex wearing hero jaunts, titles such as Fables, Y the Last Man, or (and I am loathe to acknowledge it) DMZ each seem to do well in terms of readership and sales. We can step backward a few years and find Bone, Strangers in Paradise, etc. etc. etc.
So, I don’t see what the beef about diversity is. Yes, the audience is dominated by fanboys, yes the market is dominated by sterotypical heroes. But, it’s not total domination. The cry that “We’re not diverse enough, and its all your fault!” just dosen’t cut it. Removing it from the essay, high school comix and all, leaves you with yet another “please, do word of mouth advertising” spiel.

I do quite enough of that already, thank you.

I enjoy a couple of comics that aren’t monthly but are consistenly good and present themselves in a manner to where I CAN suggest them to other people. Basically I am fed up with the industry due to an overwhelming amount of material that clashes with my moral and ethical values.

I have a family and work in a professional environment.

The majority of comic material I see is inappropriate for my child due to violence, depictions/comments of a sexual nature – innapropriate and otherwise, language and depictions of “good” characters justifying “non-good” actions. I have a tough enough job filtering these things out of my child’s life as it is without knowingly bringing them into our house.

I love my wife and it would do her a serious injustice to even entertain any of the material that depicts women in the lewd manner entertained in the majority of comics. I could never recommend it to my female friends or the professional women that I work with. I respect them too much and they would lose any respect for me if I were to recommend something that showed women as such. And I don’t want my child having that kind of perception of women.

I would much rather spend my money on something that supports my family and I can share without being embarassed. I know the above doesn’t apply to 100% of the comics published but it really isn’t worthy my time to try and track down the few items that I can read with a good conscience. I did it for years and it’s too much work with little payoff really.

The funny thing about proselytizing, be it a about a god or medium, is that you want to promote what you believe is the true faith not some kind of universalism pan-vanilla this is what we all believe in – sort of. The medium can take a flying leap for all I care if the world doesn’t accept the genre that I love and want people to understand. If they can’t, won’t, resist or just walk on by what more can anyone do.
The posts above mention a host of titles that I have read outside of the genre and honestly as good as they are I couldn’t give two shakes if they never existed as ‘advancing’ the medium. People talk down about the direct market as if it were some ball and chain holding others back, when it saved the kind of comics I like from vanishing from the face of the earth. Someone above mentioned Impressionists vs. Painting all I have to say is whose fault is it if that is when painting stopped being interesting to them and blew off Modernism as departure they don’t care about.
Good art survives because it is recognized for what it does to those who encounter it, ringing doorbells might be good missionary work but you got to be willing to listen to convert.

I’m having a hard time paying attention to this.

He’s going on and on about his filling the niche market with, what I assume, are sub-par books, since I’ve only heard of one, Avigon, in passing. I don’t like people tooting their horns, especially when they’re trying their damndest to act like they’re not.

According to him, I do help the industry. I pimp my favorite books, the ones that are less well known, almost every week I’m in my LCS. Since my LCS is one of the hippest record stores in town, I can try to share the sequential gospel with the scenester kids and my friends that come with me just for the records. I don’t like doing it, but I’ll lend out books to people. I’ve lost a couple (including one of my American Splendor’s and Flight Vol. 2) but I figure it’s a small sacrifice to the gods of the industry.
I take chances on lesser known books. If something catches my eye on the shelf, I’ll pick it up. If it’s good enough, and is in serial, I’ll keep buying. I spread the word with people I know.

Now, if that’s still not helping the industry, then there’s no pleasing some people.

Hey Jimmie–

How DARE you use language that is facetious and playfully sardonic to try and make a point! Don’t you make me think, sir! Don’t you dare!

Tom Beland brought up some good points and ideas. We do need, as comic readers, to let go of the “plastic bag” mentality. I’m trying to do that, but it’s a difficult process. What I need to do is shred a copy of Alpha Flight #51. That’ll help me deal with my collector issues and make the remaining copies of Jim Lee’s first published work that much more collectible. Dang. There I go again.

Personally, I think if self-publishers want more people to buy their books, they need to do more to make the general public aware of their comics. Getting the readers to do word of mouth advertising, IMO, would only increase knowledge of a title within the market. Comic readers tend to discuss comics only with other comic readers.

Just by working the numbers, if .01% of the population of the USA buys a comic, that’s 75,000 copies. That would be considered a tremendous success even by mainstream standards nowadays.

Take a look at Zoom Suit #1. There’s a book that, in spite of the fact that its premise was nothing new, had 17,700 copies sold. Why? The creators did a minimal amount of advertising, had a somewhat simplistic flash animation preview shown in various venues, and increased the interest within the market by having some high-profile creators do some variant covers. Just think of what sales might have been had they been able to do any sort of household advertising.

To use the same example, Zoom Suit #2 only sold 6,000 copies. Why an almost 66% drop? Apart from the issue 1 factor, no further advertising was done. The public, as a whole, is a very forgetful entity. Anyone remember Terry Schiavo? Besides, even if people were completely turned off by the contents of issue 1, there’s a big chance that seeing the ads for issue 2 may cause someone who didn’t pick up #1 to check it out.

BTW, Zoom Suit #3: 4600 copies, and Zoom Suit #4: 3500 copies. These are probably truer sales figures, but they might have benefitted from some additional advertising.

Where do you advertise? Heck, if internet ads worked for Zoom Suit, it can work for anyone. Print ads in trade magazines, such as Wizard, only target people who already read comics. General-interest magazine ads are pricier, and you have to be careful of which titles to use (advertising a superhero book in Cosmopolitan would be a marketing faux pas), but it opens up possibilities for reaching people who might not otherwise have picked up a comic before.

Self-publishing is a tough nut to crack into, but it helps if you can get as many people as possible to know that your book even exists.

Isn’t “Bomb Queen” the one with all the hot lesbian sex?

Honestly–

I think comics COULD do with a few kind words instead of all the excessive bellyaching. I don’t think the sentiment that Jimmie expresses is necessarily a bad thing even if his tone is somewhat confrontational. The ills of the industry are not entirely the fault of the fans, after all–there are numerous contributing factors from the top on down. But often it’s hard to even tell that comic fans even LIKE comic book with all of the bitching and moaning about them. If everybody felt compelled to write two posts about comics they genuinely enjoyed and would recommend for every one they fire off in a fit of rage the comics world may very well be a better place for it.

And like it or not–Jimmie is TRYING. He’s TRYING to do a book that is different from the others on the rack and he’s TRYING to get people to think about how they can help spread the word about how great comics can be. You don’t have to like what he does–but you can at least give him kudos for TRYING.

And I think it’s important to remember–not every comic book is aimed at you. I don’t read Harlequin Romance or seek out cole slaw but I realize that there are people that do and I don’t think they should cease to exist because I don’t like them. If you don’t like Bomb Queen–you don’t have to buy it–but there are people that DO like it quite a bit and I think it’s terrific that it’s there for those that enjoy it.

I’ll take on what Erik Larsen said.

There’s first off a fine line between appreciating someone’s attempt and promoting them. If Robinson’s book is good, then fine. Let the market take its course. This dosen’t necessarily guarantee success. But, this is the market at work. Word of mouth and Book-X wrapped up for grandma will do little to change that. Nor will greatness.
As for the whining and bitching, I agree. However, there’s little to be said in amelioration. Welcome to the internet, a kingdom ruled by pissants and crybabies. We’re just taking part in the national sport.
As for the calls to “share the love,” I do have a problem with that. I will and do tell friends, whom I know to be receptive, about comics I enjoy. But, I will also warn them away from drek. In order for Robinson’s complaints to be addressed, it seems like masses of people would have to become one-dimensional shills for comics in general. I don’t see this happening, nor do I think it should. “Grass-roots,” which Robinson seems to be advocating, succeed or fail on universal appeal. Changing a law,forcing companies to enact environmental reforms, etc. all gain advantage from a broad appreciation of the issue in question. I’m sorry, but whether someone should spend $3.00 on a comic book dosen’t seem to qualify.
This dosen’t mean that things can’t change. I applaud the “Minx” line recently announced by DC. I applaud their earlier attempts at expanding the market (that sci-fi line they had a few years ago for example). I applaud Marvel’s Max line. I even applaud their recent soap opera “crossover.”
But these attempts rely on old marketing principles: mass media visibility, new flavors, new packaging, and so on. And even more importantly, they still succeed and fail on how the market responds. Unleashing the horde, or inviting friends to conventions will not overcome reality.

I agree, Mr. Larsen. The trick is finding out where the audience for your book hangs out and letting them know about your stuff. Mr. Robinson’s just trying to get his word out, which isn’t a bad thing. His intentions were good. Oh, lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood.

Talking about the state of the industry, and things that can be done to help it, is always something I enjoy and am passionate about.

I see this article and thread as simply that, people passionate about comics. And any discussion to benefit the industry, or medium is always appreciated.

Great spark from Jimmie to kick things off, and many many great comments as well.

I agree, we can all do something if we care to.
Fans, retailers, distributors, publishers, and creators.

I,for one, am blameless in this discussion. I, out of my own pocket, have bought TPBs for non-comic reading friends of mine. I bought some Strangers in Paradise TPBs for a couple female friends of mine. They’ve both enjoyed it, and it has become a regular gift from me for birthdays and other holidays. Of those two, only one has been in a comic book store since. She didn’t find anything she liked and left.Should I force her to go back and make her buy more comics?

I have also bought some Sandman paperbacks for another friend of mine, She didn’t like them at all.Should I tie her to a chair and go through the TPB page by page to explain how wrong she is?

I have bought my wife comics in the past, and she has developed a pull list of a handful of titles she likes. I tried to get her into Identity and Infinite Crisis but she, and I say this know that she is one of the most intelligent people I know, was completely baffled by the references to prior continuity in those books. Should I have tried to sit down and explain 60 years of continuity to her? (Actually, I did try. It caused her head to spin more)

Exposing the medium to other people is a great thing, but it alone won’t save the medium. Not every comic appeals to the typical comic fan, we can’t expect every comic to appeal to the non-comic fan. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you cant’t make them drink.

I think this is a better track: A friend of mine’s son is 5. I have been buying him comic related stuff for him for Christmas and birthdays since he was born. Now, as he is starting to read on his own, I bought him subscriptions to the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and Avengers titles. He loves them. He hasn’t been to the comic shop yet to spend more money (mainly because I don’t believe he has an allowance yet) but who knows? He might be one of the people who keeps the hobby going in the decades to come. That is giving the future of comics a chance!

Bill

Okay,
I was a little miffed about the essay and agree wholeheartedly with Macquarrie, Alan Brown, and Erik. I get hyped to talk to people about comics when it comes up and I make a concerted effort to MAKE it come up a lot, especially when I’m talk to people about movies or television. That’s my little trick, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I know when this tactic is not even worth it… I’ll always bring up a book like “Teenagers From Mars” if “Donnie Darko” is being discussed or suggest “100 Bullets” to a hardcore “Sopranos” fan. Come to think of it, whenever HBO comes up, comics eventually get brought up by me (although, generally I end up on Vertigo).

I empathize with the post about how difficult it is to bring in a non-comics reader. Really, how many people really READ A LOT OF BOOKS? Maybe I’m pessimistic of the general current intellectual state of my age group, but I don’t think that number is too high, and getting someone to actually engage in something that demands more of them than passively watching is a worthy challenge. Okay, self-interjection ended…

Whenever someone happens to be at my place and peruses my library I always offer to lend them a trade or two. I’m generally a “wait for the trade” guy and try to do as much as I can to split my purchases half and half between the Big 2 and anything else (although I do consider any DC imprint to be just that, DC). That’s the thing though, there really aren’t that many great indy books (Vertigo, Image, & Dark Horse don’t count) out there in comparison to the “gems” that actually make it out of the Big 2. Sometimes I find them before they rise to the top (“Pop Gun War”), sometimes I get into them late (“Optic Nerve”), but I do my part in purchasing and hype!

The last thing any of us enthusiast NEED is criticism from a guy who makes the crap we should be fighting against. “Bomb Queen” and anything that falls into that pit of mediocrity is exactly what we need to get rid of in this industry. “Bomb Queen” and anything from the camp of comics that are not pre-existing profitable properties that can be translated to other media and exist only because the superhero/fantasy/sci-fi genre exist are a HUGE problem! They are inconsequential and only add fodder to the perception that comics are for fanboys, videogame fans, and sci-fi novel nuts. They are things I hope people don’t think I’m into when I proclaim myself a comics enthusiast and not a fanboy. I see books like “Bomb Queen” and even “Invincible” (Yeah, I said it) as extremely inconsequential to the industry but incredibly damaging to the art form and its potential to gain a wider audience! It’d be easy to write off licensed books and say they shouldn’t exist. In a perfect world they wouldn’t exist, but they DO sell and contribute SOMETHING to the industry. For instance, would Dark Horse even be able to function without the “Star Wars”, “Alien”, “Predator”, “Buffy”, “(Insert Successful Geek Property or Video Game Here)”? Maybe, but on a much smaller scale. I don’t like them and I don’t think they are “helping” the art form at all, but at least they’re offering what they can, albeit indirectly, to the sustenance of books like “Popbot” and “Usagi Yojimbo”…

If Robinson were, say Bendis or any other creator who has done great creator-owned work and become a superhero luminary, I could possibly stomach this essay (but that’s a big maybe)… I guess my point is that if you are a comics fan, have some taste and flaunt as much as you can…

Then again, all I bought last week was “Civil War” #5, so what the hell do I know?

I agree with Macquarrie and others with the similar opinion. If Marvel thinks Civil War is selling good, well, if it was out where the public could actually buy it it would sell at least twice as much.

With superheroes and comic book based movies being something of a rage in Hollywood it makes no sense for the comic book industry to be in such trouble. A comic book stand in most movie theatres timed right before Siderman 3 would sell out as fast as the tickets.

Matt D sez “What I want are well written serialized comics that exist in a huge shared universe, and more to the point, ones which are superhero/sci fi/fantasy/ADVENTURE, with the occasional slice of life.”

I can’t think of a better way to clearly state what my comic needs are. Well done, Matt.

The problem I have regarding my “job” as a comic book fan/shill is finding people who are willing to make time to read. Time, my friends, is the most scarce commodity. I have a wife and 2 year old son, a job, I play hockey, I have a Netflix subscription, I have DVRed myself into oblivion, plus non-picture books, albums (yes I’m old..er than you), beer, sports, chores, blahda blahda…

So much media, so little time. I’m two weeks behind on my weekly comic subs and I LOVE reading comics.

So if I’m not taking the time to take other peoples time to do my part “selling” comics, I guess I should be fired or something.

I am now officially sick of the whining about the “state of the biz/art/hobby”.

Joshua Nelson: “If Robinson were, say Bendis or any other creator who has done great creator-owned work and become a superhero luminary, I could possibly stomach this essay (but that’s a big maybe)… I guess my point is that if you are a comics fan, have some taste and flaunt as much as you can…”

I don’t find this article half as insulting as this comment saying that if I’m fan of Bomb Queen I have no taste.

Taste is relative, as Mr. Larsen stated very nicely in his last paragraph. Bomb Queen is selling very well and the numbers go higher every month. Sales HELP this industry, and personal taste is what leads to such diversity. Let’s try to practice showing some respect for your fellow fan and creator. And that goes for everyone else who feels it’s necessary to confuse Jimmie’s statement with having to like Bomb Queen. I see the point he was trying to make completely sailing over everyone’s heads.

We’re all in this for the same thing. To read and create comics that are enjoyable. Perhaps if we all work together, instead of passing the buck and saying “it’s not MY fault, it’s HIS!” this industry could become stonger. And if some of you think the industry is doing just fine…get your heads out of the sand. It’s not. The cause of why it’s not is neither here nor there. Placing blame is useless. More postivity and less negativity is what’s needed. And Erik is right. I see far more people posting about what they hate than people posting about what they love. It’s just sad.

The problem is that when you’re asking people to go tell non-comics readers about comics, most of the time that means they’re telling them about superheroes. That’s like saying, “Tell everyone about period dramas.” There’s a lot of people who just don’t give a shit. I work at a bookstore and I’m not going to tell a customer who just read the latest Janet Evanovich novel, “Oh you like mysteries? Why not check out this Batman TPB?”

When comics start providing a good selection of titles that aren’t guys in tights punching other guys in tights, it’ll be easier to recommend stuff.

It is getting better. Criminal is a prime example. I would have no problem recommending it (and loaning the first two issues) to any friends/co-workers/neighbors who are into crime or noir films. Any SF fan, I know I can recommend Orbiter to. So those are steps in the right direction. But I can’t recommend product that doesn’t exist. I can’t recommend Bomb Queen to Danielle Steel fan.

well Carpboy you work in a bookstore so recommendations are part of your job even if you don’t like those recommendations for yourself – Someone likes Mystery books why not a Mystery comicbook is your logic and Jimmie Robinson’s.

If I don’t like sit-coms how or why would I talk someone into watching one, am I hurting the medium of TV. What is the mission here? A comic in the hands of every man, woman, boy and girl? Why? Sales? washing away the stigma?

If period dramas are THE thing that will rock the world and people aren’t interested why would you pitch sit-coms?

In the case of Jimmie Robinson the mission is transparent, a marketplace where he can sell his kind of books. Is that going to help win people to period dramas? no. Take your tin cup elsewhere Mr. Robinson.

Sorry Kris,
I meant no disrespect to you with that portion of my closing statement. I was simply stating and justifying my opinion. I’m sure I might like some stuff you may deem to be utter crap. Although, I think the closest thing to something in the vein of “Bomb Queen” (meaning that it only succeeds because of the stranglehold the superhero genre has on the American industry) I have EVER picked up was “Supreme Power”… Sorry, I just have no tolerance for someone telling me and the rest of comics fandom how the to fix the industry when they themselves are contributing in such a large way to breaking it (in my humble perception)… And by no means am I crowning Bendis any major cred. The guy has lost a step, that is for sure. But he remains a fine example of an independent American comics creator becoming an icon of the industry in the Post-Image Boom and Bust era…

First up, I’m a comics retailer who works in a store which encourages people of all ages, both sexes and varied interests.
Secondly, I lend comics to pretty much any non-comics reading friend who’s interested. I also make it a habit to be able to recommend pretty much anything to anyone.

But seriously, Mister Robinson, pot and fucking kettle.

I’m not helping comics? And a guy producing a misogynist superhero tit book is?

Really, I’m sure Bomb Queen is just going great guns with all the women who feel threatened and excluded by the spandex-clad testosterone love-fest that is modern comics. This sort of crap is exactly the reason why most people think that all comics are written by socially retarded 15 year olds who haven’t seen a boob that wasn’t airbrushed in their life.

Write some more ‘Siren’ and maybe I’ll give a rat’s.

Ta.

I couldn’t have said it any better, Pol Rua… Tru Dat!

Actually, maybe I can say it better… Robinson writing this essay but producing the work he does is like Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit saying that no one is “helping” music…

Women who want to read comics probably don’t feel threatened or excluded by Bomb Queen. They’ll probably never see it. There’s plenty of manga on the racks for us now. I had to go google up some images of Bomb Queen, and… well, silly-looking. It’s like a Bond girl outfit. I can’t see anyone taking that as anything but what it is: cheesecake that involves a very goofy costume design.

Do you want to know what kind of sexism in comics is likely to offend? Let’s look at Civil War, which has been heavily marketed to the mainstream as comic book projects go, and is far more insulting and frustrating than a mere comedy/cheesecake book. Everything Tamora Pierce wrote in criticism of Civil War #4 is exactly how Sue Storm’s treatment in that book comes off to a female reader, and it is far more stomach-churning than simply putting a superheroine in a ridiculous costume. Civil War #5 managed to be even more offensive, which I didn’t think possible.

i give robinson credit in that he is probably well intentioned. and like larsen said, jimmie (seems) to be trying to ‘fix’ problems in the industry. but if the comments here are any indication of a concensus than i think that it is readily apparent that he shares a minority view. pushing the peceived problems of an entire industry upon the customers that are responsible for its existence in the first place is highly insulting.

and just what is the problem anyway? that people don’t become super rich rockstars making millions of ideas about chicks in trashy outfits? i’m being facetious here but i think you all get my point. if the major complaint is that artists and writers aren’t making loads of cash than i’m sorry but i’m not very sympathetic. no one chose your career path for you. if your book isn’t doing well in your estimation then accept the blame for it yourself. don’t seek a scapegoat for your own personal failures. especially not the guys who actually go out there and support your ass with their time and money.

or maybe the problem is that “not enough people read comics or appreciate them.” well how much is enough? i think that comics appeal to some people but not all and that’s fine. you don’t hear people who pierce people’s genitals for a living running around screaming about how not enough people do it, and that the people paying him to pierce their genitals are in the wrong for not spending every waking moment of their lives pulling in more customers for them. it’s just ridiculous.

i respect jimmie for going out there, making a book and getting it published. i respect him as a creator and as someone who is attempting to live a dream. but i can’t respect his idea that comic fans are to blame for anything other than the chronic lack of cheese based products in the marketplace during a convention.

Lewis Himelhoch said what I think the crux of this is: “It is NOT the responsibility of customers to sell products.”

True true. And if you want to be just a “customer”, just fork over the bucks and go read your comics in peace.

But if you’re a *fan* of comics — whether that’s of the medium or just of a particular title/character/genre/creator — then yeah, you do have a “duty” (for lack of a better term) to spread the message around, to get others interested in comics, to proclaim to the world how much you love comics! Er, ahem, yeah. Tell your friends, create a fan website, tattoo the character on your ass. Recruit!

Robinson’s point is that there are a lot of comics “fans” out there who aren’t doing the job “fans” are supposed to. (Er, “supposed to”.) People who are really just being “customers”.

Wow, I’m amazed that the thread has gone even farther from what the essay was originally trying to do. The comic book medium is diverse but could be more diverse, the person who equated the whole industry to one genre is completely missing the point. The comic medium can support any genre and go toe to toe with the best of movies and books if more creators and consumers recognized the potential of the medium. But when people see the whiny, negative, childish nature which is ably displayed in this thread it is no wonder that he wrote this essay. The comic book format is a medium, not a hobby for a bunch of self-conscious messageboard hounds like the people that flooded this thread. I said earlier and I will say it again; Pathetic.

I don’t know why I shouldn’t say this again:

The medium is not the same as the industry. Stop talking about it as if it were!

As for “the industry”…I don’t even know what that means. Who is this “industry”? Are Archie Digests part of it? Is it, simply, the Local Comic Shop’s proprietor? Is it Marvel and DC and Image? Fantagraphics? Calvin and Hobbes? These things aren’t all the same thing, you know. I wouldn’t support all of these equally just because the bad parts are lumping themselves in with the good as “industry”. And in fact, though the medium will never lose me, the industry could, and pretty easily too. Everybody talks about the shrinking market, but do you know who it is that’s doing the shrinking? It’s us. More people walk away from the “industry” every year, and those of us who haven’t yet walked away should go out and find replacements for them?

Tintin and Peanuts are doing just fine, you know.

To Jim, #62: wow, I really reject that definition.

To T.: you’re so right! Comics a hobby? Ha, ha, what pathetic losers people are! Can’t wait for you to drop in another twenty comments on to remind them all of their worthlessness again. What fun it’ll be! How we’ll laugh!

Seriously, T., have you considered trying to be a bit more above all this?

Some very interesting points have been raised here.

Not in the essay, mind you. I found that to be a sanctimonious rant against a client base that has refused to make the man a superstar in the industry in which he works. I have yet to read any of his work, but the images of his title character I’ve seen from his website and his attitude have definitely turned me off.

But I’ve read the comments and have found that there have been many that are provocative without being insulting and merit further discussion.

Wayne said:
This week, have you spent *half* the energy in talking to non-comic people about our beloved industry as you have in bitching about the editorial above?

And my answer to that is no, I haven’t. My friends and coworkers are not into comics any more than I am into Grey’s Anatomy, the NBA, or the current grades of their school-age children. There are these wonderful little differences in our interests that allow us to blossom in society and wonderful and unique snowflakes, and I expect that would I be willing to inflict dirges on my personal hobbies on those who share them not, then I would in turn be expected to politely and actively engage them in discussion over the current merits of the Detroit Pistons or McDreamy’s next faux-pas. The reason we are friends is because we know well enough not to willingly bore each other, and instead reserve our conversations to common interests.

Squashua said:
I gave out comics for Halloween, and I recommend that everyone do so.

I do so as well. Comic books are way cooler than candy, and will last the costumed tykes far longer than the week or so it will take them to devour the mountains of collected taffy. (Though my sister always did have a sickening knack of making her candy last. It would drive me mad with jealousy when she would produce a lollipop in January from her very well hidden stash.) I had purchaced huge stacks of the low-cost promotional issues from a couple of summers ago (the 9cent FF issue, the 10cent Batman) and doled them out for a couple of years now. The kids seem excited enough to get a comic, so it seems to all work out.

Kids should get comics. I liked getting comics as a kid.

Erik Larsen said:
But often it’s hard to even tell that comic fans even LIKE comic book with all of the bitching and moaning about them. If everybody felt compelled to write two posts about comics they genuinely enjoyed and would recommend for every one they fire off in a fit of rage the comics world may very well be a better place for it.

I like reading Erik’s posts at CBR. I read Savage Dragon every month too. I think he’s got a passion for comics that is nearly unmatched in the industry, and that’s a great and special gift to see a man who has been a success at every level of the process of creating comics like he has.

But god damn if this sentiment doesn’t raise the ire in me. If a client spends money on a product and feels satisfied with the purchase, then the act of commerce is complete and successful. I usually only feel the need to voice my opinion if I feel there was something either exceptional about the product or if I feel that as a consumer, I have been left unfulfilled.

Think of it in terms of another product. For example, a head of lettuce. I purchase a head of lettuce at the super-market and go home with it. I wash it, rip it apart, and put some in a sandwich. Should the lettuce prove to be the tasty and fresh lettuce I had expected it to be, I will not feel compelled to tell my neighbor about it, nor would I send a letter of thanks to the grocer for offering such adequate produce. I might should this lettuce prove to be the best lettuce I’ve had over the past four years, but that would be a rare occurance for lettuce to move me so. Should the lettuce be soggy, maybe tasting of rot ever so slightly, then I would be inclined to respond to the ever-asked “How are you?” with the more note-worthy “Not so good. I just had bad lettuce from the super-market on Main street and I don’t feel well.”

Every time a hear a creator complain about the negative being bandied about this internet of ours, it seems to me that they are less concerned about what is being said about the comics and more about the perceived threat facing them by a consumer who was so moved to react negatively towards something they created. I understand that you can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but if you are worried that there are so many people out there unhappy with your product, then you may want to consider the whys of it all.

That is all I have to say for now.

plok, I’m not going to argue with you. If you scrolled through the posts, you have posted in this thread more than me. I will continue to say how pathetic the people in the thread are, because they treat the comic medium like it is here for their self-gratification. That is a disservice to comics and creators and the people out there who really care about comics and respect the potential inherent in the format. I don’t see how I am coming off as high and mighty when I am on this board taking a stand against the disgusting, jaded, apathy that permeates this thread by a bunch of people that skim read the article then started their anti-creator routine.

make comics cost at most 50 cents and go back (but not necessarily abandon the direct market) to distributing it where it is readily accessible. expand the target audience to include kids.

I hope you’ll pardon me for arguing a little with you, T.: because again, it isn’t the medium being discussed here, but the so-called industry, as though it and the medium were one. I have indeed read the article carefully, and it muddles up these two categories to the point where what’s being suggested is clearly not “give yourself over to the possibilities of the art form” but “expand the market, or comics will die.” But comics won’t die.

How much money you spend doesn’t fulfill your support of the medium. Sure, buying books keeps stores open and bills paid, but if we look to that as a barometer of industry health then I’m sorry we’ve already failed. The pulse of our beloved medium must beat higher than simple sales figures.

Why this confusion? He’s quite right in saying that how much money you spend doesn’t “fulfill your support of the medium”, because your support of the medium doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with how much money you spend on undifferentiated product, at all…however, we most definitely can look to sales as a barometer of industry health, and why shouldn’t we? How else are we even to tell anything about this health, but through sales?

And then he’s right again: the pulse of our beloved medium certainly must “beat higher” than sales figures. I agree. Trying to jack up sales with sensationalized lowest common denominators in the short term only floods the market with unimaginative, interchangeable crap, which in the long term surely contributes to the marginalization of comics as an art form. But! That only applies to the practices of DC and Marvel and Image, doesn’t it? Fantagraphics doesn’t make this mistake in their publishing and sales activities, and outside North America does the problem really even crop up at all? Archie is definitely childish, but then again Archie’s always been there, and it’s explicitly intended to be children’s literature, so even if Archie makes some people think “comics in general = kid stuff just like Archie”, that isn’t really Archie’s fault, and anyway I believe it can still something of a gateway to “adult” comics.

Forgive the long-windedness. My point is, the interests of the “industry” and the interests of the artistry don’t always coincide, and I think it’s foolish to say that all we need are more generic comics buyers, to realize the medium’s potential. In fact, isn’t that back-to-front? If Robinson had made the focus of his essay an appeal to “buy better stuff!” (or even if he’d assigned blame by saying “Marvel/DC/Image all suck!”), he would’ve probably been dogpiled on by a hundred people alternately accusing him of elitism and hypocrisy, but if his concern is truly for the art form, and not for sales volume, he would’ve been better off saying that anyway.

Except that as far as I can tell, that isn’t at all what he meant to say. Because I do not interpret his plea for comic fans to “support the medium” as meaning “buy only the best, so creators will be spurred on to excellence”, but as meaning “make more room for everything, all comics, every comic, so that more money can be made”. And obviously I would like to see creators and store owners making more money; that’d be great. But I don’t believe it’ll happen, and for myself, creating the diversity in the marketplace that would support both Bomb Queen and…I haven’t read Age Of Bronze, so let’s say Epicurus The Sage…just isn’t a priority, and in fact this “diversity” strikes me as a misplaced value, and a false choice. No offence intended to the creator, but I’d be happier if Bomb Queen readers all switched over to buying Epicurus. That would be diversity.

Thanks for your indulgence, T. I flatter myself by thinking that if you accept “medium” as not being synonymous with “industry”, then all this isn’t really so argumentative at all. But of course this kind of self-flattery usually gets me nowhere…

shut up bomb queen guy. and stay off the internet, that’s how pointless, long-ass rants like these happen. Quit trying to be Mr. Comics Crusader and work on your book. Jackoff

I will continue to say how pathetic the people in the thread are, because they treat the comic medium like it is here for their self-gratification.

That is what it’s here for. That’s what all forms of entertainment are there for: To gratify and entertain the audience.

Way to pull a Kramer, little Jimmie.

Whatta tool.

There’s been some discussion about the distinction between comics as a medium and comics as an industry, but the main roadblock to wider acceptance of comics is the intractable exclusivity that permeates the mindset of the comic book culture.

Robinson and his supporters seem to be espousing a “big tent” philosophy, but that philosophy is undermined when they insist that it’s not enough for people to visit the tent, buy the wares for sale in the tent, and be on their way. They want them to stay in the tent, live in the tent, and join the tent’s community. And if they aren’t willing to do that, then let them be gone. They’re not worthy. Now, think what would happen if such an uncompromising purity doctrine was applied to the film industry. Without the support of the vast majority of film goers who see movies as nothing more than diverting entertainment (as opposed to a calling or devotion) then it’s pretty damn unlikely that Hollywood studios would have raked in the kinds of profits needed to make $100+ million movies out of Batman, Spider-Man, or Lord of the Rings.

Odds are that more people who don’t read comic books would be more willing to at least try it if they thought they could do so simply on a consumer level: buy it, read it, like it (or not), put it down, and get on with their lives. But as many here (starting with Mr. Robinson) have said: that’s not good enough. There’s a perception of comic book fans among noncomics readers as some kind of rabid cult, a group of people with a deep emotional connection to these little pieces of paper with colored ink that they simply cannot understand and want no part of. In their eyes comic fandom is like some kind of gauntlet that has to be run in order to get to the books. Needless to say, there’s more than a little truth to that perception.

Perhaps more people outside the culture would be willing to try comics, if those inside the culture didn’t seem to try so hard to make them feel like outsiders.

Ok,
here’s my two cents……..it is without a doubt that this is all comics fault. I did my part, i didn’t buy the crap books with all the “X” in the titles. I didn’t buy all the multi-cover issues. I bought what i liked, period.
But marketing be damned, they had to make all the heroes the same, bigger better “X”-overs…………they milked the cow and now it is dry. Or as they say in the mutant books ….evolution. So manga’s taking over, gotta love darwinism. So good bye Mr. Robinson and take bomb queen with you.

The supreme irony is that Bomb Queen is soft-core porn with a nearly-naked heroine.

Oh, yeah, it would be a REALLY good idea to go around showing that to all our friends and relatives and demanding they read it. ;^}

What a dick.

I think I know what Jimmie meant by this article, but I think he should not have talked down to the majority of us. What probably should have been written was something like this, “Thanks for all the help you do to promote the comics industry, but so much more needs to be done”.

I admit helping to promote comics starts at every level not just with you and I the consumer. The phase “comics are just for kids” came up in an earlier post and TV shows like “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” brought out all the stereotypes that exist with us Fanboys. Yes so does Comic Book Guy on The Simpson’s, but everything is fair game on that show.

We may not share the same amount of responsibility, but there are things that can be done and we who are posting on this Forum are doing our part. I don’t think that Jimmie’s statements are directed toward us, per say, but rather to those whom we know that don’t do a darn thing.
Dare I compare it to giving blood? Perhaps, that’s a bit extreme. After all comics is not a charitable organization, but entertainment.

T said: “I will continue to say how pathetic the people in the thread are, because they treat the comic medium like it is here for their self-gratification.”

Um…that’s because it is. It’s like any other artistic medium–the audience is there because it gratifies them on some emotional level, usually through a cathartic emotional release. Your comment seems to imply that we should buy, and in fact support and endorse, comics we dislike because we have a duty to the medium beyond self-gratification. If this isn’t what you meant, could you perhaps clarify? Because that’s an assertion that’s absurd on the face of it.

Oh, and in response to an earlier comment of yours, while I’m here…see the name in the upper left-hand corner? That’s my real name. I’m in the phone book. Bloomington, MN, residential, and I’d give out my email if we weren’t in the midst of a protracted transfer from Time/Warner to Comcast (they bought our neighborhood. It’s creepy.) I wouldn’t spout off to Mr. Robinson anything I wouldn’t say to his face, and I ain’t no “anonymous messageboard thug”, thenkyewverymuch, “T”…if that is your real name. :)

John Seavey said: “Um…that’s because (the comic medium) is. It’s like any other artistic medium–the audience is there because it gratifies them on some emotional level, usually through a cathartic emotional release. Your comment seems to imply that we should buy, and in fact support and endorse, comics we dislike because we have a duty to the medium beyond self-gratification.”

Damn skippy.

That’s why the column got me so very riled up to begin with. I feel that my return on money spent on comics is adequate to the product recieved. I am not paid in any other way by creators or publishers to act as some ground roots marketing machine for them. The DO pay people to market for them. If Jimmie Robertson is so concerned with the way his “artform” is being presented, he shouldn’t come to the clientele to bitch and moan. That’s inappropriate.

I also agree with John that I do not like being referred to as a nameless thug by someone so cleverly going by the moniker “T”. I am neither anonymous nor a thug. I also did not “skim read the article” nor do I express “apathy” by actually engaging in discussion with fellow fans on a site designed to do just that.

I do not have an anti-creator routine. I say that should a creator want to engage me in the marketing of his product, then it is his responsability to a)pay me to do so, or b)provide a product I would find compelling enough to share. Until either of these criteria are met, Jimmie Robertson can make all the demands he’d like, for they will move me not into helping him. I find his editorial to be gauling and inapropriate. I cannot think of any other industry in which a professional of that industry accused their clientele of not selling their product for them in such a vitriolic way. Imagine getting a letter from your car company’s president that read:

“Dear client,

We are aware you bought a Ford. But that is not enough. You must tell you family and friends to buy a Ford as well. You buying a Ford does nothing for us. You should do more to make us more popular.

You are not helping.
Company CEO”

How is this rant against his client base any different?

I like the “Ford letter” example, and I have to agree: if “the industry” is floundering, blame can only be laid at the feet of creators and publishers. And maybe Diamond, too. ;)

Right on, Scott! You’ve compelled me to extrapolate on exactly what this essay is like. Remember when Bush asked the troops in Iraq to “pray for him” a couple years ago (I’m not making this up)? Well, those who DID indulge this lunacy were not taken at their word. In fact, they were ordered to sign an affidavit as proof of their prayer for George W. It’s way off the original subject, I know, but it definitely puts this kind of ridiculousness in a more global perspective. Geez, would I really be as rabid about beating how insulting this essay is into the ground if it were written by someone like Stan Sakai or David Lapham? Yes I would, but those guys would never pull some crass sh*t like this. I really hope Jimmie’s a Republican…

Maybe everyone’s upset because, deep down, they know he’s making some valid points? Whether you like “Bomb Queen” or not is irrelevant. Take a look at the Diamond “Top 10″ comics. How many of them will be held up as superior forms of the medium ten years from now? Here’s the top ten from October (the closest I could find):

1 219.14 JUL061986 NEW AVENGERS #24 CW $2.99 MAR
2 173.99 AUG060186 52 WEEK #22 $2.50 DC
3 172.93 AUG060187 52 WEEK #23 $2.50 DC
4 172.05 AUG060188 52 WEEK #24 $2.50 DC
5 170.73 JUL061956 CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE #7 (Of 11) $2.99 MAR
6 170.32 AUG060189 52 WEEK #25 $2.50 DC
7 170.11 AUG062081 WOLVERINE #47 CW $2.99 MAR
8 166.31 AUG060210 JUSTICE #8 (Of 12) $3.50 DC
9 165.42 JUL068344/AUG062082 WOLVERINE ORIGINS #7* $2.99 MAR
10 164.48 JUL068352-3/AUG062015 ULTIMATE POWER #1 (Of 9)* $2.99 MAR

Sure, some are disposable, fun reads, but deep down it’s a pile of crap. No one will give a turd about these once they’ve found out “what happens” in them; it’s lowbrow entertainment. No one goes back to watch old episodes of “General Hospital” for the same reason. It’s mindless, fun entertainment… but it ain’t high art.

If you’re interested in elevating comics as an art form (and if you aren’t interested, that’s fine, too), we’ve got to support some greater comics than these turds. To use your example, Lapham’s “Stray Bullets” is a phenomenal comic, but hasn’t been produced in months, if not a year. I can only imagine it’s because it doesn’t sell. I noticed that Lapham has been churning out his fair share of Marvel and DC pablum recently.

You can criticize Robinson for expecting too much of the average comics fan, but is that really a criticism of him…. or of yourself?

The growth of comics as an artform (even more so than the growth of comics as an industry) is the responsibility of the artists, not the audience.

Glancing through most of these posts, it just seems so many people miss the whole point of what they are calling a *rant*.
There seems to be a lot of focus on Jimmie Robinson’s books and whatnot. What he personally produces/publishes really has nothing to do with the whole thing. Whether you like the product or not, it is still a product. It is part of the whole of the offerings of the industry. And what is out there is being produced because there is currently some market for it. The market may not be you or your next door neighbor, but there is someone out there who likes it because it is being purchased.
The point that seems to be flying over a lot of people’s heads is that the market as a whole is something of a snake eating its own tale. More and more material gets published, but the supply manages to exceed demand because the consumer base is not growning, so some new books consume other books and then are in turn consumed by other offerings. And the cycle continues.
The consumer market will continue to diminish as the current fan bases ages and dies if there isn’t enough effort made to grow the fan base.
THAT is the message.
And for those who say it isn’t your job to grow the fan base, you’re right. But at the same time, if you don’t make some sort of effort to try and do something to bring more fans into the market, then you have no one to blame when one of the books you like gets consumed by other books. Fans all the time decry the end of a series they really like. But the sales can’t support it. You can yell and scream all you want about the publishers not putting out a quality product (and that may be a valid arguement in some cases), but more often than not a book is going to fail because readers with limited funds are going to be pulled to the new shiny thing. There isn’t a lot new money flowing into the shops. When you have a big blocksbuster project like Civil War or Infinite Crisis (especially with all the tie-ins), those books are canabilizing other books. And some of those books may very well fail if the readers don’t come back to them.
Jimmie Robinson isn’t screaming for everyone to go sell his books for him. Jimmie is is trying to light a fire to broaden the consumer base for the entire industry. It needs new blood. If you’re not happy about seeing some of your favorite books getting the axe (and if it hasn’t happened to one of your favorites yet, don’t worry, it will eventually), then you have the opportunity to try and do something about it. If you don’t want to, then fine. But don’t go crying about it when you read the news that The Uncanny Teen Super Force is getting cancelled and that happens to be your favorite title.

And for those of you who were taking personal offense to the very general claim that ‘you are not doing enough to help comics’ by spouting off with all the things that you do … relax. Jimmie wasn’t pointing to every single individual person and saying EVERYONE who reads this isn’t doing enough. It was a generic comment. It potentially captures a majority of comic readers, but not EVERY single one. If you’re already doing some signicant things to try and get more people aware of what comics have to offer, then congratulations. Nice job. Keep it up.

Hate to break it to you, Hutch, but Marvel and DC were quite busy cancelling titles I liked back when their market was ten times what it is now. Empty, meet threat.

The consumer market will continue to diminish as the current fan bases ages and dies if there isn’t enough effort made to grow the fan base.

Moreover, who will dig their graves for them? I mean I ask you.

The question was asked:
This week, have you spent *half* the energy in talking to non-comic people about our beloved industry as you have in bitching about the editorial above?

Answer: Heck no. Over the last year or so, my comics buying has dwindled from an average of 8-10 comics per week to an average of 1-3. If I spent my time and energy talking to non-comic people about comics, it would be mostly to express how dissatisfied and bored I have become with most of the current product, how much I hated dreck like “Countdown to Infinite Identity Crisis”, how angry I am at the screwing that Winick is giving the Marvel Family. I might also mention that I still like Birds of Prey and Astro City, and that I still trust Gail Simone, Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid to tell an interesting story.

If you want me to be an excited evangelist for comics, give me something to get excited about. Here’s your hint: Three letters. F-U-N. Can we have some, please?

>>How many of them will be held up as superior forms of the medium ten years
>>from now? Here’s the top ten from October (the closest I could find):
…snip…
>>Sure, some are disposable, fun reads, but deep down it’s a pile of crap

And this is SO amazingly different from the top ten tv shows

1. Desperate Housewives
2. CSI: Miami
2. Grey’s Anatomy
4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
5. NCIS
5. Deal or No Deal
7. Criminal Minds
8. Heroes
9. CSI: NY
10. Sunday Night Football

and the top ten movies
1 Happy Feet
2 Casino Royale
3 Deja Vu
4 Deck the Halls
5 Borat
6 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (not reviewed)
7 Flushed Away
8 Stranger Than Fiction
9 Bobby
10 The Fountain

It’s called popular culture, you elitist tool. No…the cream rarely rises to the top. It doesn’t mean nothing good is being created. It just means that “superior forms of the medium” aren’t a regular occurance, and aren’t always top sellers.

Wow, what a phenomenally obnoxious post.

Between the relentless self-promotion and continual dismissal of informed comic book fans, this sounds like it should be running on Fox News.

Not to mention that Bomb Queen is a terrible, awful comic.

Ambushbug, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for backing me up.

-Sloofus

For the record, I agree with DJ Sloofus and Ambushbug.

At first, I thought this was going to be an article on how to help my comics from fading, getting moldy, and all that crap. Imagine my surprise when the author of Bomb Queen (!) then writes a diatribe about my responsibility to evangelize what I read out of a sense of duty to a medium. This has to rank as both the goofiest thing I’ve read on the internet all week.

For the record, consumers talk about stories they really enjoyed, regardless of medium. They especially like to discuss “watercooler moments”. So, become a story teller who uses comics as a medium, not a comic book writer.

Second, consumers require consistency. Lost lost a lot of viewers due to poor scheduling. But nearly every comic has even worse scheduling than Lost, but wonder why the hell they have readship woes. The answer is simple: if you want to be serialized for release, use multiple artists (and possible writers), just like TV does for a consistent schedule; if you want something more cohesive, use a single artist/writer team, but only release in trade, like a movie.

Finally, and Mr. Bomb Queen creator should pay particular attention here: if you want to have a signifigant portion of the female population read your work, draw them half naked with 80lbs boobs.

–KeithBa

I think that it’s the industry’s responsibility to put a product out there that people like, with compelling stories that actually realize a character’s potential. This is why even mainstream titles that were once popular die out, why company wide crossover “events” become irrelevant and repetitive, and ultimately why even fanboys like myself stop buying comic books. If you don’t have strong writing and at least marginally likable characters (Ultimate Cable?), it won’t matter if you have a cover drawn by Michelangelo himself.

I read Robinson’s recent work in What If?, and although I thought it was an interesting concept, I didn’t buy it because I didn’t like the portrayal of the other heroes. They seemed like weaker, both physically and conceptually, incarnations of themselves. And honestly, the last thing comics need is more Wolverine.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 1, 2006 at 7:38 pm

“But, I get worried when the entire industry latches to Bomb Queen like the new messiah. The court jester shouldn’t be King, or Queen.”

I’d worry too dude, but it never happened.

Again, it never happened.

Really, it didn’t.

Some people liked it, some people didn’t (personally, I read a page in the shop, laughed, and put it back down. Funny, but not somthing I’d buy).
However, no one was calling it the new messiah. Maybe some people on your message board, but no one else. You’re the only person I’ve heard ever mention it in the same breath as Age Of Bronze.

As for fans owing more than the cost… no, no they don’t.
It’s called capitalism.
You want more people buying comics?
Then make better ones.
Morrison, Moore and Gaiman can sell in the millions – why not you?
Maybe as a creator, you’re not giving enough in exchange for the money you charge.
Stop blaming the fans for your professional failings.

Oh, and one last time, and everyone who thinks American comics are significant to the world – they make up less than 5% of the worlds comic book sales.
If Europe, Japan and South America can have raging industries – without people having to spread the word on behalf of cheap ass creators/companies that won’t spring for a some ads (gotta spend money to make money) – then is it really the fans fault that America can’t?

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 1, 2006 at 7:44 pm

Tom Beland:”When most comic buyers (and I was like this up until a few years ago) pick up their books, they go into the plastic bags and into the box. So, when a particular book is recommended to someone, that person has to usually go the shop and get it themself. Not many non-comic readers feel comfortable going into a comic shop.”

Why would you assume that every comic shop is is like yours and that every fan puts their books in plastic bags in boxes and doesn’t lend them out?

All I know is I’ve had no problem getting people who read “real books” to try comics.

Luckily, the industry has produced enough quality material, across a broad spectrum of genres, that there’s bound to be something out there for anyone. Admittedly, I’ve rarely shared superhero comics with non-readers (aside from a few issues of Starman), but superheroes make up just one corner of the comics universe (okay, maybe a few corners).

And, for whatever reason, I’ve always been flattered when people tell me a book I wrote appealed to their non-comic reading girlfriend, sister, father, brother or friend. For one thing, it means they’re sharing the love.

P.S. – Is there some drug people take before posting on message boards that causes them to foam at the mouth and piss on everyone else’s comments and thoughts?

All I know is I’ve had no problem getting people who read “real books” to try comics.

I want to second this. If I can get my mom, who threatened to throw away my funnybooks for years, to read Storm, Black Panther, Fables, Black Widow, and Kabuki, three books that are in very, very different genres, you can get anyone to read anything. The trick is gauging likes and dislikes before you go shoving things into people’s faces.

I also don’t see how being asked to evangelize a little is too much to ask. Telling people about cool books makes great watercooler conversation, in my mind. Sure, I paid the 2.99 for the printed book and that’s where my obligation stops. But, I think that if the creator gave me a fun ride, it isn’t too much trouble to tell other people about it.

A lot of people have this weird conception that comics are hated by mainstream America and complain about “Biff, Bam, Pow” style headlines. Know how to fix that? Get mainstream America reading comics like they used to.

I also don’t see how being asked to evangelize a little is too much to ask.

Being asked to do so isn’t too much. Being told to is. Being scolded and accused of not doing enough is obnoxious and rude. Being told that by a soft-core pornographer with delusions of competence is beyond the pale.

The ad hominem attacks against Mr. Robinson need to stop. Who the man is and what he writes isn’t relevant to his argument (or shouldn’t be). How well or poorly he writes his comics is not relevant. Many great comics were written by terrible, awful men I would not want to meet in a dark alley.

What is relevant is that his view, which is clearly shared by several other professionals in the industry who commented, is fundamentally flawed. These professionals must understand that the rabid, insular fans they hear most loudly and probably most incessantly are little more than a vocal minority. There is a very large world outside of online fandom that needs to be witnessed.

It is easy to get people who read book to read comics; just hand them something they like. The “problem” for many creators is that often, people do not like comics in the “traditional” comics genres, or are only interested in reading the very best examples of those genres, and so do not become monthly consumers. This is bad for creators who, I suppose, are mostly interested in writing monthly comics.

But the fact of the matter is, unless you’ve got money to lose on your book, comics is a business. Any businessperson with a lick of sense knows that when you create a product that doesn’t sell, you change your operation until you’re producing something that doesn’t sell. It isn’t the audience’s responsibility to change their tastes and buying habits to conform to your desires as a creator.

I’m sure that’s a hard thing to hear if you’ve spent your entire life wanting nothing more than to write a comic book that comes out every month and delights fans like yourselves, but I firmly believe it’s true. The fans are changing; the industry needs to change with them and learn how to cater to readers with more diverse interests and less obsessive personalities.

My dad read Kingdom Come and Marvels when I got the TPBs; he loved the Alex Ross art. Both of my parents devoured my Bone omnibus. My cousins sneak my collections of Simpsons comics off the shelves when they visit. The problem isn’t getting people to try to comics. It’s that the majority of what the industry puts out is conforming to profoundly dated ideas of what comic books should be.

Lynxara said: “The ad hominem attacks against Mr. Robinson need to stop. Who the man is and what he writes isn’t relevant to his argument (or shouldn’t be). How well or poorly he writes his comics is not relevant.”

Jimmie Robertson said: “You see I work with the “healthy industry” concept. I create books that fill a niche, or exploit existing trends. I self-published CYBERZONE when I didn’t see enough black female leads. I started at Image with AMANDA & GUNN because I didn’t see enough sci-fi. I switched to CODE BLUE when I didn’t see anything to match TV’s ER hospital drama. I changed to all-ages with EVIL & MALICE when not enough kid books were around. I sought out AVIGON back before manga was burning the sales charts. Nowadays, I’m working on BOMB QUEEN, which pokes fun at one aspect of the industry: Superheroes.”

I would argue that it is relevant when a large portion of his editorial focussed on the so-called “Healthy industry” concept and how he pimps out his resume in order to influence reader opinion.

I think it’s perfectly valid to criticized his work when he was the one who brought it up to validate his point.

Lynxara said: “The ad hominem attacks against Mr. Robinson need to stop. Who the man is and what he writes isn’t relevant to his argument (or shouldn’t be). How well or poorly he writes his comics is not relevant.”

Yeah, it is relevant. He cited himself as an example of what’s healthy about the comics industry, when his latest project stands as an example of everything that’s embarrassing, infantile, vulgar, sexist and destructive toward the industry.

Even if he had a valid point, which I believe he doesn’t, he is absolutely the wrong guy to try to make it, and the fact that he goes about it in about the most obnoxious and offensive way possible just invites ad hominem attacks.

I have a few feelings about this thread, despite coming it 19 days after the effective end of the discussion. I read this column after clicking a hyperlink in another article and then I read a lot, if not all, of the comments made.

I want to start by saying that I really think Mr. Robinson’s article is based on a faulty premise. The burden of marketing a product should be borne by the marketer. This, in my opinion, comes in two stages: marketing to the retailer and marketing to the endpoint user. The publisher needs to convince retailers there will be a market and to convince readers to provide that market. This is done through promotion and advertising. ‘Word of mouth’ advertising will happen when someone likes a product enough to speak up for it, but word of mouth advertising is not the /right/ of either the publisher or the retailer.

I’ve seen Diamond mentioned more than a few times, but Diamond is a very dicy issue. Yes, Diamond’s monopoly power has become such that by deciding whether or not to distribute a book Diamond exerts undue influence on publishers by controlling what does or doesn’t get to stores. I know people in the indie market, people whose books I would read and buy, whose books don’t get into stores because Diamond won’t distribute them because they aren’t a good enough risk. Now, not every one of these books is the next Usagi Yojimbo or the next X-Men or the next Rex Mundi. Not every one of these books would necessary be a big cult book, a huge popular hit, or a huge critical hit. But if another distributor with the ability to get books into 80+% of the stores in the country existed, one or more of these books might have been a cult hit or critical smash by now.

The trouble is that retailers /like/ being able to open Diamond’s catalog and see /every/ (or nearly every, there are a few smaller distributors with specific small markets but none can get books into even half the direct market stores in the country) book they might want to sell or that their customers want to buy. They /trust/ Diamond to get product to them on schedule. Younger fans might not remember this, but shipping schedule used to be a major problem back in the days of multiple distributors. It was the shipping schedule issue that led Marvel to cancel their contract with Diamond’s major competitor (actually, at the time, Diamond was the other distributor’s major competitor and the other distributor was ‘the big guy’) and attempt to distribute their books themselves. Their miserable failure at this and subsequent signing with Diamond was what handed Diamond the beginning of their current monopoly: they now distributed for both of the Big 2 instead of just being ‘DC’s distributor’, the niche they occupied before.

Retailers and publishers in the modern direct market /depend/ on Diamond. If Diamond went out of business tomorrow, the direct market would collapse. Like it or not, at this point in time, if the direct market collapsed that would be the end of the American comic book industry. Manga would survive, and an argument can be made that Marvel and/or DC would somehow adapt. But Image, Dark Horse, and the majority of non-manga indie publishers? History. Gone. The American comic book industry, outside of the Big 2, wouldn’t exist without Diamond right now.

It’s a two-edged sword. Diamond hurts the market but the market is dependent on Diamond and the industry is currently dependent on Diamond. There’s no easy or quick solution. Bookstore expansion, industry expansion into the modern day equivalent of ‘newstsands’ (Newsboy Books and Periodicals comes to mind, they are a bookstore specializing in monthly magazines and weekly newspapers, this seems the perfect place to sell some comics), and perhaps the revival of the direct-mail subscription (remember when you actually got your ‘subscriptions’ from the publisher instead of the comic book store?) market all deserve attention. New direct market distributors are needed. But if Diamond is too badly damaged by this, then the industry will be badly damaged as a result.

Which brings me to some of the other comments made, the rather intelligent post by Mr. Larsen and the equally intelligent responses by Mr. MacIver.

I think that the point Mr. Larsen was making is that internet fandom has a tendency to devolve to the lowest common denominator in a /very/ unattractive manner. Realistically, none of us really rise above this /all/ the time. I pride myself on being a rationalist and I have gotten drawn into ‘Product X really sucks’ arguments myself. This is human nature.

That said, internet comics fandom is awash in ‘I like this, and this sucks. If you like this, you’re cool, if you don’t like this you suck too. If you think this sucks, you’re cool, if you don’t think it sucks then you suck too.’Some of this is particularly ugly, such as the particularly vicious controveries regarding Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther earlier this year. Both sides, both the people who preferred the Christopher Priest series or the original Kirby character and Mr. Hudlin and his fans, have descended to particularly disgusting race-baiting tactics. This isn’t good for anyone, makes both sides look small and ugly, and serves no purpose but negativity. Then there’s relatively harmless, if childish, blowing off of steam about whether turning ‘Squadron Supreme’ from a MAX title to a Marvel title will ruin the book with the strongly iterated opinion that without the word ‘fuck’ and titty shots the book will suck. Or the hotly contested debate over whether ‘The Ultimates’ is the best Marvel comic ever and really cool or just really offensive to fans of the ‘real’ Marvel characters. Which sometimes leads to valuable discussions of ideas and themes, and sometimes devolves into petty name calling.

That large preamble made, I think that Mr. Larsen was saying that there are five to twenty (depending on the bulletin board) negative posts in the above veins for every positive post saying ‘I like this, give it a try.’ I think he makes a very valuable argument in saying that if we talked more about what we liked online instead of ranting about what we hate it would be better and we’d be happier. And I agree.

I also agree with Mr. MacIver that we aren’t ‘obligated’ to do this and that it’s human nature to bitch about what we didn’t like more strongly than to praise what we did like. This is completely true. But I have another argument for that. Sometimes we really need to make more of an effort to transcend basic human nature. Not because we’re obligated too, but because it would make other people (and, I’d argue, ourselves) ultimately feel better to see postivity on online boards rather than negativity. Negativity and ugly online fights lead to anger and hurt feelings on all sides and everyone feels bad. Positivity allows everyone to feel they are giving something to and gaining something from discussions.

All of this is my opinion, and your mileage may vary. It’s true. And just in case my wordiness has obfuscated it when I said it back at the beginning, I agree that creators shouldn’t talk about the ‘obligations’ of fans and expect fans to kiss them on the mouth and love them forever more. Mr. Robinson’s column made me very angry too, and I disagree with his major gist. I do agree that the industry has problems and is not healthy, and that a ‘healthy industry model’ is necessary. But the health of an industry starts with the industry itself. We, as fans, can only /truly/ contribute to an industry’s health with the dollars in our wallets. Only the industry (publishers, distributors, and retailers) can do what is needed to spend those dollars in the best way for the industry after they part company with our wallets. Right now, that’s not being done, and creators who feel they deserve more support should consider whether the support they require can be most effectively provided by the fans or the industry.

Macquarrie wrote:

“You want to help comics? Kill Diamond. Break their stranglehold on the industry, and get the damn comics back out in public where people can see them.

That’ll help comics. Anything else is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

I agree. The biggest reason comics aren’t mainstream is that no one knows where to go to find them. We’re trying to sell a product at a mainstream level when we hide said product in tiny corner stores that not everyone goes to and not every city even has? Get serious. Comics need to be on bookstore shelves, at grocery stores, in electronics and music stores, in toy stores, and everywhere else that non-fanboys shop.

Take a look at how comics are in Japanese culture. They’re not hidden in some dingy hole in the ground. When comics get mass distribution, they’ll be popular and mainstream. As long as they are distributed as a niche item that is only sold in specialty stores, they’ll reach a limited audience. Period. That’s the entire issue.

As far as my promotion of comics goes, I’m not a salesman. It’s not my job to become a salesamn. If you’re going to go to the trouble of rallying support, spreading grassroots campaigning, and knocking on doors handing out fliers, you should use those same energies toward a political or social cause that will actually improve the world. If you’re going to commit all your energy to some sort of “get out the vote” campaign, why not do it for a cause that will help people?

The idea of hitting the pavement and getting the word out on comics when they aren’t even being sold in a commercially viable marketplace is ridiculous. The comic book market will be magically cured when Diamond dies and comics are sold to people, not just nerds. Until then, devote yourself to something worthwhile.

Here in Switzerland we have the Comics Festival in Sion every year. That’s getting a lot of attention by the broad public as well as (obviously) by comics fans. The festival makes the evening news in TV and radio, gets some feature time again in radio and TV and most big newspapers have a report about it with sometimes great pics and reviews. I’m not a Comics reader, but every year I get a bunch of positive news about Comics.

So I would say that if the concentration is not only on ‘one guy punches another guy’ stories, but also about adventures and even history (yes, I’ve seen excerpts of history comics, don’t remeber what the title was or who was the author, as I’m personally not so into comics).

I am completely, totally passionate about comics.

However, I am not passionate at all about what I see on the shelves these days.

But perhaps that is not the way we should be seeing things. Perhaps, much like you don’t have to be passionate about every article in a newspaper, or every posting on a webpage, we can select the content which befits our individual tastes, as accept the status quo as something not to be defeated, but simply a starting point, from which we move on.

The superhero comics are an integral part of ANY comprehensive history of American comics. So are detective stories. So are science fiction. So are the funnies- and now, after the late 20th century has fast become the beginning of the 21st, so are memoirs, graphic novels, and indies.

THAT is the status quo. There are the majors, and there are the minors. There is a term in Journalism, in the major publishing houses- of “Church and State”. This refers to the competing, and yet interdependent interests of journalism- or copy writing- and sales, the business end.

Comics’ ‘Complainers’ would do well to remind themselves of this fact. There are certain things we can change. And there are certain things we cannot change. All we can hope for, is the providence to see the difference between the two.

But it can be good to get angry, once in a while, if only to learn the source of our anger in the process of overcoming it. The source could be Daimond, for some. The source could be the fans, to others (I think the creative end of self publishing tend to see this as a problem, readership included, the second they walk into a store.)

Awareness is the problem this poster seems to be haphazardly harping on. (Yes, true believers, amply articulate alliterator, Stan Lee is doing MORE than any of us are to help and spread awareness of comics- has been for the better half of the past century, too!)

Here in Philadelphia, we have the pleasures of networked cartoonists in the form of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society, who help each other our with self publishing forays (in the form of small anthologies), and engage in all kinds of outreach, doing cartooning for the libraries of various degrees of underprivileged neighborhoods at times, for children with disabilities and for various public events. They help each other out, do group art shows and auctions, and always keep their doors open to new recruits.

If other cities set up a similar group (all it takes, apparently, is one dedicated individual and others to be inspired by him/her) then moves like that can do a great deal toward legitimizing “cartooning” (as a blanket term, that is after all, where comics historically come from) in the public eye.

But it doesn’t happen automatically- and a failed attempt could do more to discourage people than to promote the cause. Comics makers will find a great deal of kin in Caricaturists, Cartoonists, film makers and review writers, and literature writers of their genre (like the author or fans of “the Adventures of Cavalier & Clay”, loosely based on the lives of Simon & Kirby & Lee), if they can only create a platform- set up meetings at a café or bar of choice. Discuss their drawing problems together, alert members through a mailing list to Lectures throughout town that might be relevant- perhaps even arrange for visits themselves from professional cartoonists either in their area or from nearby cities. (we’re fortunate to be a mere 2 hrs. from NY)

And start affecting change! You’ll find alot less to complain about- or at least find plenty of legitimate , concrete things to complain about- once you’ve made the decision to affect the way others percieve this little activity we devote so much time and passion to! So if you like reading comics- confound it, recognize that you’re passion for reading is no different in relation to comics makers’ threatened art form than a steak or burger lover’s appetite depends on there being a plentitude of healthy, amply fed cows, grazing on the good stuff somewhere, somehow!

Or continue reading & buying your books, accept that, RIGHT NOW, comics are TOTALLY COOL, and you can read them in PUBLIC, even boast about them to GIRLS, and chances are, you’ll strike someone’s curiosity, instead of chasing them away. And if someone does think ill of you for being into comics? THEY’RE NOT WORTH YOUR TIME AND YOU SHOULD MOVE ON, PROUDLY, CONFIDENTLY, AND READY TO TURN THE NEXT COMIC FAN ONTO THIS AWESOME SHIT THAT GETS YOU SO FIRED UP!!!!

Ciao,

Djo

@post 76: Did you really say that manga is an “evolution”? Only in the strictest sense of the word, as an entity evolves over time to better adapt to its environment. But in the more popular use of the word, which you appear to be using, implies an improvement. Simplistic, endlessly derivative, bug-eyed, poorly-culturally-translated crap is not an improvement over superhero comics. It is a sad degradation of a potentially powerful medium into the ultimate pit of low, common denominators: nerds that get a hard-on for Asian culture without ever understanding it. So go back to sipping your Vietnamese beer and drooling, zombielike, to your Miyazaki movies, and just quit trying to communicate words. They’re above your level.

@87: Of course DC and Marvel have always been cancelling titles. No one asserted that cancellations only exist because of the diminishing market. But they occur more frequently now. Do you people have the capacity AT ALL to not argue straw men?

@96: He assumes that because that’s how nerds are.

“Many great comics were written by terrible, awful men I would not want to meet in a dark alley.”–Frank Miller, for example.

“He cited himself as an example of what’s healthy about the comics industry, when his latest project stands as an example of everything that’s embarrassing, infantile, vulgar, sexist and destructive toward the industry.”–Like most nerds, you probably think of yourself as a witty sophisticate. If you can’t grasp the satire in Bomb Queen, how is it that you can grasp a keyboard? I don’t even like the damn comic, but it’s pretty obviously satire.

“Stan Lee is doing MORE than any of us are to help and spread awareness of comics”–Sure he is. The same way Fall Out Boy is doing more than me to spread awareness of punk music. But it isn’t really the right kind of awareness, is it?

You’re absolutely right. I haven’t been doing enough to support comics. I mean, yeah, Image has it’s own marketing department, but I can’t just leave it to them. If I were any kinda fan, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of Bomb Queen!

Now pretend I like Bomb Queen, even though it’s the same pap that nobody outside comics will like… sorry, no, it’s a satire so subtle in it’s delivery that unless you are a true comics crusader, it will appear as shallow as everything else on the same rack. Okay, I bought an issue, but I should, what? Buy another to give to my friend? Screw Free Comic Day, every day is Free Comic Day when I spend my paycheque on this overpriced crap!!! Pamphlets aren’t killing the industry, I am by questioning the value vs. return!!!

And, sure, I may read about the industry, but is that enough? Of course not! Some sites are not visible enough, and that’s my bad. I mean, is Jim Robinson supposed to buy his own domain name and fix his own dead links? Maybe in the old days the Scott McClouds and the Terry Moores were supposed to register their own URL’s but Jimmy is a saviour of comics, (provided we save the industry he’s working for him.) We have to market to ourselves by ourselves for ourselves if we want to SAVE THE INDUSTRY(tm).

Jim’s only true suggestion was to stop and smell the roses… or less poetically to loiter in the comic shop. This will enable the retailers to know what we like and order it. And then people who have never been in a comic shop will flock in because of the new diversity created by loitering. (meaning some fans will have to pitch in and clean the store’s windows.) And if they stop to smell the roses? Exponential Diversity equals Manfest Destiny!

Except that comic shops, especially those with loitering fanboys rarely smell like roses. In fact, the only smell less appealing is that of the plan presented by the ass in the byline. It’s not enough for a TRUE FAN to be Jimmy’s bread and butter, you have to be his indentured slave.

Pompous, lazy prick.

I adore the fact that this thread refuses to die.

Well, it’s been a year since this was first posted, and Jimmie Robinson is still slavin’ in the mines with Bomb Queen Guess that didn’t work, huh?

Seriously, creators: FUCK OFF. It’s not out job to feel sorry for you. EVER.

Geez…is this guy for real? He must have had one too many puffs off of his crack pipe. It’s completely up to the publishers to deliver content that would appeal to the masses. This guy gets to write a What-If one shot and thinks he can tell everyone we don’t do enough to support comics? Does anyone know this guy personally? What’s his problem? Did he eat too many paint chips as a child? Maybe he was one of these guys that hung out in shop class snorting freon and spray paint. Perhaps if we didn’t have jack asses like this in the business a few of us actually might start buying comics again!

Jimmie Robinson, I just read the first four issues of Bomb Queen and must say that the art, the presentation and the story is pretty decent. However, the writer is no Garth Ennis or Warren Ellis. Often the satire is just for the repetitive purpose of trolling and upsetting comic book fans. That’s fine. Free speech, killing babies in comics and all. Nothing is sacred, right? But this latest comic book where Bomb Queen goes after Obama..? No. Free speech doesn’t include bringing AR-15’s to town hall meetings where the President is, nor does it cover comic books that could inspire people to try the real thing. In your interview, you say you’re an Obama fan and voted for the guy. You’re trying to make this a comic about what is wrong with evil. Yet you are perpetrating it.

Well I guess I’m your fan. But would you like it if I worked on a comic book where you were the victim of Bomb Queen and your real address was published? With Free Speech comes great responsibility.

randypan the goat boy

May 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

I was all excited about getting in on the discussion untill I realized that the fuckin post is almost 6 years old. Since we are being topical…I think that Obama fella has a good shot at being president. I think heath ledger will make a decent joker in the dark knight..i cant wait to see him in all of the sequels….hmmm. Time machine is busted..and your books still suck bomb queen

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