February 1st, 2004

smokin'

What to do at 8:30 am? Why not rant about comics?

You know when you're up late and you think you're tired but you're not sure. Exactly. It's after 8 in the morning, not sure if I'm gonna keep working or kick off or wander the streets like a Romero extra. Too tired to stare into the light box anymore, too awake to sleep. Too jittery to read, too sleepy to get in the car and get breakfast. Too cold out, too. Guess that's why I'm typing this.

Hey -- I just found something to do. Chase Mr Jinx off the art table where he scattered pages. Nice. This is what I get for having cats for interns.

Okay, fuck it. Let's rant about comics.

I was looking at the latest Diamond Previews and it was another depressing page turner, just reams of raw sewage and junior high softcore porn. Hell, I'm not even a snotbag when it comes to genre, I like crap, but not runny, awful, ugly, useless crap. Transformers crap. What an industry we have here. I could start any number of rants after going through a copy of Previews...

But god do I despise all that Dynamic Forces signed limited edition collectible garbage. The thing that makes me sick about those overpriced scribbled-on comics is that the creators who sign them don't need the money they get for lending their names to that QVC crap. They are by and large some of the most successful people in mainstream, page rate, royalty comics, guys like Alex Ross on down. They already make good money off this industry and the fans and it's not enough, obviously. Yeah, the fans and collectors buying this crap deserve what they get, $4 comics for $20 (and the giddy derision of most of the people responsible for these things, I bet), but why add to the rip-off collectibles junkpile that has held this medium/field down and made comics seem like Hummels and Beanie Babies to a good portion of the planet? Why stripmine the exhausted fans and field even more?

I bet you a tenspot a good number of the people signing all this Dynamic Forces garbage have bitched about how the gimmick books of the early '90's ruined the industry (for them). All the glitter covers, variant covers, foil covers, variant editions, bagged editions, etc (and who the hell produced and signed all of that crap while the getting was good? Yeah, you guessed it, the same sort of creators signing DF gunk, grabbing all they can when they can because they can).

And don't tell me this is for the good of customers who can't get to conventions and want their books signed by their favorite comics professionals, I do not motherfucking buy into that specious argument/self-justification that some offer as a reason for why they do this. Why can't they just say, "Because I want to make money , thank you very much.". Why can't anyone ever just say that, just say, "I want people's money"? I'd respect that a hell of a lot more than saying that they're bringing signed comics to poor fans in the boondocks or that shovelling this shit on QVC brings comics to the uninitiated masses via the wonders of television. And no, I'm not making this shit up.

I'm sure there are some folks out there who desperately want a signed this or that, but not in the numbers and depth pumped out like sausage each and every month. And in case you're thinking I've got a severe case of sour grapes because mid-carder/indy guys don't get a stab at cashing in, I turned down doing a DF version of World's Funnest. I don't know whether or not that had anything to do with the fact that the already-solicited edition ended up getting cancelled -- maybe they just had second thoughts after realizing it was a humor book filled with guys nobody ever heard of like Jaime Hernandez, Jim Woodring (and Evan Dorkin). I'm assuming it wasn't because of me, I did talk to the guy running DF, and I have to say he was very cool about it when I expressed by opposition to these things, and declined to participate, I can only assume he couldn't wrangle enough people to sign the book. Odd, considering all he needed was Ross, who signs practically everything DF puts in front of him. Look, I wanted DC to sell extra copies of the book, and I didn't want to screw anyone over, and I sure as hell could have used the money, whatever it would have been, but I couldn't justify doing it. The only time I'll sign something that will be sold for more money as a collectible is for charity, like Marvel's 9-11 benefit book.

Bottom line --the fans already made you successful, why be greedy? I'm sure it's no big deal for the people who do it, why not, right? It's extra quick dough for doing almost nothing, people wouldn't do it if people didn't buy it, it stokes your fragile little ego that anyone would pay for your autograph, blah blah blah. Sorry. I just don't agree with that snatch and grab horseshit. I think this kind of behavior negatively impacts on the industry's image and ultimately turns off customers the same way the variant craze did in the '90's and the B&W craze did in the '80's. It cheapens the medium, and I'm sure I'm not the only person around who loses some respect for the people you see churning out the stuff. Plenty of people don't sign four color fool's gold and choose instead to sign for the fans for free because they want to thank the people who buy their work. If a fan can't get a signed copy of my work because I don't do many cons, or they live in Bumfuck, Nowheresville without a car, well, that sucks, but that's no justification for me to get paid to sign a book that gets hiked up in price and adds to the crass hucksterism that has damaged this medium and business far too much already. People want to sign those things, people want to sell 'em, people want to buy 'em. well, it's a free country, but I think stupid autographs on stupid comics should be free as well. And I don't want to hear pros cry that people put their signed items on e-bay, and they're just making sure they get theirs or prevent that or whatever the hell they want to say other than "I want that money", suck it up, chief, terrible, terrible shit like having a signed comic or a signed con scribble of yours on e-bay happens to comic book "artists" and "superstars".

Anyway, I can't tell anyone what to do. This is just my opinion, and how I choose to conduct my business, and something to write about while I wait to fall asleep. Signed crap for pay is lame. End of screed.
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