Bad Idea LinkBlogging

Some bad ideas I’ve seen in the blogverse lately…

Voting for someone for an Eisner not based on the nominated work, but because “they deserve it” for the rest of their career, as Tom Brevoort suggests.

Writing creative and personal work as a way of trying out for Batman or Superman, as Cecil Castellucci hints at in an interview (link no longer available). (Worse: supporting that idea, because I wouldn’t wish that meat-grinder on an enemy.)

Hey! It’s Tom Brevoort again! He thinks manga doesn’t really compete with Marvel and DC as comic publishers because “most manga publishers aren’t competing over the same talent that we and the guys uptown are using” (thank goodness!) and because manga publishers actually bring in new readers.

He’s right, it’s not a competition — because manga has clearly won. They don’t gain sales by taking them from the leading competitor in a petty see-saw that doesn’t benefit readers or the industry. As Brevoort says, “What manga has done is to get a lot more people reading comics.”

Of course, he goes on to sink back into the same old dinosaur tar-pit:

And while they may really only like that one type of comic, at least at the moment, that does open the door to the potential that we could lure some of those readers into checking out what we’re doing.

To trot out a tired ol’ metaphor: Hey! Maybe those people driving those new-fangled automobiles will enjoy getting out on the roads so much that they’ll come buy our horse-drawn buggies!

(Note: It doesn’t have to be us vs. them… but that’s the approach Brevoort started with, and it seems to be the way that too many of those raised in the superhero world think of things.)


23 Responses to “Bad Idea LinkBlogging”

  1. Greg McElhatton Says:

    “And while they may really only like that one type of comic”

    I don’t know what’s funnier–the idea that there’s only one type of manga out there, or that Brevoort is ignoring the fact that he works in the very specific genre of superheroes.

  2. Jay Faerber Says:

    >

    Ugh, tell me about it. I can’t stand the thought of how many independent creators are producing books solely as “auditions” for Marvel and DC.

    ~ Jay

  3. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Says:

    Between Dynamo 5 and this comment, you just officially became one of my new favorite comics writers!

  4. caleb Says:

    Okay, now I have to go read Tom Brevoort’s blog just to see if it’s really as clueless as that excerpt makes it sound.

    If manga (um, all of it?) and Marvel Comics aren’t competing, what was up with Marvel Mangaverse’s three or four different launches, the half-assed “Tsunami” line (of which only Runaways survived), the digest collections of so many of their books, which get shelved along with manga?

  5. Lyle Masaki Says:

    As much as I like to point out how a good number of Marvel’s digests show an understanding of where superhero comics are failing, anytime I hear a Marvel employee talk about manga I become convinced that the positive aspects of titles like Sentinel and Runaways are just a matter of blind luck.

  6. K. Thor Jensen Says:

    I love the “Manga is making new readers for superhero comics!” bizarro rationale more every time I hear it.

  7. Tommy Raiko Says:

    Brevoort suggests that it’d be nice to award Stan Lee and Eisner for current work, rather than the Hall of Fame honorarium that he got in 1994.

    But didn’t Stan Lee already win an Eisner? For that Silver Surfer story he did with Moebius?

    I can understand the appeal of voting for a beloved creator more for his/her whole body of work than for the individual work at hand–it seems to happen all the time with the Oscars, say–but I don’t think it quite applies to Stan Lee here. He has won his Eisner, he has been enshrined in the Eisner Hall of Fame.

    Ah, well. Let the voters vote as they’ll vote.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Tommy: You’re right! According to the comic book awards almanac, he won Best Finite Series in 1989. Great memory!

    Regarding the manga stuff, y’all said it better than I could!

  9. Barry Says:

    What everybody else said…

  10. Colleen Says:

    Just to chime in on Cecil’s defense, here’s the clip where she mentions writing superhero comics:

    Castellucci is a longtime comics fan, reading everything from superheroes to French comics to DC’s Vertigo titles. So Bond didn’t have to do any arm-twisting to get Castellucci to jump onboard Minx.

    “It was like one of those dream phone calls where you think, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if you got a phone call like that?”‘ Castellucci says. “And then I did.”

    She has more Jane stories in mind, she says. And she wouldn’t mind if DC wanted her to write a Batman or Superman story, too.

    “Yes, please, I’d love to.”

    I don’t think Janes was an attempt to catch the attention of superhero creators or as a “try out” Johanna. I’ve read and reviewed all of her novels and Janes is very closely in line with work she has done in the past. It’s the sort of work I’ve come to expect from her (and I mean that in a good way.)

    I think she’s just saying she’d love to write superhero stuff too, if given the chance.

  11. Johanna Says:

    It was a bit unfair for me to pick on Cecil, but as Jay points out, the syndrome is much too common even though it’s such a bad idea.

    And while she might love to write superheroes, I would see it as being a step backwards.

  12. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Apr. 24, 2007: Courting tackle and its discontents Says:

    […] getting out on the roads so much that they’ll come buy our horse-drawn buggies!” – Johanna Draper Carlson,discussing Marvel editor Tom […]

  13. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Eisner followup, con reports, and more! Says:

    […] readers; they are really in different universes (so to speak). Johanna and her commenters post some excellent responses at Comics Worth […]

  14. Pedro Tejeda Says:

    I don’t understand the hate behind Brevoot’s comments about manga. I imagine when he says that “one type of comic”, he obviously means the manga style.

    This conversation came up because Tom Brevoot wished to see competition within the Super Hero market. People brought up manga as an example but he stated that he doesn’t believe it is a direct competitor to DC or Marvel. Which it obviously is not.

    It’s obvious that super hero comics are a niche industry aimed at a niche clientèle. Why does everyone shit on them for doing what is obviously their business?

    This is sillier than people complaining about the lack of white comedies on BET or jazz on a country station. That’s not what its there.

  15. Colleen Says:

    I agree with you on the superhero stuff, Johanna. I hope that Cecil sticks with gns like Janes – it’s so much better than pretty much any female superhero comic out there right now.

    (I miss Alias so much!)

  16. Gail Says:

    I just want to read more of whatever she enjoys writing most. I met her in New York and she’s really a delightful person aside from being a gifted author. Janes is a blast.

    Gail

  17. Johanna Says:

    Pedro, saying there’s only one kind of manga style is as ignorant as saying there’s only one kind of superhero style.

    It’s obvious to us that superheroes are only a niche, but I’m not at all sure that it’s obvious to people working in that particular niche. They tend to see their niche as the whole world and find ways to justifying writing off the big wide world beyond them.

    Brevoort started by talking about Oni in his third party post, so I’m not sure he’s as clearly restricting his comments to only superheroes as you seem to be.

  18. Jim Perreault Says:

    I agree with Pedro, I think the animosity towards Brevoort seems unwarrented. All he seems to be saying is that the Manga audience is different than the Marvel/DC audience, that Manga is bringing in lots of new readers (which he feel’s is good), and that some of those readers may start read Marvel’s books. That all seems pretty benign to me.

    As for the “one style” comment, I think people are reading too much into that. Maybe it betrays an ignorance of Manga, but maybe it was just a poor choice of words.

    Jim

  19. Johanna Says:

    I think you’re right, I think I do agree with Brevoort on the major point… but I do think it’s fair to criticize a professional editor if he’s using wording that gives such a wrong impression.

  20. Pedro Tejeda Says:

    He really never says there is “one kind of manga”. He says that one type of book. I think he means people who specifically like manga and not much else, including non superhero books.

  21. Tim Beedle Says:

    Lots of good points being raised here, but I feel I need to side with the folks defending Mr. Brevoort. I read his statement about one kind of comic as meaning one format: the black and white digest/tankoubon. They’re sold in one section of the bookstore or comic shop and the chance of someone browsing over the latest issue of Fantastic Four while looking for the most recent volume of Fruits Basket is pretty slim. I didn’t see that comment referring to genre at all. And while the point about Tom being an editor is well made and taken, I’d like to think that an editor’s blog, even on a company website, is the one place where he or she should be free to write off the cuff and should be granted a little leniency with his choice of wording. I know that I don’t usually plan, revise and proofread most of what goes in my blog. In general, though, I agree with Tom’s comments. I don’t see us as competing with the Big Two, or at least, not right now. If DC’s Minx line proves to be a success and Marvel follows suit with a similar line of their own, that could change, however.

  22. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Tim. And yeah, you’re right about not being too harsh on someone in that situation.

  23. Flaming Dork Says:

    Oh no you didn’t, Tom (snaps fingers)!

    What makes your stuff uptown? It cost more per page? Have you been to a book store in the last five years? Have you seen the manga section compared to the comic book section? You best recognize!

    Okay, Now comes the part where I act like a grown-up. It is ENTIRELY possible for fans of Manga to become fans of superheroes. Tom is unable to understand that because he thinks it’s hopeless to get children to read (as evidenced by the utmost confidence of the depiction of two schoolbus explotions in their titles this past year). Mainstream needs to get with the program and try reach out to other audiences, because the ones they have now are getting mighty rusty.

    At the risk of sounding like manga is better (It isn’t), the big two might want to think about doing something that does not involve flying men in capes to get a bigger audience, or rather, a smaller one.

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