Changing Times LinkBlogging

Slush Pile Follies

Slave Labor Editor-in-Chief Jennifer de Guzman lists how to get stuck in the slush pile. After bemoaning

Twenty-something loser guys who have lame jobs and lamer love lives, unless there is something more to them. (Daddy issues don’t count.)

(a pet peeve many comic readers share), she goes on to point out

Don’t tell us about “issues.” We’re just not very interested in series right now. If you take a look at what we are currently publishing, there are only two creator-owned comics still being published as a series–Nightmares and Fairy Tales (which is ending at issue #23) and Rex Libris. The other series are Disney-licensed comics. You should think of projects in terms of graphic novels.

Yep, it’s the way the market’s moving. At least Slave Labor still takes submissions, when many don’t.

Print Magazines in Danger

Speaking of changing times for print, the NY Times ran an article on the challenges facing video game magazines. Says one reader:

I can find out on the Internet information that won’t be in magazines for another month. [Magazines are] always going to lose when it comes down to content. I can get everything online.

To compete, the article goes on to say, the magazines are emphasizing perspective and “better writing and reporting”, special features, and “striking visuals”. However, a freelancer says that readers, trained by the internet, no longer have the attention span for longer pieces. And “game players are also suspicious of publications’ ties to the game publishers they write about”. So who cares about Wizard any more anyway?

Mark Waid’s Secrets?

In this “I read the internet” Newsarama blog piece on the failure of CrossGen (link no longer available), commenter Dan Coyle sums up Mark Waid’s work:

I read some of Ruse but was unimpressed as Waid didn’t really write a detective book but yet another title about how Men Keeping Secrets= Okay, Women Keeping Secrets= Disaster, a common ailment of his work that he only recently shook off.

Fair analysis? My first thought is of Waid’s Flash around issue #100, where Wally West knows he’s fated to join with the Speed Force and keeps that secret from his wife. I don’t recall it ending okay, though. He was only brought back from death-in-all-but-name by the power of Twu Wuv. And what disasters is Coyle thinking of?

Card Game for Girls

While we’re talking about different rules for women, the NY Times also covers Bella Sara, a collectible card game aimed at girls featuring horses.

Don’t underestimate this market, especially with the publisher’s strategy to make them available where professional women with daughters shop. I wrote an article about it over a year ago, and it’s still getting hits as users search for more information. There’s a thirst out there that I hope won’t be ignored by boy-targeted markets.


10 Responses to “Changing Times LinkBlogging”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Re: Print Magazines

    My conflict with magazines like The Comics Journal is that while it’s true most of the news items are a month old. However, the likelihood of me seeing ever single news item listed is pretty slim. Plus, having the news items in print make them much more archival friendly than trying to keep an electronic copy of every news item I think I might want for future reference. Plus, a news item that might have been considered a firestorm on the first of the month might die down to smoldering ashes by the end of the month and vice versa. This allows a print magazine to put news items into better perspective. So for me, the news section of The Comics Journal becomes less about getting the absolutely most current information and more about seeing what is still interesting or news worthy a month later.

    I’ll admit the Internet has changed my view of magazines. I don’t read magazines to keep up on current events. The magazines I read now are ones that provide thoughtful analysis on various issues.

  2. Johanna Says:

    All good points. Plus, I like the ability to carry magazines around with me.

  3. Kelson Says:

    My first thought is of Waid’s Flash around issue #100, where Wally West knows he’s fated to join with the Speed Force and keeps that secret from his wife.

    Not quite. In Terminal Velocity (the story that ended with #100) he told everyone right off the bat that he was doomed, and the story was mostly about setting up a successor in case they couldn’t prevent it. The secrets he kept were that Linda was also doomed (slightly less so — he believed she could be saved, but he himself couldn’t), and that while he’d publicly blessed Jesse Quick as his successor, he really wanted his cousin Bart to step up.

    And you’re right — it didn’t end well. It completely destroyed his working relationships with Bart and Jesse for years, and it set up trust issues between him and Linda that another character used as a wedge in a later story — trying to convince Linda that, this time, he had known he wasn’t coming back, and hadn’t told her.

    Now that I think about it, there’s a strong thread of honesty & trust = good, secrecy & deception = bad (except for maintaining a secret identity) in Waid’s work on both Flash and Impulse.

  4. Phil Says:

    Johanna – don’t know if it is a software thing or a personal choice, but on Bloglines each of your articles is showing up repeatedly with new “updated” timestamps. IMHO it make the blog unreadable via Bloglines. Of course I don’t expect you to change things for my benefit, just thought you might want to be aware of that.

    Phil

  5. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for filling in my spotty memory, Kelson. I’ve never understood why the biggest lie of all, the secret identity, was considered ok.

    (Phil: I do want to know things like that, thanks. This post was posted and then edited. If it’s appearing more than twice, though, I don’t understand why. And I’ll keep that in mind in future.)

  6. Lyle Says:

    I’ll admit the Internet has changed my view of magazines. I don’t read magazines to keep up on current events. The magazines I read now are ones that provide thoughtful analysis on various issues.

    Ed, that’s how my view of magazines have changed as well. Unfortunately for video game mags, I don’t think they’ve trained their audiences to look for more than the latest pix and interviews about all the cool features. In depth coverage sounds good, but I don’t know if those magazines could find the audience interested in that — because they didn’t really court them when they had a real chance.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Grest point, Lyle, that the type of coverage matters as well. I hadn’t thought about that before.

  8. Thomas Gerhardt Says:

    Just a quick comment on video games mags. In a different life I launched the Official Dreamcast Mag and the PS 2 mag in Germany, and even six years ago, we lost the so-called “hardcore gamer” in massive numbers to the web, primarily because web sites got the news faster (as compared to a monthly magazines, well, duh), but also e.g. there were the first beginnings of those comprehensive walk-through sites where a gamer could get everything from fellow gamers FOR FREE as opposed to paying for it.

    As for “in-depth” reporting or “critical” reporting, oh dear, when you are publishing a speciality mag like these, with a revenue ratio of 60-70 percent coming from those game publishers you are covering, every, and i mean, EVERY critical review gets the EIC a call from the CEO, who in turn was called by the ad department which in turn was called by the PR and marketing departments of those game companies.

  9. Johanna Says:

    I can only imagine the pressure the magazine publishers are under from the companies. Ironic, isn’t it, that the magazines actually owned by comic companies — Comics Journal, Comic Book Artist — are more believable as independent voices than the supposed non-owned outlets like Wizard?

  10. SLG Accepts Digital Submissions » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] might also want to check out the editor’s comments on what she’s looking, and not looking, [...]

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