Smart Answer LinkBlogging

Is there any point in renting graphic novels through the mail? No, not so long as my library will get me anything I want to read, without worrying about postal damage. I’m not sure that the plans are economical, either, since only having one book at a time will mean you’re not able to get through very many in a month. Maybe it’s just my reading speed, but it would seem like you’d spend a lot more time waiting to get a book than enjoying one. That assumes that they even have the comics you want to read in stock or available. Books are so much heavier (and costlier) to mail than DVDs, so aiming to be the “Netflix of comics” seems like a decent idea but will likely fail in execution. As a commenter points out, this makes most sense for books too expensive to buy and too rare to find easily, and what’s the likelihood a new company will have any of those?

Should publishers stop making miniseries? I think so, in favor of original graphic novels, but Brian Hibbs doesn’t care for either format, because it’s hard to predict sales. The only virtue miniseries have is the possibility of a real ending, but the corporate publishers have even backed away from that. (Mystery Men from Marvel, I’m looking HARD at you. Most disappointing lack of ending in a long time, after a promising beginning. That series flat-out asked to become an ongoing, but clearly, sales weren’t there — and I was so turned off by the taunting “want to see what happened? hope for more” that I wouldn’t be interested in following a series anyway.)

Since Hibbs seems to be talking mostly about the corporate superhero universes (including such works as BPRD), the question of “which stories matter?” winds up playing a role. And with restarts and reboots and relaunches, fans have been taught the hard way that there’s no point in getting too invested, because it can all be taken away next time they need to goose sales artificially. So they stick with the characters they’ve loved a long time.

Red She-Hulk, apparently cancelled. Why wouldn't you want to read this?

Red She-Hulk, apparently cancelled. Why wouldn’t you want to read this?

If a miniseries looks interesting, why not wait for the trade collection? By that point, you’ll find out whether it really fulfilled its promise (unlikely) or simply forget about buying it, thus saving yourself time and money.

Why can’t Marvel sell books starring women, as Graeme asks (at a link no longer available)? Could it be that the stories just aren’t very good? This is an interest of mine, as you might expect, but I found the recent relaunch of Captain Marvel incomprehensible, Red She-Hulk boring when it wasn’t mired in continuity, and the Fearless Defenders just plain bad. Having a woman star isn’t enough — you have to tell interesting stories that new readers can understand and (more importantly) enjoy. That means introducing your characters, giving readers some reason to care about them (beyond “they used to be…” or “they’re related to…” or “Marvel has this trademark…”), and doing more with them than having them punch things. Attractive, readable art is helpful, too. (In response to a particular point Graeme makes: what a long-time comic reader considers a good book and what a casual reader does may not be as close as one would hope.)

Has Yale Stewart got the best take currently going on the JLA cast, even though he draws them as eight years old? For my money, yes. Of course a baby Wonder Woman would want to play “truth or dare”! And when feelings get revealed, watch out. Power Girl’s got a crush on Superman (they aren’t cousins here), while he cares about Diana and is being counseled by baby Batman. (Not the best idea.) Lots of drama still to come, I’m sure.

JL8 panel by Yale Stewart

Not comics, but fascinating: when did we start sleeping in only one session? Culturally, people used to expect to wake up midway through the night. They’d read, pray, talk, think, make out, and then go back for a “second sleep”. This explains so much!

Similar Posts: DC and Marvel: From Mainstream to Irrelevant § Economic LinkBlogging: The Dark Days of Comics § Marvel Kills the Marvel Zombie by Exploiting Customers § Story Followup LinkBlogging § Rainy Tuesday LinkBlogging: Out of Print Books, Digital DRM, Webcomics.com, and Good Advice


2 Responses to “Smart Answer LinkBlogging”

  1. James Schee Says:

    How is that renting books thing legal? I worked for a local movie rental place for a while in high school and was amazed at how much they paid per movie for the right to rent them.

    That seems like an iffy proposition, and you are giving them your Debit/Credit Card #s.

    Does anyone besides indy publishers do miniseries anymore?

    Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one confused by the CM relaunch. Time travel stories can be toughies in the first place, but as opening stories so much just went over my head given this was my first real exposure to the character. (second story has made more sense, but is about sort of depowering her which is iffy)

    Red She Hulk I gave up on after 2 issues since I have no idea how or why Betty Ross is a red Hulk or so darn angry all the time.

    I want to like Fearless Defenders yet for some reason it just doesn’t connect for me. I’ve read every issue but honestly can’t recall a thing about it.

    8 years old might be a bit old to call someone a baby. But I have been enjoying the JL8 comic a lot as well. It might be because some of their ideals really work best out of the mouths of kids. This has been a long story but so far every time I think Yates has finished, he throws a new wrinkle like this in.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Under the first sale doctrine, you can do anything you want with a book (or DVD or whatever) you buy — resell it, lend it, cut it up and make art out of it, and so on. Established retailers may agree to other stipulations from publishers, though, in order to get more favorable terms.

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