I forgot to save a copy of the old template and there is no other that looks like the old one I used. Additionally it seems that bloggers number of templates to use has changed from....I don´t know......how many where there ? Hundred ? Now it seems like they only offer....uh....ten. Okay. That´s not good.
Well, I was prepared that this would be the case so I hope the new look is not too distracting. As I had to recalibrate the monitor for various reasons I can just assume it doesn´t look too different. I probably won´t go over the old posts as I still try to find a way to get the old look back. In the meantime I´ll just keep tinkering with the layout till it looks right.
Another thing I lost due to the new look is the counter. I´ll add a new one when I find the time - and figure out a way how to do it. The last time I managed to do it was mostly pure luck.
It´s been a while since my last post because I was - once again - busy with catching up to all the new things on the internet. I think I was at least six months behind on solicitations so I had to sacrifice a few days for that. Right now I have - mostly - caught up on the DC pictures but I still haven´t finished the Marvel stuff.
I also am caught up on previews and man, you are really not up to date if the previews you have to do are from comics you already read last month ! And I also had to burn a lot of stuff on CDs as my computer was once again full with stuff. I just hop I managed to make enough free space to prevent the computer from checking out in the middle of a post.
But since this post is not just to bore you to death with the details of what I have been up to the last days here are some news, links, interviews, top ten lists and the usual collection of stuff for people who visit the important sites as irregualr as me.
COMIC INDUSTRY NEWS
Let´s begin with the most important bit of news which this time comes from the comic industry section.
Yes, that´s right. Scott McCloud predicted it and now finally the micropayments are here. This is great news for all comic artists who are doing webcomics because so far the difficult thing was to somehow get money for your webcomic without having to offer a print version or having to charge a lot of money. And what´s also great is that facebook seems to be joining PayPal on this. Now I don´t know how good PayPal is as a payment service but at least this much needed from of payment is finally out there.
Like I already wrote in a post in 2008 there are ways for comic books to profit from scans on the internet. And it seems that Steve Lieber had the right idea when someone on 4chan scanned in all issues of Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker’s comic series Underground and posted it for all to read. Rather than pitching a fit ( which would have been perfectly justified under the circumstances ), Lieber joined the discussion and cheerfully suggested folks kick in a few bucks if they like the book or maybe even, you know, buy it. Then he posted it on his own site for free.
Why did it work out this way ? Perhaps the comic is that good ( I haven’t read it ), perhaps because 4chan helped it find its audience, and perhaps because Lieber took some time to engage the readers and establish himself as a real person — it’s a lot harder to steal from someone you know. I have always said that the music industry wouldn´t have lost so much money if they had spent less time criminalizing their customers and instead would have made more efforts to give them what they wanted : an easy and cheap way to download music.
I mean why is it that it´s easier for a person to get music clip from the internet in an illegal way than go to a music company website or a music store website and say, buy a DVD or Blue Ray disc that has my favorite 10 or 12 music clips ?
Back to Underground : it´s much easier to sell a product if the people already know the product and like it. If you read my post in 2008 you already know that a lot of the arguments in the whole discussion about scanlations and webcomics are totally bogus. People WILL pay money for comics they have already read. IF they like them. Hell, people pay money for comics they already have. There are comics in my collection that I have bought several times and some of them I will probably buy again when there is a new printing available.
So, kudos to Steve Lieber for having the cojones to do the smart thing. You can read more about it here :
DC and Marvel lowering prices next year
It seems, 2011 will not be as expensive as 2010 as both - DC and Marvel are going to lower prices. As usual DC comics was first to announce that they are going to drop their co - features and lower the prices back to 2.99 $. They also will cut the story page count to 20 pages but before the bitching starts I want to remind people that back when I started reading comics the story page count was 17 pages.
Those were some really great comics and you have three pages more for whatever.
Now Marvel had to react to DC which they did by announcing that some of the new books in January will carry a 2.99 $ price tag. Say what ? Okay according to David Gabriel, senior vice president of sales & circulation the pricing structure is that " for limited series in the Marvel Universe they will price as many of those as they can for $2.99 for a 32-page book. " Oh, and Incredible Hulk will loose it´s co - feature ( did anyone really read that ) and go to 2.99.
So, is it just me or is it another case of DC acting and Marvel reacting ? When this whole thing started DC put co - features on all books they changed from 2.99 to 3.99. Marvel´s answer was to keep the page count as it was and only slowly put in extra content in SOME cases. While DC on made a part of their books more expensive Marvel put the 3.99 price tag on all new titles and most of their old books.
Now DC is changing the 3.99 books back to 2.99 while Marvel will put out some new titles that will have a 2.99 price tag. Marvel doesn´t take me serious. No, that´s how it is. First they say they will change some books to 3.99 and lo and behold, most of their bestsellers are included in that. As well as all new book. Which means if you put a new book on your pull list or have some of their good titles on it - you have to pay and arm and a leg. And now they say that the 2.99 price will be on INCREDIBLE HULK - which is dragging out it´s storyline forever so that most readers have already jumped ship - and new limited series.
Sorry, but that´s ridiculous. DC had to sell a few of their books for 3.99 and have now gone back to 2.99 with 2 story pages less. Marvel has increased the price to 3.99 on most of their books but now you will get the 2.99 price again - not on the books they are already offering but on some new ones.
That will not change anything. Here´s a quote from Jim Lee from this page :
If you're a lifelong comic book fan or buyer and are all of the sudden being asked to pay $3.99 for a book, it gives you a reason to stop collecting in general.
It breaks your spirit because you're going, "Comics cost way too much. This is weekly entertainment. They're episodic, and this makes it too expensive of a hobby to be in." So then they bail altogether... To me, this is all about keeping the hobby as affordable as possible while obviously keeping the same quality and level in the storylines. I think there is a psychological bond that is broken when you keep raising prices and assume they're going to keep buying it because they love the characters.
And one from Dan Didio :
Jim touched upon the unfortunate reality in the business right now is that if you push people out or get too pricey and too expensive, you're pushing them out completely. They're not just dropping one or two titles – they're dropping the hobby. That's the thing. They might come back for the occasional trade, but for me what makes comic book collecting is that periodical nature of going in month in, month out or week in, week out. That's what I love about it, and I think it's that sense of community, the shared environment and shared experience. With so much going on these days, people love that weekly experience. And we want to match that. We don't want to give them reasons to not be buying anymore. As a matter of fact, we're going the complete opposite way, which is one of the reasons why they continue to buy. The way to do that is pricing in a way that is affordable and makes sense and also make stories that they just can't put down and feel like they haven't seen before.
Just what I said when this all began. Marvel has always argued that people would stop reading one or two titles while they knew that in reality people will not just stop buying one or two titles. They will either stop buying Marvel comics because they feel cheated or they will stop buying comics at all. They will buy the occasional trade but that´s it.
So as usual DC is doing something to help readers while Marvel tries to pull another fast one. Not really a surprise there.
STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
Okay, how are comic books really doing ? Here are a few articles so you can make up your own mind. First, here´s an interesting Interview with Gail Burt, owner of Metropolis Comics, located in Bellflower, California, USA which touches upon a few important topics. Like all those variant covers from Marvel are not really incentives - so please, can we stop with that nonsense already ? And it´s not really that profitable to take a book that has good sales - like Deadpool - and throw eight watered down books on the market thus totally destroying the franchise.
And since wer´re on the subject of comicshops here´s an article on James Sime, owner of Isotope comics who has a shop that´s more a comic lounge where customers read comics in comfortable chairs instead of a shop where people just get their comics and rush out.
Johanna Draper Carlson has an interesting article that analyzes just how low sales are that make a book successful.
Nils Bohr said : " It´s always difficult to male predictions. Especially about the future. " Nevertheless Shaenon K. Garrity wrote a manifesto about 10 things to know about the future of comics . This has lead to comments on THE BEAT on Scott McCloud´s blog and an article by Dresden Codak with 10 things to know about the future of webcomics. There is also an episode of ComicGeekSpeak on the subject.
And if you still want to work for Marvel after all my Marvelbashing here´s your guide for an internship at Marvel
To wrap things up, here´s a clip I wanted to post months ago but since I had no audio I couldn´t listen to it. It´s the video to Gary Mitchell´s original song IN BRIGHTEST DAY written as the anthem for the new GREEN LANTERN movie. With a bit of luck and enough fans on the internet Warner Brothers may pick it up for the soundtrack. I think it has a lot of potential so please, if you like it spread it around and post it on your blogs. If you click on the YouTube page there are links to all the usual communities like facebook and myspace.
As usual my time for today is up and I only got to address a third of the things I wanted to mention.
So sorry for so much stuff about the comic industry but I think all of it was important and interesting. In the next part we will get to things that are more fun like creator interviews and the ever popular top 10 lists.
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