Posts tagged DC Comics

Help Gary Friedrich

The War Imposed Upon Us

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Recent Battle Skirmishes

I’m a little behind on putting together some thoughts on recent industry discussion on Jack Kirby, and the situation with Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich. The latter has prompted a few changes on this site that have taken some time to put together.  Before we get into all that, here’s a little recap of recent events.

Jack Kirby

A fresh round of community angst seems to have started with creator James Strum calling to boycott Marvel over their mishandling of the Jack Kirby legacy, following in the footsteps of the Steven Bissette call for a similar boycott last summer. We’ve posted about it here and here on this site. Talk about the Kirby legacy saturates the comics web community. As happened with the Bissette controversy, discussions in fandom forums on the Strum boycott quickly degenerated into arguments over the effectiveness of such a measure and whether Jack Kirby even created the characters that comics history gives him credit for. It’s an interesting and all too familiar phenomenon that turns fandom forums into a battleground between publisher supporters and those of creators. A revelry of aggression, confusion, disinformation, distortion and conflict that has nearly paralyzed such calls to action and halted what could have been a more effective display from comics fandom in support of such campaigns.

Gary Friedrich

Then news broke of the judgement on the Gary Friedrich litigation against Marvel for the character Ghost Rider. Daniel Best has posted some reports which can be seen here, that have spread across the comics net and also to some mainstream media. The litigation started around the same time as the release of the first Ghost Rider film Marvel licensed in 2007, starring Nicholas Cage. It ends now on the eve of release of the second film, which looks very much to be a box-office success and one of the popular film events for 2012.

The familiar battleground fodder in the Kirby campaigns managed to overpower debate in this case also, at least if measured by talk at Bleeding Cool forums and The Beat comments, which together seem reliable enough as a compass for the general mood in fandom on these issues. In a counter-suit against Friedrich, Marvel had also won a judgement for payment of $17,000 from Gary in compensation for his profits from selling Ghost Rider covers, posters, art and paraphernalia for the last couple of decades since not having any income from writing comic books.

Part of the discussion is about Marvel’s counter-suit and victory against Friedrich, which is feared to have ramifications and become a serious challenge to creators who even sell sketches of copyrighted characters through their web sites or at conventions – even though it’s been assumed, by unspoken waiver, to be a legitimate means of raising supplemental income for artists. Heidi MacDonald elaborates in this post, which also explains why there’s a considerable amount of back-stage talk that Marvel had no choice given how Gary conducted the case. Marvel seems to be saying this will have no ramifications on other artists. Ty Templeton seems to tow the company line with an “ouch” critique of Friedrich’s case in this cartoon. Steven Bissette disagrees with Ty and the judgement against Friedrich in this Facebook Note.

Tom Spurgeon raises the ante in this reverberation, which is worth reading between the lines…and words.

Community Solidarity to help Gary

Steven Niles, bless his soul, rose to action with a PayPal donation account to help Gary, who has been ill, financially devastated from the trial costs, and is apparently in danger of losing the home he and his family own. The call has been picked up and supported in much larger numbers than what the general mood in fandom hinted at. Neal Adams posted a statement to the comics community urging everyone to pitch in and help give Gary a little financial breathing space. Just to remember that Gary Friedrich is the primary co-creator of a character starring in one of this season’s expected blockbuster superhero movies. The film opened this weekend and looks to be a pretty good production at this stage, on its way to a healthy profit margin.

The campaign to raise funds for Gary Friedrich, given the verdict and judgement against him, seems paramount for the writer’s well-being and that of his family.  Anyone who can donate original art or other items for auction is urged to contact Neal Adams. Paypal donations at Steven Niles site. Please consider helping out.

With that behind us, let’s all sit up for a moment and get a little uncomfortable.

The Lies We Live With

We, the community of fans, journalists and creators, concerned about this and similar issues, have inadvertently become paralyzed by our own reluctance to use tools available to us in order to help improve the conditions we all operate under in the comics industry. We are playing by the rules of the enemy, namely DC and Marvel, who, like most other profit driven corporate entities, have taken advantage of a runaway, renegade and mostly hostile-to-the-common-people world economy, and have brought the comics industry to a state of near demise in order to maximize profits outside of comics publishing, utilizing the properties they get from creators, which they control.

We will remain at near paralysis until we are able to break the unspoken taboo that assumes us beholden to DC and Marvel as industry leaders and foundation stones, whom we are reluctant to confront effectively, on the deeper issues that affect the medium and everyone contributing to it.

The Big Lies

If there was any doubt that DC and Marvel are intentionally keeping the comics publishing business on a death bed for everyone else as well, last summer’s New 52 reboot from DC seems to dispel any remaining confusion. The reboot was preceded with the self-serving trumpet sounds of DC putting comic books back on the map. They said this re-writing the DC Universe would open the market for new readers. They promised to utilize mainstream media, television and cinema advertising to make it popular for everyone to be seen with comic books again. They said it was the dawn of a new day for the comics.

Six months into the hoax and the DC bubble seems to have burst with as little fanfare as being able to claim a slightly larger market share than Marvel for the initial months of the reboot. No new reader base and no serious publicity campaign for the comic books. To make things worse, the hoax was accompanied by a digital sales initiative that’s diverted attention away from the plight of printed comics books and has been followed suit by most every other publisher, cementing a feeling that the printed books are now on notice of termination. That entire hoopla last summer, all that noise and public relations pretension, has effectively died out without improving, not in the very least, nor promising to improve, anything in the business of comics publishing for the common good of the market.

Like everything else DC and Marvel do, they do it for a public relations buzz which only helps their other-than-comics merchandise. That’s all they need to do, really.

The Bigger Lies

DC and Marvel don’t need nor want the business of publishing comics to grow and flourish. Because if it did, then there would be many more Siegel/Shuster/Kirby/Friedrich cases dragging them to spend exorbitant funds to defend their absolute control of the properties and absolute corporate greed. They rather prefer to spend immense resources on lawyers battling creators instead of just being a little more fair with the artists and writers who’ve been the content backbone of the companies, without whom there would be no comics industry.

A perpetually dying medium, especially one that continues to produce raw material for exploitation in other arenas, is the best way to keep getting the raw material at the lowest possible cost. No one will ask for more from a publishing industry hanging by a thread.

Armed with this grim reality, DC and Marvel, owned and managed by the most powerful media conglomerates in the world, can posture themselves as doing “what they need to do” by virtually raping the destitute creators who helped build their expansive property base. And they do it with a brazen enough face that we, the comics community, are left to bicker among ourselves as to the merits of one particular circumstance, while ignoring the larger dilemma that publishers are driving the industry into, effectively paralyzing any action that could put a little more pressure on them to do the right thing for the collective good of the comics industry.

The War Imposed Upon Us

In our near paralysis to help improve the general state of affairs, comics industry activists are not entirely impotent, as evident in the overwhelming grass-roots support to help disadvantaged creators when a need rises. We live with the situation because we are basically at war, even though we are reluctant to acknowledge it. We are at war not only against DC and Marvel, but the entire world population is at war with an economy whose heads have altogether shed any semblance of collective responsibility. We are at war against a prevailing attitude that the strong among humanity have no collective responsibility for the general welfare. At war with the notion that the strong hold the upper legal prerogative to rape and plunder every good portion of this world that their hands can reach.

We are at war but we are not yet training to be soldiers. We’ve settled for being as paramedics who tend to our wounded – but we have few soldiers on the front lines. These few who are fighting the good fight are operating in a near vacuum without the needed full support of populist systems such as the voice of fandom and the comics press behind them…who all tend to agree that something’s wrong and needs to change. But we are not yet fighting the war that’s been waged upon us, which we need to do in order to help bring a change.

Training Ground

I’ve long held that the way we live our lives is itself the training ground for the wars imposed upon us in our journey through this world. I also understand the notion that taking a defensive measure in offence to wars imposed upon us, by itself defines us as warriors also. I’m alright with that, though I understand that a lot of voices in the periphery disagree with the need for such a definition.

Within this outlook on life, I’ve been somewhat of a gypsy soldier in training myself, moving around the comics web community where I’ve been able to try to add something to the talk that stimulates towards seeing the larger picture we’re contending with. The Web Activism section at my Wikipedia biography highlights some of these activities that have been covered in the comics press.

As such that the entire world is our training ground, I’ve not concentrated much on a focal discussion forum for these activities at this site. A previous attempt to start something like that here was apparently too early and suffered a natural fadeout. It may still be too early or entirely unsustainable for such an environment here. But like I hinted at the head of the article, it seems that an imperative move is needed at this juncture. And so, even in suffering a potential fail, I’ve started somewhat of a discussion forum training ground for myself and anyone interested in participating.

Announcing FUSION Fourms

FUSION Forums is a registration-free think tank, at this stage.

Its goal is to take a step beyond discussion, into the realm of web activism on behalf of the common people within the comics industry and beyond.

Its hope is to establish a sort of task force of activists who will slowly saturate the comics web community with the need to take a stand and apply a little more public pressure on the “strong forces” who are waging the war against us.

It may take some time to come together, or it may not do so altogether.

But we will at least have tried to fight back.

If you see the war coming, join us and help prepare yourself and others.

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The Trials of Superman

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Readers who frequent Daniel Best’s blog, 20th Century Danny Boy, are likely familiar with his coverage of prominent intellectual property rights trials and stories of late, including the Jack Kirby Estate VS. Marvel and the Jerry Siegel Estate VS. Warners/DC Comics. He’s been able to get his hands on an extensive amount of court transcripts, contracts and other documents relating to these and many more happenings in the comics periphery. His postings have practically pioneered a surge in documenting this type of material, and making it accessible to the public.

Daniel has now compiled the extensive documentation from the Siegel Estate VS. Warners/DC trial into an online book that he’s offering for free download in PDF format. The Trials of Superman is published by his own imprint Blaq Books. A polished presentation that transcribes the original documents into digital format, made much easier to read considering the shear volume of material. Having read some of it in the original postings, I recommend this book highly for some behind the scenes history of the comics industry, as told under oath.

Daniel sums up the book on his site:

Every word uttered in court is here – with one notable exception – and the testimonies of Mark Evanier and Paul Levitz are fully intact.  You’ll read Levitz explain the many deals done for Superman from an insider point of view and how DC Comics very nearly bought Marvel Comics in the late 1990s.  You’ll read Evanier discussing how Siegel and Shuster have been screwed over the decades, along with mention motion picture and entertainment experts giving their own views on just how valuable the Superman property is.

THE TRIALS OF SUPERMAN

Blaq Books, Australia | 2012 | 1055 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9807655-2-6
Compiled and edited by Daniel Best
Copyright © 2012 by Daniel Best 

Eduardo Barreta

Have Peace Eduardo Barreto

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Eduardo Barretto, talented Uruguayan artist, has been around the comics periphery since my early days in the medium during the late 1970’s. First inking for Marvel and later, after I moved to Israel, he went to DC and gained recognition for his run on Teen Titans. When I returned to comics in the early 1990’s, he’d established a strong presence as a Batman artist, one of the characters I drew most then. He produced a few more well remembered projects like Speeding Bullets and Under a Yellow Sun before expanding towards other publishers including Archie,  IDW, Boom!, Crossgen, Dark Horse and others before returning to Marvel on Marvel Knights.

In 2006 he landed at King Features Syndicate and drew the Judge Parker strip.  His tenure there was disrupted once after a serious injury from a car accident and again while contracting meningitis in 2010, which left him unable to continue drawing. He returned to draw the Phantom strip for King Features last July, but the illness took its toll on the consumate professional creator a few days ago, on 15 December, at age 57.  We never met nor had any internet encounters but Eduardo’s been like a close colleague, perhaps if only by virtue of the recognizable feel for humanity that his work exuded, and the personal respect that fellow creators who knew him expressed for him. Godspeed Eduardo, your untimely departure is big loss for us all and for the medium you helped make better. Heartfelt condolences to grieving family and friends.

Eduardo Barreto in Portraits of the Creator’s Sketchbook and the biographical portrait on Wikipedia.

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Have Peace Jerry Robinson

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I had barely missed his visit to Continuity just before I started working there in late 1975, when Jerry Robinson joined Neal Adams in the drive to convince Warner Bros. to help the creators of Superman in their later years. He became a mediator between the creators and DC Comics, and procured the appearance of their credit on the Superman titles. I barely missed him but the giant shadow that Jerry Robinson cast couldn’t escape my attention. I hadn’t met him on the few occasions I’ve attended comics conventions, but I did receive a friend request from him on Facebook last year and was surprised to discover he even knew of me. After a few warm conversations there, I came to know wonderful simplicity in him, and a passionate activism on behalf of the creator community and the comics medium, that also exuded a humbling concern for the world we live in.

Aside from his seminal role in the creation of the Batman mythos, especially the Joker and Robin, Jerry Robinson remained an active ambassador for the medium from behind the scenes, putting forward the best that comics stood for, even if his work wasn’t visible on the pages themselves. The comics community is beginning to pour its affection for him after news of his departure from us surfaced; Bleeding Cool; NewsaramaComics Reporter and io9 are an early start. True to his site format, Tom Spurgeon is compiling sentiments from across the web into a collective memory post, which is always of the better places to get an impression of the impact that the likes of Mr. Robinson have on us. Godspeed Jerry and thanks for the bright light you shine on us, and the comics.

Neal Adams (2nd from left) and Jerry Robinson (far right) launch the campaign for Jerry Siegel (2nd from right) and Joe Shuster (far left) from Continuity Studios in 1975. (Photo from Kris' World at NealAdams.com)

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Have Peace, Jack Adler

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Alan Kupperberg posted a photo tribute to Jack Adler yesterday on his Facebook page… and added a memorable thought in the caption:

When I went to work for Jack at NPP [DC Comics] in 1971, he became my first “professional” father.

That’s pretty much how I felt about Jack when I started work for DC in 1975, and not only in the professional sense. Jack Adler was a warm, spontaneous and caring fatherly figure to a lot of younger creators who depended on him to help make our work look good within the printing limitations of that time. He is said to have been the foremost authority on mechanical color separation techniques used in comics before the advent of digital color processing.

Jack Adler was a comics artist in a very prolific sense of the phrase. As early as the 1950’s, he began bridging the gap between full color scanned image printing and the flat mechanical separations used in comics. The covers he presided over in that era gave the feel of painted pulp covers, which was no small feat back then, considering the technical limitations. He acquired a thorough knowledge of the processes by which comics art was being handled by printers and dedicated himself to learning every aspect of it. But he didn’t simply settle for knowing this information as an asset for getting by a day’s work. Jack saw an opportunity to create a richer palette and look for comics. His contribution to the visual narrative during a time that flat color dominated much of the work, is more immense than most industry professionals can imagine.

  

When I landed at Continuity and started working for DC, I became part of a creed that contended with the cost effective constraints of getting better visual results for our work. Many of us at the studio would approach the art as if it’s meant to see print in full, true and glorious color, even though we often knew the disappointment of seeing an unfulfilled printed image. A strong memory from that time remains about Neal encouraging everyone to learn the pre-print processes as thoroughly as possible, and utilize that knowledge in preparing our work. It was all worth it, he’d say, because we have a friend and ally in Jack Adler, head of the production department at DC Comics.

Jack Adler - Portaits of the Creators Sketchbook

Mark Evanier posted yesterday about Jack passing away over the weekend at the age of 93, and adds a compelling biographical short. Daniel Best also posted a tribute that includes more words and art about Jack by Alan Kupperberg.

Have peace, Jack. The industry and its creators salute you for the care and dedication that’s helped make us and the comics become all the better.

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Jenette Kahn’s Comics Revolution

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Jenette Kahn took DC Comics by storm back in 1976. Or rather, she was appointed publisher of DC amid loud controversy over a woman being able to helm a predominantly male entertainment medium, and especially a woman who had little intimate experience with the comics industry.

She quickly proved all skeptics wrong.

Jenette was a thorough captain of the ship who left no stone unturned in efforts to bring the medium up to step with the late 20th Century entertainment world. To her credit, she began her tenure by introducing a Dollar Comics standard that would make the periodicals more attractive to newsstand and drug-store distribution, though it was a short-lived affair in wake of the industry shifting over to a fledgling Direct Market and comics retailer shops system.

As a progressively minded publisher, she led a metamorphosis of comics content and brought it to terms with its maturing audience, a change that’s had a profound impact on the proliferation of comics and graphic novels into mainstream culture. It was under her stewardship that the medium’s more noteworthy productions such as Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Preacher and Swamp Thing emerged. Along side the content driven thrust of the 80’s era, Jenette overcame insurmountable odds by successfully convincing Warner Bros. to instill a royalty payment policy for comics creators, and reach for a new line of creator-shared properties. Her time as publisher and president of DC Comics was no less than a revolution in the making.

In 2002, she stepped down from her historic contribution to comics, in pursuit of other entertainment and cultural arena challenges. She’s the recipient of numerous awards from some of the highest American institutes.

Latest addition to Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

 

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The Jack Kirby Trigger

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Aftershocks of Marvel’s victory over the Jack Kirby Estate are rippling through the comics web community. Of special note is a spirited plea, Honoring a Fallen King, by Stephen R. Bissette, the prolific artist known for his collaboration with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, calling for an industry-wide boycott of all Kirby derived products at Marvel, including films, toys, games and all other merchandising products.

Stephen’s bold call to action is being received with unpropitious agitation at Bleeding Cool forums, where it’s quickly topped the 150 comments mark, and where many members are venting their often misguided angst, that entirely misses the point of the moral foundation on which Stephen makes his plea. A few good forum members are holding the fort in answering this barrage of antagonism there, but the general thrust of the discussion is peculiar for comics fans who claim to base their opposition to a boycott on legal and financial ramifications it could have, while entirely disregarding the moral injustice that’s been rendered to the Kirby Estate…and which also portends of an overriding cataclysm not only for the comics industry but also for our entire world.

On the opposite side, Tom Spurgeon has called for a consideration of Stephen’s plea at The Comics Reporter. Indeed, and in staying in true form to his outspoken discourse on the moral injustices of creator/publisher issues, Tom delivers yet another masterpiece of reasoning and heart-felt disassociation from the grossly unjust treatment of creators by major publishers.  It cannot be stressed enough how important a voice such as Tom’s is, within the expanse of mainstream comics journalism, that seems to be more and more avert to taking such a clearly and blatantly confrontational position towards Marvel and DC.

It would be hoped that Stephen Bissette’s call to boycott Marvel is a beginning of an avalanche of public outcry to come. Indeed, if there ever was a creator/publisher issue that should trigger widespread condemnation, then Jack Kirby’s enormous and fundamental contribution to the medium we love, and his tireless creative output that shaped the modern narrative, along with his definitive influence on the cultural success of Marvel properties… all these suggest that this is the single-most event that should send a wake-up call to creators, fandom and the comics press, for realizing a minimal degree of moral humanity, that we should be demanding a greater representation of in the comics.

The case for the Jack Kirby Estate cannot, however, be isolated from the larger picture of the comics industry, nor from the signs of the times we live in, where global public unrest over the financial demise of the middle-class is reaching decibel levels that have not yet been heard in recent history. 

It is this basis, evident in the shattered Obama dream; along with people taking to the streets in France, Spain and Greece; giving rise to the Arab Spring; and agitating the African and Far-Eastern nations, that is at the heart of the injustice rendered to the legacy of Jack Kirby. Yes, it is all woven into an intricate web and driven by the same power-lust and obliteration of basic moral and humane considerations, that are leading our world into an intolerable critical mass where the only answer will be a bursting of the bubble that comes at the risk of the highest price possible.

The toppling of our social, political and economic infrastructures, and our subsequently trying to pick up the pieces in order to prepare a better world for our children. Until we more fully understand the implications of such local events as Marvel’s victory over the Jack Kirby Estate, and strive to fathom the operative forces at the root of the problem, then we have little chance of being prepared for the storm to come, that this case heralds.

It would seem that this is as good a time as any to once again call for comics creators to join together and form a guild or union in order to better withstand the strengthened position of publishers in the wake of this court decision. I cannot however mislead myself or anyone else by believing such a possibility is visible over the horizon. It is not yet imminent nor visible. I cannot also deceive myself or others to suggest that this could solve the problem of creator/publisher issues. It will not nor can it. Comics creators, fandom and the comics press, generally do not yet feel the heat strongly enough to support such a minimal needed step towards rectifying injustices inherent in the medium. And even if they did, it is long past a time that a guild or union can be effective, considering how the root of the problem, which is far beyond the comics industry, has raised its head on the world stage over the last decade.

It was in this spirit that I proposed The Comic Book Creators’ Party, as a political union of creators, borne to address the larger global issues affecting the comics industry, back in 2004.

The site called on creators to organize for the 2008 elections in an effort to take leadership of the United States, under a platform calling for a vision for the success of all of humanity. And while most industry proponents scoffed at the notion, primarily citing that America wasn’t ready for such a message, it turned out that the Barak Obama victory of 2008, driven by a platform calling for the same vision, proved that America was indeed ready.

Part of the message in the website was to utilize the San Diego Comic-Con International as the event within which to announce the launching of the party.

I believe Stephen Bissette is right on target by calling for the boycott to culminate in a painful blow to Marvel at the 2012 SDCC International. This is one of the single-most events and vehicles at the disposal of the comics industry that should be utilized to loudly voice the cry for justice, and make it heard around the world.

But I cannot also deceive myself or others by suggesting such a possibility is imminent, or visible around the corner. Indeed most of the people who would lead such a clearly needed effort, and this includes creators, fans and the comics press, are not anywhere near prepared to raise such an aspiration to the forefront of discourse in the comics community and to begin working towards making it a reality. Even though it may be clear to a lot of people that the times have become more agreeable with such an effort. The barriers to such thinking and action appear to be two-fold. On the one hand, we have natural psychological checks in place which prevent us from initiating something that does not yet appear to have wider public support. On the other, we tend to maintain a complacency of action, if it seems that the action could threaten the stability of our local environment – regardless of how clearly we can see that the present path we’re on is heading for all-out chaos and anarchy that will likely obliterate any stability we’re holding onto anyway.

No, I cannot deceive myself or anyone by suggesting a revolution is around the corner. It is not. But I can tell you with unrestrained assurance that it is certainly at least a few neighborhoods away, if not actually the distance of only several blocks.

The critical mass cataclysm is coming. The fall of the Jack Kirby Legacy and Estate, trampled by the corporate insensitivity and greed of Marvel Comics, heralds a trigger for public outcry and unrest of the magnitude we can only hope for. Stephen Bissette has just squeezed the trigger and fired the shot that should be heard around the industry and the world.

I have not personally bought a DC or Marvel product in the last decade nor do I intend to. Nor do I believe the struggle will begin or end with Stephen’s call for the boycott. But for everyone frequenting comic book shops, it is imperative to take his advise and let retailers know why you’re not buying a Marvel product.  It is imperative to capture this momentum and elevate it into the front pages of the comics industry.

And it is no less imperative that we begin opening our eyes and utilizing all the tools at our disposal to put the more serious issues to the forefront of public talk. Having fun with 52 relaunches and retailer gimmicks is alright when placed in proportion. But such fun cannot continue to be the bread and butter of our lives, when it’s all leading us astray into a very dangerous future that will catch us unawares and unprepared.

It’s time to start getting ready for the more serious action coming our way, and that means raising the more serious issues into public debate.

 

Spider--Man 666

Hype Season Wars of the Big Two

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Who are DC & Marvel trying to fool?

I’ve become somewhat of a recurring artifact at Rich Johnston’ Bleeding Cool site and forums of late, where he extensively covers the DC 52 Relaunch, and Marvel’s responses, all the way to SDCC-2011, that just ended.

Marvel’s latest gimmick to compete with DC for the hearts of the industry is a series of covers featuring 150 comic book stores on retail variant covers of Amazing Spider-Man #666.

Well, keeping in rebel stride, I couldn’t help raining a little on the parade at one of the forums discussing it… perhaps only because of the misguided populism with which similar recent announcements from Marvel seem to be viewed and received.

Here’s the post for posterity… and for the record.

It’s wonderful to to get to know the comics shops across America, and the world, through this flamboyant gimmick.. and great to see the shops getting some well deserved attention and flattery from a publisher like Marvel who, along with DC, have pulverized them for the last 30 years with an iron fist over the Direct Market.

And I hate to be a party-pooper about it, but in a world where hype has replaced substance, and where a publisher can make an outrageous claim of saving the comics shops with this shallow buffoonery, maybe somebody should try to stay sober enough to keep an eye on the big picture. 

Nothing in DC’s Relaunch, or Marvel following step, has any indication of mending the incestuous sub-structure of the comics industry… which is much more needed to save the printed comic book from its self-driven path to perpetual-but-never-getting-there demise. 

Restructuring the Direct Market and opening up distribution to other popular outlets like newsstands, bookstores and everywhere else that will be happy to make a little extra profit from comics sales, along with a major nationwide promotional campaign, are much more needed right now than these grandstanding, publicity-ravenous, self-aggrandizing and maliciously deceptive cosmic-scale-bells-and-whistles-atrocities that the Big 2 are competing over.

As much as I love seeing the humanity of the retailers on these covers, I hope no one is yet lulled into believing substantial change will come through it. A few months from now, after the excitement over having sold a few more comic books to the same readers dies down, we can expect the comics press to return to lamenting the downward spiral of monthly sales.

DC & Marvel will sit back snug in their IP life-jackets and tell us that at least they tried.

And a lot of us will actually buy it. Wadda sham.

Armageddon Dimplomacy Inferno 1.4

Video | Armageddon Diplomacy Inferno

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Armageddon Diplomacy Inferno

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Following some heated discussion on the two-page Armageddon Diplomacy story and art, at Bleeding Cool Forums, based on the item Rich Johnston carried at the main site, it was expected that the work might not be well received by everyone.

The thread, however, turned into a referendum on my character, artistic choices, my views on DC/Marvel and the comics industry, my general ability to communicate an idea, and even my sanity (which is nothing new in some comics circles) . The intensity seemed quite beyond the call of duty, one of the qualities that make fandom so engaging.  It’s a highly recommended, very informative and entertaining forum thread, so have a look if you get a chance.

But it all left me wondering how I can more clearly communicate what I’m trying to say, which I’m not so sure of myself, actually. And also what to do about the second page, which some forum members thought was so hateful that it warranted the extreme responses there.

So, I’ve decided that if that second page, depicting Superman, Batman and Wonder-Woman burning American, British and Israeli flags in Tehran, is such a hateful image, then perhaps it’s best for us to renounce our attachment to the original art. Or at least to unequivocally disassociate ourselves from it.

And to do so in a lasting way that leaves little doubt as to the strong sentiment some have heaped on it.

 

Photos by Elad Rath

 

I don’t know if it’ll work, but I’m hoping it clarifies what I’m trying to say and sets people’s minds at ease about it.

 

Now that this is behind us, the original art and positive message from the first page, along with a life size digital print of the complete second page, the original art of the consumed second page, and two photos from the process, are all available on eBay.

Starting bid was $10 for all items seen below. Click here to go to the auction.

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