Another year has gone by… And although it was full of good surprises and brave endeavors, I still look back and somehow find it lacking.
Yes, Darick Robertson has produced amazing work, David Finch has graced some new myths with his amazing inks, and Millar and Ennis have consolidated themselves as more comic book icons, and the list goes on. DC relaunched all his pantheon of heroes (minus some, of course), and managed to give collars to most heroes, put some pants on others and steal the clothes of the backs of alien princesses who didn’t mind having them stolen in the first place.
Why then am I feeling so… blah? Maybe because mid year I got involved in the relaunch of a series that I had peddled (unsuccessfully, of course) to the Big Two back in the 1990’s.
Being the visionary that I am (I say this humbly and sarcastically) y got turned down often while receiving statements to the effect of “This stuff is not good for this market. We don’t do things like that here in the US. Maybe you should try Europe.”
Now, 20 years later, and one V for Vendetta later, they are telling me that maybe the market could be ready. So here I am, working on the vision of a superhero that is commercialized and disfranchised and dragged through the mud of his city, and the backers are pulling out saying “Wow, man. This is too dark. Too ambitious. Too real. Too close to home, man.” And nope, I am not feeling betrayed, nor am I feeling desperate nor desolated. I put away my new sketches, I actually bundled them with the old ones from 20 years ago, and just lean back and wish things were different.
I wish… that our market was totally composed of IDW’s. Publishers that have an investment with the creators, and want projects to move forth, be successful, make money, gain fans. Imagine a whole industry where the actual creators are the direct responsible for the successes and failures of the creations, and sharing into the profits to a higher degree… Oh my god… I am sounding like one of those confounded socialists!!!
I wish… that the superheroes give way to a more mature audience and a more mature creators. I am so sick of going over seas to comic cons, and getting constantly asked about the american classics, like Milton Cannif, Alex Raymond, Al Capp, Will Eisner, Richard Corben and only as a perfunctory annotation do they ever stop to talk about people in tights… I want to see Ltnt. Blueberry next to Superman, and Corto Maltes next to Spiderman. I want to see their equivalent counterparts be created on this side of the Atlantic.
I want to see the American Incal, or the counterpart sagas of Jodorowsky. Heck, I don’t even think the US has produced the American Manara.
I wish…to see the hardcover album become a normal staple in the American comic book stand. The format with Album pages, with hardcover luxurious colors, with a page count between 46 or 64. The way Pilote use to publish them, or Darguard use to. What is the comic Album? No, it is not the graphic novel with a hardcover. Here, we publish a floppy monthly, with barely 14 pages of story, and eventually, when we gather enough issues we release it on a graphic novel. It it really sells well, we release it as a luxury hard cover. But in Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and lots of other European countries, the artists and writer put together a work of art that is between 40 and 60 pages long. It gets drawn in large paper, A4-sized, approx. 21×30 centimeters that is 8.4×11.6 in, but also often we find 11.657″ x 16.93″ .And then it gets published in a luxurious hard cover album. Eventually it may sell as a softcover. And not as an afterthought, not only if the comic is wildly successful. From the get go. No cheap floppy-cover 16 page issue comic, but a full fledged album.
I wish… for more digital comic releases, in an affordable and profitable manner for all involved. Alas, much in the manner that the book publishers were revealed to have done recently by being in cahoots and plotting to keep digital books artificially high, so have comics books not gotten there yet. The main thing that digital comics have going for them is the voragine and appetite for digital media that youngsters who have grown up in the digital age seem to profess.
I assume they are going to follow the tactic of waiting it out. Waiting it till people who want digital comics no matter what, they stop caring about the overpricing. Maybe it will reach a plateau , maybe not. Time will tell.