I wonder how this column will wind up being a debate on the prevalence of race in modern society?
Who wants to place odds?
Well the big news of this week is “Watchmen 2” now known as “Before Watchmen” the series of prequels of Alan Moore’s 1986 classic. In a recent tweet, Alan Moore’s daughter, Leah Moore said:
“Why not do NEW OGNS from the Before Watchmen creators, or better yet by fresh talent. Use the budget to find the *next* Watchmen instead?”
There is something to that thought. And it speaks a lot to the incestuous aspect of the comic book industry. (and not in that Luke and Leia kind of way) We’ve insulated ourselves that we exist in a constant cycle of nostalgia.
Did you know there was once a time when Watchmen and V for Vendetta didn’t exist? You would never know it considering how many things since then have tried to go back and catch lighting in the bottle twice.
The thing is, was Watchmen a good book? Yes, that’s the reason its survived the test of time, long after the cold war ceased to be prevalent in anyone’s lives. Is it a landmark moment for comic book fans? Of course, it’s the period in which comics “grew up.”
Watchmen gave birth to Vertigo and a host of other properties that probably wouldn’t be given much attention or shelf space if the more mature themed book didn’t sell well. But the point of this announcement is, will this make much a difference to an outside audience?
The answer is probably not.
For 90% of the world THE WATCHMEN was a very long movie in 2009 that you either loved, hated, or just didn’t get. I enjoyed the movie personally, and didn’t mind the changes made for the film because when you adapt anything to a new audience there will always be some changes.
This goes to the point of my ‘controversial’ column about Static Shock. How do we get a new audience into our stores?
The answer there is we don’t.
We REALLY have got to stop thinking we are going to heard the majority in crowded tiny comic shops. That isn’t going to happen. We are only going to bring about a renewed readership is by going where the audience is, instead of trying to get the audience to come to us.
Why are we just now chasing after the digital market? When iTunes revolutionized how people consumed music and the movie/tv industry followed suit quickly thereafter, why didn’t comics throw their lot in with them?
As an industry we have given other formats icons. Superman, Batman, etc. We see in Hollywood today that the concepts born of our little insular world have traction for a mass audience. So why aren’t we chasing after them?
Firstly, I do believe the large players are quite content being big fish in small ponds. After all, they have the backing of major multi-media corporations to whether them through lean years.
The digital train left without the big guys. The web comic Penny-Arcade has a larger readership than either Marvel or DC. Jerry and Mike, while both extremely talented happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product. Your mileage my vary.
But they showed that there is a larger audience hungry for our style of storytelling. Now I may be blowing smoke out of my ass, and Before Watchmen might sell a billion copies, and that would be awesome but the real question is what are we doing to get people interested in the stories
Not the adaptations other media does of our stories.
We know the audience out there wants our characters.
Now all we have to do is go out there and get them.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to also comment on the new DC logo…
No seriously, it’s not a very good logo. It doesn’t do much to scream “HEY LOOK OVER HERE! COMICS!”
What it says is: “We got pwned by a shoe company because we forgot to trademark our swish logo and now we owe them money so we gotta come up with something fast.”
(yes, I used the word “pwned”. Get over it.)
Surely, they could have had a few months as a ‘return to classic logos in honor of 75 years’ or something. Give your ad men time to whip up something that actually gives your brand teeth.
The new logo is bland and stale. Is this going to turn off readers? No, but it doesn’t help grab people from across the store and make them check out your product.
It follows Marvel’s move years ago changing from their very distinctive Marvel Comics logo and replaced it with the very boring red bar with the white letters. It’s like people are ashamed they are making comics, when everyone is clamoring for the product.
It’s gotten to the point that a lot of Hollywood bigwigs won’t even look at a property unless its been a comic first. A lot of screenwriters in L.A. are now trying to learn how to be graphic novelists in order to sell their property.
We need more diversity of characters, more diversity of ideas, diversity of distribution, and more diversity of creators if we are to return to the halcyon days of the boom years.
Oh… and Asians are bad drivers.
There. Have at it.