I’ve been trying to warn the comic book industry, for about nine months now, that a crash is on the way if they don’t get their asses in gear and do as much as they can to capitalize on the current popularity of comic book properties…before that ends. And I did what I could to get it to understand that the end of all that may very well be right around the corner. Are you listening yet?
Before you start in with theories about Cage and Iron Fist moving to the Disney network, you can just stop. Because wherever they end up, it isn’t going to change this trend of the pop culture just not giving as much of a damn.
Below are some charts of the amount of chatter about the shows, on social media…
even Daredevil took a big hit, and seasons 2 and 3 were REALLY good, arguably better than season 1 (arguably)
(full story on the drop in interest from The Business Insider Here )
I talked about the looming problem facing the comic book industry (here)… that being the inevitable drop in billions of dollars of free exposure from Hollywood, once Hollywood move on.
I talked about what kind of comic books pros are needed to help avoid the crash (here).
Now let’s talk about the kinds of comic books that need to start being made ( made again) in order to prevent a huge crash in the comic book industry
It’s about the content, stupid. You wanna tell the 100,000th story about Spider-Man fighting Doc Ock, the 50,000 story about the zombie apocalypse, make Iron Man a woman, make Captain America Gay, or make a book about Donald Trump for good or bad, or plug whatever agenda you want into some old character, or (and here’s a wild idea) just make an imaginative and entertaining story no one has seen the likes of yet…you are all STILL doomed to failure…IF YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW TO TELL A F*CKING STORY IN COMIC BOOK FROM.
If the medium of comics books is going to continue to survive, among all the other mediums of entertainment and storytelling and ways of delivering a story to an audience that exist now and among the ones that will be invented. EVERYONE who earns a living through them needs to understand one fundamental thing…
what about a comic book is unique and advantageous over every other medium.
I’m not talking about the nostalgia of picking one up off the rack or the feel of the pages in your hand, or the smell, or any of that mumbo jumbo that younger and future generations do not have the same connection to. I am talking about the way the human brain works and the fact that everyone’s brain works at a different speed on different subjects and instances. Everyone’s brain absorbs, refines, and inputs information at a different rate and order.
The way in which a comic book allows a reader to absorb the information is superior to other mediums when you take into consideration that not everyone’s brain processes information the same way.
A book leaves everything, except the bare skeleton of what is happening and what is being said, to the imagination of the reader. It gives full reign to the audience. A movie, a TV show, leaves almost nothing to the imagination of the viewer. It gives full reign to the storyteller.
A comic book gives full reign to the storyteller except for one aspect….possibly the most important aspect there is. TIMING. The amount of time that the information is processed is completely up the to subconscious of the reader. It give us a surreal means of processing a story that cannot be matched. Two people can watch the same movie…and one can miss important aspects, while the other is bored of the slow methodical pacing. In a comic book different people are given the same information but be free to process it at different speeds, are given a set of scenes and have that set of scenes all remain in front of their eyes at the same time until their brain has decided it knows what it needs to know.
A comic book page can start with a panel of a man leaving a room while two other people are talking , and have four or five or seven scenes happen afterwords with the author having no need to fear that the scene with the man leaving the room will be forgotten or missed completely when during the final panel it is revealed that someone has planted a bomb. No movie could hope that the man leaving, or anything about him, would be remembered ten minutes later…unless him leaving was shown in such a heavy-handed way as to tip the hand of the story that the man leaving was important. No book could convey that information and have it stick without tipping it’s hand.
A comic book can dedicate an entire page to one split second of time, showing many things that happened in that instance all at once…no movie, or book can deliver that much information without losing momentum. Neither can show that much information about one single moment without feeling like the moment was stretched out or slowed down.
A book hands so much over to the reader’s imagination that it is nigh impossible to have any confidence that the story you mean to tell is the one in the reader’s mind. A movie gives no room for imagination and delivers all of the information at the same speed for every single person and at the same speed for all of the information…despite the fact that everyone absorbs information differently and different kinds of information at different speeds. A scene with fast paced dialogue, a scene with physical action, a scene with romantic chemistry is delivered ALL in life like pacing ALL the same to every man woman and child who views it. Only a comic book presents a series of scenes, dialogue, and visual clues, in a way that every person can absorb it in the way that his or her subconscious sees fit to do so.
THAT is the advantage that comic books have over every other form of story telling.
And THAT is what every person working in the industry needs to remember, use to their advantage, and celebrate expert use of.
…and UNDERSTAND it’s advantages. All the images visible at once…that gives you an advantage, believe it or not, over a movie of tv show in ACTION scenes. You take a car chase or a fight in a movie, there is a lot of movement, a lot of action in the people and objects…but the camera is limited in what it can do without disorienting and confusing the viewer. There’ a thing called the “180 degrees rule”, the long and short of it is you can’t swing that camera around too much from shot to shot without the viewer getting put off. A comic book, by and large, is not subject to that because the reader is not going to get confused because all the shots are right next to each other for reference by the subconscious. You can go from overhead view to ground level to a close up of an object to a normal shot with no fear of the reader being confused ( given you do it right).
Look at ALL the crap going on in that page above…if that was a movie the viewers wouldn’t know which way was up and no single scene would have the impact they have on that page. and each and every reader is focusing on the scene that appeals to them the most, and giving it the most time.
A comic book page can present an audience with many multiple scenes all working together to make the story and all working together visually.
Five or six story boards with the dialogue put into word balloons is NOT a comic book page.
Uninspired, boring as F8ck, lazy and clueless as to how to use the medium and it’s advantages to give impact.
THIS….IS a comic book page
THIS is NOT a comic book page.
That is a half assed, LAZY, PATHETIC, cut and paste attempt at movie story boards ( and by the way the joke is plagiarized).
THIS IS A COMIC BOOK PAGE
AND THIS, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT CAN’T BE DONE IN ANY OTHER MEDIUM
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT CAN ENTERTAIN PEOPLE AND EARN THEIR MONEY FOR MANY DECADES TO COME
THIS IS A COMIC BOOK PAGE
Awh…what’s a matter? Can’t compete with Windsor McCay? Why the f*ck not? You have all the knowledge of sequential story telling that he had, and everything that was figured out after him at your disposal…
LEARN IT. and if you are a comic book professional or hope to be one DO…IT.
You ever stop to think that MAYBE…just PART of the reason you’re selling less comic books than they used to is because THEY ARE NOT ANYWHERE NEAR AS GOOD?…hmmmm…maybe?
You think MAYBE that if people were seeing and sharing pages of the quality…of the ability to capture the imagination the likes of which USED to be made…the industry might be getting more traction?
Make good comic book pages, promote good comic book pages. “Spider man did this” or “Super man did that” will soon not interest nearly the number of people that it does now. But simply showing them THIS
WILL CAPTURE THEIR IMAGINATIONS.
…and the medium and everyone working in it will prosper.
I’m going to repeat -Make comic book pages, promote comic book pages. And emphasis on “promote”…
If you are a pro, instead of just posting a page you did, throw in some insight about the planning. Why you did what. Educate people as to the amount of thought that goes into it. Let them know what is special about it. …you DID put thought into it, right?
If you are a reviewer, people are ASSUMING you have some insight beyond what they have. Prove to them you do. You’re reviewing a book with a story of illustrated pages, surely you can give some thought as to why those pages worked or didn’t. You want this medium to last, even grow..right?
Maybe you yourself have no insight, never gave this any thought until now. Start figuring it out, start learning, dissect the pages of the old greats and analyze why they are so good.
There’s plenty of books on this, some good some bad.
Here’s a link to a blog I did, with some tips…I am NOT a teacher, and it’s probably riddled with spelling errors, but it might get you started until you find something better.
I’ll be in Michigan in a few weeks, come say hello,
When Douglas is not complaining, he and his work can be found here
Have friends who might like Arsenic Lullaby?…tell them to sign up for the Arsenic Lullaby Email HERE. Thanks in advance.