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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

We need to be different, like everyone else. 

I guess this issue still matters to some people.

In short, the writer of Stormwatch on DC's Wildstorm imprint feels it's time to be a big, bad rebel and revert to the old style of comic book covers; namely, by putting text and dialogue on the front, to make covers more like "movie trailers, instead of movie posters."

I guess that's fine. He can do that. I don't particularly care one way or another. But some of his comments are friggin' hysterical:

“I wanted to shake things up with a new approach. Every Local Comic Store Owner I talk to says that the back-issue comics which sell best out of the bins are the ones with great cover dialog. I wanted to see if that approach could be brought to bear on current publications.”

So... in order to be new, we must copy the styles of old. Gotcha.

Yes, I too dislike how every single comic book cover on the racks on Wednesdays looks pretty much just like every other, that most are filled with "a pretty pose of Superheroes staring off into the distance or flying over a city." But I can't quite buy this guy's solution. Everyone using Posing Covers is a problem, so if we all revert back to the old dialogue style, we'll be fresh and new again? Has anyone ever suggested to this guy that DIVERSITY might be the key?

Look, this is an artform, all right? Whenever some new idea comes along, you'll have five or ten great people championing the cause or revolution or whatever, and for the next five years you're going to have every simian who can hold a pencil mimicking that style. Usually poorly. This happens in every art form under the sun. Die Hard is singlehandedly responsible for the careers of Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme. Does that mean we need to stop making action pictures altogether and go back to making musicals?

Fuck. No.

The proper response to a particular style clogging the arteries of your given artform is DIVERSIFICATION, not a spineless retreat into what worked for people who stopped writing comics 30 years ago.

The biggest hoot is that Wright brings up that old chestnut about how Japanese and French comics sell "100 times" more than American titles, and that somehow, this may relate to the fact that their covers feature expository dialogue.

No one who's tackled the great "Why do manga sell better than comic books" debate has come even close to a very obvious explanation, so I'll lay it out for you: French and Japanese culture are EXTREMELY FUCKING DIFFERENT from our own. This is not rocket surgery. Cultural biases and differences have always and will always exist, and cracking the great Manga Sales Mystery probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with having Santini scream "THIS ENDS NOW!"

Or that's just me.

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