Real Talk: The Comic Release Format

This week Nerdcenaries sat down in Google Hangout, turned on the mustaches and talked about the state of comics this week. This is Real Talk.

Luke: I am sitting down with Jon Hex and Jordan Neves of Nerdcenaries for the first ever Real Talk where we talk about comic issues of the day.

Jordan: See, I’m not exactly an expert here. I hardly buy monthly books as it is; I stick to a trade here and there and monthly books as they pique my interest. But I have opinions! who doesn’t have opinions on things that barely affect them, right?

Jon: Okay. Well, I’m like the opposite of Jordan since I buy every week.

Luke: Now Jordan, if you do buy trades would you prefer more trades were released in trade only format as opposed to just monthly issues? Jon feel free to respond as well. I mean monthly comics can be a limiting format.

Jon: I mainly buy trades when I come late to a series. I had to buy the first 2 trades of Chew and The Sixth Gun when I decided to read them. I am kind of used to monthly reading and would kind of miss not having something to read on a regular basis.

Jordan: See, I’m more a fan of creators than stories. I haven’t really kept up with what events transpire in the DC or Marvel universe so long as there’s solid art and writing behind what’s happening.

Jon: As much as I loved Scott Pilgrim, I couldn’t wait that long between every series.

Luke: But do you buy trades of what you bought as monthlies?

Jon: Nope.

Luke: But with Scott Pilgrim, wouldn’t it be limited in storytelling capacity by being a monthly?

Jon: I like it as is. I just couldn’t see every comic as a once a year thing. I like it both ways I guess.

Jordan: I’m not opposed to monthlies on principle. Doling out story bit by bit a little at a time is as legitimate as getting all of it between long breaks. It’s not a routine I’m a part of but I don’t think it should be redone from the ground up. At the same time, you’ve gotta fit a satisfying story in 22 pages especially if you’re charging 3 bucks. Even if it’s not a whole story, it should be a satisfying part of a story, at least, you know?

Luke: I’d argue though that not enough stories are satisfying. Some of these mini arcs would waste issues in my opinion.

Jon: That’s anything though.

Luke: But do they make filler-ish stuff naturally or is it due to the schedule?

Jon: They don’t really do filler anymore.

Jordan: Filler is all basically down to the changing mode of pop comics storytelling in the past ten years.

Luke: Unless they stop Superman from saving cats.

Jon: That Superman walking tour was an exception since it had like three fillers in one arc.

Luke: But a lot of stories are overly decompressed in my opinion. Couldn’t more compression cause better issues?

Jon: Not necessarily.

Jordan: I think what guys like Stan and Jack did back when stories were at their densest is admirable but it would be a total style shift for so many modern writers/artists to emulate. Decompression is just what happens after the decades of influence from Movies and Manga and eurocomics.

Jon: I think the acceptance of trades makes it, I don’t know, more pleasing to editors to get arcs. But even if you get one issue self contained stories, it’s not a guarantee that story will be good.

Luke: Let me change things then – Thor the Mighty Avenger – do you think it would have lasted longer if it were released as a series of trades?

Jon: No. It died because it was stamped All-Ages and under promoted.

Jordan: I loved the series and it was remarkable but it was suffering from abysmal advertising and was fumbled as an inbetweener as it was.

Luke: But isn’t it easier to promote singular books instead of a new monthly? Do it as one “BAM” story in a book, advertise one thing.

Jon: I think a singular book would be overlooked more than a series, which has months to build an audience. Then again the level of promotion for Superman:Earth One kind of makes me wrong.

Jordan: To be honest, Marvel mishandled the marketing of the book so much I don’t think it really would have mattered either way, really.

Luke: Are you guys familiar with the magazine Shonen Jump?

Jon: Yeah.

Jordan: Yes. I’ve always seen it available at grocery stores.

Luke: It’s a collection of a variety of manga series. Disregard the fact that the comics are simply translated and reprinted – would you buy a giant monthly book with 200 pages of new comics in black and white on cheaper paper for let’s say $8?

Jordan: I think they would have to be in a non-superhero genre.

Jon: Depends on the books. And I really like color. The Fourth World would be 45% weaker without color.

Jordan: Color is such an integral part of superhero comics and western comics as we know them, really.

Luke: Well, we could have color for trade formats then that come out after.

Jon: Which is kind of bringing it back to what we have now.

Jordan: Maybe we should look at the publication of Bone over the last couple of decades. It was solidly successful as a non-color book and it’s still remarkably relevant with young readers.
Sent at 2:04 AM on Tuesday

Luke: As well as The Walking Dead, TMNT and Sin City.

Jon: There is a market for graphic novel series, but I don’t think it should take the place of monthly comics.

Jordan: Yeah. I think a Shonen Jump book that’s as widely available as it is with varied genre stories could be pretty successful, but that might be wishful thinking. It could hardly replace the comics industry as we know it.

Luke: Oh I’m not saying it would but to produce a larger production with a large variety of content – I think it would be huge.

Jon: I think Marvel and DC could try to diverse the types of books they sell. Not everything has to be about superheros or some weird Vertigo thing.

Jordan: My biggest gripe with the comics market as it stands is that it’s available mainly at comic shops.

Luke: I’ll agree with that Jordan – I think that is what keeps part of the comics are for kids mentality.

Jordan: I don’t think the “comics are for kids” mentality has existed for years.

Jon: But where would you try to sell them? They’re already in bookstores.

Luke: They’re hidden in most bookstores or mistreated.

Jordan: Floppy stands are great to have in grocery/department stores.

Luke: If anything stick them in supermarkets where you put the trading cards at the end – Pick up a $3 splurge.

Jon: Starbucks.

Luke: Yeah, Starbucks has the Free Marvel Digital thing.

Jon: The huh now?

Luke: At Starbucks on their internet you have free access to the Marvel Digital Comics Library. Our enemies at LBFA did a comic about it.

Jordan: Digital is a whole other bag. I think it’s a pretty big deal that all the companies should be throwing all their dice into, but I’m probably a little wrong in thinking that.

Luke: No, I mean look at Warren Ellis who has enough of a following to print trades of his webcomic. As well as Scott Kurtz living off of PVP better than most comic artists. And even Chris Hastings of Doctor McNinja who is now publishing with Dark Horse and who did a miniseries with Deadpool.

Jon: But they built that following by putting out regular comics.

Luke: Only Ellis did. Kurtz and Hasting go solely digital. Or well, Kurtz had the PVP comic book but that was a fiasco.

Jordan: Webcomics are such an individually fueled effort, and yet they’ve got it tackled. I think more people read PVP in a given month than buy the average comic published by either of the big 2.

Luke: Oh easily. I know Penny Arcade has millions of readers. And even newer things like Hark! A Vagrant or MS Paint Adventures.

Jordan: It’s a hierarchy, I think. There are less people that read comics than there are people who read webcomics than there are people who claim to be fans of comics than people who claim to be fans of superheroes. Though there is a ton of overlap.

Jon: If comics were free, they’d all be bestsellers.

Luke: I’d not say that. I’d say there are more people who are fans of superhero comics and characters than there are people who actually read comics. Thanks to shows like the Justice League or Avengers or X-men Evolution.

Jon: I didn’t have as many superhero cartoons growing up. They were all over by the time I was born or started up when I was 12.

Jordan: Yeah, that’s kind of what I mean, really. More kids know about superheroes watching any of those shows than reading any of the comics. Justice League Unlimited alone is probably responsible for hundreds more fans of comics than anything DC published in the past 10 years. And I can’t think of anyone in my generation who doesn’t know at least a little about the X-men after watching the cartoon as a kid.

Luke: More so than Flashpoint?

Jordan: A little, yeah.

Luke: So then why not make a free property you publish online, use ad revenue and like a small library subscription fee and then sell books as well?

Jon: Wasn’t that what Zuba or whatever was for?

Luke: Zuba had no real rights to the DC Properties and limited support

Jordan: To be honest I think maybe this is something we should be asking the people up top. It’s pretty likely they’ve thought of all of this and had to give it all up. With movies and shows and stuff it seems pretty clear to me now that Superhero Comics are not the way superheroes are known. They’ve made the migration to moving pictures, possibly permanently. You guys are thinking of Zuda, by the way.

Luke: I think that the people at the top of Warner Brothers and Disney don’t really care about the comics as much as they care about the properties.

Jon: I really believe that comics have to keep the interest up when the series end and the movies don’t quite pull it off.

Luke: That’s why when a movie is released you return the status quo. To try and get the people who might buy a comic.

Jordan: And that’s kind of the thing. The movies are what’s known. They’re now what really matters. I don’t think superhero comics matter anymore. At least, in the large cultural sense.

Luke: Well, until the copyrights run out and then Whooooo Boy.

Jon: They never will. They’re owned by corporations now.

At this point the discussion turned into a debate about copyright law but obviously this is not an easy topic to talk with and the state of the comics industry is not something that we can solve easily.

Bear Grylls, Batman Team-Up For “BATMAN VS. WILD”

Coming soon to Discovery Channel is a new reality series showcasing how to survive
in wild, urban areas. Bear Grylls of Man Vs. Wild and Worst Case Scenario will host
the program but will be the student this time as he is trained in urban vigilantism by
the “Dark Knight” of Gotham City, The Batman.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase the abilities of The Batman and provide just a little
transparency to this new initiative,” remarked Wayne Enterprises and Batman, Inc. CEO
Bruce Wayne. “While not a complete look into how the Caped Crusader operates, I think
the people will be both educated and entertained with the new series.”

Bear, who films specials where he takes celebrities on expeditions, will be learning
how to track a suspect, evade street cameras and tackle multiple armed assailants with
non-lethal weaponry. “We’ve deputized Mr. Grylls for the duration of taping. He’s also
provided an insurance and incidental death waiver,” Commissioner James T. Gordon
said when called for comment. While the Gotham City police department has no official
stance on the authority of Batman, they wish to provide positive exposure of Gotham
City and its residents.

Batman would not respond to any requests for a comment through Batman Inc. or the
GCPD, but his current sidekick Robin left a note with one of the cameramen for the

“This is stupid. -R”

Marvel, Bendis To Release “Avengers Disassembled” As 2013 Event

Marvel Comics released a statement today announcing that the intended crossover event for summer 2013 will be 2004’s Avengers Disassembled. Fans of the Avengers may remember “Disassembled” as the first story arc of Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis.

“I felt as though everything was building to a breakup of the group, a complete teardown to build something new,” Bendis remarked in the release. “The fact that I had already done it before didn’t occur to me until recently, so f*ck it, let’s just release it again.”

Since the original publication, most of the characters and locations that were killed or destroyed in the series have been restored, so the book will be released as is with only an update to the publication date. The 2013 release will serve as the jumping on point for future Avengers stories.

“Many of our readers have expressed a fatigue with events, it said in Marvel’s statement. “So we figured that giving them something familiar will ease them back into it.”

Pitch Week – That Nerd Kid Was Wrong

I was watching the truly horrible The Howling Reborn (2011), when I realized I hated a certain kind of character: the nerd who knows everything about the monster. In these movies where the characters seemingly have the same kind of diverse monster literature and movies, there is one person who knows almost everything about whatever is doing the killing. Despite how contradictory most lore is, whatever Evil Ed/emo Ali Larter from Final Destination/Hispanic guard in Devil says is spot-on truth.

I want there to be a movie where the protagonist goes to the horror fanatic/gypsy carnie/emo girl and every last tidbit of monster defense is completely wrong. “Vampires can’t enter your home without being invited.” The vamp kicks down the door and pimp walks in. “A werewolf only turns on the full moon.” The werewolf is turning at night, or even at will. “A sasquatch just want to be left alone.” He keeps kill trophies.

As far as who would direct or star in this sarcastic masterpiece, I don’t really care. A director who doesn’t equate gore with scary and actors who can act is all I would like to make my vision a reality.

Brett Ratner Leaves Oscars Over Slur, X-Men: The Last Stand

The director of 85% of Chris Tucker’s movies has resigned from producing next year’s Oscar ceremony after the uproar over his use of a gay slur and X-Men: The Last Stand appearing on Netflix Watch Instant. “What am I looking at,” questions most who chose to view the movie, thinking it followed in the quality of X2: X-Men United. “Can I get a refund for these past two hours?”

Ratner also gave an interview with Howard Stern where he painted a raunchy, if unsurprising picture of Hollywood. The After The Sunset director released a statement to TheWrap where he stated, “…as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.” Adding, “I thought 5 years would be enough time for people to forget X3, but the internet has a long memory.”

When told of the situation, Hugh Jackman, star of X3 and one time Oscar host, said “Crikey, he rooted himself with that one. He really put his shrimp on the barbie with this one. Prob‘ly should’na mention shrimp. I‘m off ma face!”

Non-Sexual Solicitations: 11/9/2011

Lenore, vol. 2 #4
Having stopped the combined fury of the League of Super-Mummies, Lenore just wants to have a normal moment with her zombie brother, Rudolpho. But they chose the wrong time to trick-or-treat on Maple Street, because the Creepig is back from his two-year stint at Betty Ford. He’s always when been addicted to destroying Lenore. Will he OD this time?

A Child Is Born
The Messiah is born, but can he really reunite the disparate tribes of the post-apocalyptic
Earth? Not if Nega-Buddha has anything to say about it! Believing everything should
be his, N-Budd will stop at nothing to take the God Child’s power and make The Virgin
Mary his bottom bitch. Standing in his way are John The Two Gun Baptist and the 12
Disciples of Dogma Kwon Do. It’s the Nativity, now with high octane action and blood
pumping sensuality!

Little Lulu Vol. 29 The Cranky Giant and Other Stories TP
Finally in one trade paperback is the Little Lulu epic “The Cranky Giant”. The end of school year cruise was supposed to be the best time of year for Lulu and friends, and was until pirates attacked the ship. Taking a lifeboat to escape, the friends wash up on a deserted island with no food and no way to call for help. But Olaf is going to help himself, to Lulu slow roasted on a spit! Also includes “Bruno Takes A Hearty Deuce.”

Decision 2012: Rick Santorum
What convinces someone to take the ultimate challenge and run for President? See the life and career of Rick Santorum as he dedicates himself to public service and making sure this country doesn’t get too gay. Find out all the details of his campaign leading up to his inevitable defeat at the Republican National Convention. Includes free tube of Astroglide.

Avengers Academy #23
X-23 joins the Avengers Academy but can she make the cut for the cheerleader squad?
She may have been trained since birth to be a deadly assassin, but the human pyramid
will push all of her abilities to the limit. Meanwhile, headmaster Hank Pym wants to
institute new curriculum guidelines, but is he setting the standards too high?