-More on downloading comics: Yesterday I suggested that future superhero comics might read like fan fiction--uh, even more like fan fiction--if downloading becomes the main way comics are distributed. But discussion in the comments field has made me think this might not be such a bad thing.
So here's my new stance: downloading of comics is potentially a very good thing. Right now the intellectual property-dependent comics we read are filtered through a 16 year old boy mentality. But if Marvel/DC/Disney/whatever are no longer able to control such things, we might finally get some worthwhile comics. We just need creative types willing to work for free in order to support it. The next Michael Kupperman is out there, ready to write a dialogue-heavy Daredevil. Tony Millionaire (or his spiritual descendant) could finally do all the Batman stories he's always wanted. Peter Bagge's Spider-Man (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) might finally see the light of day, for Christ's sake. If none of that entices you, how about Alan Moore writing Dr. Strange? All we need is for these creators to abandon all hope of actually being paid.
Here's a bold thought: illegally downloading Marvel and DC comics might actually help speed this along. The corporate powers-that-be already view these publishers as IP laboratories, where creative technicians experiment with new ideas for movies, TV, and various merchandise. If downloading comics makes these publishing laboratories unprofitable, the higher-ups will simply eliminate them. And in their place will spring hundreds of unofficial, fan-produced comics. If one of these creators is especially good, Time-Warner or Marvel Characters might actually sign them to contracts to keep them working on material that might bear fruit in other media. The intellectual properties won't suffer from image abuse due to the overwhelming number of such projects; the signal-to-noise ratio will be too low for anyone to notice.
So there you go: if you truly love comics, you'll quit paying for them. Only then will we get the (superhero) comics we really deserve.
-I can't help that notice that ever since he's been back, Scipio of the Asorbascon (NIM) has been sticking to mostly non-controversial type stuff. I thought that in his premature farewell address he scolded those who wanted him to concentrate on this type of content. I want to see some of his fire breathing antics when they happen, rather than having them pointed out to me months after the fact. The current stuff is just boring; rectify this situation at once, Scipio.
-I'm shocked that no one noticed that I misspelled "pomegranate" in the original title to my now infamous 70s comics post. Look at the URL.
-On the same subject, tmurray (who apparently created an account on the TCJ message board for the sole purpose of discussing this subject, given that he only has one post so far) is the only person I've seen so far who seems to understand what I was trying to say:
Wow. This is a purely academic argument, isn't it? Comic book history seems to (loosely) run in cycles, and I really think the people suggesting that decade is all "-pre and -post" are just describing one phase of a repeating cycle that happens to coincide most neatly with the 70's. This was mostly a "down" cycle in American superhero comics: the phase of shrinkage and developing experimentation, which ends with some kind of consolidation of the experiments (of which we seem to have a facination with arbitrarily picking something specific to represent, like Action#1, FF#1, the Death of Pheonix, etc) which leads into the next expansion and exploitation phase like we were in in the 60's and mid 80's, and like we're in now. Anyway, these designations are arbitrary and the lack of a 70's "identity" to comics is really a goofy thing to fret about. Reality doesn't compartmentalize that easy.
I've never bought that history is cyclical--I'm closer to being a One Damned Thing After Another type, frankly. But this is a totally valid criticism. In my defense, I was responding to Greg Burgas' original post about 70s comics; I agree that breaking down comics (or anything else, really) by decade isn't the most effective compartmentalization. Having said that, the 70s, at least for mainstream comics, definitely seem distinct from the 60s and 80s. If I were willing to subject you to some ponderous academic musings, I might suggest a long 1970s (beginning when Green Arrow became a righteous dude in the pages of Justice League or possibly ending with maybe Contest of Champions). Or a short 1970s (beginning with Tomb of Dracula, or ending with Giant Sized X-Men #1). Underground Comix also suggest alternate start/stop dates for the 70s, like "Joe Blow," Arcade #1, or even Cerebrus #1. But yes, history is not dictated by our system of numbering years.
Anyway, tmurray, whoever you are, thank you for making an effort to engage my original point on its own merits, even if you disagree with me for some unfathomable reason.
-Grame McMillan wonders about the lack of outrage from the latest New Avengers solicitation. Part of it might be because Newsarama didn't publicize the full solicits like they usually do. For those of you unfamiliar with how they normally do this, Newsarama typically features a few select solicits the weekend before the release of a new Previews. Then, at the beginning of the week, they post the full solicitations at the same URL, and move the story to the top of the page with a title like "MMMMMMARVEL FFFUUUULL SOLICITATIOOONNNSSSS FOR JUUUUUNNNNNNEEE!!!!!" (Imagine that read in a Bruce/Michael Buffer voice.) This month the solicits were not moved up to the top of the page (or if they were, I didn't notice it).
Of course, I guess some bloggers get their info from CBR or even Previews itself. If so, I see a few possible conclusions: (1) We really are immune to Marvel hype, either because it's (a) like a grating noise which has become familiar and unremarkable over time, or (b) we're still numb from Civil War, Infinite Crisis, House of M, etc. (2) Bloggers who talk about solicitations in microscopic detail tend to get their info from Newsarama. (3) Someone out there is complaining about this and McMillan hasn't noticed it yet. Overall, it seems like there's a bit less solicitation hype than last time. Maybe the convention season alters the properties of hype, meaning that solicitation hype is an off-season phenomenon. I'll try to keep an eye on this development.