Thursday, September 25, 2008

shutting down comics

So, I just heard that Minx isn't going to be publishing and as of last month neither is Virgin comics. There seems to be a lot of this going around in mid-level new-mainstream books. It is really interesting to me. Since these days arty and personal comics seems to be selling better than ever. I'm trying not to be smarmy since I know people who depend on these sort of things but it is important to note that doing things just because "that is what is selling" or "that is what people want" doesn't guarantee any kind of business success. So, why not just do comics that we like doing. It is funny because the Minx story on Comics Reporter ends with this thing about how it was an imprint run by real people and that speculation about what could have been done doesn't do anyone any good. As if learning from mistakes weren't important and what Minx represented to the rest of us wasn't important. Well, there you go.

Anyway have any take on this? I haven't read around on it yet.


Shannon O said...

I honestly don't think it's that simple. I think that Shelly Bond was trying for something quite interesting with the Minx line.

I think Dave Roman's livejournaling of the matter - under the comics reporter's "punditry and opinion" section - is a pretty decent analysis of what happened with it.

I, like Dave, am bummed to see that a line dedicated to stories with strong, young female protagonists has failed. And I think Bond's approach of pairing cartoonists with a strong "artsy" (or whatever you want to call it) pedigree up with YA writers and comics writers who write YA was a good one.

However, you are right in that it did fuck up because the focus was not on putting out a quality product - it was on pimping books. This is evidenced by DC's choice to dump an assload of money into the packaging of the books. Specifically, DC hired a YA book packager called Alloy that was involved in a huge plagiarism scandal a few years ago:

By pairing up with Alloy they sold out to the man - and, really, what smart, edgy, rebellious teenage girl (no matter how mall-ternative) is going to be interested in buying into the man's seduction game?

That's why I think it failed. I think it was a good idea that could've been executed better with paitence, nurturing, and by spending all that fucking money DC spent on contracting the packaging of the books to Alloy in making sure the very interesting writer/artists teams they employed had enough time to put out a decent product.

dylan sparkplug said...

Thank you so much for the book designer info, that stuff is totally insightful.

dylan sparkplug said...

I don't think they were trying to do something bad though. Both companies were well intentioned. I think they intended to do good work but they took the typical talking down to their audience tact that Virgin also did.

The idea that girls or fans of Indian religions have to be "marketed to" and "the editorial voice is important". Taking what is good about those areas of interest and making them more "accessible" to a wider audience. There are loads of comics with strong female voices and protagonists that they didn't pick up, in an effort to make books that were sort of focused on a wider audience.

Collaborative work is great when it is genuine but collaborations for money rarely produce good art. They are a classic way that comics and comics editors control the voices of their artists. Bond could have just published about 20 cartoonists I can think of, as is and done better.

And that is my problem. There is a lesson to be learned. It is the same one Dark Horse learns over and over again and then forgets. I mean, the thing is that all the people making those choices are real people who try and do things they care about but that doesn't put them above criticism more than the books they publish.

I'm tired of seeing all this money poured down the drain by all these big companies to make "okay" comics, when there are hundreds of amazing cartoonists working out there. Including a lot of the ones that companies like Minx employed to do work for hire comics.

That said, I think the idea of doing religious or youth focused comics is great, just not the way they did it.