It seems that an equal number of you read the post
containing the video Did
Free Content Kill Paying Customers? and the follow-up On Did Free Content Kill Paying
No comments but that is to be expected.
I hear a couple more Indie comic publishers are going to the
wall. Thing is, you have comic buyers and a comic media that insists Image and
Dark Horse are Independents which they are not.
Neither for that matter is IDW which is counted as one of the “Big Five”
US publishing houses.
Let’s make a clear definition here. IDW, Marvel, Dark Horse,
Image and DC are companies that have licensing rights and are worth many
millions and they are the companies get all the pimping.
An Independent comics publisher is one in which one or
several comics are published, in black and white or colour, by one person or
several acting as the publishers. No one really gets paid unless books sell
because all the money goes into getting the book(s) out there and more is lost
buying table space at over priced venues. Books are usually US comic book
size though Digest (A5) and even magazine size are included. Art quality and
styles vary –because we are dealing
with individual creators and not photocopy machines.
Independent publishers might sell 10-15 books while you are
at their tables but that does not mean they are “raking in the cash”! They do
not have the big budgets and the chances of them paying table hire fees are
slim and when you add in all the other expenses….
But you do see that these Indies
have fans and that is good moral support.
Remember that all the shows make concessions (a lot of them)
to get the Big 5 and, of course, their stars at their shows.
The Small Press are amateurs. They may well produce very slick zines
–varying genres including comics, poetry, etc.- and the quality of the contents
vary. Events and those who self publish
tend to be divided up into little cliques of people who know each other, areas
they live in and so on. Psychologically and sociologically it’s all very
Small Pressers tend not to make much money because it is
mainly friends and friends of friends who buy and sometimes only to stay in
favour! Some are very happy if they sell 5 zines at an event because, if you
attend any and really observe you will find that Small Pressing is now
–probably always was- a social thing.
Now, the comics media will refer on a constant basis to
Indie comic publishers as “Small Press” or some other incorrect term for two
1) they do not really care about real Independent publishers
or want to promote them so to constantly refer to them as “amateur”/”Small” or
“Home” press says “Hey, these are amateurs doing this for fun so don’t worry if
they sell nothing –they don’t care!”
Which leads to:
2) comics media calling Image, Dark Horse and IDW
‘Independents’ and showing how great and healthy the industry is while at the
same time firmly planting their tongues up company posteriors. And the Big 5 really do not want you to spend
your $/£ on “that stuff” –they want you to spend it on them.
The (I really am not going to call it the ‘independent’)
comics media, like Diamond Distributors, wants you to only pay attention to the
Big 5. They get benefits and some go so far as to dig graves and bury their own
credibility (such as Bleeding Cool). Store owners tend to follow the Big 5
mantra and see three of the companies as Independents –anything else is trash.
Here is the bigger problem and it lies in the two factions
that should be coming together and supporting and promoting each other. Small Pressers tend to know nothing about
comics (but produce them!) and look down at comics as though they have steppede
on something smelly.
When I attended the SpikeIsland (Bristol) Small Press event a few years back I
had a very warm and friendly conversation with the organiser and I could not
stop her chatting until she asked “What do you do?” So I replied that I wrote
and drew and published comics. Her face dropped very visibly as she suddenly
remembered somewhere she had to be.
I have been at other events and got strange looks –yet these
were events where people were selling their own published comic zines and
books. What sense did it make to act as
though comics were a lower art form?
Now, at comic events I have had people dismiss Small Pressers
–while SP had tables at the very event I was at. It just simply was “not comics”. And this attitude came from some Independent
On two occasions (when Bristol had the best weather for a
long time) there was the Bristol International Comic Expo with international
visitors from the US as well as Europe and it was smack bang in the middle of
the annual South Bristol Arts Trail meant to attract the public to see art and
other media set up in little galleries in private homes. On both occasions I
tried both factions but one dismissed the other out of hand and for no good
reason. It would have boosted Expo and ArtTrail
attendances but no.
I was explaining this to Olivier Cadic, publisher of
Cinebook the 9th Art and asked him what would happen if two events
like this fell on the same date and same area in, say, France? The response was that they would both promote
one another and make it a big art event. This is what should have happened.
Small Press and Comic fairs/fayres have, as was pointed to
me on a number of occasions, got nothing to do with comics at all. People
turned up and found Small Pressers but no dealers in back issue or new comics.
Now, look at it from my point of view. I count as the biggest publisher of
Independent black and white comics and graphic novels in Europe.
I am based in the UK
which seems to have no respect for Indie comics. Franz, Luc, Messine and others
on my Yahoo Euro comics group have all pointed out that I should be based in Europe
where publishers and Independent comics are treated with more respect. We can
all dream, right?
Now here is the point: Small Press and Independent Comics
publishers working together should create a strong comic community/industry, in
truth as far as the UK
is concerned there isn’t one anyway.
Small Pressers work “by committee” where things have to be
discussed and questions such as “do we really want to associate with this
type?” are asked and discussed and discussed ad nauseum.
The Independent publishers that do exist are amateur and
many are too busy back-stabbing and arguing to organise anything.
It’s a mess. It helps
the comic media to dismiss anything other than the Big 5 –all the comic blogs
in the UK
So, in the US,
we find that Independent publishers vanish all the time but unless you knew
they existed how would you notice? Promoting comics whether Independents or
Small Press is what I have tried to do since the early 1980s.
We should all be trying to do this and support those
publishers by buying their books not looking for an illegal download. “If I
like what I read I’ll buy” is the biggest lie going. If that is a line you use
and illegally download and steal from small publishers who need every penny to
survive then you are a thief. I believe it’s similar to handling stolen goods.
You know it is illegal but you snatch it up for free. Breaking blog rules, my
message for these people is fuck you.
Small Pressers need to support Independent Comic publishers
and vice versa. I made my thoughts
and points to the Harvey Awards and told them I would no longer submit a pro
ballot form until they stepped out of the Big 5 bubble and included
Independents -which seems to mean I am now persona
non grata! Oh, my life is ‘ruined’.
This year I said the same thing to the Wieringo Awards. And others, also. This is where the sickening hypocrisy shines
through the dark with 1 million candle power lights (that is very bright in
case you wondered –blindingly so). I am
considered a professional by them and an Independent publisher –it’s why they
all send me these ballots. However, not
one of them will promote an Independent publisher and they will not even
consider it if you want to push a creator from Indie comics. They offer every excuse they can be bothered
with but, as is common in all these things today, you can only vote for the person/publisher whose name is on the
ballot and feck you. Using terms like “unbiased” and “free vote” is like
holding a loaded gun to someone’s head and saying: “Would you like me to pull
the trigger –Yes/No?”
This is very long-winded again, isn’t it? I think it has to
be one last big shout –I really think the UK is a lost cause. Bluster and grind your teeth all you want
because I really do not care. Every
point I make is easily proven with facts. Being honest with people is the only
way to go because the back-stabbing, “comics mafia” have destroyed comics in
I would love to see more comics in Welsh and Alun Ceri Jones’
Dalen Books (which seems to get no real publicity) publishes editions in
English, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Gaelic and Scots! Check the site out (language
options are available): http://www.dalenllyfrau.com/dalen-books-home.html
We all need to work together and promote Independent Comics,
the Small Press and smaller, less run-for-big-profit events locally.
I can only put the case so many times and in so many ways on
CBO. That’s it. I’m done.
"I'm a musician/artist/comic creator from Leeds UK, have done lots of music-related art and a few comics here and there. Following a longish break from art, I've just finished the first issue of my new comic - 48 pages of reprehensible adult pulp action. It's somewhere between Richard Corben and Johnny Ryan, or old 2000AD if it was made by someone serving life in prison, that's what I'm aiming for anyway!"
I've had to censor a couple of the pages as bad language causes problems on and off CBO -and we try to be safe for our readers!
The first thing to note is that Brown's comic is not a mainstream one and so there are different criteria when it comes to reviewing. For one thing -the artwork. Even Brown comments about this and it is what it is. I did wonder whether it might make a difference if Brown was just the writer and he had an artist to work with?
"Pat Lord: The Sensual Terror" has a very British Dr Strange-in-training and there is possession, gory violence and all sorts of sexual shenanigans. There is actually some quite good and humorous dialogue in place - the emergence of the homunculus and Pat's dialogue being memorable.
"Power Squad in the Mysterious Zone" to live and gain more power the characters have to kill and the more defenceless the life forms they kill the more power they gain. Now that is a very natural prey-and predator order of life: predators kill the weakest to survive and only the strong survive. Deep thinking...or me over analysing?
Next there is "Whiskey Weasel and Stabber Duck in The Luck of the Rogue". Interesting use of toner in some of these pages which helps things stand out art-wise.
As I've already noted, there are some nice bits of dialogue and story in places and, yes, maybe an artist to work with might help. However, there is something I have noted over the years: there are those who draw badly and there is no "feeling" in the work. It is just bad drawing on paper. The best review I ever gave a Small Press comic was in the early 1990s -the art was awful but I read it and you could tell the creator was enjoying what he was writing and drawing.
For all the artistic downfalls it is very clear that Brown is enjoying himself. If you have read comics as long as I have (over 5 decades now -I wish I could write only 10 years!) and you have read Small Press comics (since the 1970s) you can pick up on a great deal by looking at pages. True, comics are sequential art so there is no reason why you cannot 'read' a foreign language comic if well put together, but your eye and brain picks up more than you consciously think. Sorry -I am over explaining things.
Basically, if it is drawn like crap and the artist did not really care and put nothing personal into it then it is just crap. My first thought was "Do I really want to read this?" but I knew the answer anyway. And it is because I read Energy Realms that I realised there was some nice writing there and that the art was created with fun and enthusiasm.
You should never be stuck up your own hole about Zines. So many people are. If it is not "intellectual" or have a deep social message then it's not worth anything -and some of those stuffed shirts praise comics drawn just like Brown's but because it falls within a clique.
Remember that this comic is meant for adults and fun. View it in that way and without prejudice and you may well enjoy it. Whatever, it goes into the Hooper Zine Archives!
In future I will not be post You Tube videos from comic reviewers on CBO as I'm rather concerned because the number of views of their videos on CBO are into the hundreds (almost 600 in one case) yet this is not reflected in their YT channel views.
All new videos from Koestenbraumstar, Crayton's Comics, Comic X, Ghost Critic and Captain Strangelife will appear in the blog roll notifications.
PLEASE visit their YT channels and PLEASE "Like" subscribe!
Oblò è la collana di monografie dedicate agli illustratori e alle loro narrazioni per immagini, in cui si intrecciano la voce – quella reale e quella per disegni – dell’autore e contributi critici per orientarsi all’interno della produzione di quest’ultimo. Ogni uscita esplora forme e storie, e ripecorre la carriera di un disegnatore, giovane o affermato, approfondendone la poetica, lo stile, il metodo e il dietro le quinte del lavoro artistico, le motivazioni più intime del fare illustrazione.
Il secondo numero, pubblicato in occasione della mostra Vita di uno strano signore, esplora e approfondisce l’opera di Sergio Ruzzier.
Oblò è acquistabile sul nostro sito, o all'inaugurazione della mostra presso Hamelin, mercoledi 28 marzo, ore 19.30.
Nel 2018 si celebra un anniversario speciale: i 30 anni di Les Trois Ourses, associazione francese che si occupa di libri d’artista.
Bruits d’ourses è un compleanno in forma di performance: diversi luoghi della città ospitano laboratori ed eventi che vedranno musicisti, improvvisatori e compositori di musica contemporanea e sperimentale confrontarsi con i libri di Les Trois Ourses.
In programma una performance, un concerto, due laboratori per bambini e una conferenza.
L’albo illustrato come forma di narrazione contemporanea.
Autrice, critica e studiosa, Sophie Van der Linden è una delle voci contemporanee più autorevoli sull’albo illustrato. Durante questa conferenza, rifletterà sulle caratteristiche dell’albo come linguaggio del presente.
Sergio Ruzzier, Massimiliano Tappari e Kitty Crowther: tre grandi illustratori e autori contemporanei guidano i piccoli alla scoperta di alcuni luoghi storici di via Zamboni, per imparare a guardare musei, palazzi e teatri attraverso le storie e i disegni.
Creata a Bologna nel 1996, Hamelin è un’associazione culturale che mette in relazione promozione culturale evocazione pedagogica, lavorando in particolare con bambini e adolescenti attraverso la letteratura, il fumetto, l’illustrazione e il cinema.