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Friday, 9 March 2018

I Have My Serious Face On. Must Be Friday.

I think there are people out there who need to grasp reality. "You cannot be not selling books -you are all over the internet!"  Badly phrased but..."Does anyone fall for this?"

Now, I have explained and I have shown screen shots of the CBO stats page as well as the online store no sales stats.  I have no control over that.  I know that honesty from any publisher is jarring to the mind -more so if the publisher is in the comics business.  I have cited other publishers -because this is not all about me- and problems they face.

David Gordon took his MyExcess books to events and has an online store and that store he never checks anymore because no one is buying books.  I spoke to two other small publishers but I promised not to name them for various reasons: they take books to events and people do not even stop to look -they head straight to people to buy books or art pages that are "****** awful" as one put it. This is, basically, friends buying from friends or hangers-on "just in case" the creator makes it big.

I look at it this way.  No matter how bad the art might seem to me to someone else it might look great. I cannot and will not attack people who want to draw and love drawing just because they are not up to some "standard" -if they make money from their art then let them.  I know this could be debated for a very long time but not everyone is a Sal or John Buscema or John Byrne or George Perez: basing your standards on those creators is fine for alleged professional artists but for those outside of the Big Four? No.

Publishers are finding it impossible to get tables at events and as they become fewer it gets harder and I, for one, do not promote the events anymore. Too expensive, the same old-same old guests and, oddly, event when table booking is announced I get told "Oh we're fully booked now" (within 10 minutes of the press release....and yet others book tables after I am told that.

Events suffer, they have to cancel events (which is everyone else's fault especially those bastards no longer buying comics) and small publishers have long memories.  Crap on us year after year then do not expect us to jump in and pay to help you out (I still get press releases from these events and you'd think they might get the point after a while).

I checked with three others I know who have online stores and they no longer check theirs either (I forget myself at times) to see whether there have been any sales. None wants to pay high table costs/travel/accommodation and all the other expenses "in the dim hope" of selling a couple books. Most have the attitude that they may just as well stay at home and save the money. One told me about an event last Summer which he considers to be the last he'll go to:

"We were sat next to this guy who was full of himself. He kept telling everyone that he was a full time pro but his work was worse than my ten year old draws. We looked at what he was selling as he told us at one point that he might consider doing some work for us 'if I like your bones' -whatever the hipster **** meant by that. According to him Kirby was very over rated and he thought Stan Lee was the better artist of the two!!!  What he was selling was toilet paper. People were buying these awful 'comics' and his A4 "Poster Art" and the artist with me had classical art training  and at the end of the day looked at me and told me he had seen enough.  He's painting now".

I saw the art mentioned and, yes, it was not that good. At times it can be farcical. Imagine John Byrne setting up a table selling his art and comics half price.  Then imagine he hears that the fella at the next table is selling out of art -he draws matchstick figures.  I remember Small Presser A. B. Rose once wrote that matchstick figure comics were works of art.

The ability to write and draw as well as edit comics to a professional standard appears to be a thing of the past.  The people who, for instance, made Marvel Comics great -editors as well as writers and artists are still out there -getting fewer by the year but out there.  Get Roy Thomas or, even better, get Jim Shooter back!

At my age I only know writing and comics so I can't give up. I know small publishers who are now shelf-stacking in supermarkets, work in a garage and even as cinema usher. More than ten years ago -the articles and posts still exist- I predicted that this is how things would develop. I was actually really hoping I was going to be proven wrong.

I had hoped that some Chinese entrepreneur might step in and fill the comic void in the UK with a new company.  Seems like a fantasy now.

So, I am not kidding.  Look at how many small publishers there were in 2015 and then look how many of them are still around today.

The worse thing is that we all know that there is nothing we can say, do or write because 90% of the people calling themselves comic fans are just hip poseurs.  They buy DC, Marvel and, to prove they have no idea but to claim "I support Independent comics!" they go for Dark Horse and Image. Which are not Independents...unless Marvel and DC are?

There is no point joking or lying because facts speak for themselves.

Now, go read comics.

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