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Thanks so much, Neil Gaiman & Alan Moore for killing off the comic book market
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Really appreciate that one.

I recall the exact moment that I got into comic books, it was a sunny warm day in April 1984 and I was in the airport terminal on Mauii, waiting for our flight, when I picked up the 300th issue of The Incredible Hulk. From that moment I was hooked. I started reading and collecting all of the Batman titles, in fact that was my main focus; for reasons lost to history, Marvel didn't appeal to me that much.

I remember taking the subway across town to a comic shop and picking up the first issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as the issues of the Flash that dealt with his trial.

Unfortunately I got into Watchmen a bit late, as I had to buy back issues of the first 5 issues.

But there, with Watchmen, was where the death of comics began.

Because from that moment on, comics became something to be deconstructed, as if they were all that deep and complicated to begin with.

Thanks for ruining it for everyone Alan. Where should I send the black roses?

Don't get me wrong, I still continued to buy and collect comics, hell I even got the first 7 issues of Sandman, but the storyline, while interesting, didn't intrigue me enough to keep picking up the title.

Which wasn't as bad as all that since I ended up selling off the first 7 issues for around $750, (all tax free of course.)

And then the praises started raining down for Sandman: "At last a literate comic book." "A comic book that intellectuals can read without fear of being ashamed."

Like those are good things.

All they do is drive away the younger readers.

But then, the Sandman collections started to appear, and they started to sell, and sell, and sell and sell. And they continue to sell, with an estimated 1,000,000 copies of various books of the collection having been sold.

The result: The average age of the comic book reader is up. Way up, from 13 to 25, all in the space of about 10 years.

There is more grotescque violence, gutter language and sex in mainstream books these days then could even be found in the "underground books" of the late 1960's - early 1970's.

The Comic Code may as well not even exist anymore, and for all practical purposes it doesn't.

People say that not having the Comics Code means that stories can be more authentic and believable.

Uh huh. Apparently they forget that superheros are as far from believable and authentic as it is possible to be.

I went into my local comic store, the one that I had a subsription service at for over 10 years, and the change was astonishing. Whereas the single issues of comics used to take up 85-90% of the floor space, they had now been shunted off to a very small corner of the store, covering at most 4%. The remaining 96% was given over to tradepaperbacks.

That was it for me.

The death knell had sounded.

It is only a matter of time, I give it 5 years at most.

Comic books are huge money losers for the conglomerates that own them.

Hell, Marvel is still fighting off bankruptcy, despite holding the property rights to to characters, (Spiderman & The X-Men) whose movies have grossed more than $500 million .

I've heard that the only reason Marvel/DC etall even continue to print comics is to hold onto the property rights for the characters.

So, thanks again, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, for killing off comic books. At least I got in near the tail end of it.

If your doorbell rings I wouldn't step on that burning brown bag if I were you.



If you haven't heard it, then it's new to you. If you have, shut up and listen anyway!
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Neil doesn't conrtibute to these forums. If you want him to read this message, please send it to him via the FAQ area of neilgaiman.com (link at the bottom of the journal).

Although, being a father with a 4 year old, I disagree that there aren't good comics for young ones
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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yeah, God forbid someone should start using the medium of comics to tell stories with some intellectual depth. it's like criticizing Bob Dylan for ruining music.
 
Posts: 6516 | Location: The Diaspora | Registered: January 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Okay, this is the first time I have used this kind of communication, so I hope that it ends up in the right place.


It really is questionable that someone should lay the blame for the death of an industry (here the production of comic books) upon two people. While I am sure that some people would enjoy alluding that they have this form of power, it really is ignorant to believe that anyone truly does.

In addition to this there are more possible reasons why there has been such a jump in the average reading age for comic books.
One is that there is a remarked link between this age bracket and the amount of disposable income that people of any age have. Sure, comics can be cheap, but the cost of comics, especially when compared to the length of entertainment that one can get out of them compared to, say a computer game, can be pricy. Behind this is the values of the age group especially what they percieve to be not only worthwhile for money, but socially acceptable, particularly within their clique.

Another reason that it could be argued, is that there is reasonable connection between the age of the buyers,their childhood with comics and their abitity to not only buy, but collect and therefore discern what is interesting and consequently market-viable. Hence there is a desire to view and produce new comics that will cater to this market, and are, for lack of a better term, age-appropriate (or possibly more, developmentally appropriate, as I do not believe in age-level distinctions in relation to intellectual development).

There is, in my view, no doubt that the comics of the Sandman series are intellectually challenging literature, but there should not be a question of reducing this level of writing because it would frighten young readers. Firstly because something, whether it be ideas of in this case the level of intellectualism, should not be excluded or hidden. Also, surely this is an presumptuous statement, as who is to say that this is indeed the younger people's views. As demonstrated earlier, there could be many other reasons for the rise in the reading age.

I would suggest that the belief that this is the end says more about ones personal values in relation to how comics should be and sell, rather than a categorical statement of fact. Perhaps there is a need to look upon the changes in foci of comics as a shift more than a 'death'.
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Christchurch, New Zealand | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Does anyone have a link to the interview where Alan Moore agrees with MaxFactor? He says something about "the comic industry being in a bad mood he had in the 80's"... and if you look at his newer stuff, its definatly moving back toward more "tradional" forms.
And superhero comics are still the dominant form! 90% of comics published are superhero comics, and some of them are quite good. Alan and Neil didn't kill the comic industry as show it what it could become, and its started to rise to the challenge-- look at stuff like Grant Morrison writing New X-Men. And yes, comics have gotten more violent and sexual. Some of them really suck. But blaming that on Neil and Alan is like blaming the guys who made Superman for Rob Liefield 'cause, they, if there were no superheroes there wouldn't be any Rob Liefield. Its true, but its missing the point. Alan and Neil showed comics a way they could grow. The fact that many comics either didn't live up to that promise or got too "mature" had nothing to do with them.

Thats my prelim argument-- i'll be happy to refute your points in greater detail late ron.

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson

http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.

Until Joel Schumacher directs Spider-Man 3, Make Mine Marvel!
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Also: you blame Neil and Alan for this stuff? Have you seen pre-code comics? The graphic violence was insane, but the level of storytelling sophistication was nowhere near that of Watchmen or Sandman.
Or Dark Knight Returns, which you're definatly forgetting-- Frank Miller made a "grim and gritty" superhero comic that sold enough and got enough critical acclaim to actually change the industry.
And yes, lots of comics aren't for kids now. But there are other factors besides people trying to expand what the medium could do. Let me put it this way: did R.Crumb end up killing off supeherhero comics?

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson

http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.

Until Joel Schumacher directs Spider-Man 3, Make Mine Marvel!
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One more thing: before you hate Alan Moore, read "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tommorow?" the so-called "last Superman story." Its his tribute to the old Superman right before the Byrne reboot hit, and its great. Hell, read Tom Strong or 1962 for the same feeling. Or Pictopia, his short comic that happens to illustrate exactly what you're talking about. Dude, the guy's on your side... so don't attack him for trying to expand his chosen medium.

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson

http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.

Until Joel Schumacher directs Spider-Man 3, Make Mine Marvel!
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't think MaxFactor is going to come back for a debate, LoN. Smile

But here's something else you can add to your own counterpoints - the adoption of the code in 50's restricted comics in America to a kid only market, which severely damaged almost the entire industry. Most of the publishing houses lost a ton in sales, and EC went under completely. The situation was far worse then that it is now - and the low point of now was 1997 when Marvel declared bankruptcy after mismanagement and the collapse of the speculator boom of the early ninties. Even with the pounding Marvel took, there were more publishing houses for comics and more titles than there was in the 50's.

In more recent developments, DC changed its submissions policy to not accept any unsolicited submissions, which means their business is doing well enough that they can work with agents of new talent that want to pursue them. Dark Horse changed its submissions policy to accept from artists and writers independently, when before creators had to assemble the entire creative team before Dark Horse would look at it. That means that Dark Horse is doing well enough that they can have their staff try to match artists and writers to make a project work instead of making the creative people do that end of the grunt work. Marvel has been making noises about restarting its Epic imprint. Comic racks have made a comeback in supermarkets and bookstores, allowing them to pick up impulse buyers who would not come into a comic book store and maybe make them regular purchasers of comic books. And finally, the graphic novel sections of the major book chains have increased considerably in the past couple of years. Between the japanese magna and the american comics, the section has reached about a third of the shelfspace as the neighboring science fiction/fantasy books.

==============
Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hell, the local newstand/gas station out in the shithole nowheresville I go to school in carries Shonen Jump. If thats not a good thing for the comic industry, or at least the kind of comics Max likes...
'Course, it could just mean the Japanese are invading our turf.

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson

http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.

Until Joel Schumacher directs Spider-Man 3, Make Mine Marvel!
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I really do not understand why Max Factor have joined the board if he hates so much neil (he probably thaught neil was on this board too).
He reminds me of that kind of people who "infects" convention meetings, where they start a speech that turns out to be a list of insults.
Generally these people makes of the violence of the speech their only weapon.

Gotta go now, but I would like to say my thoughts on this topic (did Moore and Gaiman take the innocence away from the comics?˚

bye everyone

guts
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Milano, Italy | Registered: May 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Guts Adams:
I really do not understand why Max Factor have joined the board if he hates so much neil (he probably thaught neil was on this board too).
He reminds me of that kind of people who "infects" convention meetings, where they start a speech that turns out to be a list of insults.
Generally these people makes of the violence of the speech their only weapon.



He had a coherant position, and I'd like to debate it with him. I think Moore had a bigger impact on the industry then Neil did, though.

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

Those who are different must stand united!

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson
http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mmmmh.

You got me.

Too bad I couldn't have written more, 'cause I really had to go yesterday.
So the only thing I've posted was the worst part of a longer message.
Usually I don't like people who take part in a conversation (or in a meeting or in a forum) just to say how disappointed they are about this or that matter.
Really, I can remember that at several meetings I've attended during conventions there were people whose questions turned out to be a long sad list of what they didn't like. They seemed to use such a way to draw attention on themselves.
I don't like it.

The message of Max Factor was in fact more articulated, but seemed to me like a giant complaint for the good old days.
And, besides that, he used very strong words and sarcasm: "THANK YOU, for KILLING the comic books..."
Usually one who wants to start a conversation is supposed to be a little bit more polite.

Maybe he just meant to get our attention, provoking us in order to get an equally passionate reply...

I think that what Mr. Moore and Mr. Gaiman did was giving NEW life to the comics. If other less gited writers thought that adding sex and violence to stories was enough to "update" comic books heroes, well, I don't think it's Moore's or Gaiman's fault.
Actually, I think these two guys are the main responsables for a lot of vocations for writing in many young people, and that is good!

In the DVD documentary of UNBREAKABLE about comic books heros there is a lady (can't remember the name now) who say how concerned she is about the fact that young readers who read comics now find violence instead of good examples like Superman or Batman.
On the other hand Frank Miller (another great guilty!;-)) says how happy he is with the fact that a lot of new stuff is around...

Two years ago I've attended a lecture by Art Spiegelman on The Rise and the Fall of American Comics. It was very interesting. He told us about a stage production he was planning, a musical based on the life of a cartoonist (the creqtor of Plastic Man I think).
One of the highlights should have been an 'a cappella' song wich lyrics were the transcription of thr COMICS CODE.

I don't know if this project have ever been completed or performed anywhere. But I think it would be interesting, because it talks about all these matters.

Bye everyone

Guts
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Milano, Italy | Registered: May 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think that what Mr. Moore and Mr. Gaiman did was giving NEW life to the comics. If other less giFted writers thought that adding sex and violence to stories was enough to "update" comic books heroes, well, I don't think it's Moore's or Gaiman's fault.
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Milano, Italy | Registered: May 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Guts Adams:
In the DVD documentary of UNBREAKABLE about comic books heros there is a lady (can't remember the name now)

probably Trina Robbins
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I disagree with pretty much everything you said in your post, MaxFactor.
 
Posts: 5530 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: June 28, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And I think that Alan Moore agrees with him. He dosen't like it, and he's trying to fix it, but he did help start a run of really bad, violent comics. It happened partly because of him and Frank Miller.

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

Those who are different must stand united!

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson
http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, actually I'm a comic geek. It all started with Batman back when I was eleven and the super-snazzy movie by Tim Burton came out. (I liked Batman before, but not with the seriousness of an eleven-year-old).

And, while I'm twenty-five now, I still continue to buy a wide variety of comics(at least when I have money to do so).

For example: Uncanny X-Men (although not so much once the movie came out, and it steered toward the movie going crowd), Wolverine, the new Batgirl, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, and various Batman titles (namely whichever the Joker or best plot tends to be in at the time).

And I absolutely loved the Sandman series. For me, it wasn't an issue of "Oh crap, what's going on with the comic book industry?" so much as "This is good shit!" you dig?

I mean, I look at it this way: say you like a certain genre over another. Pick horror for example. Well then, does that mean you can only read Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe or William Blatty? Or does that mean you can pick and choose whichever writer you want to read?

Well, same thing goes with comics--all it means is that the genre is expanding. New talent to add to the mix and all. Besides, I don't like kids, so I figure why waste the good stuff on 'em? (Just kidding--they can read the good stuff too)....

And, if that doesn't work, well, the easy solution is to just stop reading whatever makes you mad, you know? Sort of like picking at a scab and complaining it hurts, if you ask me....
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ohio, United States | Registered: July 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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okay Maxfactor...this is my reply to your stupid post.
you're accusing Gaiman and Moore of writing brillaint, entertaining and very creative stories that have made stupid wannabe writer attempt to in turn write serious stories that are just as intelligent as the masters but have failed. it's their fault they're stupid enough to think they could write those kind of stories. what, we now have to watch out that our comics is going to be too intelligent, in case a swarm of idiot writers try to duplicate?

If comics sold out on account of the fact that Sandman is better than regular comics...then that can only mean that regular comics were not any good to begin with. People have been WAITING for something like the Sandman to come out, and now that it has, they let go of the inferior form of entertainment and in turn start reading something that's actually worth reading.

about your trade paperback theory....that's crap. and who cares really? so what if people want trade paperbacks. it costs a LOT more cheaper. a regular 250 page trade would cost $17. a normal 22 page comic would cost $2..at least. you do the math. Cost alone can convince readers to buy the paperback... but look at the convenience you gain from buying ONE paperback as opposed to 12 substandard quality comics that you have to search around for each issue, flip through the annoying ads, and then invest extra maintenance efforts just trying to keep each of those issues in mint condition.

so shut up you whiny little turd.

oh, and one more thing. sandman and watchmen attracted readers. the stupid dumb comics that were using gimmicky covers and all those "collector item" issue #1s were what drove the comic book market to this sad state. not convinced? ask any creator out there...i mean any one that works in the field.

MSD Secret Member!
 
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*cough* this is a no-no.
quote:
Originally posted by Main Man:
so shut up you whiny little turd.



And don't expect Maxfactor to respond - this was the only post they ever posted. Roll Eyes
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by MaxFactor:
I've heard that the only reason Marvel/DC etall even continue to print comics is to hold onto the property rights for the characters.

So, thanks again, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, for killing off comic books. At least I got in near the tail end of it.


MAXFACTOR,

From whom did you receive that report? Was it a credible source?

Comics continue to be published for no other reason than that it is profitable for their publishers. The fact that people enjoy reading those stories is incidental to that equation.

I read your entire post, but fail to grasp how it is that someone who began reading comics in 1984 could possibly conclude that 2 fine writers could be held accountable for the alleged "imminent death" of the comics medium. Confused

"...Be seeing you!"
MALCOLM XERXES
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Posts: 28 | Location: IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING | Registered: July 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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