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What Is The Big Deal?

Warning from the editor: Scott Deaux is typically super nice and wants to be amicable with everyone.  Due to frustration over various comic related things, he got “ranty” earlier today.  This is that rant.  Scott Deaux understands that if the industry is going to grow, it will have to add peripheral fans of films.  If he sounds self righteous, he probably is.  Read at your own discretion and please don’t be offended.  He loves everyone, but he loves comic books and the people who make them too.

 On the day before the release of the sure-to-be summer blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises, I find myself wondering “what are comic book fans doing?”  You might say, “Well, Scott Deaux, they are freaking out and dressing up and purchasing advance tickets, ” and you would be right.  The community of comic book fanatics and casual observers are losing their minds about this movie and I have no doubt that it will be great myself.  I just wish to ask one question…

 

 

Why must we see our comic books on screen?   Aren’t the stories enough in print?  Why must we elevate film over comic books?  By making a bigger deal whenever a comic book movie comes out than when titles launch in print, we are just enforcing what the industry already thinks.  They think that films are superior to printed works and why shouldn’t they?  We tell them every day when we watch movies proudly for the fifth time and never darken the door of our local comic shop.  Not only that, but when the people who grind and scrape to generate intellectual property create something, they are barely rewarded for it.

It’s a little known fact that most comic book writers have to have full-time jobs scripting video games or working in a completely unrelated field up until they become famous.  The people who create the beautiful art that we see on covers of comics and posters and that we make our computer desktop backgrounds, might bus tables to make ends meet.  In comics, we see people really working hard to achieve something and make art.

When a comic book property is optioned for a film, they pay the creator, who has probably struggled for years waiting to get noticed, a nominal fee and then make six billion dollars off of it.  Then everyone buys the dvds of the film and the action figures and the creator doesn’t always even see his sales numbers on comic books raise.  It’s stupid.  People watch The Avengers and think “I want more of that!  I can’t wait til’ 2017 when the sequel comes out!” when there are decades of great Avengers stories right down the street on the shelves of their local comic book store.

Case in point, I have a friend who really liked the Walking Dead on AMC.  He is not even close to a comic book person, but he heard about the comics, read one or two casually,  saw the show and became enamored.  Being a humble individual, he wasn’t afraid to translate his experience into, “Wow!  There are 75 issues of this story out there for my consumption.  I need to get reading!”  And read he did.  He read and read and now he has a right to be called a comic book fan, because he read comics.  He found something that tickled his fancy and didn’t come into his relationship with comic books carrying any sort of prejudice.  He would probably never be interested in Action Comics or anything like that, but he is now much more open to the medium and appreciates it for what it is.

I used to think that going to see comic book movies was a necessary event.  “We have to support the movies so the industry can grow!” I thought.  But we don’t see anything spectacular happening on that front.  If people love Batman so much, why can’t they be like my friend and drop pre-conceived notions to try Batman in a different way.  People who go to movies don’t seem to become comic fans and the rich get richer while the poor stay that way.  Sure, DC is doing something cool by giving away over 500,000 copies of a Batman: Earth One preview, but it is still not enough.  Batman: Earth One is a great book and I will be reviewing it later, but I bet that only a very small amount of the people who get the preview will turn around and buy the graphic novel.  We are spotlighting the big two here, but this goes for all comics.  Why can’t comic books get an ounce of respect since the industry is being exploited for their good ideas?  The market for comic book movies is teeming, but comic books are dwindling.  And I will say this: I know that it is an Image book with a niche market, but it’s a total disappointment to me that unless Brandon Graham and Simon Roy’s Prophet is ever made into a movie, no one beyond super cult sci-fi fans will ever know the zaniness that I have come to crave.

It all boils down to this, I do not hate comic book movie fans.  I am thankful that we have something to talk about together and I will desperately try not to be an elitist, but don’t think that you are a comic book fan.  If you want to casually float in the shallow end, go see The Dark Knight Rises and love it.  If you want to swim for real, go read Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” which is supposed to be a strong voice in Nolan’s final film.  I just feel like people are missing out on so much.  They allow their comfort zones and views about what are “childish things” to stand as a fence around them, blocking out new experiences and untold amounts of joy.  If you want to benefit the comics industry, go buy a freaking comic book.

 

~ Scott Deaux ~

 Letter from the editor: See, that wasn’t so bad.  Join us later for
more sunshiney reviews about how much we love everything.

About Scott Deaux

Favorite Comics: Lazarus, Essex County, Chew, Superior Foes Of Spider-Man, Age of Apocalypse stuff, The Nightly News, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Pax Romana, Avengers, NEXTWAVE: Agents Of Hate, Sweet Tooth, We3, others... Favorite Quote(s): "Journalism is just a gun. It's only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that's all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow a kneecap off the world." - Warren Ellis "People who hold signs go on...to hold many other things" - Eddie Pepitone

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  1. I’m tired of all the people getting excited about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while struggling fantasy authors are producing hundreds of good sword and sorcery books every year that sit unread.

    But seriously, I’m afraid I must disagree. I don’t believe blockbuster comic book movies are hurting the comic book industry. If anything I suspect they are helping it as they saturate culture around the time of the movie’s release. Any publicity is good publicity, right? And I imagine that there is some overflow effect (albeit minor) that lifts sales of independent titles.

    But independent and art comics are in a totally different category from mainstream superhero comics. So complaining that Hollywood is raking in cash while titles like Prophet are barely known is like comparing apples to orangina. You could flip it around and gripe that these super hero movies have years of comic culture and merchandising behind them, while original, well-made art-house films struggle to be seen.

    People like to see comic book movies for the same reason they like to see movies based on their favorite book. Nearly anything can be drawn or described in text, but there is something about seeing it brought to life with live actors and special effects that makes it a completely different experience. When it’s done well (usually with a huge budget) it is an amazing experience.

    Now if you want to lament the erosion of modern-man’s imagination, and his pathological drive toward escapism, that’s justified. If you want to argue that films like Ghost Rider and The Green Lantern actually hurt both comic books and the comic movie industry, I’m completely on board. But complaining that comic authors don’t get their fair share of box office returns, is a specious argument. I guarantee that Marvel and DC get their cut; what they do with it is another matter. At least movies like Scott Pilgrim, Kick Ass, and Red are getting made too. Maybe Planetary is next. (When Hollywood is so desperate for stories that they are willing to re-reboot Spider-Man within a decade, anything is possible.)

    With love, as your brother,
    ~Hal~

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I think that the readers of comic books and graphic novels get judged so harshly by some of the people who attend the premiers of movies based off of them. And that’s ridiculous

    However, I understand that film is a separate art and can’t be compared fairly to the written word and the art that accompanies it. I think this parody points more toward what our society is turning into rather than how film and graphic novels or comic books compare to one another.

    I mean…what can we expect from the generations that respond, upon inquiry, that they hate reading? (I could go on for hours about how ignorant and uneducated that sounds and how terribly that frustrates me. But I’ll leave that for another day.)

    But I must say that even if the film is a god-awful rendition of the comic, I thoroughly enjoy going to see them. It’s just fun to see the different perspectives that some directors can give. It’s like talking to someone who really enjoyed the comic as much as I did. And that’s always really entertaining for me. (Except for Superman. Superman doesn’t really captivate me.)

  3. It seems to me that movies based on graphic novels and comic books say more about hollywood’s lack of creativity than anything else. Movie studios don’t want to take risks anymore, so everything is either a sequel or based on something that is already successful.

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