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Brigadier




Beautiful and excellent work, guys! I know a labor of love when I see and read one. It's absolutely a product made by fans for fans. I can't wait for the rest of the volumes. I have all the previous handbooks plus the essentials. I am just as thrilled that Marvel Saga is released as an Essential.

is there any chance that the handbook guys could write an updated version of Marvel Saga? \:\-D

Also, I am glad Barbarus got an entry, will there be chance that other stand out representatives of hidden races get their own entries. For example:

1) Red Raven's daughter?(forgot her name)
2) Prince Gor-Tok the Grotesk?
------
3) Contestants of the Galactic Marathon or the event itself?
4) you get the drift...hhehehe
5) oh the replacement Silver Surfers during George Perez' run

I know some of these characters are available in the excellent Appendix site but it would be fantastic if they are made "canonical" i.e. part of the official entries of the handbooks \:\-\)


Cheers!
Eric


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Tiger Shark




That's one of my main dislikes--complaints--about this new volume. Barbarus is a very cool character and deserved somehting better than the 4th-rate illustration he got--the same with Avalanche (and about 15 others)--his establishing illustration is terrible.

John Buscema must be rolling in his grave.

As I said below, one of the editors should have rejected those illustrations as acceptable. In the classic 80s handbook, we never, ever saw such lousy artwork.


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SQUEAK




I actually like Paul Smith's work myself; I think 4th rate is more than a bit harsh on the guy. I'm with you on Avalanche, though.

The 80s Handbooks had new art for most entries. The current Handbooks don't have the budget for that, apparently - 150 characters, with a wild guess at, what, maybe $100 a page for a new pin-up, so it'd only be maybe an extra $15000 in creative costs to commission original art? I guess they don't think the extra sales that might generate would be worth the costs. In any case, I'm sure that's not a surprise - if not having new art is a deal-breaker, yeah, don't buy the books. \:\(

SQUEAK / Mark O'

> That's one of my main dislikes--complaints--about this new volume. Barbarus is a very cool character and deserved somehting better than the 4th-rate illustration he got--the same with Avalanche (and about 15 others)--his establishing illustration is terrible.
>
> John Buscema must be rolling in his grave.
>
> As I said below, one of the editors should have rejected those illustrations as acceptable. In the classic 80s handbook, we never, ever saw such lousy artwork.


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Brigadier




And then again its a job for Mr. Podscum and the rest of the restoration team \:\-\)

I like adapted/restored art to match the profile, it gives context to the write-up and some sort of continuity than having a new pin-up by a hot new artist (though it would not hurt!). It makes the profile shot non-manikin like and more dynamic (and its a blast when one knows what story they actually culled the image from!)

But then some profile shots are taken from previous 80s and 90s handbooks (like Barbarus)...still OK for me personally \:\-\)

I hope they make it more balance by taking classic poses by Herb Trimpe, Keith Pollard and Gil Kane, et al \:\-\)

Cheers!

Eric


> I actually like Paul Smith's work myself; I think 4th rate is more than a bit harsh on the guy. I'm with you on Avalanche, though.
>
> The 80s Handbooks had new art for most entries. The current Handbooks don't have the budget for that, apparently - 150 characters, with a wild guess at, what, maybe $100 a page for a new pin-up, so it'd only be maybe an extra $15000 in creative costs to commission original art? I guess they don't think the extra sales that might generate would be worth the costs. In any case, I'm sure that's not a surprise - if not having new art is a deal-breaker, yeah, don't buy the books. \:\(
>
> SQUEAK / Mark O'
>
> > That's one of my main dislikes--complaints--about this new volume. Barbarus is a very cool character and deserved somehting better than the 4th-rate illustration he got--the same with Avalanche (and about 15 others)--his establishing illustration is terrible.
> >
> > John Buscema must be rolling in his grave.
> >
> > As I said below, one of the editors should have rejected those illustrations as acceptable. In the classic 80s handbook, we never, ever saw such lousy artwork.


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Tiger Shark




..the thing is, $100 for new art per character where needed is just run of the mill stuff (and fees) when you're attempting a major project like this.

Marvel is a hugely successful company, with many millions of dollars at their disposal. If you're going to invest all the time and energy in a costly product like this, dammit, Do It Right.

THERE'S NO excuse for 4th-rate art as the major depiction of some of these characters.

There's no excuse for that ridiculuous and absurd Avalanche drawing---do they have something against Greeks?

Item: I can still instantly recall the illustrations of the Radioactive Man, Mr. Hyde, the Living Monolith, the Death Stalker, the Scarecrow, Tiger Shark, and others from the 80s classic Handbook.

Most used in the current edition are entirely unremarkable by comparison.

The NEW art should not EASILY be bested by the older art condensed in the smaller shots.

What that says is: this company is going backward artistically and creatively.


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SQUEAK




> ..the thing is, $100 for new art per character where needed is just run of the mill stuff (and fees) when you're attempting a major project like this.

Again, I'm with you - I'd love to see new art. But apparently the math isn't there to make it affordable (and hasn't been for just shy of four years now, so it really shouldn't have been a surprise - if they had new art I'm sure it would have been trumpeted from the mountaintops!). In a perfect world, the "4th rate" Barbarus art (to use your example) shouldn't have had to be reprinted from his 80s DOHOTMU entry.

Keeping in mind that $100 is just a random guess on my part, as noted (and the more I think about it, thats probably low - there's new pencils, new inks, and new coloring each time), that'd be $15,000 for the book. So, they need to sell an additional 600 copies at 25 per based on new art.

I have no idea what sales on Marvel's hardbounds run. I suspect its in the range of a couple thousand for this (10% of the sales on the original books, maybe?), but I have no real clue. Assuming (and its a big assumption) I'm even vaguely in the ballpark, then we need a 30% sales increase from new art to break even.

I _assume_ someone at Marvel has considered the pros and cons of new art and done the math, and come up with "use old art or else no books" as the result (again, all assumptions on my part). Marvel may be _worth_ millions, but as anyone involved in a business knows, that does not mean that they have millions to just throw around randomly. They still must evaluate each product on a potential loss/profit basis and make decisions that way. I assume!

I'm not sure what else to say - you seem surprised to find that the Handbooks aren't using original art, but I think you've been around a bit and probably already knew that - I don't think that I saw an attempt to mislead anyone there. I think everyone wishes they had original art - I certainly wanted it back when I was actively working on these!

I've seen one of the Handbook guys around here, and I'm sure they'll take the Avalanche criticism back - art showing someone hunched over as the main image is far from ideal, and shouldn't be the main image if it can be humanly avoided. And ditto on the Beyonder - I haven't seen that entry myself, but if its not there, it certainly should have been mentioned in some way (even if "this has been claimed but its veracity is unclear"). Other detailed criticism on what can be improved is, I assume, more than invited - they need to know what the fans like and don't like so they can keep improving the books!

Anyway, sorry the book was a disappointment to you - this one was my own finale with Marvel, so your reaction is doubly disappointing for me. Though I can say with good confidence that there still won't be original artwork in the subsequent hardbounds, I hope you enjoy them more if you do keep buying (but if you know you'll hate them for that, please - just don't buy 'em!).

SQUEAK / Mark O'






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Tiger Shark




Look, if they can't afford new art--which is really a presumption on your part--how do you know they're just not being lazy?--then AT LEAST selected DECENT 'older' ART. It's THAT Simple. Whoever is behind the art direction on this book is doing a mediocre job.

For example, the shot of Banshee about the time of the X-Corps was excellent, and there were a few nice (and recent) shots of Avalanche--so why not blow one of them up instead of using the crappy images they did that says to me, 'turn the Page, THAT looks really boring.' Avalanche looked more like Quasimodo than Avalanche.

Also, there is little or no consistency to the establishing images, as there was in the classic 80s edition.

This makes the book look throw-together piece-meal and just plain crappy.

As far the TPB and hardbound market is concerned, I expect it to go belly up soon. Thay've created a 'bubble' in a sense, that can only explode---talk about inflation and creating too much product for a small audience!

Every crappy Chuck Austen X-Men arc got a TPB. That's simply ridiculuous.

I'm happy to report that my comic store, the great Midtown Comics in Manhattan, has a whole bookcase (not just a shelf) FULL of TPBs and Hardbounds that the prices have been slashed on up to 80%.

And not all 'crap' either or very obscure 'Essentials'-style titles like 'Sgt. Rock.' We're talking Wolverine, the X-men, Batman, Spider Man, the FF, Superman, the JLA.

Who wants all those Crappy SM TPBs abotu his recent endless problems? Not too many.

The truth is there's a relatively small audience for this MASSIVE wave of hardbounds and TPBs the major two companies are producing.

Now, what's this about your dropping the Marvel habit, or whatever?

Explain.



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DragynWulf




> Look, if they can't afford new art--which is really a presumption on your part--how do you know they're just not being lazy?
>

They are not being lazy. They are being smart. Handbooks do not make the amount of money a normal comic does. This is a fact. By cutting costs and using exisiting artwork instead of commisioning new artwork, it drastically cuts the cost to make the Handbook. Therefore, by doing so, it makes publishing the Handbook a profit instead of a loss and because of that offset of not using new art, it allows the Handbooks to be published for as long as it has been unlike the previous 3 editions that were either cancelled or given a limited run because it cost too much to publish.

>then AT LEAST selected DECENT 'older' ART. It's THAT Simple. Whoever is behind the art direction on this book is doing a mediocre job.
>

The writer of the entry search for a full body image in a current costume. Quite a few times the writer has no alternative but to use images that they may not like themselves, but we have no alternative as we have guidelines to follow in order to make the Handbook cost effective in order to make them, which has gotten the Handbooks to the point that they are currently at.

As I mentioned below, it all comes down to what you like or dislike as far as artists. Some you will like and others you won't.

For the hardcovers, main image change were only made if a costume changed. Avalanche's did not, therefore no image change was made because it would have cost more money to do so when there was nothing wrong with the image used.

> For example, the shot of Banshee about the time of the X-Corps was excellent, and there were a few nice (and recent) shots of Avalanche--so why not blow one of them up instead of using the crappy images they did that says to me, 'turn the Page, THAT looks really boring.' Avalanche looked more like Quasimodo than Avalanche.
>

Because those other costumes were not his currnet costumes.

> Also, there is little or no consistency to the establishing images, as there was in the classic 80s edition.
>

What consistency are you looking for exactly? Each entry consistently shows main images of the characters in their current costume just as the classic 80's Edition did.

> This makes the book look throw-together piece-meal and just plain crappy.
>

Matter of opinion, but if you don't like it based on a few images, why buy it? There is always going to be a few images that you won't like.

> As far the TPB and hardbound market is concerned, I expect it to go belly up soon. Thay've created a 'bubble' in a sense, that can only explode---talk about inflation and creating too much product for a small audience!
>
> Every crappy Chuck Austen X-Men arc got a TPB. That's simply ridiculuous.
>

Yet it sold good enough to continue to make TPBs of all of them. Just because you might not like a story, does not mean others do not.

> I'm happy to report that my comic store, the great Midtown Comics in Manhattan, has a whole bookcase (not just a shelf) FULL of TPBs and Hardbounds that the prices have been slashed on up to 80%.
>

They are a few large stores and can afford to buy overstock in order to fill their shelves so that they can have something avalible for their comic shop customers or online store.

> Now, what's this about your dropping the Marvel habit, or whatever?
>
> Explain.

I think that is a bit rude on your part. He shouldn't have to "explain" anything just because you want it and you should take his comments that this is last work on the Handbook at face value.

Have a Nice Day!
-DragynWulf






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SQUEAK




> Now, what's this about your dropping the Marvel habit, or whatever?

I've been working on the Handbooks since the 2004 FF Encyclopedia. However, I'm also entering my third year as a tenure track academic librarian at a western US university, and the incredible amount of work involved in the Handbooks was getting in the way of my "real" career. I love both jobs, but realistically, when it came down to researching for Marvel or furthering an academic career, well, there was only one possible choice. \:\(

SQUEAK / Mark O'






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Tiger Shark




Not in the least.

Thus, DW, my question was completely innocent, and not rude. I consider Squeak, like Cyber Coyote, Attok12, Doc Shallot, Icon, and First Chaos among everyone else, a 'friend.'

A friendly 'challenge' of various natures is part and parcel of these boards, in my experience.

I'm proud of you, Mark, and hope you find every success in your field. You are the man. No wonder your response was so elegant and euridite.

I thought you were saying, 'I'm giving up buying/reading Marvel' or something along those lines.

I hope you'll stick around on the boards or still find time for them in the future.

Peace.


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DragynWulf




> Beautiful and excellent work, guys! I know a labor of love when I see and read one. It's absolutely a product made by fans for fans. I can't wait for the rest of the volumes. I have all the previous handbooks plus the essentials. I am just as thrilled that Marvel Saga is released as an Essential.
>

Glad you liked it and thanks for the complement.

> is there any chance that the handbook guys could write an updated version of Marvel Saga? \:\-D
>

As with everything, you'd have to write into Marvel and request for it.

> Also, I am glad Barbarus got an entry, will there be chance that other stand out representatives of hidden races get their own entries. For example:
>
> 1) Red Raven's daughter?(forgot her name)
> 2) Prince Gor-Tok the Grotesk?
> ------
> 3) Contestants of the Galactic Marathon or the event itself?
> 4) you get the drift...hhehehe
> 5) oh the replacement Silver Surfers during George Perez' run
>
> I know some of these characters are available in the excellent Appendix site but it would be fantastic if they are made "canonical" i.e. part of the official entries of the handbooks \:\-\)
>

Barbarus was previously given an entry in the NEW AVENGERS: MOST WANTED FILES and all those entries are being reformated/written to be included in the hardcovers.

There will be some new entires, but I can't say who will or won't be getting them at this time.

Have a Nice Day!
-DragynWulf






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