Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi

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Blue Beetle

In Reply To

Subj: Re: Disagree, Re: Fave Character + Good Art = Must Buy?
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 07:40:01 am EDT (Viewed 107 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Disagree, Re: Fave Character + Good Art = Must Buy?
Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:12:59 pm EDT (Viewed 110 times)

> > Superman isn't nearly as popular as Batman. The Jim Lee fans eventually got bored.
> The complaint was that the story and writing was bad, Azzarelo was the writer. Don't see your reasoning here. Superman is still a popular character, people just want good Superman stories.

My point was that Superman + Jim Lee will never sell as well as Batman + Jim Lee because Superman is less popular (by far) than Batman.

> > Was this the Bruce Jones period? The Hulk rarely appeared.
> Deodato came on towards the end of the run, when Hulk was appearing regularly. Only during the beginning of Jones' run did the Hulk not appear that much. I think the Deodato stories were about the Hulk vs Abomination, and the Hulk vs Iron Man.

I've concluded that something else besides character plus art is involved in sales - and that something else is buzz. It annoys me to add buzz because that means comic fans are vulnerable to hype, which lessens them in my eyes, but I can't avoid the conclusion.

By the time Deodato came to the comic, that run had gone from positive buzz to negative buzz.

> > And why do people complain the book sucks? The character? No. The art? No. The writing? Bingo. Yet the book sells any way. This is precisely my point. Were you intending to agree with me?
> That's the reason I brought it up, the Loeb's Hulk and Miller's ASBAR are similar. But alot of people love this series, and are buying it because it is so extreme, just like Loeb's Hulk.

Hmm. Because it's so extreme. I'm giving that some thought. You may have something there.

> > The above is too simplistic to be considered good from a craftsmanship perspective. It is fanfic. But nobody cares except message board types like me. A smashing Hulk depicted by a good artist will sell.
> Loeb's job is to sell books. His goal is to tell good stories. He has been a writer for several years, and has written a variety of stories. He knows what he is doing.

Yet we on these boards hate his more recent work. What I'm trying to understand is why his books still sell. What is different about us message board types? What do we seek that the average fan doesn't - or what does the average fan seek that we don't? Your comment about extremism has captured my attention. I have a strong intuition you may be right.

> > > How about Grant Morrison and Tony Daniels on Batman? Tony Daniels wasn't exactly an A-list artist.
> > But Tony Daniels is a good artist. He will eventually be A-List. Meanwhile it's Batman. Good art plus Batman must sell.
> So how are we judging the artist's here? By popularity or by clarity? Certain artists are popular but not clear (Bachalo), while others are clear but not popular (Calafiorne).

We all know the difference between four categories:

1. Good art of a style we don't prefer
2. Good art of a style we prefer
3. Bad art of a style we don't prefer
4. Bad art of a style we prefer

Good is professional and bad is unprofessional. Good is painstaking and bad is rushed. Good is technically advanced in areas such as perspective and anatomy, while bad is technically primitive. All of these adjectives can be applied to art of a style we prefer, or art of a style we don't prefer.

The above seems a good topic for a new thread.

My hypothesis has been that most people will buy a comic whose protagonist is beloved and whose art falls into categories 1, 2, or 4, and will even buy it if the art is in category 3 if the character popularity mojo is overpowering, such as Spider-Man + Wolverine + Avengers.

But I am giving thought to your extremism concept.

> So what's your current theory on why people pick up books? Originally it was Character+Art, now it's just Characters?

See above.

> But if Characters and Art are the most important thing in a person's decision to pick up a title, then story arcs shouldn't matter as long as the characters and the art are the same.

Just because something is most important doesn't mean other things don't matter at all. It's not as if people are just looking at the pictures and ignoring the words. Everyone surely is aware of where in the story they're coming in, whether the beginning, the middle, or the end. Most people prefer to come in at the beginning and leave at the end. None of this implies that writing quality or popularity matters more than art quality or popularity.

> > These are questions message board types like you and me find relevant. I believe we're different from the average fan.
> Marvel puts the writer first because they feel it will bring more readers in. It's the same reason why tpbs have the name Bendis, Whedon, or Meltzer in big print. They do those things because they know fans are more likely to respond to the writers.

This is the buzz factor, which I'm considering along with your extremism concept. It disappoints me that comic book fans are vulnerable to hype. I could wish they were more discerning. But the more I think on this, the more I think buzz and extremism must both be taken into account.

> > Here - let me give you a chance to offer your own hypothesis. Why do books that are torn to shreds on these boards sell well?
> Because the people on these boards represent a small minority of the overall fans, and are somewhat out of touch with what is popular. When these board do the annual awards, Spider-Girl is often times the winner of things like best series or best female character. Yet the book doesn't sell at all. Just look at how many people here love Nova, yet the book doesn't really sell that much.

But why are we out of touch with what's popular? That's the underlying point of this thread - the search for that elusive factor.

> Most readers, when they find something they don't like, they don't come on here to bash the books, they simply stop reading it. I stopped reading Amazing Spider-Man because of OMD, but I don't go on the Spider-Man boards here and talk about how much I hate the books, I simply stop reading it.

As did I.

> How many people here continue to buy the books just because that is what they have always done? Alot.

Hmm. Perhaps the percentage of completists on these boards is high in comparison with, say, the population of a comic shop's customers.

> > > But still, I find your original belief that most people dismiss the writers to be wrong.
> > I can show you books that are very well written yet sell poorly - pick almost any Vertigo title. I guess you'd say they don't sell because they lack a popular character, and you'd be right.
> They don't sell well in the monthly format because of not having popular characters, but that's because those books are sold only to comic shops, where 90% of the books sold are superheroes. These books do great in the tpb form because they appeal to a wider range of readers.

Agreed. Also people in bookstores probably care about quality writing.

> > Are there any books with popular characters, great writing, and putrid art? If there are, and they sell, I guess I'll have to reconsider. Your Buffy example might be applicable if the art is putrid. Is it?
> You are asking me for something I can't define (bad art).

See above.

> Give me a list of some bad artists. They don't really exist. And of course, popular artists are put on popular characters, just like popular writers are. But your theory is that people don't care about the writer, and I absolutely disagree with that.

Don't care as much as they care about the artist. Still - buzz and extremism may be factors.

> People love Bendis as a writer. I think you are just one of the people here who is out of touch with what is popular. People buy Bendis's books because they like his writing.

Must be the extremism.

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