Saturday, July 30, 2011

Follow Up to the Post Comic Con Post

So DC Comics has said they've heard the complaints about not hiring enough women and there will be a next batch of relaunch books that will correct some of these issues. I think that's a first good step and I'm glad they're listening but we'll see how it plays out. Some of the responses I've read on various sites reporting this news aren't very encouraging. One theme that comes up is "Well, the girls got what they wanted so they better buy the books now." I'm struggling not to ramble on about how wrong this statement is on many levels and how it reflects a part of the comics community that is very ugly. I hope for those creators working on these books that they succeed, but if they don't it's not a sign women can't produce quality books that can sell. I think the women creating webcomics, self-publishing, and working with other publishers have proven they can.

But now to ramble about other stuff. I wanted to point out Caanan's comment to that post and respond/comment on a few things he says.

- I think I would have liked a hard reboot as well. And for me, it's not necessarily about changing the characters like Superman but just cleaning up the mess that is Superman's history. No need to make him a bad-ass vigilante (and I don't believe his book should be "dark") or anything like that, just more accessible. But yeah, their current audience would be really upset by that.

- As for crossovers and the events, they seem to be the biggest seller of the big two and I've been told by a few people that they do bring in some new readers (I know a few people who came back to comics during Civil War). But sales have been declining and people don't seem to be as interested in them since then (I haven't heard much of Fear Itself or Flashpoint really bringing in new readers). But again I agree with Caanan, if I want to read the Hulk I want to pick up the Hulk series. I was reading the Incredible Hulks: Chaos War TPB last night and it was a little frustrating at times. An issue would end and you'd get "If you want to know what happens next pick up..." Now yes, if I was doing the single issues thing then yes, I could have picked up that issue (or two) but I don't really care enough about Herc and the others that were involved in that storyline. I don't really have anything against telling stories that involve more than one character, but I think maybe those stories should be self contained in their own titles. If they come up with a cool Hulk/Hercules story, create a title "Hulk and Hercules: Chaos War" and tell it there. This may also brings up continuity and such but at this point, I'm ready to give up on continuity to a certain level.

- And yes, the house style is a bad idea in my opinion. I think getting Jim Lee to redesign most of the characters and forcing artists to fit into his vision was wrong. I hate to bring up Marvel but if you look at their books you don't get that house style. You get a variety of artists who are allowed to adapt their style to books they want to do. You may get the "photo realistic" guys out there (whether I like it or not), you'll get the more surreal or abstract artists, you'll get the dark and gritty artists, the cartoony guys, the traditional artists, etc, etc. and they get to do what they love, create visually interesting art more on their own terms (with possible exceptions or tweaking).

And that last point may be one thing that hurts the female creators coming in. Allowing them to come in and tell interesting Batman or Superman stories in their own way could be great. Forcing them to take on a C-level character in a DC/Jim Lee style may be doomed to fail.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Post Comic Con

As I've said, I didn't go but should that keep me from giving my 2 cents (even if it is a little late). I'll keep it short by only talking about stuff that I was interested in:

- Incredibly Hulk by Silvestri and Aaron. I'm not a big fan of Silvestri's art (don't hate it but he wouldn't be my first pick for Hulk) and the only book I've read by Jason Aaaron is Scalped (which I have been enjoying) and my initial reaction to the story was the typical "It's been done." But after watching Aaron's video talking about it and a couple more interview blurbs I'm starting to think it may be pretty good. I'll buy it anyways because it's the Hulk but I do feel good going into it.

- DC's women. This is one issue that's really spilling over to the blogs and comic sites, Dan DiDio's reaction to a fan calling out for DC to hire more women. I've never met Dan DiDio, maybe he's a great guy, I don't know, but I know I've often found myself not liking how he comes across in interviews and at cons. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was fed up with the amount of negativity being thrown in his direction, or maybe I'm just imagining things but his reaction came off as rather hostile towards the fan and the panel audience in general. When the percentage of women creators working on your comics drops from 12% to 1% people are going to raise some concerns. When your books are singled out time and time again for negative portrayals of women you may want to think about what you're doing to a large percentage of your potential audience. Many people have said that it appears the number of women attending Comic Con continues to rise and perhaps it's time to look into why DC's number continue to go down (in sales and in terms of women working there).

- DC's relaunch/reboot/whatever. Despite the threat of a protest (which amounted to a couple cosplayers who got more attention for their costumes than what they had to say about the reboot) this topic did seem to dominate the news. Even some mainstream-ish news people were talking about it instead of just talking about what movies and TV shows were there. And Marvel, though having some announcements to make, had nothing that could match it. But despite seeing some more pretty pictures from it and some more Jim Lee sketches I'm still not that into it. I actually give a tip of my hat to DC for trying something daring to get people reading their comics, I just don't have a good feeling about how they're going about it. I thought maybe that Morrison on Superman could be interesting but the more I hear about it the less interested I am. The flood of Batman books doesn't sound all that appealing. And overall it doesn't come across as all that new reader friendly especially with all this talk about Flashpoint explaining things. I don't want to read Flashpoint, it doesn't seem new reader friendly to me, and if you bring it up when trying to sell me on the reboot you're pushing me away. Having said all that, does it seem to anyone else that a large portion of the negative reaction and complaining about DC rebooting is coming from people who aren't reading the books? On the one hand why are those people so upset if they aren't reading them? On the other hand, it's not a good sign if potential new readers are complaining already. But then again, they may just be a vocal minority.

To clarify my stance on it, I'm not complaining that they are doing it, I think they have to do something. I'm just saying that on first glance I'm not a fan of how they're doing it and what the resulting DC universe will look like. But that's okay, I'm just one person and this could end up appealing to a much larger audience than who is reading the books now.

- Overall content: There's a graph going around showing just how many panels were about comics and comic related stuff versus movies and TV and it seems to show that comics were a big part of it. I don't want to come across as "Comic Con should only be for comics" but as a comic fan I am happy to see them well represented. Though this is just in terms of panels, I'm not sure what the general feeling on the floor was.

So overall it seems like a good time was had by most. It was hectic, it was stinky and sweaty, and most people didn't get to do all that they had hoped... It was Comic Con and I missed it so bring on Fan Expo Canada.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I guess I spoke too soon about DrunkDuck (or "The Duck") being back up and running. It's been locked up (unable to post pages, comment, or do anything else) for the last couple days. It really makes me consider moving away from the Duck or maybe just using it as a mirror site. My thinking:

I don't really want to have to pay much (if at all) for hosting my comic as I'm not actually making any money off it anyways. On the other, I'd like some reliability and it's the old saying of 'you get what you pay for'. The Duck has been fairly good but it has had its fair share of downtime. There always seems to be a reason (changing hands from one company to another, server upgrades, site upgrades, etc, etc). And with each change you get some period of stability (after prolonged instability) before it seems to start coughing up again.

A big thing for me is the community. I don't really advertise my comics but I've been able to get a few regular readers on DrunkDuck due to the community aspect of it (taking part in the forums or what not). Though I suppose I could keep them by mirroring my stuff there and maybe attract others by taking a more active role in the larger webcomics community.

And of course, moving off the Duck would mean I would have to take on more responsibility for the hosting of my comic. I'd have to do more setting up of the page and such. But maybe it's about time I do that.

So yeah, I'm leaning towards making up my own site for some comics and maybe using the Duck as a mirror.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grinds My Gears

Don't you hate it when a new comic book gets announced and it's the same title of a webcomic idea you've been wanting to do for a while.

Fortunately the premise is different.

Comic Con

So Comic Con is about to begin (for some people it already has in some ways) and I'm not there. I keep telling myself that I'm probably better off. The huge crowds, the shifting focus to Hollywood, not being able to really interact with people, the enormous crowds (worth saying twice), the lines, etc, etc. And when it comes to following the comic book announcements I'm almost better following along with online reporting of them instead of fighting crowds to try to get in to the many panels that will be going on. On the other hand, I think I'd like to experience it at least once.

But I'll have to wait until Fan Expo Canada. I hate wishing the summer away but the end of August can't come soon enough.

Monday, July 18, 2011

DrunkDuck is back up and running (mostly)

So they were able to finish the migration and get DrunkDuck (soon to be renamed "The Duck" I believe) back up and running for the most part. There are still plenty of issues to be resolved but I'm glad the migration is done and we're off the old server(s). I'm glad that it's back up as I can get back to actually posting the pages I've been working on.

It's actually been a rough time for me while they did this. I've had some friends go through some medical issues (one, the guy who actually got me started on DrunkDuck, is recovering from brain surgery). But on a less serious note, I just haven't been in a good frame of mind when it comes to working on the Bluenoser. I've been rushing pages, not really putting in the effort I should, and have been going through my usual questions of why I do it and whether I should continue. I often say that not looking to make money from it makes things quite a bit easier on me but it definitely brings up the question of why do it then. Yeah, there's the love of comics and yadda yadda yadda but I can't help but question it some times.

I know I've talked about this before, I guess I just feel the need to vent when I get like this. And hopefully getting back to posting the pages I've done and getting some feedback will get me back to the right frame of mind.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Unnoticed

One good thing that has come from waiting for DrunkDuck to come back online is that the buffer of pages I have done for the Bluenoser has grown. I have enough to get me through until August which is when my vacation starts and hopefully I'll be able to build it up even more. But I'd like to see the Duck back soon, it's getting to be a bit too long for it to be down.

But the real reason for this post was just a quick rambling of something that I have been thinking about while drawing those pages I mentioned. It's the unnoticed parts of drawing, and in particular it's something that I say "Wow, I nailed that!" yet nobody will notice. Some times it's the things that can cause me problems (like feet which I know is silly) and other times it's just a little touch I add to someone's expression. When I post the page I almost want to say "Hey, look how good that guy's foot looks in the fourth panel!" but that would just be weird. Of course nobody really notices these things, it's usually the things you don't do a good job on that are noticed.

So I think that's something to think about when reading comics. Don't just appreciate the parts that stand out, appreciate the subtle aspects of the art that don't stand out but are an important part of you enjoying the story (and not getting distracted by something that stands out as awkward). Just don't get too hung up looking for those parts, that would kind of ruin the whole purpose of them. :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Oh yeah, Fan Expo Canada

Completely forgot to mention the other bit of news. My tickets to Fan Expo Canada have been purchased and I can't wait. I know there has been some talk of a slightly disappointing celebrity list (especially compared to last year's Shatner/Stan Lee double bill) but I think the celebrity list looks like a great variety of talent for the various tastes. Everyone seems to have at least a couple people they're hoping to meet. For me, the main celebrity I'm interested in is Eliza Dushku but Robert Englund and John Astin are also really cool.

But for me, it's more about the comic book people. Jeff Smith, the Kuberts, Jill Thomspon, Dale Keown, Andy Belanger, Caanan Grall, ... There are just too many to name. I know I won't get a chance with some (like the Kuberts and Jeff Smith will be very busy) but the whole atmosphere is always great.

Drunkduck migration continues

DrunkDuck was supposed to be back up on Tuesday but the migration of the data is taking longer than expected. That's not unusual, it's always tough to say how long it will take to migrate so much data, especially when dealing with funky set ups between companies. I just hope the migration goes well and things improve as the Duck has been having quite a few issues as of late.

Which makes me think about how interesting Webcomics are. You are at the mercy of the technology. When servers die or internet connections falter the medium fails. And as Caanan is learning with Max Overacts, sometimes success can have its penalties (high traffic has nearly shut him down and he is now dealing with moving over to another provider instead of focusing on making comics).

This is not to say print is better, it has its own problems. But technology has a lot of new problems that some comic people aren't prepared to handle at the moment. Hopefully it's just a blip on the road and we all learn from the problems of the current webcomic makers.

But I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm glad I'm not trying to make a living off making comics. And I wish all the best to those who are.

And as an aside, I'm starting to get more involved in funding projects through KickStarter. I only wish that it was available to Canadians (without requiring a US bank account and US address) but maybe one day. I definitely recommend checking it out as it's a great way to support up and coming (and some established) creative people and some outstanding projects.