AICN COMICS: So you missed Comic Con? Part I: A Tribute to SDCC Founder Richard Alf! ComicsPro: Retail Optimism! Digital Comics Price Fight! Spotlight on Geof Darrow!
Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. While I continue to recover and transcribe all of the stuff I did and said at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, I am fully aware of the fact that some of the world didn’t go to this year’s entertainment mecca. For those who thought that all San Diego consisted of was Hall H and cosplay, this little series of reports are here to prove you wrong. Roving reporter James Coville attended a ton of comic book related panels and was nice enough to pass them on to me so I could share with all of you. So even though you missed out on the con this year (or just wasted your time in line for Hall H), but here are a few panels that reminded folks why the world Comic still exists in the title Comic Con.
So sit back and listen to the extremely interesting and informative recordings from the con. And maybe if you stew a concoction of ass and turnips to sniff while watching, if you close your eyes, it’ll be just like you were there at the panel itself!
Spotlight on Geof Darrow
Geof Darrow wins an Inkpot award and talks about how he got started in comics with Moebius, Frank Miller and the Wachowski Brothers. He showed a partly worked on Shaolin Cowboy Anime that had no audio, but gave funny commentary as it played. He talked in detail about trying to get the anime created and some road bumps he encountered along the way. Geof took the unusual step of asking the audience questions and giving them some signed prints for answering them. The audience did ask him some questions and the Geof talked about good movies the audience should see towards the end.
ComicsPro: Retail Optimism
A cross section of retailers talked about reasons to be Optimistic in the current comic market. On the panel was Joe Field (Flying Colors Comics, Concord, CA), Carr D'Angelo (Earth-2 Comics, Sherman Oaks, CA), Thomas Gaul (Corner Store Comics, Anaheim, CA), and Calum Johnston (Strange Adventures Bookshop, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada). From the back Amanda Emmert (Muse Comics + Games, Colorado Springs, CO) asked questions. They revealed some very good news about how the market has rebounded in 2012 and also trades stories with the audience of primarily retailers on cheap, easy promotions that created big sales. They talked about the demographics of readers now and how digital comics market is affecting them, among other topics.
A Tribute to Richard Alf
Richard Alf was one of the co-founders of the San Diego Comic Con and was it's chairman in the early years. Moderated by Mike Towry, friends of Richard Ed Cormier, Earl Bookhammer, David Clark, Bob Beerbohm, William Clausen, Paul Sammon, George Clayton Johnson, Greg Koudoulian, David McClone, Denis Smith, Clayton Moore, David Glanzer and Rob Ray from San Diego University gather to talk about meeting Richard, what he was like, how he helped the convention and more.
Digital Comics Price Fight
Moderated by Chip Mosher, Mark Waid, Jeff Webber, Scott Kurtz, Chris Ross talk about how to price digital comics. Mark Waid was late getting to the panel which lead to Chip calling his cell and leaving a voice message with the audience participation. The group talked about what price a digital comic should be and a bit about how much comics they should get for that price. Scott Kurtz was not shy about talking about his issues with the way ComiXology business works, those on the panel asked the audience some question about pricing structures for digital comics. DRM (digital rights management) was also an issue that was brought up too.
Look for more panels for your listening pleasure later this week!
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July 23, 2012, 1:19 a.m. CST
I've tried to play the audio on this page with three different browsers. None of them work. Could direct links to the audio files be made available? I'm extremely interested in the digital comics price fight talk.
July 23, 2012, 1:43 a.m. CST
by Ambush Bug
But here are the links. http://static3.aintitcool.com/assets2012/aicncomics/geoffdarrowpanel.mp3 http://static3.aintitcool.com/assets2012/aicncomics/retailoptimismpanel.mp3 http://static3.aintitcool.com/assets2012/aicncomics/richardalfpanel.mp3 http://static3.aintitcool.com/assets2012/aicncomics/digitalcomicspricefightpanel.mp3
July 23, 2012, 2:34 a.m. CST
July 23, 2012, 8:53 a.m. CST
Huge Geof Darrow fan!
July 23, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST
by Ambush Bug
The guy always entertains and is not only one of the best artists living today, but a hell of a storyteller. And he just doesn't give a shit, which is refreshing in this comics world of PR and canned responses. I can't wait until the SHAOLIN COWBOY animation is complete. It looked amazing.
July 24, 2012, 3:38 a.m. CST
Bit late to the party on this one, not sure if anyone's still paying attention - I know the music's stopped, the tortilla chips have gone stale, and that girl's passed out in the corner in a pool of her own sick, but hey, never let it be said I'm afraid to outstay my welcome. Thanks for posting these AB, particularly the digital comics price fight ... it's a subject that's been on my mind for some time, and just haven't found an outlet to discuss it properly yet. I thought I had this all sussed out, but it was really interesting to hear the different viewpoints put forth across the panel ... from the creators, to the publishers, and Comixology who are my route to these things via my iDevices. I'm in my mid 30s and was actively into comic books in my teens, I read mostly DC and Marvel - Batman, Superman, X-Men, Spider-man, those were my vices, but artists helped me crossover and I followed favourites like Breyfogle and McFarlane to other houses and titles. I guess I start to leave comics behind when I started Uni, discovered beer and girls, and more demands on my meagre cashflow limited what I could realistically spend it on - sex and drunkeness won out over brightly coloured spandex - although on those special nights I was able to combine all three ;) Cough, ahem, moving on ... I first discovered comics apps on my iPhone 3GS, think it was probably the Marvel app first, then DC, then at some stage I got tired of flipping between apps and, realising the apps were made by the same people, eventually settled on the primary Comixology app which kept all my stuff together, and also introduced me to other titles. I was interested to see how it would work, trying to read comics panel by panel on a smartphone, but it worked reasonably well ... I had a similar conversion with the Kindle app ... you eventually forget you're reading on an electronic medium, and get involved in the story. Free comics hooked me in at first, and then I'd start paying for titles that interested me. Getting the iPad was a turning point, that in many ways was just like reading a comic book, you could see a whole page, drink in the majesty of a well put together panel flow, see where things were going and remind yourself where you'd been ... it was less disjointed than the iPhone experience. I can't read comics on my iPhone now, but I love reading them on my iPad ... I'm a digital comics convert. So, here I am, a comics fan of old reintroduced to beloved medium through the wonders of technology ... I'm older now, I work, I'm well paid, I can spend my cash on what I like and yet I have responsibilities, home, family, etc., and thus I'm not about to just throw money away ... hence the issue of digital comic pricing is something that twists my melon from time to time. I'm in the UK, so our pricing differs slightly, for obvious currency conversion reasons and also I think based on what they can get away with ... a 99c comic for us is 99p, a $2 comic is £1.50, and a $4 comic is £2.50 ... I'll try and talk in dollar terms for the wider audience though, save confusion. $4 is my top end for a single issue, but I want a lot of pages for that, I'll pay more for a compilation or graphic novel, but it has to be good value. From listening to the panel it seems there's a lot of chatter about 99c being the optimal price for a digital comic amongst the readers ... although some quantify that a little more and express that should be the price for a 22/23 page comic. I think that's where I'm at, more or less ... or, rather, that I think the price should be tied to the amount of content you get for your money. It was interesting to hear one of the panel state that they just couldn't make a new release 22/23 page comic work at 99c, yet it outright pisses me off to see major publishers like Marvel and DC trying to charge $4 for new releases with such a paltry number of pages ... I feel ripped off, so I don't buy those titles. I liked that one of the panel members suggested they'll release new stuff at $4, then after a few weeks reduce it to $2, that works for me. I think DC does that with some of their New 52 titles. I'm still thinking 22/23 pages is piss poor though. What irks me even more is when those 22/23 pages aren't genuine, when you get multiple 'collectors' covers and advertising pages at the end ... screw that ... I'm then potentially paying $4 for much less, for something which, as Scott Kurtz so eloquently put it, I've finished reading before I even need to flush. I used to feel that digital product should cost considerably less than print product, as there's no production cost, you don't need paper, ink, distribution, shelf space ... thinking about books and comics ... but I realise that someone takes their cut with digital regardless, and creators get raped somewhere along the line, either by Apple, Comixology, or Amazon with Kindle - unless they self publish, but then their revenues are minimised through a less obvious route to market. Creators lose in this, that's a shame. Consumers lose too though, and I reckon ultimately it'll be consumers who drive where this goes ... as the guy from Comixology pointed out, the pricing model is working right now, the publishers set the prices and the readers pay, so the price will remain the same until sales fall and the publishers are forced to reset prices. The big publishers are really screwing us, their primary market is still print on the majority of titles ... they're doing that anyway, digital is a bonus, thus they should be afford to let it go for less ... if someone wants something physical they can keep and own forever, go to a comic store, pay a little more, and get the actual comic book - if all you're getting is a ditigal representation that lets you enjoy the story, but you've nothing tangible to show for your expenditure, it shouldn't cost as much, you shouldn't pay as much, and if you don't the publishers will have to act. For me it feels like we need perhaps a price per page, there should be a cap (there must always be a Cap, but I mean a limit, you understand), and the price should age gracefully with the book ... so, up to 25 genuine pages should cost $2, up to 40 pages should cost $3, and if you want me to bend over the desk and slip $4 out of my back pocket I'll be wanting 40+ pages thank you very much. Compilations should cost significantly less than the aggregate cost of their constituent components, 4 x $2 issues should not make an $8 'book'. We will pay more for more pages, however ... but keep 'value' in mind. Don't trying and rip us off and you'll actually make more money, I won't buy one $4 comic was 22 pages, but I might buy 3 of those for $2 apiece ... so you've gone from not making $4 to all of a sudden making $6. Do the maths (yes maths, not math, I'm Scottish). Thank you. Six
July 24, 2012, 3:45 a.m. CST
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