"Comics are in a mostly sorry state, I welcome your scribbles."
This is the second or third time I've heard this. Browsing around the shops, there an ENORMOUS amount of product out there. How can this be true? Browsing the covers, at least, it looks like Excitement City. I'm recognizing fewer and fewer of the names, but, from a cursory glance, it looks like comics are back and going strong.
My whining on ComicBookResources said:
"...comics are extremely personality-driven, and around the time I bowed out—burnt out, to be more accurate—the deal seemed to be that only guys with TV deals were being actively courted, which made not much sense to me and seemed fairly insulting. With all due respect to the TV writers, comic books are a profession. We’re professionals who worked hard to develop our craft, and many of us are being swept aside because Joe WordProcessor sold a pilot to The CW. I’d go to comics shops and just get angry, and I didn’t like feeling that way."
So my industry observations remain few and far between. But, to me, this seems like The Great Experiment: replacing veteran comic writers with TV guys. An urban legend circulating tells the story of how an old school writer (older than my school) called one of the top editors at one of the majors asking what was available. This guy is a major name who had, himself, held a senior position at one or both of the majors. He was always a friend to freelancers, and had been friendly to this now-major editor who'd been a shipping clerk when this old school writer was a boss at the company.
But the guy isn't a shipping clerk, he's a boss, now, and he told the old school writer, "Well, gee, I'm sorry. I'm just used to working with higher-profile talent."
Talent branding is a perhaps unavoidable and therefore legitimate part of competing for assignments, but I believe it's just gotten way, way out of hand. The main difference between Hollywood and Comic Books is, Hollywood has a certain phony politeness to it: even major studio bosses are incredibly polite to nobodys like me. Mainly because Hollywood insiders understand the first rule of the game: you never, ever, know when some no-name schumuck will, overnight, become your boss.
In comics, there's this kind of ego myopia going on, where these guys think they're set for life. They've got this desk and this phone and they're the man (or woman) and they're going to sit at that desk and answer that phone for the rest of their lives. Which is cripplingly stupid thinking. Only enormously talented people have much longevity at these places. Talented in terms of craft or talented in terms of politics--really smart folk. But, 90% of these guys come and go. 18 years ago Joe Quesada was this skinny kid tapping his foot in reception hoping Joe Rubinstein could get him a gig. Now I've got to take a number and get in line to talk to him (actually, I have his home number, but I digress...).
Times change. Nothing is forever. And the disdain that seems so common these days really is childish and inexcusable.
Meanwhile, the mindset that brought in all of this new talent post-Kevin Smith, the industry somehow getting the notion TV guys are better than comic book guys, was intended to raise the bar and improve the overall quality (and, therefore, sales) of the industry as a whole.
How's that going?