Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Next 100

Opening note: URB magazine defines the phrase,
'The Next 100' as the new innovators to come... Those
whose vision and new perspectives can define and inspire
the next generation... Which suits what I'm about to say perfectly.

For those of you who're just tuning in to Planet Griffin, you may ( or may not) know by now about the recent decision made by the Mega-Distribution house, Diamond Distribution. Double checking the info, it is indeed official: Diamond is raising the minimum sales cap from $1500 to $2500.
( Big time correction: The actual amount is $6200!!! 2/2/09)
Now, if you're Marvel, DC, or Image, you wouldn't care necessarily... If you're an independent publisher, this means that if your title(s) don't reach the minimum sales cap, your title(s) are in danger of being pulled from the Diamond sales list, as well as the very good possibility of not even being picked up by retailers.
Y'know... You become an 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind commodity'.

The viable 'others' (Dark Horse, IDW, Devil's Due) will still be around... Of course, the bulk of their sales product rests in their ability to maintain their licensed property titles... Licenses that they still have to pay on whether or not the sales quarter is met. ( Remember Goodfellas? F*ck you, pay me...!)

But then again, the life of an indie creator overall has been a hard one. Look at Paul Pope, for example... Here was a guy who shopped samples to all the majors--- got rejected by them all--- decided to self-publish his 'samples' (among which, his debut 'drawn novel', The Ballad of Dr. Richardson, and his magnum opus, THB) --- the results of which culminated with his detractors becoming his 'biggest fans'. ( By the way, Paul just recently sold the film rights of his next work, 'Battling Boy', before the damn thing has even been released! Way to go, Paul!!)

But I digress.

For those of us who are considered 'The Next 100" to bum rush the industry with new ideas and fresh perspectives, we first have to deal with the new rigidly defined quotas branded by the Diamond family. I am well aware of the economic crunch currently affecting America, but I also know that even in these times, when it comes to business, the corporate heads are well aware that hard economic times can wield 'greater strategic advantages' in order for their respective businesses to thrive beyond the cash-strapped times. By raising the cap, most indie publishers are crushed, or X-ed out, under the weight of the corporate machines. I won't even talk about the underground--- because they'll vanish as though they never existed...

... As a dying subset, we ARE the DC CRISIS event!

Of course, this is NOT the end of us. To rework Obama's stirring statement: Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking this business!

Understand this, folks: the industry is dominated (and even polluted) by the cape-and cowl crowd; and their numbers are truly LEGION. Many people believe that the 'Comic upswing via Hollywood' is the saving grace of the comic industry by drawing more and more awareness of the books they option and develop. But that's what the corporate heads WANT you to think. Hollywood could care less--- the gross points are their bottom line. ( I should know, I've been there...) Think about it--- if the indie subset is COMPLETELY overrun by the major players, then our only options become real easy: Conform to drawing comics the MARVEL way, or find another profession. To those of you who are creating the next STRAY BULLETS, STRANGERS IN PARADISE, BONE, or even the next AKIRA--- and damn it, I KNOW you exist--- you hold the keys to a brand new kingdom--- a kingdom the major developers don't want you to realize.

It feels good to hear those who have viewed my works with admiration ( hell, one response I received called FIERCE CREATURES '... the evolution of a new American manga...' I'll take it!!), we all do... If we don't start getting our hustles together and start getting our new works into the public' hands by any means necessary, all the admiration in the world won't mean squat!

Shameful that American comics are the only entertainment medium that suffers this. France, Spain, Japan, Korea, and the U.K. suffer none of this. For them, hard times be damned! We want our comics swag!!! The level of input these guys put out is not only HUGELY inspiring---

--- it's incredibly EMBARRASSING.

Don't get me wrong: America is home to the Kryptonian and the Bat and the Spider and Mutants galore... But it's also home to a growing legion of undergrounders whose works can easily rank alongside these great icons--- the new revolution begins...

Are you among the Next 100?


Brian Miller said...

Man great post. Its so easy to forget about publicity, publishing, etc. I think so many of us (myself included) are so wrapped up in trying to create a great story - that we forget - a great story alone doesn't mean squat if you don't get it in people's faces.

Time to get movin on this...

RodBuddah said...

The biggest thing is making sure we have the ability to get these visions into the peoples hands! The official sales cap is ACTUALLY $6200, not the previous $2500!
For family men like you and I, we BOTH have to get crackin'---
I'm very proud to count you among THE NEXT 100, Brian!