Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Mother Of All Con's ( A Howard Beale Moment)

As if word of PRINCE OF PERSIA as a film release wasn't enough, USAToday has releaseed word of PoP as a comic release as well. The Prince of Persia- A Graphic Novel Anthology will arrive on bookshelves in April of 2010, one month ahead of Jerry Bruckheimer's film production starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The 128 page hardcover/trade will feature 6 stories written by JORDAN MECHNER, the creator of the original PoP videogame series.

The cover artist is none other than Spawn creator Todd MacFarlane, who expressed in an interview that he imagined Prince as "... Light-hearted entertainment that's a little more serious than the Pirates of the Caribbean films..." In addition to plugging the PoP trade, Todd also took a moment to mention his new series, HAUNT, which debuts at Comic-Con and releases publicly in October, as well as his latest line of HALO 3 figures premiering this month.

In other Comic-Con news, MacFarlane and Stan'The Man' Lee will be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the 1990 release of Spider Man #1 (which sold 2.5 million copies), becoming the best selling comic of all time. Wow... Really?! What about the 8.2 million Jim Lee sold for X-Men #1?! What about the 10 million Jim Lee sold for WildC.A.T.S. during the Image boom?! But then again, as a DC source close to PLANET GRIFFIN informed us, the initial sales figues for any company '... are not as accurate in comics as many people believe...'

MacFarlane also comments on the state of Comic-Con, which began in 1970, and its changes...

" It's a pop culture con, now. You can argue us comic guys who were there at the beginning are now getting pushed to the corners," he says. Admittedly, even trades like USAToday and Variety both agree in their bylines of 'Contact with TV, Film, and maybe even comic books'.

"You went to buy and trade comic books and show your portfolio around. All that still happens, but now it's more of a showcase for upcoming movies and to get buzz on blogs and Twitter. Hollywood really takes over. It brings a lot of people because they roll out a lot of celebrities. … Hollywood five, six or seven years ago resisted places like this. Then it figured it out and rolled out Sin City and I and you began to get TV shows like Lost and Heroes. It works. The only way you need to be afraid going there is if you are walking in with not quality product."

[He says he plans to see] "the people that you've hung out with for not only years but now we're starting to count decades. ... You used to be able to run into a lot of people. Now there's so many people you have to organize yourself," he says. "It is tough to make any real giant noise unless it's movie-related because I'm not there announcing the latest Spawn movie. Maybe I can get it next year."

I can see MacFarlane's point here. Comic-Con's attendance numbers swelled considerably last year with the cast of Twilight, drawing in more females and parents than anyone's ever seen since... well, the Image boom. This year, TV titles such Fringe, The Simpsons, and even Burn Notice will preview new footage alongside movie heavyweights like the upcoming Iron Man 2, as well as District 9 and the Twilight sequel, New Moon. From this angle, the pattern has become obvious: The Comic Con has definitely become, as USAToday describes it, 'the Pop Culture ConFab'... A Fabricated Pop Culture con that's more of a comicdom's version of Hollywood SHOWEST than what it originally started off as--- a comic convention.

All of the major news articles heavily hype Marvel, DC, or Hollywood productions (Hollywood productions, btw, that hold a certain measure of control over Marvel and DC anyways) --- everyone else is nothing more than a footnote not to be mentioned... And although artists/writers/creators can still show their works to various companies and editors, they will still be hard pressed to do that, considering their challenge to reach those very people amid the 125,000 expected to be in attendance, not including the Hollywood machine. Independents in attendance, who are '... already diminishing...', face near-complete extinction (this is by current Comic-Con standards) in the quest of reaching new readers, essentially becoming an artists alley version of the freebie table you would see at shows like Heroes Con or smaller... Their best hopes of exposure in the current climate, is to be seen by a young PR person who runs material for the Hollywood studios.

As harsh as it sounds, it's now quickly becoming a very painful truth. I know... Once among the number of over-enthusiastic people who wanted to go to 'The Mother Of All Cons' to merely hock my wares and 'walk the stroll' like a comic-laden version of 'Hunt's Point'... The difference now being that I'll still 'walk the stroll' and look good doing it, but I'll have product that's expected rather than unknown. Heh. This is PLANET GRIFFIN, keeping it ill like Howard Beale.


Jay Potts said...

Testify! Paris Hilton's appearance last year was the cultural tipping point for San Diego Comic-Con. The Hollywood presence at SDCC has made comic book PROPERTIES acceptable in the mainstream, but it has done little to nothing to bring the mainstream TO comic books.


RodBuddah said...

Paris Hilton?! Are you kidding me?!!
Even the very idea of 'Intellectual Property' seems like an oxymoron! The Hollywood Machine once looked to SDCC to find new future vehicles for anyone with a SAG card, NOW they've taken over to the point where the medium doesn't even matter.
They MUST remember that it was the underground that stood as comic's FIRST foundation!

John Aston said...

But...but... we neeeeeed Hollywood to validate the comic medium.