Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maybe Instead Of Speechifying... Part Deux


Mike Sterling over on Progressive Ruin brought up the Walking Dead:


The first volume, reprinting the initial issues of one of Image Comics' precious few success stories in recent memory. The keystone of a whole series of paperback books reprinting this popular series. A series that recently released its 50th issue to much attention.

The first volume, unavailable. For most of the summer.

I had a number of customers looking to start reading Walking Dead, having heard the hype and read the reviews/interviews and so on. Normally, that first volume is an easy sell...it's only $9.99, and it has a lot of good word of mouth, so it doesn't take much to get someone to try it out. But it's only an easy sell if I have any to sell. And because I haven't had any copies to sell, those are lost sales. I've plenty of volumes 2 through 8, but a new reader's not going to want to jump in with the second volume. S/he wants to start from the beginning, and if I don't have the beginning, I don't have that new reader.

I dunno, Robert...maybe instead of shooting off some crackpot shit that you maybe gave two minutes thought before yelling action at your camera (for no apparent reason because you were the director and cast)...you should have been working on resolving this type of problem.

You know...so that retailers like Sterling would have copies of the first trade around when your perennially late product had its landmark 50th issue.

I could be wrong. I'm just passionate about this and I'm trying to save the industry...from your attention deficit disorder. ;)



FYI: as far as I know, Mr. Sterling isn't bringing this up with the intention of having it used as evidence that Kirkman needs to spend more time straightening his own shit out instead of making sweeping generalizations about how people should work or thinking ideas he came up with during one session on the crapper might save comic books. That's just me.

20 comments:

  1. Why does it bother you so much? Walking Dead usually isn't that late, it just has times where it will be a few months late then times where you get two issues one after another.

    Volume 1 is probably just selling lots, its not like he's printing them in his basement and can't keep up with the demand, lol.

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  2. Why does it bother me so much? The lateness of the book or his poorly thought out manifesto?

    The lateness: it's just bad business. Especially when he's bothering to solicit #57 when #51 is just in stores. It is unprofessional. Failing to keep volume 1 in print is, also, bad business. And both rather large oversights are hurting retailers.

    By the way, volume 1 selling a lot doesn't explain it not being available for reorder for several months. It's no excuse for not getting more product ready.

    The manifesto? Well...I still resent that it was clearly something that was stream of consciousness. It's foolhardy and irresponsible to try to lay out a plan to save the industry that you expect people to take seriously when you can't be bothered to think it through a little.

    How do I know it was, essentially, off the top of his head?

    1. The numerous times he flip-flopped on points in his Word Balloon interview with John Siuntres

    2. That he admits the reason he is filming it was because he didn't have the time to write it down. He didn't have the time to compose his thoughts on paper. That slight difference in time requirement being an unacceptable sacrifice to getting it done kind of indicates an overall lack of commitment. I'm not saying writing is better than recording. Robert indicated his first preference would have been to write it down, but he just didn't have the time.

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  3. Oh...and how it all relates: he should clean up the problems in his own backyard before preaching to others. That's all.

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  4. Andy,

    Walking Dead has solicits up to #57 out there now. It JUST hit #50.

    I've yet to see it come out twice a month.

    And frankly, the book has sucked since volume 5 of the trade. I don't care about the people in the story anymore.

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  5. "Oh...and how it all relates: he should clean up the problems in his own backyard before preaching to others. That's all."

    So all your backyard shenanigans are squared then, eh?

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  6. Well, too-cowardly-to-even-use-a-handle, I'm not preaching how to save comics while screwing up my own business, am I? :)

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  7. "Andy,

    Walking Dead has solicits up to #57 out there now. It JUST hit #50.

    I've yet to see it come out twice a month.

    And frankly, the book has sucked since volume 5 of the trade. I don't care about the people in the story anymore."

    I've been reading the singles since issue 9 or so and it has definitely came out more than once in a month a few times.

    ...and if you hate it so much then the late comics shouldn't bother you.

    And Hux, it certainly wasn't the most well thought out speech on comics, but who does it hurt? He obviously has has a lot of success with his creator owned material so you can see why he might think that way. He just spoke his mind, I say don't sweat it so much. That's what I'm thinking.

    I don't know him but he seems like a nice enough guy, and I have to imagine that he isn't in control of how many copies of his Trade collections are out there. Nobody is calling out Tony Moore for not getting them out there.

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  8. I hope Kirkman knows what he's doing, because with all the bridges he's nuked in the last month or so, if he fails at Image he's in deep ka-ka. ;)

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  9. I'd still like to see him write some DC characters, lol.

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  10. Andy,

    Kirkman's manifesto hurt a few people, to some degree. Bendis was a bit pissed that he used his name as an example in that 9+ minute nonsense. There are other things it "hurt", but that's really not the point.

    Why do so many fans get pissed when they see something stupid done with the characters they follow? Because they're passionate about their comics. That's the same reason why I'm rather displeased with Kirkman shooting off his mouth with little forethought.

    If he loves comics like he professes to, then he should give "how to save the industry" a little more thought before broadcasting his ideas to the internet.

    He gives more care to individual scripts than how to reinvigorate the market and protect the industry from extinction? That shows how seriously he takes the topic. He had a conversation at a bar, came home to Kentucky and spewed a bunch of nonsense in a recording because he was too busy to write it.

    In my opinion, that insults the medium you profess to love, other professionals doing their thing and anyone else (pro or fan) who loves the medium to care enough to listen to what he said.

    Oh...and Tony Moore isn't the only artist that has been involved with slow shipping schedules on Walking Dead. The point isn't so much the lateness, but the lack of care and attention given to his own product. Like soliciting 6-7 issues in advance of an embarrassingly late product.

    And with Kirkman being made an Image partner, I'm pretty sure he'd have been able to get trades pushed out if he was on top of the situation.

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  11. too-cowardly-to-even-use-a-handle6969Fri Aug 29, 02:27:00 PM EDT

    "Well, too-cowardly-to-even-use-a-handle, I'm not preaching how to save comics while screwing up my own business, am I? :)"

    No, you're preaching about how to preach about how to save comics, which is pretty much classic 'Net douchebaggery.

    Kirkman put his ass on the line & said what I'm sure many people in the industry are thinking, & he's trying to do something to make sure that comics are around 50 years from now. What the fuck are you doing, aside from sitting on your fat ass writing (or v-logging, or twittering, or whatever other means you choose to take to scream "look at me look at me") to do the same?

    On top of that, you're main gripe in this blog is that he laid that plan out, but some retailers can't keep Walking Dead Vol. 1 in stock. What the fuck does one have to do with another? Granted, I can see how not having copies of volume 1 could inhibit bringing some new readers on, but what does it have to do w/ his point re: independant creators? Aside from, you know, giving you something to be a pissy little bitch about?

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  12. Still too cowardly, eh? The anonymous can always talk so rough and tough. :)

    What does the Walking Dead business have to do with his manifesto?

    That he'd have been better served by taking the time he used with taping the manifesto, writing a bit later to try to clarify what he meant and then flip-flopping all over the place in John Siuntres' excellent Word Balloon podcast? Maybe that's it.

    Or that someone who can't keep his own business firing on all cylinders is, quite possibly, not the person to save an industry much larger than the business he's not running efficiently.

    And, as far as professionals agreeing with him, it isn't really happening to a large degree.

    You see, all the people commending Kirkman's speech are picking and choosing things he said. They ignored some of the most outlandish things he said. Those agreeing with him decide to just boil it down to "do more creator-owned work" (which ISN'T actually what he said).

    And, as people like Colleen Doran mentioned, "do more creator-owned work" has been said many, many times. It is nothing new and nothing that carries the weight that Kirkman thought it had.

    Rather than debate with you as to whether I'm blogging this to "scream look at me" or I'm doing it to share my opinions on stuff I'm passionate about, I'll just ask this:

    Wouldn't you be making me successful at the "look at me" deal by not only reading but giving me fuel to extend this discussion?

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  13. I guess you're just more passionate than me :)

    I brought up Moore since he drew the comics in the first trade, just using it as a silly way to say that the creators aren't the publishers. If Kirkman is just now a partner, he probably wasn't responsible for keeping it in print for when that guy was trying to order, but I get what you're saying.

    Did anyone look to see if Amazon is out of copies, lol.

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  14. Ha...I gotcha, Andy. I guess we just disagree on how much pull Kirkman would have had in the run up to his becoming a partner.

    Amazon now has copies of Volume 1, but so does Diamond. I wasn't monitoring Amazon's stock earlier, but I'll say this: they only just started offering it as a Goldbox deal to me now. For about the last 3 months, they've been offering me every volume BUT the first. YMMV, but I'll take that as a slight indicator that they weren't flush, either.

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  15. still-too-cowardly-to-even-use-a-handleOU812Sat Aug 30, 11:30:00 AM EDT

    "Rather than debate with you as to whether I'm blogging this to "scream look at me" or I'm doing it to share my opinions on stuff I'm passionate about, I'll just ask this:

    Wouldn't you be making me successful at the "look at me" deal by not only reading but giving me fuel to extend this discussion?"

    So "success" to you is a whopping total of four people stopping by to comment?

    And I don't buy that argument anyway, that me stopping here is somehow feeding your need. That's a bullshit, strawman argument that people throw out whenever they get called on their Internet whorishness. "But it's your fault, because you read it." Please.

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  16. Cowardly,

    Every hit the site gets benefits me. Every comment gives the lurkers something else to read.

    So, if I'm an internet whore, you're helping.

    Good thing I'm not, though. But I still appreciate you adding to my unique hits and giving the lurkers that much more entertainment, just the same.

    Enjoy the Labor Day weekend. Labor brought us unions & unions make us strong. ;)

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  17. Cowardly,

    Feel free to post that response, again, without twisting my name into your handle.

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  18. "Every hit the site gets benefits me. Every comment gives the lurkers something else to read.

    So, if I'm an internet whore, you're helping."

    Oh Lord, I hope I haven't picked up an STD.

    "Good thing I'm not, though."

    That's a relief...

    "But I still appreciate you adding to my unique hits and giving the lurkers that much more entertainment, just the same."

    Not a problem. At least something on your site is entertaining now.



    *edited to protect Kevin's poor widdle feelings.

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  19. It's not the feelings, Bert Lahr...feel free to mangle my name however you want on the Haters Blog. At this point, everything in your last post is something I normally delete and direct to the Haters Blog, anyway, but it launched out of a real discussion. So I figure it can stay, but the ad hominem attack stuff still has to go to the Haters Blog. :)

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  20. Save the Kitties!!!!Tue Sep 02, 04:59:00 PM EDT

    "It's not the feelings, Bert Lahr...feel free to mangle my name however you want on the Haters Blog. At this point, everything in your last post is something I normally delete and direct to the Haters Blog, anyway, but it launched out of a real discussion. So I figure it can stay, but the ad hominem attack stuff still has to go to the Haters Blog. :)"

    OK - so, to clarify - personal attacks on creators, such as the one that started this whole discourse, are cool. Personal attacks on the person making the personal attack, not so cool.

    And you edit the comments for content. Isn't that kind of...lame? I understand you have a "Hater's Blog" (which should really tell you something) but seriously, if you can't take the heat get the fuck off the Internet.

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It is preferred that you sign some sort of name to your posts, rather than remain completely anonymous. Even if it is just an internet nickname/alias, it makes it easier to get to know the people that post here. I hope you all will give it some consideration. Thank you.