Comic book stores killed the comic book by closing off the product to new purchasers.
My first comic (pictured above), probably yours, and any number of collectors and professionals was given to me by a disinterested adult when I was home with cold. In New York we had stationery stores. These were like Hallmark stores that also sold calendars, office supplies, journals,and cigarettes. They had extensive candy counters and magazine racks. Everybody who needed a lighter, a birthday card, Playboy, or a stick of gum went into those stores. That's where my mom bought me my first comic book, next door to her beauty parlor, when I was home with a fever. She probably regrets that purchase to this day. Once I was hooked I was able to bicycle to the local stationery stores myself. I could go in and browse the revolving magazine stand of comics. Other kids were there for candy or baseball cards and grown-ups were getting pens or holiday cards or something. Comics were a quarter. Comics were cheap because they were supposed to be periodicals. They had the requisite editorial (Stan Lee's soapbox and bullpen page) and production costs were paid for by advertising. So the point is, an adult purchased one comic and started a sustainable habit that only needed a bicycle and tiny allowance. That is how a market was created in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Then came Heroes World. A comic specialty chain created by Marvel comics. The first step towards Marvel's eventual bankruptcy. Following Heroes World was the creation of the the independent comic book stores. Would anyone's mom walk into a comic book store? Remember the direct sales box replacing the bar code on the cover? As a collector you wanted the direct sales cover. The magazine rack comic sales at other stores declined and they had no incentive to keep supplying them. Because of direct sales, the advertising decreased in the magazines, and the costs went up to cover production. In no time at all comics were over a $1. Comics were becoming a specialty product in a highly segmented product. A 10-year-old could not get to a comic book shop. The stores also attracted the older collector. Little kids and moms were intimidated by the stores (comic book guy) and priced out of the product. No gum, no baseball cards, no new purchasers. Cigarettes were doing a better job attracting kids to their product than comic books were. Comics, instead of being something every boy had at one time (with quite a few of us continuing to buy), became nerd fodder for older kids. Then the number 1 frenzy, the multiple cover fiascoes, the metallic covers, X-Everything, etc., all to feed the direct market. The market continually skewed older with less replenishment. To keep that market the stories changed. Who and how they hired creatives changed. These things we still talk about. Does a modern 8-year-old even see a comic book besides an Archie at the grocery store. The movies sell coloring books in grocery and toy stores, but the comic book now comes later, needing to have an ironic charge so as not to be kid stuff. Sales have shifted to the $15 trade paperback, and ironically, they are sold in real book stores. The comic book stores are closing.
So that's why we lament the loss of the early silver age comic book charm and wonder at the skeeziness of the modern independents. It's Heroes World's fault.
I'll keep an eye on this site http://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales/1960s.html to see if they post data to support my argument.
I am happy to announce I will be working at Microsoft as a technical artist on one of the HoloLens teams, starting February 8. It's a contract position scheduled to run until August. I don't know how much I can say about the role, but, naturally, I am super-excited to get the job. During the interview, I kept thinking this role was tailor-made for me. It's the perfect blend of tech and art and they liked that I had both skills.
I am thrilled to be able to finally get a chance to see the HoloLens in action. I'll get a chance to put my fledgling technical artist chops to use while learning from other seasoned technical artists. I really couldn't design a better job for myself if I tried.
I have a "Showcase" collection of 50s (at least I think they are from the 50s) Superman comics that I've been reading lately.I guess as a result of the Comics Code almost all of these comics are about Superman obsessively protecting his secret identity and avoiding marriage rather than doing something more interesting like fighting villains.
One of the things I wasn't aware of before reading these is how often the artists would use the same pose of Superman not only in multiple issues but frequently within the same issue... It's clearly a case of having a drawing and slapping it on a light box and using the same drawing over and over again.It's a little depressing, but I understand the reasons for it... those guys had tight deadlines and probably didn't get paid a lot.There is one artist who only pops up occasionally in the book who's clearly head and shoulders above the other artist(s?) contained in the book... the inks are more polished, the characters less stiff and more emotive and the general treatment is more fun. No idea who it is.
It's also fun to see how standards of what looks 'powerful' in the human form has changed... Supes is a big barrel chested guy in these comics, not the broad chested/slim waisted heros of today.
...is worth a watch. Got it through the King County Library system. Jodorowsky's vision was quite different than Herbert's book, but it still was compelling. Interesting to see what might have been and what the talent (Dan O'Bannon, Moebius, H.R. Giger) who worked on the failed movie would do after studios balked at financing the movie's production.
I've had good reasons and excuses for not putting pencil to paper for months now. A few more figure drawings have been posted on the North Park Drawing Group instagram, but nothing that seems to solve any art issues for me. At work I did this poster contest submission for the subcontractor's ESOP. It is all Illustrator except for some Photoshop cloning on the watercolor texture to remove obvious patterning in a brush I created. I was trying for a Red Bull ad quality to the line and color.
I can't really show much of anything that I'm working on these days, but I am showing a small portion of an image that we aren't using at the moment. It doesn't really show anything... it's part of a concept drawing for one of the games I'm working on. All the personal work I'm doing these days I'm sharing on my FB art page, Instagram, etc., so I don't want to clutter the TAG blog with that stuff. I'll be able to share more about our games in a few months.
...but I (1) didn't finish it in time and (2) cancelled my table at ECCC this year.
I was inspired by a book of art by this guy:
Georges Barbier, a French homme from the early 20th Century.
What I love best about his stuff is it's sexy.
My piece is deliberately NOT sexy (I'm such a Puritan); I wanted the girl to seem very young and non-sexualized (but I failed to get that real youthful look--she's still too old!).
I wanted to do the piece not only to celebrate his style (or "ape his style," if you prefer), but as a challenge to myself 'cuz he is doing all the things I am NOT good at...and hacking away at this for the last two weeks made me realize just how deficient I am! I'm very un-graphic, esp'ly when dealing with the figure. He's got this very effective simplified way of doing people that is really beyond my ability. And his colors are very schematic--again, something I'm not good at at all. I can't resist trying to "model" things.
On the other hand: SATAN! p.s. Rick, Tom, I have no idea what romance book provided the source for that Xmas image that I re-purposed--but it worked great! Thank you, Tumblr!
Hey folks... sorry I haven't been on in a while... after my first month in Germany I moved to a guest house that doesn't have any internet. I'll be in this place until Sue and Tommy get here at the end of the school year (they were just here over the Christmas break and we had a blast!). I have avoided logging onto the TAG blog at work because I use a different Google address to log in for work stuff and it was a bit of a mess to go back and forth. I think I have a solution now... we'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, I thought I'd share a bit of Christmas loot with you... The Orion Omnibus! It's mostly written and drawn by Walt Simonson and is pretty awesome! If you liked his run on Thor, then I'm pretty sure you'll like this. It's pretty sweeping and uses just about every New God there is.