First thought of the evening on firing up the computer:Comics 2008. It's not the best position we could be in, but it's a damn sight better than it was even 10 years ago.
And this little nugget of wisdom came coutesy of this post from the First Second blog where they have a very interesting little piece up from Mike Mignola where he reminisces about advice given to him by Frank Miller when Mike was starting out. It illuminates exactly how far we've come in so few years:"I CAN pass on something that Frank Miller told me when I was about to start Hellboy--It's as good advice as I've ever gotten on this subject. He said something like "just do it, do the best you can, don't drive yourself crazy, just KNOW that when you look back on it you're going to hate it. It can't be helped. The next one will be better.
I don't know if that really helps here. Your problem is that you're dealing with GRAPHIC NOVELS and they are a lot scarier than comics. They're sold in bookstores and are going to be in print for a long time. The beauty to doing comics in the old days was that you did a shitty job, it came out, and then it was gone. Now everything is collected and we have to live with our mistakes--Of course that also means we keep making money (which is good) and when we DO finally do a job we're proud of it stays in print. I wouldn't want the old days back, believe me, but it was easier to learn as you went, knowing that your early work would be forgotten."If there's one thing that really has changed over the years I've been around comics it's an availability issue. Gone (thank god) are the days of worrying about missing a hot comic or a new book by some favourite but unpopular creator that you know the shop isn't going to order. Instead everything is available.
Of course, this leads to it's own problems. After all, if everyone is keeping everything in print, how the hell is any retailer menat to keep it in stock?(Answer - they're not going to. The smart ones already operate at least a two tier system, with a whole host of graphic novels being allowed a small shelf life very similar to those we used to give new release comics)
This was originally posted at the FPI blog, but because it's a nice little think piece rather than a news piece I thought it would be nice to share it here as well.