The New York Times Magazine, this Sunday, had a piece on Platinum Studios, and the piece was fairly disheartening. The article focused on Cowboys and Aliens, and how it was a movie pitch based on a comic book – only the comic book did not come out until about nine years after the initial pitch was made.
The comic book, as you might remember, was basically given away by Platinum Studios so that they could later claim that the book was the “#1 Best-Selling Graphic Novel” in the week of its release (a claim that later was amended by explaining the various caveats behind the book’s sales).
What’s disheartening to me is to read Scott Rosenberg’s position regarding criticism of Platinum Studios’ comics. His basic point (and he is correct, no doubt) is to say that it does not really matter how many copies of a comic you sell, at least regarding how well the movie will do – for as many people have noted in the past, you theoretically could cancel the Superman line of comics, and it would not really affect the sales of a Superman movie.
So Rosenberg is totally right there – however, when you use as your position “People can talk about how bad our comics are all they want, it’s more buzz,” that is an unpleasant tact to read from a comic company. Not “We disagree – we think the comics are good” or “We stand by our product,” but “Ah, what does it matter? The comic can do whatever – it is just the movie that counts!”
So sure, Rosenberg’s business model is a pretty good one – but it’s a depressing one when you have an interest in comics being, you know, good.
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