Stick with me. I’ll bring this back to comics in a big way at the end, though you’ll likely recognize the parallels…
There’s an on-going struggle in all creative pursuits against doing work “for experience.” Basically, if you do the work, you should get paid for it. There’s a variety of tactics publishers will use to convince you that this is the way to go, and most often it’s just a cost-savings measure for them. Every once in a great while, “exposure” might be worth it, but it’s usually a club wielded against the creative person to get them to work for cheap or free.
Then there’s concert photography. This is a special sub-branch of that nightmare. Having done some of it myself a couple years back, it’s always something I pay special attention to. There’s an ongoing struggle between concert photographers and their subjects. In the Internet age, musicians wants total control of their image, down to controlling the photographers who stand in the pits for three songs and provide imagery to newspapers/magazines/websites. The most obnoxious make photographers sign contracts giving the musicians final approval over what images they use, and some even claim to own the copyright of those images in exchange for giving the photog access.
Needless to say, there have been some fights back and forth between artists and photographers.
The latest flare-up came after Taylor Swift spoke out against Apple for not paying artists during the debut of Apple’s new streaming service. The hypocrisy was quickly pointed out that Swift was also involved in a rights grab from the photographers coming to her shows.
(Don’t worry, the cartooning content of this section is coming in a couple more paragraphs. Stand by.)
Some newspapers haven’t taken kindly to this kind of treatment. Some have outright refused to cover concerts. Others have, head scratchingly, instead bought images from concert-goers who take pics with their phones against the rules of the venue, using flash, and producing crap pictures. (Thus, they give the artists the attention they wanted in the first place while undermining their own photographers, and violating the rules of the venues along the way and fostering more crappy distracting iPhone photography during performances that artists loathe.)
But Quebec’s Le Soleil newspaper went one better. The geniuses there sent a cartoonist to cover a concert, beautifully circumventing the Foo Fighters’ rights grab.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulties I had in reading Delcourt’s comics off comiXology on my larger monitor. This was a good reminder that, every six months, I need to kick myself into remembering that there are better ways to read such comics.
I went back to my old trick: I read off a sideways iPad, zoomed in just a bit to fill the screen. It’s slightly annoying to have to scroll down the page, then zoom out, then scroll to the next page, but the art and lettering look beautiful.
I can hear everyone screaming “Guided View” at me right now, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried, but I don’t like being lost in a slideshow of randomly-shaped panels. I like page layouts and think they add to the overall reading experience. You lose that with Guided View, even when you see the whole page before “zooming” to the first panel. Maybe the next generation of comic readers will prefer things that way. Maybe artists will go to a simple square panel grid so that Guided View is more regular and easy to encode. I don’t know. Guided View just isn’t the solution for me.
Second, I accidentally gave short shrift to the state of French comics translation in the English-speaking world. Yes, most of the ones that I read come from Cinebook, but there are others. Let’s not forget what PaperCutz is doing with a lot of its all ages and humor titles, from “The Smurfs” to “Dance Class.” Heavy Metal, of course, has a diversity of titles above and beyond its magazine. I’m reading one of their books now, with the hope of reviewing it soon. Alaxis Press exists to bring the “Cities of the Fantastic” series over. Dark Horse and Fantagraphics and Dark Horse have brought over books, as have Dynamic and Image Comics.
French comics are everywhere right now. There’s never been a better time, but there’s no reason it can’t be a larger segment in the North American comics market. There’s so much good stuff still hanging out there, untranslated.
THE PURGE 3?!?
Earlier in the year, I was motivated to get rid of another round of comics when I had to temporarily move a lot of them into a storage unit. That time has ended and I’ve started to move them back into this house.
I’m realizing two things in the course of this process:
- Moving boxes around isn’t much fun anymore.
- They take up a lot of room, and I came to enjoy the extra space in my house when these short and long boxes weren’t clogging things up.
I’m thinking of another purge, though this is the more time-consuming one. This time, I have long runs of series to get rid of. They’re things I’ve bought trades of, or things I know I’ll never read again. In some cases, they have some value. I don’t want to deal with eBay, but I might have to with a few of these things.
Then there’s what I’ve begun calling the “Walking Dead Paralysis.” Those are the first six issues of titles that you don’t want to get rid of because they might be a top-rated tv show or movie someday and gain incredible value.
The “Michonne Paralysis” is the corollary that says you shouldn’t get rid of issues after the sixth, either.
These days, everything is optioned. Everything might be a movie. I’ll never get rid of anything.
Still, I’m starting to pull together a list. We’ll see if anything comes of this.
LOTS OF GOOD PODCAST LISTENING
- Recently launched, the SKTCHD podcast has had a series of strong interviews. (Look for the “Off Panel” series.) Definitely start with the Sean Murphy one that got all the links across the blogs and Twitter last week. Murphy is candid about the business side of comics and the realities of working in comics as your profession and what strategies go into that. Follow that up with John Layman, who always has something interesting to say, and Declan Shalvey, and you’re off to a great start. I have the Nate Simpson interview lined up to listen to next…
- Erik Larsen appears on the latest edition of the “Savage Fincast” podcast, talking about recent issues of that series, along with the world of Image Comics as a whole.
- Sadly, we had to bid farewell this month to Gregg Schigiel’s “Stuff Said” podcast. He says it’s only a hiatus but, well, the Pipeline Podcast has been on a hiatus, too, for the last five years. The good news is, there’s plenty of great listening in that podcast feed. If you haven’t listened to his long chats with Robert Kirkman or Erik Larsen or Skottie Young or Dan Slott or Tom Brevoort by now, go do so. They’re great interviews. (That’s just for starters. After that, you’ll want to hear from Mark Waid and Jason Howard and Eric Stephenson, and the list of the interesting people goes on and on and on…)
- Now if we could just convince Jim Viscardi to come back from his Let’s Talk Comics” hiatus to fill this gap…
- Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast recently featured Robert Kirkman for about an hour. Well worth a listen.
- “Orbital in Conversation” #136 is the audio from a convention appearance by Charlie Adlard. It’s a career spanning This Is Your Life type of thing, covering how he wanted to leave “The Walking Dead” early on, how he invested all his money in doing a French album, and more. An interview with Skottie Young just went up in the feed as I’m writing this, so put that in your queue, too…
- Not comics, but: If you’re an X-Files fan, The Nerdist Writer’s Panel had a great hour with Chris Carter, looking back at the original series and movies, and then ahead to the upcoming six episode series.
- And while we’re on the Nerdist bandwagon, Mark Waid’s appearance on The Nerdist Comics Panel this week is worth a listen, too. It’s a panel from April’s C2E2, so the audio quality isn’t the best, but it still works.
There, that ought to keep you busy for the week…
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