So today, I thought I’d share some interesting links of things I’ve found around the comics blogosphere.
Over At Savage Critics, Comics retailer has a series of excellent posts from the ComicsPro retailer summit. Here’s a quote I thought was especially good.
“A store needs to carry what their customers want, not what the internet intelligentsia says they “should”. This store, it seemed to me, was really really good at serving their Marvel and DC and gaming customers. The staff CLEARLY cared about what they were doing, and the store was a great example of how you do gaming and mainstream comics and MAKE CUSTOMERS HAPPY. Who cares what “artsnob967″ says on the internet? Who cares that <<booming voice>> BRIAN HIBBS wouldn’t find a lot of interest — you’re there to service the customers that come in, not the ones that don’t.”
That really served as a corrective to a lot of my thinking. A lot of time, I judge a comics store by the selection of indie books they have, and by the logic and thinking that are revealed (or assumed by me) by the store’s layout and organization. But it’s true: a store is there to serve the customers that come in, not the ones that don’t. And its more important to serve the customers that are there, not the ones who might… A business has to stay in business. But maybe that’s why Borders really fueled the manga explosion back when Mixx Zine turned into Tokyopop, and it wasn’t the Direct Market that did it. (Though to be fair, the Direct Market was there to support and service a much smaller version of anime and manga fandom in the years that preceded the “100% Authentic” $9.99 tankubon innovation)
At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper-Carlson has a really interesting book of Bakuman, the story of 2 young friends trying to break into the manga industry. (Bakuman is by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the creators of Death Note.) She makes a point about this story being strikingly different than American comics about aspiring comics artists. The main characters are focused on analyzing manga to see what sells, and do figure out what fans want to read about. She contrasts this versus American comics about artist-characters drawing comics for the sheer love of it, and because the comic artist is dying to tell their story. I think this is true, for the most point, though it is interesting to compare the subject matter of Bakuman (which I haven’t read, but would like to) to A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, which focuses mainly on manga-ka that do consider themselves “Artists with a capital A” and do have a very personal stake not only in their careers but in the stories they tell. Of course, A Drifting Life is a less fictionalized memoir from a very different time in the world of manga. (As a side-note, what are the key stories in the American aspiring-comic-creator genre? Copybook Tales by J. Torres? Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks? It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken by Seth? Dan Pussey by Dan Clowes? umm… Chasing Amy?)
Finally, I though this interview with the talent behind the webcomic “Bucko” was very entertaining. I remember reading a lot of interviews like this during the early days of my exposure to online comics fandom.
(The picture at the top is the Inside of Comix Experience, the store that Brian Hibbs runs, not the one he visits during the ComicsPro retreat.)