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Monday, April 06, 2020 

Micah Curtis won't be sorry if the industry collapses under the disaster it brewed

Russia Today's got an op-ed from technology reporter and indie comics writer Micah Curtis, who's not going to shed a tear if the mainstream superhero factory tumbles down, with the Coronavirus crisis possibly precipitating its demise:
Comic books have long been a mainstay of entertainment, and over the last decade have given the inspiration to some of the biggest films of all time. However, the medium itself has had its issues. Between fan backlash towards blatant politicking and books like Captain America, Superman and Wonder Woman seeing constant declines in sales, the industry isn’t an entertainment powerhouse in its own right. Comic book shops in the United States had been closing left and right even without the pandemic. The history of the mainstream comics industry is treated like the barely beating heart of a dying god. It’s more of a legend with a small amount of followers than a giant to be in awe of.

Covid-19 has proverbially infected the ability to ship comics as well, with the biggest distributor in the industry, Diamond, stopping all shipments for the foreseeable future. There has been some attempt at adaptation in the industry, with DC comics looking to continue digital distribution, and joining other publications in making current shipments returnable. However, whether or not this will have much of a difference is debatable, considering the availability of digital comics hasn’t stopped sales from plateauing in the past. Smaller companies like Valiant and Dark Horse are ceasing digital distribution for the time being or production entirely.
Simply put, if the product's artistic quality is bad, then who wants to buy a digital file for it? No wonder digital sales haven't worked out. The offensive antics of some would-be writers is another damaging factor:
Some would even argue that it is these writers that have caused the problem in the first place. Many tend to run block bots against customers, or are openly hostile to any sort of criticism. Writer Mags Vissagio openly threatened potential customers, saying to “get ready for a baseball bat to the teeth.” Venom writer Donny Cates is openly hostile to modern readers as well, saying “F*** every single one of you” while half-heartedly hoping people are healthy during the pandemic. This behavior doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in how focused someone is on their work, or whether or not this is the type of person you’d like to financially support. Beyond that, the current writer of Captain America is former Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is infamous for writing that 9/11 responders are “not human” to him. Not the type of person who should be writing a character draped in the American flag.
No indeed, absolutely not. Some of these writers may have stopped online antagonism after C.B. Cebulski became Marvel's EIC, but not all of them. The failure to keep ill-tempered characters out of any entertainment industry is exactly what leads to such a nasty infestation.

With all that told, most interestingly enough, as per Newsarama (via Cosmic Book News), we learn Marvel's cut a third of their line for May and June:
Marvel Entertainment is immediately "pausing" work on - and the release of - approximately one-third of its May and June comic book issues, a spokesperson confirmed for Newsarama. Marvel's representative said 15 to 20% of its solicited titles would be affected, as some of them are twice-monthly in May and June. [...]

Asked when the publisher intends to resume publishing the issues not affected by the pause, the Marvel spokesperson said "as soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans."
However, according to BGR, they're also giving away a number of comics for free on digital services, including:
Avengers vs. X-Men, Civil War, and the Dark Phoenix saga are all included.
Wow, some of the most overrated storylines are all they can offer. The article says Coates, Cates and Jason Aaron's writings are on the list of digital items they're dishing out. No thank you; Curtis already mentioned how bad some of them are.

And, since we're still on the subject, here's something else that stopped, coming from IDW, their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, which became a form of LGBT propaganda:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles writer/artist Sophie Campbell has tweeted that IDW Publishing has instructed her to stop production on the series "for now", with plans to stop after #105. [...]

It's unclear when or if production on the series will resume, and if so if Campbell will be involved.
Isn't the scribe's name actually Ross? Well anyway, if this rendition of TMNT grinds to a halt, it'll be a blessing for fans of the original material, seeing how under the current ownerships like Nicktoons, it's cascaded into social justice disaster. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird shouldn't have sold their creations, and money can't be everything.

So, as Curtis argues, he won't be sad to see some of these publishers go under. Those who avoid political correctness and identity politics are the ones to hope can survive this situation. But the industry's also going to have to adapt - as I've argued before - to formats like paperback and hardcover GNs if that's what it takes to obtain better distribution for their wares. They can't continue to act like they'll be able to survive forever on monthly pamphlet installments that cost 4 dollars-plus.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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