FOR TOMMY: PETER DAVID
Wizard, Comics Journal, CBG, Newsarama, CBR, Comicon, Silver
Bullets, this is what you call a news story -- follow up on
is a great idea, especially if coupled with a shelf barker
so retailers can draw attention to their newly signed books
on the shelf. A free sample can often work... but if you added
a process on how you came to write the story, with notes,
early drafts etc, then you lead into...
David Idol. Comic Idol for Fallen Angel. Get a good web structure
behind it, why not? Maybe make it dependent on buying the
current issue in order to help sales. Certainly it's brave
to zag when others zig. When DC is refusing to accept open
submissions and when Warner Brothers have been closing down
sites that publish fanfic, it would be an interesting step.
Think you would have any problems there?
PETER: Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, I'd probably
have to do what Paramount did when accepting general submissions
from fans for "Trek": Have them sign a release. Otherwise
I'd be leaving myself open for major legal action.
And there always seem to be people there, willing to jump
in. do you understand the comic book reader mentality these
days? Can you empathise with their buying choices, even those
who profess a love for your work, but ignore Soulsearchers
and your other Claypool projects? Do you believe you'd act
the same way as a consumer?
PETER: It really echoes something that Jim Shooter
said ages ago in assessing fandom. He said that while fans
claim they want modern opera, what they really want to see
is the 37th performance of "Carmen." And he's right. Americans
embrace the known quantity. They want to know precisely what
they're getting, and they don't like surprises. And that's
why Mom and Pop stores and family-owned restaurants are going
out of business while every major road in America is a clusterbomb
of McDonalds, Wendys, Staples, Borders Books, and Applebys.
It doesn't matter that critics proclaim "Fallen Angel" to
be filet mignon: The buying public wants their McComics. And
if you're a retailer and your choice is to stock a $2.95 comic
that you know will sell versus a $2.95 comic that you don't
know for sure, you'll grab the sure thing. The thing that
devastates a book like "Fallen Angel" is that many retailers
won't put out even a SINGLE shelf copy. The easiest way to
get new readers is that they're browsing their store, see
a copy of "Fallen Angel," and think, "Oh, yeah, I've heard
good things about it!" And they flip through it, like what
they see, and buy it. Because many retailers are shutting
the door to that, it makes it incredibly easy to lose readers
(for whatever reason) and incredibly difficult to pick up
new ones. So we've got fans who say they want new and different
but don't give it a chance, and those fans who do want to
give it a chance can't find it. I've got retailers telling
me, "Oh, we stock it and can't move it" and fans telling me
"I'm looking for it and no retailer has it." There's this
bizarre disconnect and I'm doing everything I can to somehow
string the wires together. And no, I don't act that way as
a consumer. If there are authors whose work I like, I especially
enjoy reading something different of theirs.
And the thing is, compared to much of the market, Fallen Angel
is in a lucky position. A book from a Premier publisher with
a name-recognition writer. If even that can't succeed, what's
the hope for so many others? It really seems like the market
has polarised totally. If indeed sales across the board are
going up, they only seem to be going that way in the top twenty,
and everything else is seeing a worse recession than comics
have ever had before. Any light you can shed to dispel the
doom and gloom?
PETER: I think all that's needed is for one book to
break through the myopia of the McComics mentality. To make
people realize that, hey, non-mutant characters created more
recently than 1978 might be worth your time and support. Perhaps
FALLEN ANGEL will be that book.
It's got a good chance... The Intimates by Jim Lee and Joe
Casey, the next Global Frequency... it's all very possible.
do we need another Image Comics right now?
PETER: Sure. Except this one could be called "Substance."
Nah, it would just get abused. Why don't you just pitch a
Wolverine/Hulk/Spider-Man series. That would be cool wouldn't
it? It would sell wouldn't it? I bet it would sell loads ,
why - I'd buy five copies! Why do you bother pitching comics
that are an uphill struggle to sell to the current reader?
Are you a masochist in human form.
PETER: All writers are masochists. Who would do this
willingly? You do it because not doing it simply isn't an
option. Why pitch comics that are an uphill struggle? Because
I look at them the same way that Don Quixote sees windmills:
I keep thinking, "They might be giants." Y'never know. As
for the series you suggest, if I had an idea for such a series
that I thought was thematically exciting, then I'd pitch it,
sure. But I don't want to go, "I want to do a Wolvie/Hulk/Spidey
series because I want to make a buttload of money." I don't
ever want to do a series that comes from that sort of mindset.
Marvel giving me a shot at Hulk was something I grabbed because
I had things I wanted to say about the Hulk. In this day and
age, when we have a country that is effectively split between
two groups of people, and one side considers the other to
be intellectual effete snobs while the other side considers
the opposition to be hawkish, belligerent bullies, there's
no character in comics who has more real world resonance.
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