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WAITING FOR TOMMY: PETER DAVID
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Wizard, Comics Journal, CBG, Newsarama, CBR, Comicon, Silver Bullets, this is what you call a news story -- follow up on it.

The bookplate 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...

Peter 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.

RICHARD: 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.

RICHARD: 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.

RICHARD: It's got a good chance... The Intimates by Jim Lee and Joe Casey, the next Global Frequency... it's all very possible.

Hey, do we need another Image Comics right now?
PETER: Sure. Except this one could be called "Substance."

RICHARD: 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.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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