Saturday, January 10, 2004

Comic Book Reader's Bill of Rights Version 1.0

As a comic book reader, you have the right to expect that the people who create the comics you read will be treated ethically and compensated properly for their effort by their publishers, in a manner that enriches both the creators and the company that publishes their work.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to expect that creators want to create stories with a higher goal than the mere sustaining of the economic viability of trademarks owned by corporations.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to buy work that entertains and enlightens you, and the right to spread the word to others who might enjoy such work if you choose to do so.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to express your opinion on work that you have invested your time and money on, and the responsibility to do so in an intellegent manner that encourages civil and responsible debate on the themes, purpose and merits of the work.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to quality merchandise that delivers what it promises. If the merchandise is flawed in some way or misrepresents its contents in either advertising or cover copy, you have the right to expect -- and retailers have the responsibility to issue you -- a full refund.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to expect professionalism from the retailer or retailers selling you their merchandise. This includes, but is not limited to, competent customer service, a clean and safe retail environment, and modern retail policies including sales receipts and posted refund and return policies.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to expect that your retailer understands and is capable of professionally implementing the current pre-ordering system. While progressive, forward-thinking people will recognize the system as ineffective at best and disastrous at worst, until Diamond and Previews are supplanted by a real ordering system that works for both retailers and readers, you have the right to expect that your retailer understands how the system works, and will make sure that you receive 100 percent of the merchandise you choose to order through them.

As a comic book reader, you have the right and responsibility to spend your money on the works that you want to purchase. You have no responsibility to buy products in formats you don't care for in order to artificially prop up a failing industry unable to see its way to its own future.

As a comic book reader, you have the right to expect that your tastes will be respected, and that all genres and formats of comics will be properly displayed and offered for sale by the retailer you choose to give your money to. You have the responsibility to avoid any comics store that makes you uncomfortable or dissatisfied, for whatever reason, and the right to notify the owner in private of any reasons why you choose not to support their store.

Similarly, you have the right and responsibility to support the comics retailer of your choice, for whatever reasons make that retailer the most responsive to your personal, individual needs as a comics buyer.

The Comic Book Reader's Bill of Rights is Ideological Freeware. The author grants permission for its reproduction and redistribution by private individuals on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.

Friday, January 09, 2004


I'm the one killing comics.

As recently as four months ago, I was pre-ordering around 42 items a month from Previews. Last month, I was at 21...including Previews.

Quite honestly, my pamphlet buying has become nearly pointless. I pick up a few things from Marvel and DC that I don't trust them to trade, and I support my favorite alts, because I want to see them succeed, and by association, live long enough to be put into trade and gain a wider audience. But as much as I might like Bendis, there wasn't a force on Earth strong enough to make me order THE PULSE. There will be a trade, and I have room on my shelf for it. And I'm not in a hurry. Like it says at the top, there's no such thing as a comic book emergency.

I can also take the money I might have spent on a couple of pamphlets and go spend those bucks on the new graphic novel by Joe Sacco or another smaller work that deserves my attention. And I would recommend that you do the same.

Keep comics alive!

Unlike Joe, who seems to be reading everything in the world right now, I have to admit with head hung low that I haven't read any new comics since Christmas Day. In fact, I haven't even been to a comics store since a week or so before that (which is a rather nice thing, really. At least this way, I know that there'll be something I want to get next time I manage to find time to visit).

I may be the reason comics are dying. I admit it.

- Graeme.
After spending the New Year hungover and in my pajamas all day, I had ample time to suck down a marathon of TLC's Clean Sweep (they eliminate the clutter from various Californian's lives). I'm not cluttered, but I have a lot of stuff, most all of it related to comics.

So, last night as I'm driving home thinking of ways to eliminate that which I do not need I'm struck that I have all 6 volumes of Akira (the Dark Horse collections) and the most recent DVD release.

How much Akira do I need?

Which one would you cut? And why?

I'll keep the toys for now, thankyouverymuch.

Pulp Fiction...

Recently finished three graphic novels, each linked by Dean Motter (acting as scripter and historian across the three books below) with sideways links pulling in Steranko and Michael Lark.

The Little Sister, and A Trilogy of Crime both feature sequentially illustrated adaptations of Raymond Chandler's: Philip Marlowe, while The Batman in Nine Lives features the feel of Marlowe as a packaged Batman Elseworlds.

The Little Sister is a full length OGN adapting the self-same Chandler detective yarn, featuring a semi-strong Steranko cover, and illustrated by a novice Lark, who has proven that time enhances talent (Lark has fun with the backgrounds tho, spot the Bogart references scattered throughout). The work is a shadow of what he currently outputs in the monthly Gotham Central, featuring rotating writers of Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, and Nine Lives which he illustrates, and Dean Motter writes.

Nine Lives is a serviceable Elseworlds, with semi-clever hard-boiled takes on the Batman cast, but looks better than it reads, and is packaged better than most (sideways-like, with spot varnished covers) making the softcover the way to go if you're so inclined. No Steranko cover here, woulda been a nice touch. You can live without this, but an A for effort...

Rounding out the pack (of smokes, straights of course.) is A Trilogy of Crime sporting a fantastic Steranko cover (and the semi-strong cover from The Little Sister on the back, only flipped-like...) and three Marlowe tales adapted by three different creative teams.

The strongest piece artisitically is "The Pencil", with art by David Lloyd; The story itself is good, but not exceptional. The first piece, "Goldfish" is the most interesting tale of the bunch, with Rian Hughes subbing for the Pander Brothers (look it up, I'm older than you) on the art. The last piece, "Trouble is my Business" is the worst of the lot, as the story jumps (I thought pages were misisng the cuts were that confusing in some spots), and the art by Lee Moyer and Alfredo Alcala is stiff and lifeless. Still, two out of three ain't bad... and that cover's real, real nice.


Welcome, consider this dam burst...

I want to take a moment to discuss the best books of the year, or should I say, the best Graphic Novels of the year and my experience with two of them.

First is The Fixer by Joe Sacco, which is, of course, as excellent as they all say. You can read much better reviews than I can offer, but let me say this was my first experience with Sacco's work, which lead me to read Notes From a Defeatist (also released this year, but without the 'best of' backing experienced by The Fixer) which is equally excellent (and maybe a little better, to me, as much of it is not as heavy as The Fixer, which is no slight, but reading of war atrocities vs. hanging with a band touring Europe lends itself to a more "enjoyable", though less heady, reading experience.

All this is pushing me towards Palestine, which is to be read over the weekend. I wanted to follow up with Safe Area..., but I've been told it's out of print, which seems to be a real lapse on the publishers part if true.

Which leads to another critical darling, Louis Riel by Chester Brown, another critics darling of '03. I've been trying to get a copy for a month from a coupe of sources. Both tell me it's out of stock at their distributor level, which also seems to be a real lapse... on someone's part, not sure if the publisher can be blamed for this one. Sure, I may be able to hit Amazon for it, but I was trying to throw the Direct Market a few dollars, and look what it gets me...

More when my order from Atomic Books shows up.


Tuesday, January 06, 2004