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B&N Week 191: What Is Your Creative Wish List?

| August 20, 2014

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What is your creative wish list? This is the question of the week.

I’m talking about flights of fancy, but things outside the norm. Everyone wants to work at Marvel or DC. Everyone wants to have an Image book that rivals Kirkman’s success. Everyone wants to have movies made of their stuff. Forget all of that. All of that is ordinary. And while ordinary is still powerful, it’s what’s expected. Since it’s expected, it can lead to complacency, and that’s never good. I believe that extraordinary dreams will push you extraordinarily.

I was doing some work with a creator who’s had a Mary Sue he’s been pursuing for 20 years. He wants his creation to be bigger than Superman. Now, the historians among us will say that the last character that was bigger than Superman was Captain Marvel [Shazam], and the rest of us will laugh at how preposterous the thought is. I was working with him, and when he told me that, I had a tough time not laughing. But you have to admit, it’s a different wish, isn’t it?

I guess I should start off with some of my own wishes.

I want to create a shared universe to rival the Marvel Universe. (Steven!) [Fine, fine! Was just seeing if you were paying attention.]

I want to find a better way of distributing comics. I understand the position that Diamond is in, and I understand about the laziness of retailers. But, really, I think there’s a way for Amazon to come into play here, being the largest online retailer, so that brick & mortar stores and individuals both could benefit. [This brings up several different problems and might kill the comic shops, but there could be better margins for everyone.]

I wish comics were taken more seriously in America. If you look around, you can see the influence of comic books everywhere. Captions and word balloons can be found in all forms of media, and you can even find the use of panels in some movies. However, when the focus is actually on comics, we used to instantly default to the Batman-shorthand of “Biff” and “Pow”. Thankfully, we’re getting away from that because it’s becoming big business, but it’s still mostly superheroes. It’s another fight we’re going to have to go through.

I wish comics were cheaper to produce. Now, don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to take money away from anyone. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s livelihood. But from conception to production, making a comic book is an expensive proposition. It’s the last real barrier of entry. And even if it isn’t expensive monetarily, it’s expensive in time, because you have to create it, then sell it. Often, making comics is a second job due to the amount of time you put in.

I wish a comic’s critical acclaim equaled commercial success. List the winners of Eisner and Harvey awards, and then see how many books by these creators you not only own, but that also appeal to you or that you would buy. My point exactly. A pretty good thing to do would be to create an anthology of all the Eisner/Harvey nominated books [where feasible—some of them are tomes, and it wouldn’t work] and sell them. This would expose readers to new things, because it would be the best of the best. Everyone would win.

I wish creators paid more attention to craft. Say what you will about Alan Moore, the man knows how to craft a story. You may not like Jim Lee’s lines, but the man can draw his ass off, and his evolution can be seen over the span of his career. There are others who refuse to change, or who just don’t care enough about what they do to take pride in it.

I wish readers in America weren’t racially biased. When the general public sees Captain America as a black man, they’re going to flip. They’re not going to care that the Falcon has been partners with Cap for decades; they’re going to see a black man representing America. There was backlash when the title of Ms. Marvel was handed to a Muslim girl, there was backlash when Ultimate Spider-Man was turned into a black kid, and there’s going to be backlash when this happens. And I’m going to be ashamed.

I wish publishers in America weren’t racially biased. Say what you want, but Christopher Priest and Dwayne McDuffie [RIP] would tell a different story. It’s only recently that the head honchos at Marvel and DC weren’t white men. And when Joe Quesada got tapped for the job, racism was running rampant against him. It was shameful. Imagine if he were black?

All of these are conversation starters. All of these can start a revolution. As we talk about them in the forum, I want to know what your creative wish list is.

See you in seven.

Click here to comment in the ComixTribe forums at Digital Webbing!

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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