Last week, I started reading a book called MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY. If you want to understand how the Mighty Marvel Universe changed the face of comics, I highly recommend you pick it up! It’s a great read!
When I first started reading this book, I came across a quote by Marvel Comics founding publisher, Martin Goodman. The quote was simple but it stung my heart like no other. He said…
“Fans do not like quality.”
Well, that got me thinking.
As a proud fan of comics, I like to think that I like stuff that is of quality as opposed to something that is just rushed out the door. The fact that someone believed and instilled the idea in others that readers do not care for quality is insulting!
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of many of the comics that come out these days. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t like the majority of stuff out there. Many comics are good, but few of them are truly great.
As I said in my blog last week, I’m VERY selective of my monthly reads. That’s not to say that I’ve written off comics completely. I just refuse to read recycled crap! And I know for a fact that I’m not alone in my thinking. I genuinely believe that people out there still yearn for quality!
As a creator myself, I feel like it’s a sin to deliver anything less than perfection to my audience.
So today I’m going to prove, without a measure of a doubt, the 3 reasons why QUALITY will always kick the living shit out of measly, boring quantity any day of the damn week!
Lets start this off with a little test. Take your most favorite comic book and put it beside your least favorite comic book. You’ll notice the difference in quality almost instantaneously. You can always tell when a comic is pumped out for the sake of being put out there.
Some of it can be good. But again, good isn’t great. Back in the days of the Marvel Bullpen, the stuff that Stan and Jack pumped out from month to month was classic. In today’s comics, I can’t help but catch multiple spelling errors, stupid composition, lazy art, boring and recycled characters and the thing I hate the most, a concept that tries to sell itself as a story!
For the record, concept and story are two VERY different things!
Honestly, what’s the point of buying something that is boring and repetitive? I don’t get it! Comics should always dazzle and excite! Not bore the living shit out of you!
Anyone can write a script and draw a comic. That takes pretty much no skill at all. I was doing that at the age of 6 with stick figures. The difference between a professional comic book and an amateur comic book is about the creative team’s effort to hone their craft.
When you do good work, people notice it and tend not to forget it long after it comes out. Shit that gets pushed out the door is forgotten the second people put the book down and stash it away to collect dust.
QUIZ: If you had to protect yourself against an intruder, would you use a dull, rusted knife that has been used 1000 times or a freshly sharpened combat knife? Choose carefully!
Remember how long it took for some issues of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s original run on THE ULTIMATES to come out? It took almost a year for the final issue to hit stands! But who cares now! Its out in the open and everyone is enjoying it!
Remember Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s work on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN? That book was, and still is, a well-oiled machine. Issues come out consistently on a month-to-month basis.
What do these two titles have in common?
Well first off, both titles have inspired almost every current TV show, video game, and any other adaptation of THE AVENGERS and/or SPIDER-MAN! Even the movies were heavily influenced by the masterful work of Miller/Hitch and Bendis/Bagley.
And God damn was their stuff good! It delivered! There was story, character, and brilliant art! THAT is how you make good comics! The only difference is that one book was monthly and the other one came out once a year.
Whether a book is monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly makes no difference in the world. And it doesn’t make a difference if a crappy book is released monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly. At the end of the day, its still crap.
Good is good. Great is great. But good is never great.
QUIZ: Can you tell which image below is chocolate ice cream and which one is poop?! If you can, then you have the ability to distinguish quality from crap! Congrats!
Putting yourself into the shoes of your reader is not an easy thing to do. It requires you to let your guard down and to not let things get to you. You have to accept the fact that you’re not always brilliant. There is no reason to defend yourself. Just learn and move on!
Some of my first draft scripts are so bad that I wish I had never written them. At the same time, if I never wrote those scripts, I would never figure out how to improve and make them great.
That’s where my editor/co-writer David Anthony Kraft comes into play. When DAK and I think of story points, we are shooting ideas off each other. Sometimes we’ll spend hours talking on the phone kicking ideas back and forth. We’ll even get off topic and start talking about other things until BOOM! An idea strikes us and we move forward.
It’s like a game of tennis and the objective is to actually do something that is different, that does not suck, and will not confuse or bore the living crap out of our audience. But that’s just how DAK and I work. Not everyone works like that and that’s okay too.
Still, if we didn’t think this stuff through to its most fine detail, then there would be no reason for me to work this hard to promote and sell YI SOON SHIN. Our creative struggles makes ALL the struggles worth dealing with!
And the best part about how we go about making YI SOON SHIN is that this is how Stan used to run the Marvel Bullpen! It pays to work with and learn from someone who was trained by the best and knows what the heck he’s doing!
FINAL QUIZ: If you had a chance to have a meal cooked for you by…
A.) An IRON CHEF!
B.) An average burger flipper.
Who would you choose?
And keep in mind that just because a burger flipper has been flipping burgers for 15 years doesn’t suddenly make him an Iron Chef!
So as you can see, QUALITY just bitch slapped quantity! Remember, just because something is good and dependable, doesn’t necessarily mean that its great! Greatness comes to the bold and the daring! Leave the “good stuff” for the amateurs and the people trying to pass themselves off as “pros”.
Dare to be great! Take pride in your work! No matter how long it takes to get it out there! Just do it right! Montly, bi-monthly, or yearly!
QUALITY over quantity!