Friday, July 29, 2011

The Pee-Wee Herman Tribute Show Opens Tonight

For anyone in the Venice, CA/Los Angeles area, "I Know You Art, But What Am I" the Pee-Wee Herman themed show at Gallery 1988 Venice opens tonight. There will be a lot of great art on display. I have several pieces in the show, including this one. Details can be found at the Gallery 1988 website.



Anonymous said...

A little bit OT, but I’m very worried about something.

This was a recent poll determining which of the new DC relaunch titles readers are planning on purchasing. Look at where Static Shock is in the results:

Even worse, retailers are going to use that poll to determine what to order and what not to order. You remember how the lack of pre-orders killed Xombi? Even removing the factor of the pre-orders, the latter issues were still being ordered less and less, even when book was already receiving lots of praise and word-of-mouth. No matter how many positive reviews the book received, it didn't help at all. No matter how many interviews you gave, it didn't help at all. Look at the sales charts. If the positive word-of-mouth would have done anything, orders for the latter issues of the book would have actually started to go up... not continue to sink.

You want to know why Xombi didn’t sell, and why the new Static book is facing the same trouble? This is why:

This is how the comic book audience thinks. This is their mindset.

Sadly, this book is going to have to depend on THAT audience and their mindset to succeed.

None of this bodes well at all.

Judging from that type of audience, If nothing is done before the book's launch in September, it will fail. It doesn’t matter how good or how well-reviewed it is. It WILL fail. Look at Xombi.

The reason why this book will likely depend on that audience for its success? It doesn't matter if this relaunch is supposed to find a new audience or reach a new demographic. There's no guarantee that it will. If it doesn't, this means that this book will still depend on the above mentioned readership base to succeed. Even worse, the sales of these books in the relaunch and overall comics sales in general could see a boost for a few months but then return to where they currently are. This relaunch could potentially result in a second incarnation of this:

Static’s book could end up a casualty, just like some of those books in that implosion.

It also doesn't matter if DC promotes this book. This book will still be competing with 51 other launch titles that will also receive promotion (not ten, not 25, not 40... 51 other promoted and advertised titles), some of which are (due to them being larger franchises) going to be promoted much, much more than Static will be. Whatever promotion and advertisement Static gets will get lost in the shuffle.

Anonymous said...

On top of that, not only is Static not going to be the only teen book (Teen Titans, Supergirl, Firestorm, the Legion titles), it's not even going to be the only solo book featuring a teen minority or even a resourceful, Peter Parker/everyman-type teen minority hero with school a family life (Blue Beetle).

Even further than that, Static is not even going to be the only book featuring an intelligent Black male in the lead (Mister Terrific).

Even more still, it's not even going to be the only book with sci-fi and tech-based villains (again, Mr. Terrific and Blue Beetle)

It doesn't matter if Static has had a cartoon, other characters in this relaunch have also been featured in cartoons (Blue Beetle, Teen Titans, Young Justice, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Supergirl, Aquaman, Justice League, Legion of Superheroes), most of those cartoons more recent than Static Shock. That's on top of characters who have received major media exposure in general (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, etc).

Static Shock even has less of a chance of selling than it usually would because 51 other new titles would be debuting at the same time. This has the potential to harm comics retailers (think 90’s comics speculator crash), so that means retailers would be more cautious than usual and limit their orders of certain books, especially with the new edict that retailers will have to order a certain amount of each book before they’re able to return. They will likely just not bother ordering certain books.

Think of how much of a blemish it would be on McDuffie's legacy if even the book that stars his most famous character is one of the 52 relaunch titles that end up bombing down the road. This will give the McDuffie haters something to point at and say "See? I told you so."

Comic fans and the retailers that cater to them will make sure it happens.

Something needs to be done... and well before the book launches in September.

Anonymous said...

The key way to generate attention specifically for this title would for it to gain national media and news attention, therefore not only making sure it actually reaches the attention of a wide-spread, non-comics reading audience that DC is actually trying to aim this and the other books towards, but also making sure that audience is actually interested in checking out this title. The problem is that gaining national news and media attention is pretty difficult.

Having gay and bi characters in both leading and minor roles didn't do it (Batwoman, Wiccan and Hulkling, Rick Stone, John Constantine, Apollo and Midnighter, Obsidian, etc.), having Action Comics (the comic where Superman, the most well-known superhero of all time, debuted) renumbered to a new #1 didn't do it. Having Detective Comics (the comic where Batman debuted) renumbered to a new #1 didn't do it. Having a Muslim Batman sort of did maybe a little bit (mainly among a small gathering of Conservative bloggers)- but not much and nowhere near a substantial enough amount (Nightrunner), a black Batman didn't do it (Batwing), even BATMAN DYING didn't do it (Final Crisis and Batman RIP).

And sadly, even McDuffie passing away didn't do it.

The only thing of recent note to do it was Barak Obama appearing in an issue of Spider-Man a little bit after the inauguration. That gained immensely widespread news and media attention. It also gave a very huge boost to that issue. The problem was it was considered a gimmick. Another problem (most likely due to it being seen as a gimmick) was that it only gave to that one issue, sales for subsequent issues nosedived and sank right back to previous sales levels. Even further, Obama appearing in other comics since then hasn’t gained any attention or sales for those books.

You guys might need to tie whatever you come up with to get that attention into Virgil's powers and Bang Babies. A reason for tying it into the Bang Baby concept and into Static's powers would be to help make both the media attention and the sales boost more permanent, and also so it won't be seen as a gimmick.

If something isn't done quickly, this book will end up failing sales-wise like Xombi did. Not because it isn't excellent, but because people "have no interest," or that "there's no way it'll be good" - (whether it's actually good or not, or because) "it'll be cancelled soon anyway (so why bother)," or because “the concept doesn’t ‘appeal’ to them” (whatever that means) or because "no one wants to read this."

Xombi's sales are probably exactly why DC aren't using the other, less popular Milestone characters and are just using Static. Xombi's sales are also most likely the reason DC took Static out of Dakota and put him in New York. They're doing it in a desperate bid to make his book more successful.

This book has to succeed. It's the only chance David Kim and all the other Milestone characters have. If Static Shock is a success, then we'll see Xombi and all the other the Milestone characters and teams return.

If this book doesn't sell, Xombi isn't coming back.

You, Scott and Harvey have to come up with something to generate nationwide news and media before the book goes on sale in September (basically one month from now), and it has to tie into the Bang Baby concept and Static’s powers for the effect to be permanent.

Something needs to be done fast.

John Rozum said...

I'm well aware of what the current climate is and I'm also well aware of the overall close-minded nature of many of the people who post on various boards. i don't have the time or inclination to check all of the links you've provided.

Media attention also doesn't guarantee a thing. No super hero movie inspires people to rush to their nearest comic book store, except perhaps kids for whom none of the material they are interested in is appropriate. All of the USA Today articles telling people that Lois and Clark are no longer married is not going to inspire people to race to their comic book stores in September either.

Most likely, Static will not last through the end of the year, nor will the majority of the titles not starring Batman, or I'd even say Green Lantern, but considering what a box office disaster the movie was, that's no longer a guarantee either.

There is no sure formula for success for any title, and no one falls for gimmicks anymore either. No one ever stays dead, and all the company wide crossovers and reboots don't make much difference either.

John Rozum said...

I'm not sure why you are attacking me over this, or making the sales of Static my sole responsibility. If fans don't buy it. If fans don't take the time to pre-order and let their LCS know there's an interest. If they don't tell their LCS owner to read it, or their fellow fans, or wait for the trade paperback collections instead of buying individual issues, then they are fulfilling their own prophecies for these books.

Blaming me for sales failures of these titles on me and then telling me that I'm letting down Dwayne McDuffie and his legacy is insulting, not only to me, but to Dwayne McDuffie. The man was one of my closest friends going back to before either one of us wrote a single comic book story. Do you know what his legacy is? It's to tell the best stories that you can. Do you know what I do? I tell the best stories that I can. Whether Static, or Xombi lives or dies as a series, I have not let that legacy down. I told the best stories that I could.

Have you been buying all of the Milestone trade paperback collections? Have you passed them out to your friends who read comics in order to sell them on the characters? Will you do that with individual issues of Static? If you are that invested in it, then you need to do some of the work. The readers have a lot more influence than anything I can say in an interview.

If you don't like how a book is being promoted, or not being promoted, take the time to send a letter via the USPS to the powers that be at the comic book publisher you have the beef with. Ask them why they don't advertise outside of their own comic books. Ask them why they only promote the books that don't need the promotion and let the titles that do falter because they don't stand behind them. Ask them what you can do to help. Stop buying their best selling titles and only buy the ones that need the support. Let them know that if a comic book sucks and it stars Batman, it still sucks. I don't understand why so many people buy titles they don't like, and ignore stuff they say they would like more.

The current comic book market is pretty poor. There are more titles than ever competing for less and less spending dollars. When I started in comics, both DC and Marvel would have cancelled any series selling what their top titles are selling now. Why? Because 70,000 copies was a really low number. Favorite titles of the last 20 years would also have been cancelled within 6-issues if they'd been released today, such as Sandman, and Watchmen.

If you ask me, Marvel and DC should stop making comic books for people over twenty-years old and turn all of their titles to all ages books. If someone who is 50 years old wants to read something called "Green Lantern" so be it, but it's more important to me that a ten year old can read it. What happens after all those 50 year olds stop (as they are)? Who will be buying comics in twenty years? Not twenty year olds, or even thirty or forty year olds. There hasn't been much in the way of comics aimed at kids since 1988, so not growing up with superhero comics they are hardly likely to develop an interest in them as adults.

At the end of the day, they are all just comic book series. If they only last six issues, enjoy them while you can (if you like them). But really, is your life going to be ruined if no one buys Static? It will have a bigger impact on me, because I'll need something to replace it in order to make a living.

John Rozum said...

For the record, sales had nothing to do with the death of Xombi. The September DCnU did. The decision was made before any sales figures ever reached DC. Sales for the first 3-4 issues reflect pre-orders made before anyone saw issue #1. A lot of stores reordered issues and bumped up subsequent orders. In some markets it turned out to be pretty successful. I think the book took everyone by surprise, including DC, and had it been launched in September, instead of last April, I think it would have ended up with a much different fate.

Your idea of coming up with some sort of gimmick and getting newspaper coverage to make Static a best seller is naive and impractical. I'm actually friends with the front page editor of USA Today, so if I really thought that would boost sales, I'd ask for a favor from him. Comic book stores could give issue #1 away free to every single person who came in their store and it would make no difference. If anyone is prejudiced against a title, they're not going to read it even if it's free, let alone pay for the next issue.

The way I see it, you have a choice. You can buy Static and, if you enjoy it, keep reading it for however long it is printed, or you can buy Static and worry about it's future and diminish your enjoyment of the series, for however long it lasts.