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Author Topic: What's so friggin' GREAT about World War II, anyway?  (Read 29240 times)
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2005, 02:48:56 AM »

I think "thriving" would be how Superman comics sold in the 60s - in the millions per issue.
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2005, 03:05:34 AM »

Quote from: "Klar Ken T5477"
I think "thriving" would be how Superman comics sold in the 60s - in the millions per issue.


I wouldn't think so, for a few reasons.

First, the Superman books weren't selling in the millions per issue in the Sixties -- SUPERMAN's 1960 circ report was 810,000.  Nice numbers, but the 1970 1969 circ report was 511,984.  ACTION was at 458,000 in 1960 and 377,535 by '69.

But it's possible to thrive without selling millions of units -- however, "thriving" implies flourishing, booming ... which doesn't imply a downward slope.

The Super-books in the Sixties were performing well by industry standards, but declining.  If they were climbing -- not necessarily dramatically, just doing better as time went on -- that would be thriving.

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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2005, 03:11:37 AM »

Kurt, still numbers notwithstanding, those numbersare much better than today. But numbers were never a benchmark for creativity.
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2005, 03:41:16 AM »

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Kurt, still numbers notwithstanding, those numbersare much better than today.


Sure.  But "thriving" doesn't simply mean "much better than today."

Quote
But numbers were never a benchmark for creativity.


True there, too.  But we weren't talking about creativity either.

To pick a different example -- the TPB market is thriving at the moment, though it's doing way smaller numbers than Superman comics in 1962.  But it's growing, improving, flourishing, while Superman circa 1962 was in decline.  In decline from impressive heights, yes, but decline nonetheless.

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« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2005, 03:49:09 AM »

Captain Marvel's comics would have served as a better example.
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« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2005, 04:00:05 AM »

I find many of the questions in this thread fascinating.  Julian's initial question about the centrality of WWII to many superhero universes seemed easily explainable, given that the "Golden Age" was such a source of superheroes and that most writers and artists working in the genre since haven't exactly been pioneers.  For the last few decades most of the creative people in superhero comics grew up as hard-core fans and suffer from something akin to historical/cultural myopia on the subject.

It seems right now that there is a greater variety of superhero and related comics being done than ever before and I would be willing to bet that very few of them are hung up on WWII as a starting point.  Of course, I buy hardly any of them, so I could be wrong.  

Broader questions about what constitutes a superhero are always interesting to me.  On the subject of fantasy heroes (and now that I know Pacheco --pretty is right!-- was involved in Arrowsmith, I might actually check it out) I also think that sometimes, unfortunately, the medium is the message.  When Thomas, Buscema, Windsor-Smith, et al brought Conan to Marvel, they seem in retrospect to have turned Conan into a superhero of sorts (I mean, if the Hulk and Submariner are superheroes...).  That is, as a Marvel comic, Conan had to be a superhero.  Ditto Sgt Fury.  Ditto Luke Cage.  Ditto Chang-Chi.  Ditto attempts to do Doc Savage, the Shadow, etc.

Another aspect of most superhero comics that taints all efforts is the persistence of the corporate serial model of production.  Characters are envisioned as infinitely renewable properties whose adventures are published or released on a regular basis.  Art teams, writers and even publishers can be changed without any major damage done to the property.  I know this isn't the case with many creator-owned projects and mini-series/graphic novels, but there is enough of it still around to have an effect.  So even the most arcane Vertigo or independant series seem like superhero epics to me sometimes.  Ditto many popular manga and manwha.

I'm on the record on another thread about "different" superhero comics I still enjoy as an adult (outside of things like Silver Age Superman and the comics I grew up with in the 70s), but I think that claims for superhero comics as a universally enjoyable genre with infinite possibilities are over-stated.  While not exactly in the Destroy All Superheroes camp, I would say that there is only so much I can empathize with a character if he (to paraphrase Howard Chaykin and others) is wearing his underwear outside of his pants and can make icecream.

And as for thriving (meaning to grow), there are definitely non-DC and Marvel companies that fit that category.  Most of them publish Manga.
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2005, 05:44:11 AM »

orDanClowesand PeterBagge.

Whats with this Johnny Ryan  guy? Funny stuff.
http://www.johnnyr.com/comix/SYBW2005-11-14.html
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« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2005, 12:34:18 PM »

Ironically, Fantagraphics is probably thriving right now because they are publishing Peanuts which, while it has more than its share of angst, is about as popular and mainstream as comics get.  

(On topic: Peanuts has its genesis in WWII, in a way.)

Other lit/art comics imprints not owned by major publishers, like Drawn and Quarterly, are more break-even type of operations and not particularly thriving.
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