I don’t understand Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics, for some stupid reason, hired Italian erotica comic artist Milo Manara to draw a variant cover for an upcoming comic, Spider-Woman #1. This is what Manar’s cover looks like:

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This is pretty terrible.

I don’t know who Milo Manara is. Not really. I’m not familiar with his work, mostly because when I do read comic books, I don’t read erotica comics. At least not on purpose or consciously. I had to look Manara up on Wikipedia. Evidently he’s well-respected in the world of funny books, though by judging from his Spider-Woman artwork, I never would have guessed.

His Spider-Woman cover looks pretty awful. Her costume looks to be painted on, which means she’s technically naked. With her rear way in the air and her legs spread apart, she looks like a baboon waiting to be mounted. That’s not a good look, especially when you’re only wearing paint.

Whoever hired Milo Manara to do a special variant cover of Spider-Woman #1, shouldn’t have. Just because Manara was paid to do artwork by Marvel, doesn’t mean that the resulting product had to be used by Marvel. Some people have reacted to the artwork by saying that it’s misogynistic.

I think it’s partly that, but more so, I think it’s just bad.

I don’t think anyone, male or female, should be portrayed with their butt in the air, especially wearing a costume that looks like it was created by Sherwin-Williams.

I don’t understand Marvel Comics. It’s hard to believe that they are part of the same group that created the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. They should have more respect for their own intellectual property than to pay a European erotic comic artist to pencil a female superhero posed like this. I think this just goes to show that comic books is a dying medium. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a comic book. On the other hand, I went to the theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy the very first weekend it came out.

I can’t imagine a scenario where I would do the same thing with a comic book.

Chuck Rozanski has a change of heart, Mile High Comics will return to San Diego Comic-Con

Mile High Comics at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con

Mile High Comics at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con

Chuck Rozanski, President of Mile High Comics, reportedly lost $10,000 at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con because of low sales. The reason for the low sales wasn’t because people at San Diego Comic-Con weren’t in the market for old comics at 50 percent off. The real reason? San Diego Comic-Con exclusives.

Rozanski has accused comic publishers of cleverly exploiting the “greed and avarice” of comics fans by selling exclusive comics at their own booths. These greedy fans buy exclusive comics directly from the publishers, then have no more disposable income left to spend at his booths.

Rozanski threatened not to return to San Diego Comic-Con next year. Form his July 26 newsletter:

So where does this leave us? As much as I hate to admit this, it now seems obvious to me now that we finally have to end a lifetime of exhibiting at San Diego, and instead seek out relatively popular comics conventions in other cities. Especially conventions where our publisher friends choose to not exhibit. Doesn’t that thought just drip with irony? Comics publishers have evolved to become toxic to their own retailers. Who would ever have thought that would happen? Even with all my many years of experience, I simply cannot believe that our world has now been so perverted by the mania for exclusive variants, that comics retailers can now only survive in the absence of the very publishers we support. No matter how you look at it, this is a profoundly sad day.

Not so fast! It would seem that Rozanski has had a change of heart. From his July 29 newsletter:

If you are wondering why we did not succeed in meeting our convention goals this year, I would urge you to read my last two newsletters. Before you read my two previous essays, however, I want you to know that I ultimately did heed the outpouring of requests that I received from fans and professionals at the show, and renewed our booth for next year. In all honesty, however, I have to admit that my decision to renew at SDCC for one more year was driven more by an emotional response to all the kind words of support that we received, rather than any kind of good business sense. Simply put, I do not have any faith or belief that the circumstances that devastated our sales at this year’s convention will be in any way mitigated at next year’s show. Our comics publishers will all express sympathy with the plight of participating retailers at conventions, but will then continue engaging in behaviors that solely benefit them. Such is life.

Looking at the Mile High Comics booth at San Diego Comic-Con, I can honestly saw that if I were there, I’d walk right by. It looks too flea markety, too swap meetish to me. I’d figure that anyone slashing prices by 50 percent was probably charging too much to begin with. Traditionally, when merchandise is 50 percent off, it’s because there’s either something wrong with it, or that people just don’t want it.

If I went to the San Diego Comic-Con, I wouldn’t be there to buy cheap stuff that nobody else wanted.

Buy my collection of ‘The Walking Dead’ comics

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Last night I posted what’s left of my The Walking Dead comic collection on eBay. I’ve sold a few key issues as individual listing, but I decided to sell the remaining 44 issues in one, big lot. I’ll probably get less money this way than if I sold each issue separately, but selling them in one lot spares me the hassle of trying to auction off each comic separately.

I started the auction as $130. That works out to be $2.95 per issue. That’s what I paid for the 44 comics, more or less. As of this morning, there are already three bids and the current price is $202.50. The auction ends August 4th at around 9:40 PM EDT. I have a 100% eBay feedback rating and a feedback score of 465. That would be really bad if it was a credit rating, but it’s not, it’s how many eBay members have had positive experiences with me on eBay.

Take a look at it if it sounds like something you’d be interested in.

THE WALKING DEAD comic book lot 44 issues [eBay]

Update: The lot ended up going for a whopping $554.65. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with the outcome. A new iPad Air for me!

It’s the San Diego Comic-Con, not the San Diego Flea-Market

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Chuck Rozanski

Chuck Rozanski, owner of Mile High Comics, is at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and there’s something going on at the con that he doesn’t like: publishers and manufacturers creating convention exclusives and then selling them directly to fans. The problem is, it’s interfering with his ability to sell overpriced back issues to people at the convention. It turns out, people would rather spend their money on exclusives, comics and merchandise they can only get at SDCC, than his old, jacked-up back issues.

From his official Mile High Comics website:

Before I go any further, let me stress that the detrimental effects of exclusives at San Diego is not a new phenomena. Ever since I helped to create the Wednesday evening Preview Night over a decade ago, the bigger booths have had great freebies and exclusive toys available on that first evening of the show. What has now changed is both the breadth, and the scale, of those exclusive products. No longer are exclusives limited to just a few booths, or only to Wednesday evening. We are now seeing all of the major comics publishers, and every single toy and game company, creating limited edition products that they deny us. This aversion to helping comics retailers has become so agregious and pernicious that I heard from my fellow dealers that some publisher and manufacturer booths were refusing to even allow anyone wearing a dealer’s badge to stand in line. That is beyond ridiculous.

What’s ridiculous is someone with a dealer’s badge standing in line with attendees, buying exclusive items for the sole purpose of turning around and reselling them at a markup, to people at the convention. What’s ridiculous is that retailers like Rozanski are even still at SDCC setting up booths to sell old back issues. I would have thought SDCC moved past the flea market model a long time ago. People go to SDCC to see celebrities, learn about upcoming releases, meet other people, and to buy exclusives, not to pay too much money for a high-grade copy of Amazing Spider-Man #10.

The San Diego Comic-Con isn’t that type of show. At least not anymore.

Back in the olden days, some folks refer to them as the early 1990′s, people would go to comic book conventions for the sole purpose of buying old comics, the type of comics Rozanski and retailers like him, are still trying to sell today. Markets change, people change. Today, when someone wants to buy an old comic book for hundreds of dollars, they can easily do so on eBay or online. They don’t have to trudge to a comic book convention to do it, especially when that convention is the San Diego Comic-Con.

Some comic book conventions still look, smell, and operate very much like a flea market. The San Diego Comic-Con is not one of them.

Photo: Korene Gallegos/The Denver Post

What constitutes harassment at a comic book convention?

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Don’t touch her butt

The Los Angeles Times blog Hero Complex published an article about the San Diego Comic-Con and its lack of a policy on harassment. Although the event is attended by 130,000 people from all over the world, organizers haven’t seen fit to define what harassment is. Not really. This is the only thing posted on the official San Diego Comic-Con website about harassment:

Code of Conduct

Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. 

Not once do they define what harassment is. How do you have a policy on something that you fail to define what it is? If you are coming up with code of conduct, and you find yourself using the phrase, “common sense”, you need to stop and start over. There’s no such thing as common sense. What may make sense to one person, may not make sense to others.

In fact, the word “common” should be stricken from any credible code of conduct. The San Diego Comic-Con uses the word twice in the first sentence.

For what seems like my entire adult working life, at every job I’ve had, I’ve had to take a yearly class on harassment. I find it boring and completely unnecessary, but I invariably realize some people are stupid and actually need an annual reminder on how to treat others in the workplace. Every workplace harassment class I’ve ever had has always began with defining harassment.

Every single one.

I’ll admit that defining harassment in the workplace is much easier than defining harassment at a comic book convention. A comic book convention is a social event. What’s considered unacceptable in the workplace may not apply in a social gathering. It’s why San Diego Comic-Con and other similar events need to define what harassment is.

You can’t have a policy on something if you never bother to define what that something is.

Photo: Kotaku