Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Man with the plan: In his third-anniversary "Permanent Damage," Steven Grant loves companies with game plans, and offers a list of "stupid publisher tricks":

"Most companies' game plans seem to come down to this: we'll put out a lot of comics, everyone will buy them, producers will want to make movies from them, and we'll own all the rights. A friend of mine calls this the FIELD OF DREAMS philosophy, after the Philip Kaufman film about a sports fan who erects a baseball field in an Iowa cornfield: 'Build it and they will come,' the voice of God tells him. 'Build it and they will come' is the operative philosophy of many would-be companies.

"It's a philosophy for idiots, a business plan that practically guarantees failure. Yet, time and time again, you get new publishers out to make a 'killing' in comics, which in 1993 was theoretically possible, but these are different times. It's certainly possible to get your comics turned into movies, and it's still theoretically possible for your characters to even become icons. But it takes promotion, it takes money, it takes time, it takes work. It takes good work. And luck. Spider-Man isn't an icon today because everyone woke up one morning and 'Wow! We want Spidey underroos!' He's an icon because AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, in the early years, was good enough, striking enough, original enough and enough of the time, with enough consistency that, over time, he caught on, and caught on enough that the piles and piles of later crap might've occasionally threatened continued publication, but never threatened his iconhood.

"If having movies made on your properties automatically made stars and publishers, Max Allan Collins (ROAD TO PERDITION) and Dan Clowes (GHOST WORLD) would be stars, and Fantagraphics would be raking in the dough."