Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Comics' Great (Talent) War

At Comic Book Resources, Steven Grant considers the comics industry's new "talent war":
... The thing that's weird these days is all the exclusive contracts being cut. Exclusives are nothing new to the business either, and these days, when talent poaching between companies seems at an all-time high (though that's deceptive, the perception exacerbated by an endless barrage of Internet press releases; most people stay put), it makes some sense. What's unusual about this go-round is who's being signed. Traditionally, companies went after talent who'd shown sales muscle, or, as mentioned above, had a reputation for getting attention regardless of overall sales (companies like attention). The array of talents offered exclusive deals lately, though, has been... well, baffling, particularly at Marvel. I'm not saying any of the talents involved don't deserve contracts - they're all talented guys, even if most as unrecognized by the market and rarely mentioned by the press - it's just hard to figure out what Marvel gets from it, aside from a guaranteed pool of warm bodies to make sure books come out on time. Or maybe they're planning to make them into the next generation of stars. (Companies have tried to do weirder things, though most of the top talents in comics are chosen by the audience and not promoted to them, which is why no one can guess who's going to end up a 'top talent' and who isn't, why some basically untalented people have made it to those rarified heights, and why some incredibly talented people have never reached market critical mass. So 'creating' stars is usually an egotistical, delusional practice.)