Many of us have come to accept the fact that some comics will probably always be sold with multiple covers. Seems like many number one’s in particular get that treatment. It’s rare these days when a debut issue does NOT have more than one cover.
JUST WHAT IS SHOW “BUSINESS?”
That got me thinking about the fact that comics are still part of show business. One of my friends has insisted for years that money shouldn’t play a role in the making of genre/comics productions. They should be done “for the love of it,” he likes to say.
The bad news is that even creative people have to eat and pay bills.
In times past, kings and queens used to pay artisans large sums of money so they could write music for them or paint magnificent works of art. I don’t think any of them ever started on these projects without getting paid. And I think in some countries, that process still happens.
WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TODAY IF IT WERE LESS “BUSINESS” AND MORE “SHOW?”
It would be great if it were otherwise. Joss Whedon could send word out via the Internet that he’s going to create a new Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off TV show. Money would just automatically flow in from fans around the world. It could be written, filmed, and aired without any kind of commercial interruptions.
Or he could make a triumphant return to Astonishing X-Men and people would fork over their hard-earned shekels so the issues could arrive on our doorsteps when they were finished. Wouldn’t that be great?
The sad thing is, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
Granted, crowdfunding has helped a lot when it comes to making Indie comics. But as far as things happening on as big a scale as I’ve been mentioning, well, the quick answer is, “no.”
There’s a reason why stores order books in advance. They need to have enough product to be able to sell to their customers. You can always tell a store where the manager has no idea what his customers want. The shop either has way too many copies of certain books or never has enough. Like many other things, this is a business, and it can be dull, it can be boring at times (like when someone who works in a store has to bag and board for hours at a time), but it needs to function that way in order for us to buy what we want.
Now, if a reader of this column has a brilliant idea on how to change things for the better, I’m all ears (or eyes, I guess), and I’d be happy to post what you have in mind sometime in the future. I’d love that to happen. Hey, I wouldn’t even charge … too much … to publicize your great idea.
All that said, nothing lasts forever. Does anyone even remember what a floppy disc is? Or a videocassette player? Those things are pretty much long gone. And maybe the way we do things now will change and be less show “business.” I just don’t see it happening any time soon. For the foreseeable future, there will still be “business” in show business.