CCW: 3.61: LAST RANTS! Are comic-book readers allowed to criticize the business of comics?

Posted: June 21, 2010 in CCW TV, Geek Culture, Last Rants, Marvel, Reviews

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Comments
  1. Mike F says:

    Great video. And In my opinion, so long as I have freedom of Speech I have the right to criticize whatever I want. ESPECIALLY If I’m paying for it.

  2. MicahSkin says:

    Well, you won’t get many comments criticizing cause, you know, they’re not bloggers and they don’t have a right to complain.

    That’s just his way of isolating himself from complaints. he marginalizes the complainers so he doesn’t have to deal with them because he can’t. So the whole “Well there’s something wrong with you so your opinion doesn’t matter” argument is just a retreat from the reality that he’s not universally loved.

    Finding less and less to like about Marvel daily.

  3. hackslash2020 says:

    If we wouldnt be talking about comics maybe we wouldnt buy as many comics.
    If it wasnt for CCW i wouldnt be reading Doomwar, Invincible and Chew…and Silent Moebius(great book but hard to read btw)
    I am little bit concerned about the negative approach from Marvel towards bloggers.
    Are they approaching the art of making comics from a negative perspective too?
    Is the extra dollar Marvel is gonna charge us giving them a bad sleep maybe?

  4. For the sake of clarity and fairness, here are the tweets in question, taken from Cebulski’s twitter feed – http://www.twitter.com/cbcebulski (the most recent of the tweets is on top, so you need to start at the bottom to get them in order):

    # …they were in charge. I was not attacking fans or referring to the creative aspects of what we do. I apologize if that came out wrong. Tuesday, June 01, 2010 5:54:21 PM via TweetDeck

    #

    And let me clarify, my tweet was about snarky people talking about the business end of comics, who think they can “fix” Marvel if… (cont.) Tuesday, June 01, 2010 5:52:54 PM via TweetDeck

    #

    @SThrondson My comment was no way directed at fans. I am fan. Just pissed at snarky posters who think they know so much more than we do. 5:48 PM Jun 1st via TweetDeck

    #

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But don’t deem to think you know the ins & outs of the business of comics just because you post online. 5:46 PM Jun 1st via TweetDeck

    #

    Dear people who don’t work in comics, please don’t try and tell us how to “fix” comics. when you have no clue what you’re talking about.

    So it’s worth noting that he’s directing his comments at a particular snarky blogger and not at fans in general. Still doesn’t change our argument.

    Elliott

  5. MaximusRift says:

    I think the anger comes from not being able to defend it credibly. If they could defend their actions in a way that wouldn’t make them look suspect, most people would back off.

  6. Brett says:

    Talking about how bad the comic business is, well I love gadgets and happen to be someone who had to pick up an IPAD, as cool gadgets are one of the things in life I truly enjoy, and I work everyday to buy what I want. Well as everyone knows it’s a pretty sweet format for magazines and comics. So Marvel has their app and it’s pretty slick, I’ll give them that but to my shagrin, they don’t have new releases available for purchase. In fact it seems the more you look around for the latest comics the only places their available are illegal avenues like bitorrents and what not. Just seems pretty lame to me that the only avenue for digital new comics is the pirating route. I mean is the comic industry like 10 years behind everyone else in terms of digital downloadable content or what! To me thats just bad business.

    • rush says:

      You are not the only one who feels this way. I see the comics industry making the same mistakes the music industry did. Though Boom is being more progressive than Marvel or DC concerning digital content. You should check them out.

    • Constantanius says:

      To be fair the iPad has only been out for maybe 4 months now? Never mind the new devices from other companies that are coming out this year which I’m sorry make the iPad look like a kids toy. They are smart to hold off and see what the best digital devices will be to deliver their product on. Personally I don’t like reading novels or comics on a digital screen I prefer a physical medium, but that’s just my own personal taste.

  7. Matthew Guy (mguy1977) says:

    CB can shove it it up his own asshole. If I have spend money on company M****l or Disney then I have a say as the person with the green. Or I can take my money to DC or indie company and make them richer with my dollars & thus my vote to support them. To be honest, I am NOT a Marvel Zombie but a DC Nation fan.

    Long the new boss same as the old boss — the reader with the damn bleeping money.

    Matthew

  8. Locusmortis says:

    Geez I’m the only one that dosen’t get a shout out!

    And CB Cebulski can get fucked, the comics business is a business like any other.

  9. kurumais says:

    J is %^$#ing hilarious in this vid!!!

  10. DidioForever says:

    Wow

    Great topic guys

    Before I watch this, to be honest, even though I’m totally part of the problem I really REALLY hate how reading comics has become some kind of *spectator sport*.

    Not that I feel that people should just take the crap that some companies throw our way, but I really miss the days when I just went into the store, bought some comics, read them, and then If I enjoyed them I’d buy them again.

    I guess everyone’s a critic in this day and age but this “That’s Not How I would Have Done It” (To quote Keith Giffen) mentality everyone seems to have (including myself) really does wear down my enthusiasm for comics in general

    Right…

    NOW I’ll actually watch the vid! (Hah hah)

  11. kurumais says:

    who was cb celbuski (sp)talking about?
    HE WAS TALKING ABOUT YOU TWO!!!!

    i wonder what cb would think about this statement ” if you never held public office or worked in the government then you are not allowed to criticize it!”

    consumers always have a right to voice their opinion

  12. kurumais says:

    about stephenie brown and her memorial she was in fact dead for a time DC considered her dead for time till chuck dixon brought her back just the same way jason todd was dead dead till hush opened the door for him to come back
    every character who dies is in fact fictionally really dead till some other writers comes along
    and undoes it
    right bucky?

    • Locusmortis says:

      hey at least they left Bucky dead for 60 years, its getting more like 60 days now. There are more resurrections in the DC universe than in the fucking rapture. I’m amazed some cunt hasn’t claimed Blackest Night as The Book of Revelations part 2!

    • TheMSpot says:

      Yeah, there is nothing sacred in comics or at least there is nothing that is set in stone. I think that Johns, Morrison, Millar, Bendis, and I could go on but you get the piont, shown us if they don’t like it that they will rewrite it.

  13. Benicio127 says:

    OK two things! First, in regards to fans criticizing work: this is something called freedom of speech as well as fair comment on a subjective piece of work. It is akin to criticizing/reviewing a movie, a work of art or a novel. If we want comic books to be regarded in a more than just “pedestrian” light, than we should be allowed to comment on and criticize them and their creators.

    This is a medium that has been around for at least a century, not counting comic strips that appeared in newspapers in the 1800s. If they are not held to a certain standard, we would see little change in the medium and would probably see less diversity, poorer quality of stories and art in it without valid criticism by the very people buying the product.

    And secondly, the Bill Willingham comment. Thanks for bringing it up!
    Here’s some of the original information:

    http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/2022096.html

    Anyways, gist of the story is that when the only (in-continuity) female Robin, Steph Brown, died, fans of hers (who were mostly girls) were upset she didn’t get a memorial like Jason Todd got when he died.
    Upset because a female victim of violence didn’t appear to get the same respect that her male counterpart got in death, the fans started a website called girl-wonder.org. They sent in postcards to DC (and were talking a couple dozen at the most, not even hundreds) and Bill Willingham demanding Steph be given the same recognition in death as Jason: it was only fair. It was also to ensure a female victim of violence had not been forgotten, like so many are in reality.

    At HeroesCon a couple of weekends ago, one of the girls from girl-wonder.org and a passionate fan of Steph Brown’s was at a panel featuring Bill Willingham and Ian Sattler. Questions were being asked about Cassandra Cain, minorities (and deaths) in comics and someone brought up Stephanie Brown’s death. (sidenote: her death ended up being faked, by the way) Willingham said, outloud, at this panel in front of however many people were there that he wanted to “gun down the girls who were asking for the (Steph’s) memorial.”

    Now this was a hyperbolic statement on his part, yes, however, he is also a professional, an authority figure and he was saying this in a public forum. He was also suggesting a violent murder fantasy against a group of identifiable women who were asking for a female victim of violence to be recognized. On top of that, it appears as though there was little discourse from his boss — Sattler, who was at the panel with him — and instead, he had to be told by the fan in question that wanting to “gun down” fans is not an appropriate response. (Also, should be noted he is denying he said anything like this on his Twitter account.)

    As a woman, I have serious concerns about this cavalier, off-hand remark and how it has affected those women who were involved in the postcard sending campaign and what exactly it says about how comic book creators think about women in general.

    • MicahSkin says:

      AMEN!

    • AvS says:

      Is there audio or video of him saying it that you could link to?

      Here’s the rundown of the Heroes Con DC panel in question from newsarama and they don’t mention any exchange of that type:

      http://www.newsarama.com/comics/HeroesCon-DC-Nation-Panel-100606.html

    • tomstewdevine says:

      I know I haven’t read or heard the exact statement yet but this sounds like Willingham making a joke. With the way he handles his female characters in Fables, so it’s hard for me to think this is some kind of sexist thing.

      • rush says:

        That may very well be true, but the point is that these guys are making these types of statements in a public forum which can very well be misinterpreted.

        • Benicio127 says:

          Yeah. Plus, he could have also made a joke in a different way, too. OK, so he was getting annoyed with fans who were asking for a small gesture of equality, but he could have said any number of things that didn’t involve a hyperbolic suggestion of violence against an identifiable group of women.

          I mean, it’s hard enough to be a female fan of comics as it is! The guys who own my local comic book store are awesome, but I’ve been to other places where either I’m treated like I don’t know anything or shock that I happened to know stuff and be an attractive female at the same time.

          Blah, blah, blah /end rant

          Jose, Elliot, I hope you treat your female customers just like everybody else! ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. If I can play the advocate for a moment, again, Cebulski’s comments were re: someone criticizing the BUSINESS of comics, not their content. There is a difference there, although I still say that his reaction would/should have been kept off of twitter or any public forum.

    Elliott

    • kurumais says:

      consumers have always criticized the companies whose products they buy thats why corporation have consumer affairs departments

      suggestion boxes? product survey cards and forms?
      i just bought a new car and got an annoying 4 page survey on my car buying experience and dealer satisfaction in mail
      companies rely on and use consumer feedback to maintain and improve quality

      not marvel i guess

      • cballsack says:

        Damn right. Whether it’s cigarettes being marketed to kids or Coca Cola busting unions down in Colombia or BP not spending half a million dollars on an off switch, every company’s business practices are subject to criticism. The consumer has the right to say anything at all, ANYTHING. Marvel is not beyond reproach.

  15. iqy92 says:

    the reason why marvel dont attack comic book news sites suchas cbr, newsarama, ign comics, etc. is because these sites and publication are ass lickers to marvel, they only praise and try to hype marvel’s next big project without critiqing it. Also they dont even talk about rising costs, wikipadding, etc. While most of the bloogers question about the stories marvel present, their prices, etc. and do not asslick just so they can get the latest preview or interview. Marvel just can’t handle the truth

  16. Stamps says:

    The thing that upsets me about this whole thing overall is that for years Marvel and other comic book companies like DC have been pushing fans to get deeper and deeper in comic books and buy more and more of their products, to the point of trekkie-like (no offence to anyone) fanaticism.

    They want fans that buy all the books in an event because they say they need to in order to understand a whole story; or read every word of a book just because it says Avengers on the front of it; or buy a book simply because it is written by an author who they raise up on a pedestal like some kind of fanboy demigod.

    But at they same time though people in companies like Marvel or DC don’t want the things that go along with having readers that are a result of their push for dedication:

    They don’t want the fan discussion that bring up continuity issues with a certain character’s story.
    They don’t want to be told when they are being unjustly cruel in their books against women and minorities.
    They don’t want hear that people have been talking about how they think pricing on books is unfair.

    So overall they view comic book fans who criticize them occasionally to be a bothersome monster that annoys them, but it’s a monster that companies like Marvel themselves created so I really don’t feel sorry for them at all when they act put out by conversations online and at conventions.

    • kurumais says:

      i agree completely stamps both marvel and dc are powered by events not just a big loud miniseries like secret wars but ties and crossovers and one shot and lead ups and spin offs and not only do they want us to come back month after month to follow our favorite characters but the event practically forces you to but more books then you really want to
      thats a lot to ask

    • Deemar says:

      Agree

      The big two want us to buy their wares and shut up.

      Seriously they’re no better than a drug dealer

  17. kurumais says:

    MONEY MATTERS! i mean prices we pay especially in relation to and intensity of criticism
    i have made this point about sports and everyone i have explained this to agrees with it
    sports today are under a huge microscope not only fro print and tv but 24 call in radio sports talk where fan after fan calls in complaining about their favorite team
    here in ny yankee fans have had alex “a rod” rodriguez one the best ball players in the history of the game and they did nothing but complain about this guy till the team won the world series.
    “he doesnt hit in the big spot” ” he sucks in the playoffs”
    and why because because he makes a ridiculous amount of money to play a game and tickets prices are just as ridiculous

    over on my mets we have luis castillo who the mets overpaid for and for the most part fans “hate” the guy. he somehow became the symbol for everything that was wrong with the team since they got so close to going to the world series in 2006. so someone decided to pay him much more money then his talent warrented. who is going to turn that down? but when i tell you fans are bitter towards this guy its an understatement.
    and why he gets paid lots of money to play a game and fans are asked to pay huge prices across the board.
    if luis castillo was making league minimum or a bit higher i would say fans would consider him a bargain .

    the expectations, the heatedness and bitterness of the fans i think it in direct proportion to prices and salaries

    you dont get that kind of bitter criticism for minor league teams like my brooklyn cyclones which cost you 10 bucks a seat and 4 bucks to park.

    so now comic prices are going up and extra content like wiki padding and previews to more books they want to sell us is being toted as valuable content. of course fans are going to complain about what they are getting and who they are getting it from ..the louder and more bitterly as the cost goes up and content goes down.

  18. arggggggggggggggggggggggggggg no i just spent hours making a start on my first blog on here and was just finished but in my idiocy i deleted all my work without saving any of it argggggggggg and in my wild panic instead of hitting undo i hit refresh so now all i have is a link to my youtube page and nothing done sigh help please

  19. Constantanius says:

    Old news but here’s some info about Stephanie Brown’s memorial in the Batcave if anyone is interested. I found this when I started reading the current run of Batgirl and was curious about her past.

    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2008/02/04/grant-morrison-makes-girls-happy/

    • Benicio127 says:

      There was also a memorial up for her in Batman #700. Actually, there was a memorial for Babs’ Batgirl costume, too, along with Jason’s Robin costume (which is the one that’s always been there) and even another pre-Crisis Jason costume. So that was a nice little nod from Morrison again.

  20. Pobra says:

    If I pay for a comic I have the right to say whatever the fuck i want about said comic, or the company that produced it. Money talks. Nuff’ said!
    BTW what is the music playing during this vid. It sounds lovely!

  21. TheMSpot says:

    Where do I begin? Criticizing Elliott’s writing process or Cebulski’s bone head and possible job losing statement. Bone head statement it is, it seems to me like Cebulski is basically saying that the customer is wrong, Marvel is right, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That is why Marvel finds themselves in the current situation of being part the Disney Corporation because of poor business practices like that. Yes, not all comic book readers are well versed in the comic book business, but business is business no matter what kind it is. The comic book business is not the only business that I follow, and a good company uses websites like Twitter, review sites, and blogs, also various other types of media for direct feedback. Now, I can go into how companies also use dealers/vendors, conventions for additional feedback, but I think you get the idea. When a customer says that there is something wrong with the product and the company says that there is something wrong with the customer than there’s probably something wrong with the company. Customers/fans are saying that there is something wrong, than their is probably something wrong. Marvel has already gone into bankruptcy once and now Disney owns their ass, if they don’t clean up their act or if Disney doesn’t intervene soon. It will only be down hill from here.

    That is why I like to comment on the CCW blog and posting things on my blog because I can write shit like this. I think what it boils down to is fans need somewhere or someone to vent to whether it is good or bad, and when you have someone who works for one of the largest publisher’s in the business, a representative of that publisher talking shit about their fans what does that say about that company in general.

  22. pilkk90 says:

    what part of the business was the blogger complaing about, was it price or the number of books that marvel put out? it it was number of books then yes that is a big problem for marvel because there too many its rediculous, however if its price i can understand why hes upset but the whole point really for marvel is to make money and stay in business so i can understand why they would raise prices even though its sucks. The biggest complaint now though is because they are owned by disney they dont need to charge a higher price but disney wants to make as much money out of marvel as possible.

  23. Insideman says:

    One of the reasons I moved to Los Angeles was because of the shit-ass, overblown, childish personalities that overpopulate the the comic biz in NYC.

    I just kept thinking to myself, “If people are going to act this MONUMENTALLY CRAZED and NASTY over some piddly-shit thing like me wanting to use their character for 3 panels in a story for one fucking comic book… I’ll just move to LA and deal with the shitheads in the film and TV business. At least there, the assholes are fighting over deals worth millions of dollars– rather than a single issue of a comic book.”

    In short, if I am going to bend over or get on my knees– I figured I’d rather do it for a chance at millions– rather than a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.

    It was the correct choice.

    (I seriously don’t know how Paul Levitz dealt with it all those years without fucking killing himself.)

    You’ve got it right as usual, Jose. The bullies are the ones that fear ANY criticism the most… That’s why they only have one standard childish reaction (or “weapon”) in their arsenal.

    The only thing I’ll add… There are no-talent shitheads and supremely insecure bullies EVERYWHERE– in virtually EVERY CORPORATION… Be it Marvel Comics, IBM or your local Burger King. The only way you can escape this day-to-day bullshit is to get off the ride and forge your own path in business… That way you only have to deal with the shitheads on occasion. And if you’re lucky enough to be sought after, THEY will have to kiss YOUR ass.

    I appreciate Elliott’s noble plea to ask comic professionals to be more considerate and less reactionary… But come on Elliott, seriously ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ …these portly Peter Pans don’t want to grow up or they probably wouldn’t have entered the comic business to begin with. They feel if they “grow up” they’ll lose their “muse”. What they DON’T know: GROWNUPS make the BEST comics. Immature assholes (did someone say Millar?) just produce flash-in-the-pan bullshit that is all hollow smoke-and-mirrors. Consumed today, forgotten tomorrow.

    Great rant, guys.

  24. Deemar says:

    We say what we want.

    We pay the money.

    We say what we want.

    Simple as that

  25. TheMSpot says:

    As you may or may not be aware I’m trying to take over the CCW nation says section of the blog.

  26. TheMSpot says:

    Damn, Jose you broke my hot streak.

  27. TheMSpot says:

    With this one I kick Deemar off. he he

  28. TheMSpot says:

    Back to commenting on the video, yeah, I haven’t been to YouTube for the reasons you stated in the video. I don’t like the new setup and the limited amount of words allowed for comments.

  29. rush says:

    I just read Cebulski’s tweat. He just comes off being arrogant and condescending Like Bendis on the fuckin Bendis Tapes.

  30. Edward2962 says:

    Excellent video! I think some of this I guess antagonism from Marvel comes from different points of origins. Of course, there’s the human reaction to want to respond when some anonymous person says something about you and the whole world sees…but some of it I think is corporately driven.We all know how Joe Q wants there to be more competition between Marvel and DC so he starts these name calling tiffs.That’s what ( I believe ) led to Bendis calling Wonder Woman a walking STD.I think some of the staff just don’t know when they’ve taken it too far when responding to the competition or to the fans.

    Here’s a question..when these subjects get brought up in these types of forums,someone eventually
    says, “I hope Disney cleans house”. My question is… why would they? Maybe I’m just cynical,but Disney is a multinational corporation concerned with the bottom line just like BP.The only difference between Dis and Marvel is Disney isn’t dumb enuff to insult their core audience.The only way Disney cleans house is when Marvel loses market share.

    Also,here’s an exception to Elliot’s point about Hollywood… a few years ago I’m pretty sure Rob Schneider took out an ad criticizing Roger Ebert after Ebert slammed one of the Deuce Biggalo movies. Hey,remember when Rob was a hot actor? Yeah,me neither…

    • Deemar says:

      Ever heard the saying “A hit dog, will holler.”

      That is Marvel in a nutshell

    • rush says:

      Joking or not that Bendis statement about Wonder Woman is completely juvenile. Did he forget he is a public face of the company he works for?

      • Edward2962 says:

        That’s what I mean.I think the company ENCOURAGES this stuff.Of course, I’m not involved
        in staff meetings,so I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some unspoken rule of “Take any opportunity to bash DC and criticize their characters.It’ll make our fans feel like they’re part of the COOL kids club.” Hell,for that matter, “Disney bought us.Have Sentry rip Ares apart in the goriest way,so we can still say we’re edgy.”

        • rush says:

          As I said in an earlier comment I see this in other industries. People sometimes get over-enthused or over-zealous and they end up putting their foot in their mouth.

      • Insideman says:

        I’ve actually been avoiding writing this for a while but this seems a good a time as any.

        Bendis and Millar are the Wolfman and Wein of this generation.

        Those guys used to bounce between DC and Marvel like Pam Anderson between Tommy Lee and Kid Rock. They did and said whatever they liked with seemingly no consequence… And, for a time, they WERE invincible.

        And while it may not seem like it, Millar and Bendis’ days in the sun are ending… Because NO ONE stays on top forever.

        So whether Marvel’s two CURRENT “Sunshine Boys” know it or not– every time they make some insensitive quip or write some sensationalist dialogue that makes them seem like complete idiots– they are, in reality, just digging their career graves… One shovel of bullshit at a time.

  31. TheMSpot says:

    I don’t know if this is related, but I have been buying JMS’s The Brave and The Bold, and maybe Superman because of how he got fuck over at Marvel.

  32. generaldark says:

    just read batman 700 and was kind of let down, i loved the story and loved to see damian as batman again but the whole time jumping stuff confuses the shit out of me so i could not enjoy the story as much ๐Ÿ˜ฆ overall i thought it was a good issue.

  33. Pitydafoo says:

    I hate little PC, affirmative action-oriented litmus tests for writers. They nearly always place the creator’s vision into a subservient position. If the writer’s vision spontaneously, organically, authentically fulfills the criteria, then great. If the writer feels inspired by the additional lens such a filter provides, then fine. If it doesnโ€™t, then should the writerโ€™s instincts be chiseled down to fit PC notions of whatโ€™s acceptable? No.

    Regarding the comics gods telling us we canโ€™t criticize: They are arrogant, childish, & foolish. They have an audience that is opinionated & vocal because THEY CARE. As a person w/ business & marketing experience, I love feedback because it makes my products and services better & makes me better. Thin skinned pros need to grow the hell up.

    Quesada has made this bullyboy kind of approach a fixture at Marvel, while Didio has mellowed DC. It used to be pretty bad at DC, though, when some of us were challenging some of their decisions on a regular basis.

    Willingham’s comments were beyond the pale. Creators complain (justly) when fans make violent – if non-serious and symbolic – statements of similar stripe. The use of violent language like this towards others is unprofessional and borderline sociopathic.

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