Are the monthly comics a dying art form? My answer is yes and I believe we are just circling the drain and how long it takes until we actually go into the drain is just a question of years. Does this mean the end of the comic industry? No, it does not, what is does mean is that longer form stories are going to be the rule of the day and graphic novels and their ilk are the saving grace of the industry. I know more people who read "Walking Dead" as a trade paperback then I do as a comic book. This is where we are going, unfortunately right now I believe the monthly book acts as an underwriting cost to get to the traded format. So the monthly comics could very well survive for many, many years through speciality stores. As proof that the monthly comics are at best an underwriting tool for trades, hard covers, maintaining copyrights for mass marketing of toys etc., the sales on Amazing Spider-Man (average monthly sales) in 1966 - 340,155, 1971 - 307,550, 1976 - 282,159, 1981 - 242,781, 1986 - 276,064, 1991-340,977. 1996 - 216,779, 2001-113,685, 2005 - 112,564. So the end is not coming tomorrow, but the trend is not a good one. A great website to review numbers is http://www.comichron.com/.
Arachaia Studios Press (http://www.daradja.com/) released three new titles last week. Inanna's Tears, The Awakening and Killing Pickman. All three had relatively primitive art, but Awakening was really poor art and had no real style that I could discern. The artist was almost impressionistic (actually grade school level). Still the stories were all interesting enough and the art in Inanna's Tears and Killing Pickman had a style and decent story telling capabilities. Killing Pickman was one of the creepiest books I have read in a while and the bad guy is really, really evil. Still my point is not to give a review on each one, but to remark how poor art can be disguised with strong production values. A weak artist with a dark pallet and heavy lines can masked what in black and white you would not want to put on your refrigerator if it was done by your child. Technology can be used to give us photoshop effects and various coloring techniques, but underneath it all there should still be some quality to the art and Awakening did not have it. Still the story was strong enough for me to want to read issue #2. Inanna's Tears looks to be an early effort from the artist and he does an okay job with his work, Killing Pickman is the on par with Inanna's Tears as it appears to be an early effort and I think he is heavily influenced by Ben Templesmith and other artist and he is still trying to find his style.
Last note before hitting the contest. Red 5 Comics gave us the chance to preview their work and it was nice to be able to do that for them. All three books have something to offer and each book has good production values and work by creators who all will probably be in the industry for awhile. Try out at least one of their books.
Onto the contest. Last week was way too hard and when I first published I had left out a couple of letters in the names. So we will try again with a slight modification.
The requirements are that an answer has to be in before the next contest. You have to e-mail the answer and include with your answer the prize that you want to have sent to you and your address if I don’t know it. I will only mail to USA addresses otherwise the cost for mailing becomes too high and I am giving this stuff away for free. As there are six prizes this week, you should give me a list in order of preference as to what you would like as it will be first to be right wins their first preference and then on and on from there.
Congratulations to last week's winners Jeff (who did not take a prize), Lee and Gwen.
Last week's answers were : 1) Phantom Stranger 2) Stan Lee 3) Dawnstar 4) Sub Mariner 5) Warren Ellis 6) Captain America 7) Black Canary 8) Metal Men 9) Monitor 10) Pyscho Pirate
This week to make it easier the names will be split apart as opposed to all jumbled in one large mass. The clue is: Super-Heroes or Villains who appears in the Avengers issues #11-20 (the original run). You have to get nine out of ten right to win.
1) RSDPIE NMA
5) OEML AMN
7) HTE SMOISRCAM
8) RNABO EZOM
9) CRTSELA ICWHT
10) NTUOC EAARNIF
The prizes are:Ron Goulart Bio of Comic Artists, Frazetta Art Book, Doonesbury Collect, Wrightson Treasury, Shadow Hard Cover, Underground Worlds (Time Life Book).