February 27, 2015

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Weekend Pattering for February 27, 2015-- The TV Letdown

 


** Congrats to Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction for their TV development deal that was announced with Universal TV this week.  Both writers, along with their collaborators, are making some wonderful books right now.  Satellite Sam and Pretty Deadly are a couple of the most fascinating books coming out from Image now, going against the grain of a lot of what they're doing there.  This is a good thing for all comic creators, opening up new channels (no pun intended) for them and their creativity.  And DeConnick and Fraction are far from the first comic creators to get a deal like this.  There's the Robert Kirkman Walking Dead empire on AMC right now.  Warren Ellis supposedly is working on something.  Many comic writers and artists have moved into other entertainment fields both during and after their comic careers.

But yet something about this deal has been nagging at me.  At first, it was the weird feeling of wanting to call Fraction and DeConnick "sellouts" but that's just silly.  This is two independent creators (both working for Marvel but neither currently exclusive with any publisher) having some control and investment in their creations.  This is the Kirkman Manifesto in action.  It's really great to have these creators so invested in their creations and able to use them as they want to.  Isn't that what we've wanted for everyone from Jack Kirby to Siegel & Shuster?  There's a difference between using your comics as pitches for movie deals and being able to be in a position to control your work and benefit from it.  DeConnick and Fraction are living the promise of creator owned and controlled comics.  This is the type of control that Image offers creators that almost no other major publisher does right now.

So what's bugging me about this?  I figured it out when I read Vanity Fair's coverage of this news.  (And congrats to Pat Loika for getting photo credit on vanityfair.com.)  Here's VF's last graf about this.
Image has already made its mark on television with the wildly popular The Walking Dead, but further success with DeConnick and Fraction could bring even more of its comics to TV including every comic-lover’s favorite, the vast and ambitious Saga by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughn. Lying cats and robot princes and ghostly teenage babysitters? TV could get very weird, indeed.
With the success of SUPERHERO (not comicbook) TV shows and movies, does the entire world now see comics as a petri dish of experimentation and tinkering to find what to do next?  Are comic-based TV shows the new reality television?  And does everyone think the ultimate goal of comics is to get a TV or movie deal and get out of comics?  The writer of this article seems to think that Brian K. Vaughan AND Fiona Staples (even though she's not mentioned) goal could be to make Saga a television show even though as recently as last year's SDCC, Vaughan talked about why Saga is a comic and not a tv show.

Vaughan, who also developed Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” into a hit television series and was a producer on “Lost” in addition to his comics work on projects including “Runaways,” “Pride of Baghdad” and “Y: The Last Man,” was asked by a fan about why he’s said that he doesn’t want “Saga” to be adapted for the screen. 
The writer stated, as he had in accepting the continuing series Eisner Award the previous night, that he sees comics as a superior medium that can do things that film and television can’t do, and that with “Saga” he wanted to do something that was purely a comic book. 
But, he added, “If Paul Thomas Anderson says, ‘Hey, I want to do a “Saga” movie’ – all right.”
Paul Thomas Anderson could do anything he wants but it doesn't sound like being back in television has been a goal of Vaughan's and that there's stuff he can do in comics that he can't do on the screen.

Superheroes (and by extension comic books) are the current hot thing in Hollywood.  Studio bigwigs are looking to comics for ideas and properties right now after the success of Marvel Studios and far more people watch even the lowest rated TV shows than read comic books so of course Hollywood to the outsider is going to look like where it's at.  But we've always worried (and probably unneedlessly so) about our favorite creators using comics as a stepping stone.  And now I'm starting to fear that everyone else is seeing comic books that way too, as a step towards the goal of seeing your creations on the small and big screens.  

I guess the cynical way of ending this is just to say, "Yay, Hollywood!"  

** I'm linking to this profile on Seth partly because I just love the name of the post- A Preacher of Cartoons Delivers His Sermons. New Palookaville is out this spring and I keep thinking I need to revisit It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken.

Melissa Mendes

** Go read James Romberger's profile and interview with Tonči Zonjić  over at the Comics Journal.  It's a fascinating discussion of the artist and features a done of great art to look at by him as well as some by Alex Toth.

** It's great news that David Gallaher and Steve Ellis's High Moon is back!  High Moon was one of the standouts of DC's Zuda, their aborted attempt at cornering the market on webcomics.  Right now, they're digitally reprinting the material that appeared on Zuda but later on this year, they'll be publishing new stuff.  High Moon could be interesting to anyone who likes The Sixth Gun, Pretty Deadly or The Guns of Shadow Valley.  

Hopefully this also means that we'll get to see other Zuda stuff back.  Jeremy Love's Bayou is a comic that I'd really love to see return.

** Comics Alliance really loves the way that Sean Phillips draws cars and who can blame them. I mean, look at this:


** Panel Patterers doing their thing this week: