Archive for the 'The Comic Book Industry' Category

Dec 29 2012

If You’re Worried About Peter Parker…

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

He’ll be fine after the publicity stunt passes. The only thing that can actually kill a superhero is bad sales.

4 responses so far

Nov 09 2010

Differences Between Marvel and DC Comics

Caveat: Both companies have thousands of characters, so obviously there will be exceptions to every generalization. That said, here are some general differences between the two.


1.  Marvel characters are more likely to come from relatively ordinary backgrounds than DC characters.  For example, Spider-Man, Captain America and most of the X-Men had largely unremarkable lives before developing superpowers.  In contrast, the three most prominent DC characters are a billionaire playboy/ninja, an extraterrestrial, and an Amazon princess that may be a CEO.


2.  DC usually uses more epic superpowers.  For example, Superman doesn’t just have eye-beams or incredible strength or incredible speed or the ability to fly, but all of those and more.   In contrast, a lot of Marvel characters get just one (think Cyclops, the Hulk, Quicksilver, Angel, etc).  Most Marvel characters usually have somewhat more ordinary capabilities.  (The Sentry is a notable exception for Marvel).


3. DC characters were usually created earlier. Most of Marvel’s main characters date to the 1960s and 1970s, whereas most of DC’s date back to the late 1930s and 1940s.

  • This is one reason Marvel has characters named [Modifier] Man/Woman/Boy/Lad: Iron Man, Spiderman and the Invisible Woman vs. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Aqua Lad, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, etc.
  • Many major DC characters were introduced before superhero teams became commonplace*.


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55 responses so far

Apr 21 2010

Comic book movies without superheroes have struggled recently

I want to see The Losers when it comes out, although it’s probably awful, and was pleasantly surprised by Kick-Ass (which has a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).  This got me thinking about financially successful comic book movies without superheroes.  After running some numbers, I found they’re really rare nowadays.

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May 14 2009

Do superheroes sell better in recessions?

CNN published an article titled “Superheroes rise in tough times,” which claims that superhero stories are most popular during rough economic times.  It’s a plausible theory, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

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2 responses so far

Apr 06 2009

Valerie D’Orazio’s advice about being an assistant editor

She offers some advice here.  Here’s what I took away from her article…

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Mar 06 2009

The NYT starts compiling graphic novel sales

The New York Times has started compiling weekly best-seller lists for graphic novels (err, “graphic books”) in hardcover, paperback and manga.  (Hat-tip to the Comics Reporter). The NYT argues that “comics have finally entered the mainstream.”  Possibly.

1.  I agree that superhero stories are mainstream.  Many superhero movies and TV shows have been broadly successful.

2.  But comic books and graphic novels are not mainstream.  Primarily, that’s because they’re sold mostly in specialty stores rather than general-interest stores like supermarkets and newsstands.  These specialty stores usually strike me as kind of creepy and may well scare away low-interest fans.  Moving back into supermarkets probably isn’t feasible for the typical comic book series, but it encourages me that comic books are increasingly sold online.

[B. Mac adds: Is the endorsement of the NYT a good thing for comics?  The NYT has a soft spot for businesses that are not actually economically viable, such as solar power, US car companies, and itself.]

2 responses so far

Jan 05 2009

What are some common mistakes of comic book and graphic novel teams?

We’re compiling a list of common mistakes of first-time comic book teams. I’ve got 40 so far, but I’d love to know what you would come up with.

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32 responses so far

Jan 03 2009

Changes to Dark Horse’s Submissions Policy?

Only a few weeks ago, Dark Horse required writers to have artists on-board before their stories could be considered.  However, according to Dark Horse’s Submissions page, it seems like Dark Horse has nixed that requirement.  In the miscellaneous notes, it says that “If a submitted project has an artist collaborator, samples of the artist’s continuity work must be included.”  That suggests that DH will consider submitted projects that don’t yet have an artist.  That should make it much cheaper for writers to prepare a script for DH.

However, if you’re applying to DH, I would really recommend getting an artist anyway even though it’s not required. Preparing a sample of 5 pages and a cover will probably set you back $400-500 (colored) or maybe $250-350 (inked). That’s a major investment.  However, if you’re serious about your application, having art accompany your writing could really help you.  Providing pages that have been inked (preferably colored) will make it very easy for the editors to decide if you’re worth hiring.  If all you have is your script, it won’t be nearly as clear whether your team has the style and skill to convey the story on the page. Remember, businesses hate risks. When they put money down, they want to know they’re getting quality.

7 responses so far