Sunday, 13 March 2011

Have They Gone Mad?

So, the first appearance of Spider-Man becomes the 3rd comic to break the million dollar barrier? Jesus fucking Christ!!! The poxy thing is younger than me. I was mildly surprised when Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 both made the historical 7 figure number, but this is quite remarkable, especially given that comics as collectible items is over 10 years past its prime and the world is fast descending into another financial doom and gloom period.

With both Lee and Ditko still alive, they must be somewhat proud and stunned that this has happened. Shame back issues of comics only make money for the seller (and the auction house, when necessary).


Later today, maybe early tomorrow, the first instalment of my autobiographical book about the comics industry will go live on this blog. I've spent a lot of time over the last two weeks editing this massive tome. When I started it was 170,000 words, I'm now over half way through it and the word count has dropped to 164,000. I also no longer agree with Pete Ashton; I don't think it reads like a long blog entry any longer; but this is probably down to the editing. I went through various stages of embarrassment while re-reading it (for the first time in 6 years), but now it reads fluently, there is a 99% reduction of mistakes (I'm sure one or two will have slipped through) and I've hacked out some of the unbelievably bad parts - including something I wrote in 1995 that read like it had been written by an illiterate retard. That was 5,000 words alone and I managed to replace it with 1,000 words that did the same job.

I am also in two minds about the title; at the moment it's called "Living with Idiots - A Comicbook History"; back in 2005 that seemed to be a good title; now it doesn't. Also, 60% of the way through editing there has been a few themes and ideas; like, for instance, the fact that comics are cyclical; they come out on a monthly basis AND my many years at CI were all driven by a 28 day cycle. Another aspect of it that shines through is the highly illogical way the industry works, especially the connection between publishers and retailers. There isn't another industry in existence where the producers treat the sellers with such patronising contempt - it is almost the complete opposite of how business works in the real world. The fantasy world of comics seems to rely heavily on the fantasy filled relationship between all the factions - publisher, creator, fan and retailer. So, it might end up with a new name. Actually, it will (but I'm hedging my bets).

I sat in the pub with my mate last Thursday and discussed just how the thing is going to be divided up. If it's a 165,000 word book, then it seems quite simple - 33 instalments of 5,000 words; but that's not always going to be possible; mainly because it doesn't really have a chapter structure. There are some chapters; but they might end up disappearing. There are some things that look like natural breaks, but, trust me, they're not. It is, in that respect, like a huge long blog entry, especially when I flit about from one topic to another; but what I'm trying to show is that comics are labyrinthine and inextricably linked, even if this is shown as a personal voyage.

And, of course, there's the section in the middle, the one I'm sure most people will want to read it for. The part when the book goes from being autobiographical to biographical. The long section that uncovers some of the truths about an 11 year period of my life working for someone else and tells someone else's story from the unique perspective I had. The section I've been spending the most time on, making sure that there's nothing litigious or things I can't back up with proof. There is good news where this is concerned...

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