Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We Warned You: The Death Knell of the Pamphlet

There is a Seismic Change happening around us in the American Comic Book Industry and, oddly, many of the comic blogs and comic news sites are strangely silent on the topic. The comics Journal is reporting it, and that small niche publications that no one pays any attention to, Publisher's Weekly, is running an article. The rest? Scattered reports here and there. but we should be paying attention to it. I've been talking about this for years, and blogging about it for months now.

Trades have taken over. The triumph of a long time, supportable and marketable form over that slim and rather tatty pamphlet. And the numbers will continue to grow for quite a while, since, as the numbers being reported by Milton Griepp show that we are educating a graphically literate audience who will likely be reading comics, in a square bound format, for the rest of their lives.

We should be paying attention, as this is the sound of plate tectonics happening under our feet. And while the pain of changing the economic model will be felt for a while, we are seeing a long term future for comics that didn't exist 15 years ago, let alone 30 years ago.

Journalista sums the oddity of major comic sites on the web ignoring this change:
Industry analyst Milton Griepp’s assertion that the graphic-novel market was now larger than the comics-pamphlet market, news that met with silence from news-sites far more obsessed with writer Steven King’s tenuous connection to a licensed comic book than an epoch-changing event almost certain to determine what the comics industry will look like ten years from now.
How long has this been coming, and how many years have the publishers been avoiding it? I've posted more than once on the format wars, and how it effects both preception of the work as well as the marketing and warehousing and displaying of the books.

I have gotten into discussion with plenty of long time comic fans over the demise of the pamphlet, and for many people it boils down to needing that weekly/monthly fix for the books, for the cliffhanger, but that doesn't acknowledge the economics inherent in creating a long lasting work, both for the publisher and for the artist.

I cracked open Jane Austen the other night, and ask yourself, should I bother reading Sense and Sensibility if I have to track down the 6 issues to find out what Mr. Darcy is really up to? No, its a contained work with a beginning, middle and end. Is there any reason that I shouldn't be reading it because the author is dead? No, the book is a good read, and will always be new to the person that picks it up tomorrow. So will Maus, so will Dark Knight, so will Watchmen. Can you imagine trying to get an adult to read Watchmen if they kept trying to hunt down all 12 issues of a 20 year old mini-series? The publisher should be able to keep good works in print as long as there is demand, which benefits their back catalog and makes a good artist/author something to potentially live on more than the next paycheck for the next 22 page story.

Welcome to the world of adult publishing, comic companies. It may make you less reliant on gimmicks and endless cliffhangers, but you're creating a long term future for the business and for the readers who care about the medium.

You Googled What?

In looking that stats to see where people are coming in from, I will say that I fully expected to see people run searches like "Miracleman #15", Jack Kirby, comic book inking and the like. What I didn't expect to see are a couple like these:

bound superheroine

eat my spit

steve cannon/porn

Especially that last one. I mean, c'mon folks. I'm sure that there is a Power Girl mini-series for the first group, but I'm really worried about the Steve Cannon crowd. Yikes.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Civil War: Thoughts on the Aftermath

Over Amy Reads we have a post that does a great job of analyzing some of the thought behind Marvel's Civil War series.
This argument, that people must be locked up not only for the good of the citizens, but for their own good, as well, has deep roots in Humanity's deepest pits of racism, hatred, xenophobia, anti-specific-religious sentiment, sexism, the list goes on and on.
(Now, mind you, I could easily e accused of an Anti-marvel Bias for some of my prior posts on the series (not that I've posted that many mind you), but the reality is that Marvel, more that DC, was the comic universe of my childhood, and the very best part of that. and that alone makes me pay attention, and increases my outrage when I see characters like the FF and Captain Marvel being misused and abused. So, YES, I care in a sense because I think that I want another generation of kids to have the same fun growing up reading FF that I did.)

But Amy touches on the plot points of WHY we would be upset over the registration act, and that metaphor, while fairly obvious, i hadn't done a whole lot of deep thinking about. It's a good read, and dovetails with what I was going to blog about: Captain America giving up.

As ddeply flawed as any of the character destruction that existed during the series, I'm far more afraid of the symbolism of Cap's giving up the good fight. In a metaphor of modern political forces, the forces that were scared enough to agree with the erosion of civil liberties that has existed in the post 9/11 world vs those that opposed the Patriot Act, believing that trampling the Bill of Rights and the Constitution essentially lets our enemies win anyway, Captain America giving up the fight is tantamount to the letting the terrorists win. Stark and the initiative are a fascist state, which is the strict definition of any government that conscripts its own citizens into a fighting force and imprisons those that don't.

I refuse to give up, and the Captain America I believe in wouldn't. Those that think we should let the government rule without checks and balances haven't looked at the country's financial balance recently: unchecked spending, war on false pretenses, and no oversight of the ruling branch of the government have led us to a point in 2006 when the majority of Americans voted "No." and threw many of the bums out. The fight that, for want of a better term, more "liberal" Americans have been fighting is to keep our civil liberties, to keep our freedoms, freedoms that were won by the blood of our Grandfathers, by my grandfather in the Second World War as a first generation American. They knew, back then, that they were being sent over to fight invasion by fascists. And now the fascists have won, both in the comics, and, for a while, in the real world. Being attacked by terrorists should not, not now, not ever, make us give up the ideals that make this country what it is.

This country is far from perfect, but if Captain America is the ideal of America, the I cannot stand to see that ideal give up. Ever.

And if you're Jewish, don't even get started on the "registration".

Friday, February 23, 2007

Still Kirby After All These Years: Fantastic Four #3

Just a quick post to show you how easy it is for things to slip past even the most hardened comic trivia buff. Case in point, I had no idea that there was a rejected cover to Fantastic Four #3, much less that it was a finished cover with inks and colors. And I'm someone who was not only bothered by the missing 4th Skrull from FF #2, that I eagerly read the Kree/Skrull War for some clever Ret-Con to take care of it!

So without any more ado: the lost cover to Fantastic Four #3. Yay!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Shelly's Comic Shelf: Her Pondering and My Thoughts

Shelly over at, surprise, Shelly's Comic Book Shelf, asks a lot of good questions in her most recent post mostly about personal responsibility in supporting marginal product, etc. , just a line or two of which I'm recycling here:
We support what's there when we buy it, so do we have the right to complain? Do comics publishers owe us anything? I have no answers, just questions right now.
Go over and read the whole post and then come back, I'll be waiting.

Good. Are you back? Then lets go over a few potential answers.

I think that much of this goes back to realizing that we, the consumers, vote with our all-mightly dollar. And we deserve the entertainment that we pay for. this is the reality. Its a business. And I tell you that if everyone that bought X-Men last month went and bought Scooby-Doo this month, Marvel and DC would not collapse, they would scramble to start to produce Scooby-Doo knock-offs. And if they don't come up with a good enough knock-off, then they deserve to go out of business. Period.

History has shown this. Its quite clear. Where the dollar leads the companies will follow. Panting. Most companies are two bit whores, which is a perfect analogy as to why we got all the chromium covers that we could wallpaper the birdcage with in the '90's. And I'm not slamming comic companies with just this brush, it works for car companies, TV networks, magazines. They stay in business giving the customer what they want. We have to show them what we'll support, what we want.

So anytime that we keep pull lists in shops that aren't filled with exactly what we want to read, we're reinforcing bad behavior by the companies in ordering patterns. I'm really stunned by the number of comic book bloggers that talk about having wean themselves off of certain books. Sorry, too many bad '70's marvel comics with Arvell Jones, Rich Howell, and John Tartaglione got me out of that habit.

I do have the quandry with the trades, and I've posted many times on this, and will probably post many more times on it. I'll say it again here: I prefer trades and this is clearly the medium of the future. It allows for a work to stay in print, giving it a longer shelf life, presents a more compelling read: self-contained and, hopefully satisfying a real read, not a 10 minute diversion, and markets well in a book store, not a niche shop. I'm still waiting for the final issue of Ultimates to come out so that they can collect the damn thing. I want to read my books in this form and I'll pay the money to support it. Don't own a single issue of Fables, but I have all the trades on the book shelf in my studio. Someday I hope to have Pistoleras to put next to it.

Occasionally publishers, networks, and other entertainment outlets will support a work that the editors stand behind, and we've gotten a lot of good work this way, from TV to comics to movies. But it is in the minority. Everyone has an example of that critically lauded TV show that was cancelled despite everyone who ever saw it liking it. But TV has the imperfect filter known as the nielsens, and comics have a far more direct outlet to prevent this for happening as much. I mean really, does anyone actually remember how idiotic it was for them to cancel Babylon 5? And what numbers that show has done on DVD? That was probably the last such casualty of its type... (until Firefly and Serenity).

If we don't support gratuitious ass shots and poorly written female characters, then we'll likely get a lot less of them. (I love having a spinner rack in the house, and seeing what comics my 6 year old daughter Sophie picks up from the rack. Its not often what I would think, which is why I stock it with a variety of different comics!) Adolescent boys will always be drawn in by T & A, and to that I say a big, "duh". Even the most ardent feminist would be not be so naive as to try to show a logical argument as to why the 14 year old should be steered to a more "relationship oriented" comic. Hormones have power.

But what if a huge variety of non-power fantasy oriented comics were readily available to young girls? If they grow up reading them, they'll likely be readers for life. So we have to support the alternatives to the superheroes, any alternative that we like, so that they have the chance to build up to a critical mass and be self supporting. Welcome to the Manga marketing plan.

Shelly, I think that we have the ultimate ability to get the entertainment we want, if enough of us show that we want it. And I think that it has the chance of happening, especially in this era of internet marketing, where the brilliant little guy can actually get a product in front of a million eyes with the click of a button. We don't have any responsibility to buy the next issue of anything if they screw up our favorite character. I'd rather the sales figure put a quick end to the Clone Saga, to the Spider-sperm saga, to the return of Captain Marvel, to the decimation of the Fantastic Four, to the slow ugly saga of the Supergirl abusive boyfriend than anything else.

Don't worry, when the people lead, the entertainment industry will follow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ghost Rider The Movie: Setting us back HOW far?

this just in from this morning's San Francisco Chronicle
The movie also, unfortunately, does a lot to undo the recent goodwill that "Batman Begins," "Sin City," "A History of Violence" and "V for Vendetta" have built toward this underappreciated genre of films. If "300" doesn't kick supreme butt next month, people might ditch "graphic novel" from their lingo and start calling them "comic books" again.
I mean, c'mon people, I just blogged about this a week ago! We gotta keep moving forward here!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Superman vs. Spiderman: Viva La '70's!

Oh Danny Boy down in Australia has a great article up about the story behind the Superman/Spider-Man team up from the 1970's. With interviews via phone and email with Neal Adams, Mike Esposito, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and Terry Austin, he seems to have teased out all the behind the scenes stuff. Its been gone over once before in Comic Book Artist, I believe, but a nice condensation of the making of the book.

What is interesting to me is how amazed he is about the idea that diverse hands (Adams redrawing Andru's Superman figures for instance) seem to have touched the pages. I doubt that there is a professional out there that would be surprised by the "collaborative" process why which a book like this is made. There are a ton of books that have been made by "Diverse Hands" or "Crusty Bunkers" that would turn up all sorts of interesting names in a panel by panel breakdown.

I personally love the story of the tier in Master of Kung Fu #39 that was inked by Steranko on a book that Dan Adkins get the published credit on. Adkins had received the pencils and but had just started the job when Steranko was visiting. Jim, apparently loved the tier with some asian gangsters gambling and grabbed a brush and started inking it. Given Paul Gulacy's style, it was a perfect fit.

How about The Claws of the Cat #4, with Alan Weiss and Jim Starlin each drawing different characters throughout the entire book (Alan The Cat and Jim the Man-Bull)? That was one weird book. I never figured out the credits until Alan told me the story years later.

Got a favorite Jam story? There are a million of them. Lets not even bring up Secret Wars. Really.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

the cartoons that ate Europe: Muslim Cartoons at Cambridge

Continuing the story of the cartoons that have practically destroyed a religion:

MUSLIMS in Cambridge have demanded a public apology from a student who printed anti-Islamic material in a magazine.

The material included a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed which sparked worldwide outrage last year when it was published in Denmark. It is thought this is the first time the cartoon has appeared in a publication in England.

Asim Mumtaz, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, said: "I'm horrified and shocked. In such a seat of learning, I am horrified that things could stoop to this level.

"I'm actually shocked that intelligent people know how offensive this cartoon is and that they have decided to reprint it in such a horrible manner. It's disgusting."

The cartoon was reprinted in Clare College's student magazine in a special edition on religious satire. The 19-year-old student who printed the cartoon has since gone into hiding and the college has called a rare Court of Discipline to decide how the student should be brought to account.

wait, you say, Muslims haven't been destroyed by the cartoons? There are still some in the world? Well you could have fooled me. The way that they act, you would think that the artwork alone have physically killed any number of innocent children. These cartoons must be the real world equivalent of Monty Python's Killer Joke. The joke was so deadly that while being translated into German for use in the second World War, no one person was allowed to see more than a few words of the joke for fear of injury. Same here clearly.

And Cambridge, well, what can we say about this learned institution, this bastion of higher learning? They have the backbone of wet tissue. A student uses something controversial in an appropriate manner in a paper on religious satire and the student has to go into hiding. Way to get her back Cambridge. And worse, considering the student will probably face persecution when they, if they return at all, they will potentially face a Court of Discipline for writing and publishing a paper.

The Cambridge Press, which shows what a poor journalism school they are, has quotes showing only one side of the argument, and nothing that might point out that disparity between religious fanaticism and academic research, and the potential incompatibility of letting easily offended religious extremists set your academic agenda.

For shame Cambridge. For shame.

Entertainment Weekly: Friends of Comics

Lets all thank our lucky stars for the internet, and for the ability to actually get noticed by the real world at large and not just those with complete books of Marvel Value Stamps: Wook Kim has a blog rolling column over at Entertainment Weekly, and gives a nice plug to Devon over at Seven Hells as well as cluing the rest of the entertainment world that real writers write for comics:
Attention readers! There are a bunch of talented authors — who write real books and everything! — currently working on comic books. Like Jodi Picoult, whose Wonder Woman should be in stores sometime next month, and Tad Williams, who wrote the six-parter The Next, and is now at work on Aquaman: Sword of Atlanti
The very fact that EW has made a point of running a graphic novel bestsellers list and keeping focus on comic related projects (The link on the side of the Blog Roll column mentions Kate Beckinsale starring in "Whiteout"), which to me is just huge. Huge huge huge. This is what has been missing for 20 years: actual coverage of our media.

Lets face it: perception is reality, and if people are continually being told "Comics are for kids" and "Graphic Novels are for adults", then that's what they'll believe. I heard mention on TV the other night, someone talking about a graphic novel, and I turned to my wife and said, "that means we've arrived. When someone on a mainstream TV show can say that without having to explain what a Graphic Novel is, then we''ve actually changed the public's idea of the product."

Spider Man, She Hulk and Abomination = Nasty

Is this true? Can it possibly be true? The Redhead Fangirl reports:
Marvel is really bonkers regarding Spidey these days. In Spider-Man: Reign, Peter finds he has killed Mary Jane with his 'radioactive fluid'. Really? I know Quesada and the editors at Marvel have been wanting to jettison the marriage-- but biohazard spunk? A new low for a beloved character, and Marvel. I think I'd like to add that fluid to the Cup-O-Joe.
I see that the She-hulk is up against Hulk villians, like the Abomination, and as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Now if there was anyone with liquid biohazard thing going on, it would be the Abomination (who, by the way, if you look at the original Gil Kane version, has actually grown more handsome over the years).
I guess that it can't possibly imagine a Herb Trimpe Hulk getting it on with the Harpy from back in the day, but I bet they did... heh heh.

And just what the heck is up with the Hero Clix? Why are people so ga ga over them? Please explain, someone.

Friday, February 09, 2007

In Praise of: Jungle Action #7 by McGregor and Buckler

Lost is much of furor about the other 1970's books are the accolades, the poetry, the sheer "different-ness" of Don McGregor's work. And while some may prefer his Killraven/War of the Worlds work, I personally find far more to mull over and appreciate in his Black Panther work. And there is no better place to start than at the beginning of Marvel's long lost epic, Panther's Rage.

What, you've never heard of Panther's Rage? Shocking, because this is most likely the least read, most forgotten, most ambitious piece that was attempted back in 1973. Don, in one of the most singular display's of hubris that I can imagine given the constraints of comics creation back then, decided that he could and would actually make the Panther relevant to the 1970s. Not an easy task considering race relations back then, combined with his interest in politics, sex, and trying to make superheroes work in the real world.

Panther’s Rage would pull T’Challa away from the Avengers (where Steve Englehart would be dragging Wanda and the Vision into cross-race allegories and adult jealousy with Mantis) and drop him down into Wakanda in the midst of complete turmoil. To top it all off, T’Challa would bring back a western woman, black, but western. And that doesn’t make anyone happy. If that isn’t enough drama, we have one more introduction.

Enter Erik Killmonger. In the age of badasses, where Frank Castle was just starting to holster his rubber bullets, Eric was the ultimate badass. And he removed the Panther’s one easy out: to physically beat up the villain. T’Challa was about to go through the wringer.

Over the next 6 or 7 issues, Don would push the envelope again and again, making the ugliest villains, Venom, actually have a heart; taking black on black race relations into new areas, and pushing the letterers on the book to find new corners in which to cram text block after text block after text block. All within the context of Marvel 1970’s melodrama. Fun stuff.

I will say that the ending of Panther's Rage was one of the only disappointments that I can recall, as it ends on the fringes of Wakanda, in wastelands that we had never seen before, and far from the social/political center that McGregor was using as a counterpoint to whatever his point was that issue. While compelling, it divorced T'Challa from his Wakandan center, one that Don was just in the middle of finding. I sometimes get the feeling that the story got away from. And while I've met Don a few times over the years, I don't know him well enough to ask whether or not this is true.

There really are two Marvel Comics epics that deserve to be reprinted from the 1870s that haven't been done yet: Moench and Gulacy's Master of Kung Fu series, which will never be collected due to reprint rights with the Sax Rohmer estate, and this, Panther's Rage from the bowels of the forgotten Jungle Action book.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fantastic Four #102: Lost and Found

Over on the TwoMorrows blog is a great post about the recreation of FF#102, which was Kirby's last issue on the title. Rejected, the artwork was cut up and used, in part to create FF #1o8. Well, it looks like we'll finally get the chance to see it in this form:
Enter Tom Brevoort, who got the inspired idea to have Stan finally dialogue Jack’s pencils, and Joe Sinnott ink them (I’ve seen the new inks, and man, Joe hasn’t skipped a beat in the 37 years since he was inking Jack on the FF). Tom’s also getting a current Marvel writer and inker to do their interpretations, and both finished versions (plus Kirby’s uninked original, and a short article about it by your’s truly) will appear in the one-shot special.
This great news, just the finally get the director's cut of the issue the way that it should have been done. Kinda like getting to sit down and read those old Strange Tales with the Torch and the Thing, and its discovering a whole parallel universe to the regular FF book. Finally Kirby's bow out on the book he helped to create will see the print the way that it should have been done back before his jump to DC.

TwoMorrows while I don't always agree with their editorial position on everything, generally does a great job with their publications, very classy, and I am quite happy to own more than a few issues on the shelves of my studio.

A Few Thoughts: French Trial Over Muhammad Cartoons

Just wanted to bring this to some people's attention. The New York Times has this article, fairly succinct in bringing the rest of us up to date on what the charges are, and how the trial might go.

The Paris Mosque and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France contend that the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and its director, Philippe Val, are guilty of slander, an offense that carries a possible six-month sentence and a fine of up to 22,500 euros, or about $29,000.

“If we can no longer laugh at the terrorists, what weapon is left for the citizen?” Mr. Val said at the hearing, according to The Associated Press.

“These drawings are about ideas, not men, about ideas defended by men who commit violent acts.”...

The issue of whether revisions to the 1901 law separating church and state might be needed has become a topic of discussion in the presidential campaign.

In recent decisions, French courts have largely ruled against religious groups that contended that their faiths had been insulted.

Please note the last paragraph in the quote, which is also the last paragraph of the article. It sums up faith, at least to me, that the trial will end with the law of the land in France being upheld: that there is a distinct separation between church and state.

Personally, as a westerner, I think that the arguement boils down to this: modern western thought provides a separation between church and state and a freedom of speech that allows for satirical content of just about anything. In fact, many societies would agree that the very basis of a free society is the ability to satirize just about anything as need be. Keeps a level playing field. In a non-secular society, you have very religious people who feel that respect for God, their God usually, sadly, trumps all, and that forms the basis for their law and customs. And I, personally, don't think that you'll ever bridge the two.

Now, being able to publish cartoons that might offend the deeply religious may not the most prudent thing to do, as the riots about the danish cartoons show, but it is odd how the international religious press went off more against the publishers for a lapse in judgement then against the rioters. Funny, I would have thought that actual physical violence should have garnered a greater backlash from the world's community. But with religion in the mix, its a whole different kettle of fish. You have people who bent over backward to accomodate the rioters on the idea that offensive cartoons are so dangerous as the validate violence, violence that even ended in death. Is that right? My western approach is to say no, the rioters are the guilty, and the Danish publishers broke no laws. But a muslim who feels so strongly about the rules against depicting the prophet regardless of message would very clearly disagree with me and probably feel quite justified in the correctness of his position.

I while he and might agree on a great many things, I doubt that we would ever come to terms on this issue no matter how long we talked. As I doubt that the western courts will reach a decision that will placate or satisfy both sides in France.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Newsarama: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Vishanti

When it comes to stuff like this, I just have to say something. This from a Newsarama article/interview with Simmons and Stanley of KISS about the new comic coming out:

GENE SIMMONS: (When it comes to comics) We can quote psalm and verse. For instance, I can tell you just about every title that Steve Ditko drew and inked, including how he also inked Jack Kirby’s Hulk.

Unholy was our idea about a malevolence that is kind of a next door neighbor to Steve Ditko’s Nightmare from Doctor Strange, maybe he also has a little Baron Mordo and some Eternal Vishantu with some Hoary Hosts of Hogarth.
Yes, thats right. The Hoary Hosts of Hogarth. Not Hoggoth like the Vishanti would like them to be called. But the Hoary Hosts of Burne Hogarth, Tarzan artist extraordinaire.

What is scary is that Simmons and I know the difference, for Dormammu's sake, but Newsarama doesn't.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Up From the Catacombs: Beer and Tavern Monthly #2

When Beer and Tavern Monthly approached me about a cover featuring Ben Franklin, I jumped at the chance, not only because I needed the money, but because here was a subject that actually fit the monthly periodical to a tee.

Really. Ben loved his beer, just like he loved his ladies. And I got to do a woodcut style illustration that was a lot of fun to do.

I loved this one, and held on to the original ever since.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

the Angelic Supergirl

Take a breath, and appreciate the beauty of this version of Supergirl by Dean Trippe. I would buy a comic of her that looked like this in about a second. I would buy multiple copies.

Just gorgeous. Thanks Dean.

Supergirl and Paris Hilton: separated at birth?

Or just separated by photo reference?

This little comparison chart over at Live Journal is worth a scroll down, but be warned, it will likely hurt your brain for a day.

Or more.

More and more, with two daughters growing up in this society, I appreciate that my 6 year old is seeing the zoftig Wonder Woman from New Frontier, and the angular one in Justice League Unlimited. I have no desire to have her read the new SuperGirl series.

(Besides, Superman's logo just doesn't work with boobs. That much is clear. No wonder the Marty Pasko version of the 1970's moved it into a small shoulder logo.)

Damn right they're not... er..funnybooks!

Mike over at Progressive Ruin has this little item up a while ago:

So I was doing a little internet searching, and came across several links to a review of Blood and Chocolate (such as this one), which relates this exchange between two of the lead characters:

"Maybe she's impressed by what Aiden does for a living. 'I write graphic novels.' 'You mean comic books.' 'Noooo. Graphic novels.'"

Are people really uptight about this? I've never noticed in among my customers or my circle of comic-reading friends a tendency toward correcting folks who dare to call graphic novels "comic books," but I've seen or heard this sort of thing referenced in the media before. It's like the new shorthand for establishing someone is a geek..."oh, isn't it cute how he refers to his comic books as 'graphic novels,' like they're real books or something."

I don't know...I call 'em "funnybooks," because I'm a bad person.

Yes, you're a bad person. ; - ) While the rest of us are busting our butts to come up with innovative stuff that adults might want to read, we have 80 years of cultural baggage that we're trying to overcome and its not that easy.

On the other hand, the label "Graphic Novel" has finally taken hold as far as I'm concerned. I was watching the TV and some mainstream show had a reference to a "graphic novel" and no one blinked an eye. Clearly in the years since "A Contract With God" and today, we've made the term acceptable.