Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Big Two Entropy

With the news that the Luna Brothers are going to draw Spider-Woman (which, as I pointed out here months ago, was really only a matter of WHEN, not IF the Luna Brothers would be approached by the Big Two) and Tom Beland doing a Spider-Man comic, it struck me...is there a single creator out there (who has not worked at Marvel and/or DC in the past) that you would be astonished at if they did a superhero title for Marvel or DC?

I do not think there is one.

Which, well, kinda freaks me out.

It makes me think of the "Nurse Romance" adage...and wonder how close we really are to that being a reality.

17 Comments:

Blogger ADD said...

U would be astonished if R. Crumb did a superhero comic doe Marvel or DC.

I would also be astonished if most of the folks dipping their toe in the work-for-hire quagmire don't regret it eventually.

8/09/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger ADD said...

First word there should be "I," not "U," but...I suppose it works in a hip hop lazy internerd kinda way.

8/09/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Nate Atkinson said...

I can't imagine Clowes bothering with the big two, given his relative success in Holywood with his own properties, and his apparent indifference to the big two. The same goes for Ware.

8/09/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Why would it freak you out? It could actually lead to some pretty interesting superhero comics. Peter Bagge's Spider-Man book was one of the freshest takes on the character in years!

And check out my blog, johnnytriangles.blogspot.com.

8/09/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Not just that, but it may steer some superhero fans toward the cretor's indie work. Using Bagge's SPidey as an example again, it steered me toward HATE!, which I loved.

8/09/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Bagge has work in a recent issue of MAD magazine, which is a DC publication. Does that count?

Generally, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see anybody take a shot at something from the Big Two. I mean, other than some misguided puritanical idealism, why wouldn't you want the bigger stage, as long as it was working on a property you had some feeling for?

8/09/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger ADD said...

Uh, maybe because you are an artist who wants to retain control of your work?

8/09/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Uh, maybe because you are an artist who wants to retain control of your work?"

Exactly, which is why I used the word entropy, or more specifically, this definition of the word - "The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity."

It's not a matter of a Beland doing a Big Two work.

It's not a matter of a Bagge doing a Spider-Man comic.

It's a matter of seemingly every creator eventually doing SOME superhero thing for Marvel or DC that kinda freaks me out.

8/09/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"Uh, maybe because you are an artist who wants to retain control of your work?"

Yeah, Jeff Smith, Kyle Baker, Peter Bagge, Mike Allred... they don't care about their work at all. The hacks.

8/09/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

"It's a matter of seemingly every creator eventually doing SOME superhero thing for Marvel or DC that kinda freaks me out."

Has it occurred to you that maybe the bigger checks that these creators get from work at the big 2 companies helps subsidize their own independent efforts?

For example, a lot of less profitable and highly artistic jazz acts are able to remain signed and keep putting out albums on major labels thanks to the money made on "mainstream crap."

If a creator generally does good work, he should be able to do it anywhere, even at the big 2 (barring extreme editorial influence).

8/09/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger ADD said...

Jeff Smith, Kyle Baker, Peter Bagge, and Mike Allred chose not to retain control over specific works. Some artists are less likely to ever do that, R. Crumb the most obvious. That doesn't mean the artists you listed are hacks, nor is that what I meant, as you well know.

But giving up rights to your work has a price -- Bagge, I'm sure, would like to see his completed HULK story published someday. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. That has to aggravate someone who has pride in their work and wants their audience to see it. Bagge has no say in it. Maybe Allred would like to see ALL of his Marvel work collected in a deluxe hardcover, as the initial X-Force issues were. Tough shit, it's out of his hands.

Thnaks for great examples that totally prove my point, Michael.

8/10/2005 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

"But giving up rights to your work has a price -- Bagge, I'm sure, would like to see his completed HULK story published someday. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. That has to aggravate someone who has pride in their work and wants their audience to see it. Bagge has no say in it. Maybe Allred would like to see ALL of his Marvel work collected in a deluxe hardcover, as the initial X-Force issues were. Tough shit, it's out of his hands."

Sure, it has a price but it also has a reward. He loses creative control but he gets a guaranteed paycheck and the possibility for greater exposure. Sometimes it works out, like in the case of Bagge's Spidey, and sometimes it doesn't like in the case of Bagge's Hulk, but that's a risk of work-for-hire that Bagge knows going into the gig.

At some points in your life the security and low risk of being a salaried employee is good for you. At other points the risks and potential rewards of entrepreneurship are more suitable. But either way, you know what each is before you get into it. Work for someone else, you get less control and long-term reward but also less risk and more security. WOrk for yourself you get more control and greater long-term reward but also more risk and less security.

Long story short, Bagge knew what he was getting into, knew the risks and I'm sure wasn't realistically expecting to call the shots on how his work-for-hire material was packaged and collected any more than I expect my boss to include me in profit-sharing.

8/10/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Matt Brady said...

I would be pretty surprised if Craig Thompson did any work for the big 2.

8/10/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"Bagge, I'm sure, would like to see his completed HULK story published someday. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. That has to aggravate someone who has pride in their work and wants their audience to see it."

Yeah, and? If any of them could be stopped in their tracks by something as miniscule as the potential for aggravation, they wouldn't have become artists in the first place. Hell, they wouldn't even get out of bed.

Just because a person is doing work-for-hire doesn't mean they don't want to do the work. Hell, can you think of anyone who would stay on a job if they hated it? Peter Bagge must have wanted to do that Hulk story, or he wouldn't have pitched it in the first place. Mike Allred must have wanted to draw X-Statix, or he wouldn't have signed on in the first place. And for an artist, incredible as this may seem, enjoying doing the work itself can be an even more powerful motivator than the terms of the paycheck.

It never fails to amaze me when people who talk about comics rather than make them discriminate between who's signing a check when most of the people who do make comics don't. To them, work's work, and they can enjoy almost any project if they put their minds into it. They're willing to accept the realities of work-for-hire; why can't you?

8/10/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"I would be pretty surprised if Craig Thompson did any work for the big 2."

He's done work for both of them, most recently in Bizarro World. I doubt we'll see him drawing JLA or Captain America, but he hasn't shown an aversion to doing the odd thing for Marvel and DC in the past. Of course, now that he's doing GNs for Pantheon, that may have changed.

Adding another obvious choice to the list, I seriously doubt art spiegelman will ever do anything for Marvel or DC.

8/10/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Matt Brady said...

Yeah, I couldn't think of anything Thompson had done for either, but coincidentally I was looking at the Ultimate Spiderman Super Special last night and saw that he drew a couple pages, and thought, whoops! I'm wrong again! So yeah, let's think of any others that might not want to work for the big 2. How about Jeffrey Brown? Or Chester Brown? I doubt you'll ever see Marjane Satrapi doing superheroes. There's probably a few others, but I bet a lot of the indie types would keep their distance.

8/12/2005 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Bryan-Mitchell said...

Dave Sim? I know he had some Cerebus stuff published in Epic magazine back in the day, but I dn't see him EVER doing work-made-for-hire for anyone.

8/13/2005 12:57:00 PM  

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