Critic Tucker Stone interviewed at Comics Reporter
I’m alternately impressed and irritated by comic-book critic Tucker Stone. But either way, I feel I understand him better after reading Tom Spurgeon’s interview with him at the Comics Reporter. Spurgeon and Stone discuss 2008 in mainstream comics, but also talks about Stone’s philosphy of reviewing, and what he thinks is right and wrong about comics as an artform and an industry.
I found his take on “Batman R.I.P.” very interesting, and spot-on in a lot of ways:
When it’s Grant Morrison on a heavily-marketed Batman event comic, on the most successful superhero character of the year, it has to be better then this. For it not to be — for it to be a niche comic that appeals to a specific type of Grant Morrison fan — that’s what I’d call a miserable failure. When it comes to Grant Morrison, I go in with expectations, because he’s written some of my favorite comics of recent memory. And when I find the work disappointing, which I did, then I don’t see any reason to temper that disappointment any more then I would when I read something like Superman and Batman Fight Aliens And Predators Plus A Vampire.
I also agreed with him on his rant about people on the internet assuming they know more about marketing than professional marketers. And while I found these statements sad, there was also some truth in what he said about those working in comics for a love of the medium versus people who work solely for money.
The only people who work in comics are people who like comics, and you can’t build a national business that deals with millions of consumers the way television and film does just on a staff of people who like comics. That’s never worked, for any industry. You need smart, bloodthirsty business people to pull off wide-ranging sales to a large audience, and you need those people to be telling the artists what to do, and you need enough talented artists that you can tell the big-name people “no” when they come up with something that isn’t going to work. You need people who work in comics and view them as a product that has to be sold to people despite them not needing it, the same way they don’t “need” pretty much anything but house, transpo or food. I think a lot of people don’t understand that — I didn’t until the last few years — but that’s the main way consumer-based business works. … You can’t have people in the room selling that stuff who care about the consumer, who care about “fans”, who care about creators.
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