Comment: Making Comics Thin-Skinned

It’s no secret that creative types can be pretty thin-skinned when it comes to their art, especially when they’re in their early developmental stages. Personally, when I first got into the poetry slam scene – competitive poetry readings, for the uninitiated, where original poems are performed and then judged on a scale of 0-10 by five random members of the audience – I was pretty thin-skinned, ready to curse out, throw beers at, or fight judges who gave my poems low scores. After awhile, as happens to most poets on the scene, I matured, wrote and performed better poems, and had less and less of a reaction to scores, good or bad. It’s a tricky balance, creating art both for one’s self and for mass consumption. As a result, criticism, negative and/or contsructive, doesn’t really rile me up anymore.

So, what does this have to do with comic books?

Apparently my negative review of DEMO the other day hit a nerve with one Larry Young, “the Chief Visionary, Creative Engine, and Marketing Guru for AiT/Planet Lar,” aka the publisher of DEMO. From what I’ve pieced together, he came here via a Technorati search for Brian Wood which took him to the review, spent more than a half-hour reading a handful of pages before bouncing over to my personal site via the contributor’s links on the left, spending another fifteen minutes presumably trying to figure out if I was “anybody” he needed to not offend before locking, loading and firing on the AiT/Planet Lar blog. (Go ahead, read it; it’s funny.)

Well, more jammed than fired, as he ignores the majority of my review only to focus on my comparing DEMO to American Beauty – guess he was a fan? – and my aversion to hype. He apparently thinks too highly of the “marketing guru” part of his duties, saying ol’ Guy seems to have missed the marketing tagline that was everywhere the first six or eight months: “I’m not who you want me to be.”, because he’s right, I did miss it as DEMO didn’t land on my radar until the 11th issue hit the stands, and I hadn’t actually read it until buying all 12 issues from Khepri.com last month. Plus, I work in marketing myself and am generally immune to marketing taglines because I know they don’t mean shit, so whatever he and Wood were feeding to Newsarama and other hypenews sites wouldn’t distract me from the quality of the product itself anyway.

My favorite part, though, is where he attempts to dull my criticism of DEMO‘s amateurish final issue by quoting an excerpt of an old poem of mine from my personal web site and…well, it’s not clear, really, what he was going for. He either admitted Wood’s terribly boring romantic aside was exactly that, or suggested my poem could be the impetus for another 12-issue round of self-indulgent, half-executed comic books. (No, thanks!)

But, hey, what do you want from the so-called “Johnny Appleseed of Comics” who takes such public issue with a low-profile negative review of a comic that finished publishing a couple of months ago and has already been recognized as the best of the Indies by none other than that bastion of journalistic integrity and indie support, Wizard?

Hey, Larry, how many comp copies of DEMO was Wizard getting every month anyway?

“I’m not who you want me to be.” That’s a great tagline, Larry. Fits me perfectly. Now maybe you should spend a little more time focusing on your admirable mission of publishing quality comic books and a little less time writing half-assed blog entries.

And thanks for the extra traffic, you Marketing Guru, you!

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, one-time poet, still opinionated. Reading, writing, running, gaming, soccer, beer.

3 thoughts on “Comment: Making Comics Thin-Skinned”

  1. Before your review I haven’t heard of DEMO. After re-reading it and then the response by Mr. Young, I just smiled. Young ignores and side-steps the meat of your critique like a seasoned politician during a debate.

    Larry Young is a marketing guru..for CBC!

  2. Excellent – I just bought Planet of the Capes and asked what the point was, and Larry Young also gives me much press on his blog. I will have to respond at a later date. Comics creators should have thicker skins, especially since they’re actually doing the creating and we, the peons, are just commenting on it.

  3. Business as usual. You didn’t like it, so you didn’t get it, you’re stupid, you missed the bus, you obviously are wearing some kind of tinfoil helmet that filters out the genius rays that emanate from all AIT books.

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