I believe the creator has the biggest impact on the industry. They are the ones creating the book; they are the ones creating the story. Without them there would be no comic, and in several modern instances there would not be a “movie representation.” There are many popular movies that are based off of comic books. There are even some cartoons based off of comic books. Where would these be without the creator?
One example of a popular movie that would not be around is Superman. There have been several movies that have come out over the years that were based on this legendary comic. There was also a cartoon show about him, Smallville, and even some really weird things, like the Krypto the Superdog cartoon. If the creators had never dreamed Superman and Clark Kent up none of these would exist.
Another example is G.I. Joe. The movie recently came out, personally I enjoyed it, and it was based off of the comic books and the cartoon. Transformers one and two have both come out and they have a history that includes comic books, cartoons, and a lesser known Japanese cartoons, toys, and comics. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is another comic based movie. The ever popular V for Vendetta, Watchmen, X-Men, Ironman, Blade, Teen Titans, Green Arrow, and many more were all based off of comic books (if you would like to see a list feel free to go here: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/comic_book_movies/).
Some of the Comics that either have or have not become movies have become actual books (literature). The Transformers and G.I. Joe moves each have their own books. There are a few Japanese Manga that have become novel series, like Fullmetal Alchemist.
None of these things would be possible without the creator. Yes, there needs to be someone to publish it and whatnot, but without the creator the comic doesn’t exist.
I believe that the character of Superman has had the most important effect on the development of the modern comic book. Superman debuted in Action Comics #1, in 1938, and since then the comic book medium and industry have never been the same. The history of comics in America is certainly one of ups and downs, but throughout, superhero stories have been by far the most popular genre in American comics. Superman IS the prototypical superhero, and his influence on American comics (and many other aspects of American society for that matter) should not be underestimated.
It is hard to imagine an American (of a cognisant age) without some knowledge of the story of Superman, given his status as a cultural icon. Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (illustrator) created Superman, a being born on the planet Krypton and rocketed to Earth by his scientist father just before the planet’s destruction. According to the tale, Superman is discovered by a Kansas farmer and his wife, given the name Clark Kent, and taught strong morals as he grows in an awareness of his superhuman abilities. Every superhero title in publication today can be considered a variation of the original archetype born in Superman. Even antiheroes, whose imperfections place them outside the realm of typical heroism, belong to this community of fictional characters who form a lineage that can be traced back to the Man of Steel; after all how could there be an antihero without the classic model of the superhero? The rapid rise in popularity of Superman comics upon his arrival onto the scene in 1938 and the unprecedented amounts of revenue reaped in his name proved to publishers that the comic book is a lucrative medium beyond a reasonable doubt. With their ingenious creation of Superman, Siegel and Shuster kick-started a young industry that needed affirmation, and formulated an original genre that is possibly the most important American contribution to comics.
I think the creation Spider-Man has had the biggest impact on the development of the modern comic book. Although Spider-Man may not be as old as Superman or Batman, both of whom are also quite famous, Spider-Man has become the face of Marvel and is one of the most easily recognized comic book characters.
Although Superman became the golden standard for heros back in the 1940’s, Stan Lee revolutionized the concept of a superhero by giving Peter Parker a miserable life that stemmed from his outings as Spider-Man. Up until Spider-Man, superheros had been painted as having perfect lives, and little was shown of the strain they underwent while battling villians. Spider-Man changed all that. Spider-Man’s personal life is constantly put in jeopardy, and misery after misery seems to follow the poor hero around. The overriding theme of the Spider-Man series is that if Spider-Man wasn’t Spider-Man, he wouldn’t be so miserable, and would in fact lead quite a nice life. Spider-Man was the first superhero to struggle with the job. Superman, on the other hand, was a more typical superhero of the times, stoically going through his job without ever seeming to truly be strained or tested (he is, after all, Superman).
If Spider-Man had never been introduced to the face of comics, we never would have seen the much darker, grittier superheroes of today. Today’s average superhero is quite human; they face moral, human trials, and find themselves tested by the challenges they face in a far more human fashion than their counterparts 50 years ago. Spider-Man opened the door for this. If Stan Lee had never drawn Spider-Man (and later the Fantastic Four) as being so human, the door might never have been open for Frank Miller to draw The Dark Knight Returns. Superheroes would have continued, for some time at least, to stay “perfect,” be infallible. The creation of a struggling superhero led the way towards the tortured, dark, superhero. Spider-Man started a trend of far more “human” superheroes, beings who felt the strain of their jobs and responded, quite often, in human fashion. Although their feelings are often shaped in a grand fashion (they almost always make the “right-but-hard” decision), they no longer make it in such black-and-white fashion as they used to. And all because Spider-Man was a little more human.
The creation of the direct market had the biggest impact on the comic book industry because it encouraged the emergence of the local comic book stores, it created a comics distribution monopoly with Diamond, and it led to the collapse of the comic industry after a speculation boom in the 1990’s. Before the creation of the direct market, comic books were sold in the mass market in public areas such as drugstores, grocery stores, and newsstands. The comics were haphazardly available and arranged. This discouraged fans because it was difficult to follow the storyline of the comics. The local comic book store took risks on new comics, kept old issues under the direct market system, displayed the comic books in an organized spacious fashion, and kept the comic books in good condition. The comic book specialty shop became the center of the comic book fan culture, encouraging new fans and sustaining the current fans. However the local comic book stores became secluded from the public and overtime this developed the stigma associated with comic books today.
With the establishment of the direct market in the 1970’s, originally the distribution system was set up with regional companies. Then in the 1980’s two major companies emerged and became more centralized: Diamond Comics Distribution and Capital City Distribution. When the speculation boom hit and then the following crash, Diamond bought out all the other distributors and emerged as the only distribution company. Essentially Diamond has a monopoly over the comic book industry, but does not have a true monopoly over all periodical literature because it does not deal with magazines. Diamond is the only option for comic book publishers and stores; however Diamond can control the comics that it sends out to the stores so sometimes it is difficult for creators to get new comics out to the public.
The direct market led up to the speculation boom in the early 1990’s where collectors realized that scarce historical comics were now very valuable. So collectors began to buy lots of comics with the hopes that these comics would be valuable in the future. Publishers bought into this frenzy by creating limited edition comics, event comics, holographic, glow in the dark, and foil covered comics, and creating new series. The local comic book stores bought comics in excess with the idea that they would be sold. This created an artificial boom in the industry. Once consumers realized that the comics would have no real value in the future, the comic book industry crashed. The direct market, Diamond, and speculation almost killed the comic book industry and the industry has never returned to its height that it had even before the speculator’s boom.
There are a lot of important events/things etc in the world of comics, the direct market/ distribution methods, fandom, the comic’s code/ censorship, but in my opinion the creators are paramount. Among all the famous creators I think one guy rises to the top, obviously it’s Stan Lee.
Stan has had a career that has spanned decades, and for the most part he has been very influential the whole time. His creations have become some of the most famous pieces of IP ever, not just in the comics’ world. His creations include Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Daredevil, and Thor. This list is incredible, for one man to create such a large number of iconic characters. It is almost impossible to think of a marvel universe story that has nothing to do with any of Stan’s characters. One of the reasons for the success of Lee’s creations is that he gave them humanity, these characters were all flawed. This was a big departure from the golden age heroes who could do no harm, where loved by all, loved every minute of being a superhero, and of course always came out victorious. People really responded to Stan’s more realistic characterization, and this idea of the flawed hero continues in modern comics.
As an editor Stan Lee did a great deal to build up the modern fan community, he included a letters column and bulletins about upcoming books, as well as “Stan’s Soapbox” a column written by Lee. Stan was the one of the first “Superstar” creators, in which his name was almost as big as the books he worked on. He also developed the “Marvel Method” in which he would work out the basic details of a story with an artist and leave it to them to create the panels and art, he would then go through the penciled pages and fill in the dialogue and the rest of the story. This method is still used today. Stan Lee also took on the Comics Code Authority, when he wrote a Spider-man story in which Harry Osborn gets hooked on drugs. After this book was published the CCA went through some revisions.
Today Stan Lee is still one of the most recognizable faces in comics, often attending comic cons and making cameo appearances in the movies being made starring the characters he created. Stan Lee was not only a great creator, and editor who changed the comic world forever, he was and remains a great ambassador for comics.
Upon consideration of the many things we have learned about the comic industry this semester in class, I would have to say in my personal opinion that the most influential thing that has impacted the industry is the rise and fall of Diamond. To begin with, Diamond changed the industry drastically and formed it into the industry that most of us know today.
Before Diamond, there were many creators who produced their comics from start to finish; this includes the distribution to newsstands and drugstores. Before Diamond Comic Distributors was established in 1982, creators and publishers were held responsible for making sure that comics made it to the retailers and in the public for sale. They had to make sure timing was correct and also that there was an appropriate amount of books to furnish the demands of the public and prevent excess supplies. However, when Diamond came onto the scene, they offered publishers a more efficient way of getting the books to the public. I think that in a sense they united the industry, both among creators and distributors. It eliminated an entire level of the process that publishers no longer had to deal with and it allowed more time and focus to go into the quality of the books themselves.
Diamond has been very successful for many years and has proven to be the world’s largest comic distributor. Despite this success, they have somewhat made themselves a monopoly even though the government has not declared them as one and therefore they are able to get away with it. If a new creator wants to get in the scene, their only choice is to go through Diamond in order to reach a wider range of consumers. However, Diamond has all control over which books they distribute and they end up controlling the fate of all creators. With the industry going digital, Diamond will lose their place in the industry. Diamond is already at its end and most likely won’t make it too much further, which will be another huge change in the industry of comics and we can only wait and see what effects its demise will have.
There are undoubtedly many different events and people in the history of the comic book that greatly changed the medium. The Direct Market and artists like Alan Moore are prime examples of the leaders of change in the industry. I believe that comic book conventions are also one of the major happenings that had a great impact on the development of the comic book as well as the way comic books are looked at today.
Editors and creators of comic books mostly try to interact with their readers through Q&A sections in the issues and websites. This kind of interaction seems important to me because the communication can draw readers more into the medium and make them feel like they are more involved in the industry. This sort of virtual and written interaction is great. However, the conventions take it to another level of connectedness and involvement. At conventions, fans actually have the opportunity to personally talk to creators one on one. Conventions are also a way to find career opportunities in the field.
Comic book conventions make the comic book industry much more of an interactional medium. Conventions have had a major impact on the comic book industry because it can be a way for readers to express themselves in a different sort of realm by wearing characters’ costumes, role playing, and forming new relationships with people. The conventions create a sort of “friendly” environment, where most people there have common interests and share the same passion for the medium. Besides being an ideal place to meet new people and interact, comic book conventions are also very helpful in providing information. Comic book conventions are also a great way to inform the public about new characters, new books, new issues, new products, etc.
Also, through conventions, readers can give thoughts and contribute ideas to creators and writers , thus involving themselves and providing to the medium.
I think the invention of the direct market has had the most important impact on the development of the modern comic book and the industry because it has served as a catalyst to bring about changes in many different areas of the industry.
For example, in allowing for the direct distribution of comic books to specialty comic book stores, the direct market played a crucial role in the collapse of the industry in the 1990s. The comic book stores contributed to the collector culture because the stores were designed to keep comics in good condition (versus the informal newsstand sellers). This encouragement of the collector culture ultimately led to the collapse of the industry in the ‘90s. The collapse then hugely impacted the structure of the comic book industry. One example is that the collapse allowed Diamond Distributors to emerge as the prominent distributor while most other distributors collapsed. Without the creation of the direct market, the collector culture would not have been fueled as quickly as to bring about the collapse of the industry.
The direct market also led to predominance of comic book stores selling comics versus newsstands and grocery stores. This system then allowed the comic book store owners to have a better understanding of their inventory and customers became more knowledgeable. However, although comic book stores could better monitor their inventory, the specialty comic stores became their own niche and further isolated comics and comic book readers. It also made it more difficult for new readers to enter the world of comics because they now had to go to a comic book store to make a selection versus finding comic books at newsstands or in grocery stores. The comic book stores’ isolation also further heighten the stigma against comic books because it did not encourage new readers. Additionally, the creation of these comic book stores served as an important source of comic industry news before the Internet. For people living in areas where they did not have access to a Comic Con, the local comic book stores sustained the fan culture. The direct market also led to the content of comic books becoming more mature because the specialty comic book stores could cater to a more mature audience. The stories, therefore, became darker. Comics also began to cost more because older customers were more willing to pay more than a younger audience. The comic book stores would not have survived and gained predominance if it was not for the direct market.
Since I believe that the development of the modern comic book was spurred on by a number of interwoven factors, it is hard to choose just one thing that had the greatest impact. Nevertheless, I believe that Alan Moore had a great influence on changing the industry. Whether it’s because of his personality, experiences, or craziness, Moore brought a unique style to American comic books which forever changed the medium. Not only was he a creator of Watchmen, one of the graphic novels considered to mark the beginning of the modern age, but he was also a creator of a number of the works that stood as foundations for both Watchmen and Dark Knight. He wrote V for Vendetta, which deals with dark themes on political and social ideologies, Miracle Man, which takes a dark approach on the superhero as a source of terror, and Swamp Thing, which approached horror-fantasy for the first time since the 80’s. These comics laid the foundation for Watchmen, a more dark and violent comic that explores and critiques the superhero-ism. Moore’s story deconstructed the archetype and continued the theme form Miracle Man of a superhero as a source of terror. This new non-traditional, more adult style that Moore helped create became the norm in the modern age.
Moore also had a hand in other factors of the development of the modern age as well. We learned in class that the rise of the independent publisher was a hallmark of the time. Even from early on, Moore has had a strong opinion on creator rights, which caused conflicts with a number of mainstream publishers. He has denounced mainstream publishers for their ethics toward creators and worked with many independent ones. During the modern age, many other writers, artists etc. followed suit and left Marvel for new publishers. Since he impacted both the structure and style of the industry, possibly because of his own unique views and traits, I would say that Alan Moore was one of the greatest factors (out of many) that lead to the change in the industry and brought it into the modern age.
Dr. Fredric Wertham’s book “The Seduction of the Innocent” clearly had the most dramatic impact (not necessarily good) on the development of the modern comic book. The publication of “The Seduction of the Innocent” gave the U.S. Senate reason investigate the impact comic books were having on kids. To try and prevent government interference within the industry, the Comics Code Authority was created. This was most definitely the biggest halt in the creation of comic books. While comics books were still created, they were, how do you say… boring. No comic book fan wants to read about the boredom that the Comics Code Authority forced writers to write about. We want to see blood, comedy, fun, the type of things that you watch on television (although that was strongly censored during the time as well). Comics used to provide people with a release from their traditional lives to something extraordinary. After the Comics Code Authority stepped in, there was no release. Sure, there were still some underground comics being created, but they couldn’t get to the general public as easily as before because stores wouldn’t sell them without the CCA stamp of approval. I would compare this to Prohibition. While there were still some people who used alcohol during the time, the legislation stopped the majority from indulging themselves. Perhaps installing a rating system in the comic book industry wasn’t such a ridiculous idea, but the restrictions imposed by the comics code authority were outlandish. Creativity in writers fell through the floor. Nobody wanted to be a part of the industry as long as the comics code authority was there. I believe that if the comics code authority was never created, there could have been an insane amount of great comic books produced during this time. Instead comic book writers were giving a mental block in their creativity that greatly slowed the progress of the comic book industry we know today.