Something Else Entirely

April 28th, 2010 | daybook

I wrote a whole thing about how working for 2000AD, even just to have done it (as one commenter suggested), wouldn’t be a good thing because they keep all the rights, but I decided not to post it because it was a bit too shouty towards people I don’t even know and none of it was new.

But I did want to say:

Can you imagine a time when your favourite comics creators and stories were published together in the same comic every week? Because that’s what I grew up with. Hell, even into my twenties, I could pick up a copy and get prime slices of Milligan, Hewlett, Bond, Ennis, etc. The British comics anthology model, a weekly 32-page(ish) unit.

I mean, that’s why people still want to work for 2000AD. It’s a cultural touchstone.

But the idea’s the thing, isn’t it? Once a week, big slab of culture, comics stories the likes of which you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Not that it’ll ever happen again. Takes a crazy amount of capital and a scary amount of admin to get it to happen as a thing sold in newsagents. I can’t even imagine the horror of getting it on American newsstands, and god only knows the American comics stores would hate and fear it.

You could do it online, so long as no-one was getting paid. But the clue to the trouble with that idea is in that previous sentence too. That’d be something to see, though — once a week this glorious Thing appears, mad with hubris and crackling with ambition and wriggling with foul ideas and bad jokes. (Or even, hell, instead of one thing with five stories a week, imagine each piece of it on a different weekday, so Story 1 is always on Mondays, Story 2 is always on Tuesdays, etc.)

It’s true that the nature of the web does away with a lot of the necessities behind day-and-date release. But there’s also something nice about "appointment internet," even when it’s just a day out of the week. 2000AD was always Saturdays. FREAKANGELS is always Fridays, of course.

Anyway. Completely rambling. But it’s a nice thought. And not the worst model to drag out of the past and dust off a bit.


15 Responses to “Something Else Entirely”

  1. It’s interesting that this model still works in Japan, with collections of chapters of manga released weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly or whatever erratic schedule they can afford to release on and you pick one up for maybe one or two authors or the pretty cover art and discover half a dozen more stories you want to read. Why is a culture where cellphones are more than ubiquitous and the internet is everywhere still buying disposable magazines every week? (Shonen Jump is on Wednesdays.) Why has this stopped being normal or acceptable for NA/European audiences when we’re willing to buy five separate books from Marvel and/or DC each week? Perhaps it’s a price thing, but if you were willing to print a 2000AD type comic book in black&white on newsprint… Things to think about.

  2. What about somewhere online, that people, and by people I mean the best, post weekly online comics to in the style of 2000ad, that would be best, maybe a friday, I allways catch up with my online news every saturday morning, that would be a destination site for me…

    just a thought

    any errors or omissions are the fault of beer

    -ANt

  3. I think Ant has the right idea.

    The problem isn’t aggregating the material, it’s finding someone to curate it in a way that will find and hold audience.

    RSS feeds are useful, but what I want is a master feed that has pre-chewed the material and will feed me something that I’m going to enjoy 80% of the time, and the other 20% will at least make me engage with it on a “I see why this is here” level.

    I’d pay for an app like that on my iThings as well.

    The best magazines were always about a point of view. So are the best blogs. Why can’t that work with an aggregated webcomic?

  4. that did happen on the interbutts it was called activate.
    it was okay, but i loveeed de-activate way more and was totally bummed when it went away. way crazier loser amateur stuff on that blog.

  5. Ah 2000AD. Where else could you find a blatant ET rip-off starring Skippy the Space Kangaroo written by Alan Moore?

  6. I wrote the foreword for the ACT-I-VATE book and funded their pro LiveJournal hosting account for their first year. People have the memories of fucking goldfish these days…!

  7. I always got the impression that FA was your stab at ‘Wot I would write for 2000AD”. Were you tempted to offer it to them, providing you retained the rights? Does it even make financial sense for you to go down that road these days?

  8. A friend asked for some childhood photos from mates in a pub – the photos ended up being used as part of a strip in 2000AD – how cool is that?!
    I wish I’d given him a photo…

  9. Ah, 2000AD! Judge Dredd, ABC Warriors, Johnny Alpha. No wonder I grew up strange!

  10. Wasn’t Wednesday Comics an experiment like that? Didn’t it sell enough to go on?

  11. Ok, ok, we don’t don’t have a good web model yet for an agregate colleection of stories, but I’ll submit two regular web releases of comics stories that I consistently look forward to are freakangles of no more need be said, and girl genius, which has been consistently producing brillance on MWF for some years now.

    We’re still lookingfor the right web model to make this work, but itls out there…

  12. This is basically what we’re doing over at Cranky Octopus (http://crankyoctopus.com/). We’ve got superhero action on mondays and thursdays, sci-fi adventure on wednesday, and masked detective pulp on fridays. It’s been going for over a year now, but now that we’ve added a few new strips (like mine), we’re really picking up speed.

  13. Seems like an ad-supported, possibly with subscription on top of it, for iPad could work. Probably wouldn’t be able to pay the sorts of wages that big dogs in the industry command; but it could be a way for young blood to get their work out to the public and get paid based on pageviews/ads served. A little craven and marketing-driven, to be sure; but better than letting work die in obscurity.

    I’d make it and/or buy it.

  14. Having been a long time lurker but a first time poster, I’ll tell a little about myself. I have been in the film business for over twenty years and publishing illustrated stuff for over ten. I have been thinking for awhile about how someone could create a weekly comic and make it financially viable.

    The model for publishing a weekly comic like 2000ad (or modern equivalent) seems to me to come down to distribution and return (for the creators).

    The paradigm for creator’s rights can be negotiated, it strikes me that 2000ad’s insistence to keep all rights are ok for them, but just a bit out dated. However, if the new publishers relationship with the creators were based upon the value of the rights once they are out in the world, where the new publishers print and distribute and then had, say, a three year option as long as they kept printing the rights, and then splitting the added value between the developers/production company/studio/publisher and the creators, that could work. In effect the comic becomes a means to advertise the long term rights for the creators and if the publisher/production company did not get any of the projects off the ground in other media and stopped publishing, then all rights revert to the creator. (Actually some sort of collective of creators could work here, partnering with money/publisher to halve the cost, so the creators would have enough to live on and share the benefits).

    The problem comes with physical distribution. How do you get them out there. You could go the Tesco route, although that would mean some kind of self censorship probably, but it would find buyers and a supermarket always wants to find some way of getting you back each week. Newspapers are hard to make money from, however the free route does work. IF there is enough advertising.

  15. I know transmission X has that going on: http://www.txcomics.com/
    And these are people making a living as artists that dedicate at least 1 day a week to their on-line comic.
    Cameron Stewart is probably the highest profile of the group, as he just did Batman and Robin, but it’s a very talented group.