You know, with all the brouhaha over the Wonder Woman Playboy cover, or the "Brand New Day" storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, it's easy to lose sight over stories that may be more disconcerting - in fact, two stories that could have a definite impact over the future of comics have been relatively ignored.
(And to be fair - in terms of the Playboy cover, I would take it more seriously if 1) it wasn't a magazine that regularly featured women in provocative poses, and 2) whose cover model was the first firing from Celebrity Apprentice. And I've podcast this before, and I'll say it again: Amazing Spider-Man is a crappy comic).
Late last year, a European torrent tracker was asked by both Marvel and DC to stop providing access for comics torrents. (And by "asked", I mean "sent cease-and-desist" letters on their attorney's stationary"). In addition, The Pirate Bay - a tracker in Sweden - has also had multiple software, hacking, and legal issues, with their sole defense being, "We're in Sweden - we're not subject to American copyright laws".
I'm blogging about this because while perusing the blogsophere, I encountered another blogger who basically asserted that they would not purchase one particular company's comics, and that the "DL community" should fight back against poor comics. I performed a quick Google and Ask search on "DL Community" and could find no solid answer, meaning that 1) it more than likely means "download" and/or 2) it's an unusual intimate practice known only by a few individuals...and Andy Martello. Given that Marvel and DC are attempting to enter the online comics game, and are meeting with mixed results, my advice is...how about a torrent subscription service?
Granted, setting a service like that up would be complicated, as you would require people to seed your files, converting all comics into electronic formats, and most importantly - paying a fair wage to current artists and writers, and appropriately compensation past artists and writers . (Taking my cue from a caller to a recent episode of Sound Opinions, I'm trying to avoid the issues that led to the WGA Strike). Given the decreasing quality of their books, Marvel and DC should consider alternative means of distribution, since traditional comic sales are fluctuating.
Now, of course, the more cynical amongst you are saying, "Gee, tough talk for a guy sitting behind a keyboard - how do we lay the groundwork? You say you got a real solution, well, you know...we'd all love to see the plan." To which I say, "What makes me so different than the rest of the comics blogosphere?" Traditional media is realigning, confused by the emergence of digital distribution, the rules are changing, and instead of focusing on how to adapt to this paradigm shift (and I hate that phrase)...we're worried about Wonder Woman with body paint...and writing on Spider-Man that would have been par-for-the-course back in the early 1970s.
I understand - women should not be objectified. We should have well-written comics instead of sales-increasing stunts. But quite frankly, as someone who loves graphic literature...I think we're losing sight of some critical issues, most notably, that the way in which information and product is distributed is changing. Music, movies, and even comics are moving towards a more digital domain, and instead of focusing on how to capitalize on that...we're worried because Wonder Woman is semi-naked (and the woman posing is compared to Lynda Carter).
Enough of this tempest in a teapot - and now, back to life as usual.