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  1. #1
    what happens next? tolworthy's Avatar
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    Default Proposal for Marvel / DC - would this work?

    There are so many abandoned classics out there, this got me thinking. Why doesn't Disney/Marvel or Warner/DC buy the rights? The trick is to get a good product at a good price, without endless legal battles. Here is how I'd do it.

    step 1: get fans to suggest forgotten characters that are currently making zero profit.

    step 2: hit the rights owners about the head with a heavy object until they grasp this point: THEIR IP IS CURRENTLY MAKING ZERO PROFIT. Repeat until the concept sinks in.

    step 3: offer a fixed contract: Marvel/DC publishes a 100 page collection at standard royalty rates. If it sells it can be bought at a pre-arranged fee.

    step 4: fans vote on the products they want, kickstarter style.

    step 5: profit

    This idea should appeal to the higher ups at Marvel/DC: all they care about is owning brands with growth potential. Step 4 guarantees minimum sales so nobody loses. Until step 4, this takes place in secret. The new products have their own occasional title, kind of "showcase" or "world's greatest comics" but this time that's not hyperbole.

    Like I said, step 2 is the hard part. "IP ownership" and "reality" are generally non-overlapping magesteria. Rights holders need to understand: unless IP X has Alan Moore's name on it, Hollywood will NOT come offering you a million dollar price tag. better to make a dollar now than ten dollars never. I can only see two ways to persuade them:

    1. Pick off the minority of sane rights holders
    2. Personal friendships. Somebody at Warner or Disney should play golf with somebody at ForgottenHoldings Inc. and do some block deal.

    How many forgotten gems are there? America is a big place, so I assume you must have a few? The best ones are probably the indie stuff that failed for reasons of distribution and finance, not quality. Outside the USA here are plenty of examples. Pretty much the entire IPC line is abandoned apart from 2000AD. IPC alone has fifty years of anthology titles, often ten or more per week. And of course there are newspaper strips. I presume that France is the same.

    If we expand the concept from forgotten brands to brands to brands with currently limited reach, the sky is the limit. How many Americans have read Garth for example? Or James Bond newspaper strips? I wonder how Americans would take to Black Bob the Dandy Wonder Dog? Some of those strips were beautiful.

    What think ye?
    Last edited by tolworthy; 11-20-2012 at 04:49 AM.

  2. #2

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    I used to think DC acquiring defunct characters would be a good thing, but they never seem to do much with these characters once they've got them and then they leave them in limbo. Marvel hasn't done much better except in a few instances. Dark Horse, Dynamite, and IDW seem to do a better job with reviving defunct properties.

  3. #3
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    I used to think DC acquiring defunct characters would be a good thing, but they never seem to do much with these characters once they've got them and then they leave them in limbo. Marvel hasn't done much better except in a few instances. Dark Horse, Dynamite, and IDW seem to do a better job with reviving defunct properties.
    Because those companies aren't worried about how to fit older concepts into a Dark Horse or Dynamite "universe" and run the risk of letting them upstage their standard characters! (Heaven forbid that Captain Marvel all of a sudden starts outselling Superman--again!)
    FAV Comics: Lil' ABNER, DICK TRACY, BATMAN, UNCLE SCROOGE, KAMUI, TOMB OF DRACULA, THE MIGHTY THOR by LEE\KIRBY, WONDER WOMAN by PEREZ\KAREN BERGER, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-206 and EC COMICS!

  4. #4
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    idw sold 90,000 pre orders of my little pony but most obscure or languishing properties seem to sell under Marvel and Dcs cancellation threshold from other publishers even when they have big names on them.
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  5. #5
    what happens next? tolworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    idw sold 90,000 pre orders of my little pony but most obscure or languishing properties seem to sell under Marvel and Dcs cancellation threshold from other publishers even when they have big names on them.
    I don't know how the numbers work out. I know that some floppies sell 20k or fewer. I suppose realistically there won't be 20k people who have even heard of [random foreign classic]. But quality is quality. Eventually it will get noticed: and with online sales shelf space is no longer an issue.

    I visualise a series of titles in some quiet corner of Marvel's site (or on reflection maybe this would fit Dark Horse or Image better). Every couple of months we get another 100 pages of some obscure title that once had a major following. At first not many people notice. But gradually it gets a cult following, because these things are really good value. A 2 page Janus Stark story, for example, is a lot of story. And the art, all based in Victorian London, is lovely. 100 pages of that would be a huge treat. Over a period of months and years the sales should increase to pleasing levels.

    This makes no sense for a bricks and mortar store of course (until the title becomes well known) but surely modern print technology can cope with small print runs? You just need to print a hundred or so at a time, enough for online sales.

    Hmm... the more I think of this, the more creativity and new thinking it requires. OK, I admit defeat. That would never work with a monolithic corporation. But a small flexible outfit that had some vision...

  6. #6
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post
    I don't know how the numbers work out. I know that some floppies sell 20k or fewer. I suppose realistically there won't be 20k people who have even heard of [random foreign classic]. But quality is quality. Eventually it will get noticed: and with online sales shelf space is no longer an issue.
    check out some estimates here and have a look for some of the obscure / pulp / semi dormant characters on the list like green hornet, rocketeer, lone ranger, the spider, bionic man etc. I think The Shadow has/had garth ennis writing it and adam hughes doing covers, bionic man did/still does? have kevin smith writing it - so names that sell books but even then the numbers are really low. The idea is cool but it's just really hard to do anything even a little different in floppies or ongoings
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    you'll find books in the style you like if not with exact characters in small press and kick starter. Might be worth a root around.

    here's one someone posted on indie thread here - victorian setting, arthur conan doyle and houdini investigating a crime together, with some really nice art

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...known-volume-2

    someone else posted one up about the Christian crusade against Lithuania. Ok absolutely nothing to do with what you suggested but it gives an idea to the breadth of really nice stuff that is self financed and published on kickstarter. There will def. be something totally right for you out there, it just takes a little sidestep outside of traditional publishing.

    Image did this http://www.imagecomics.com/series/21...-Issue-Project - wrote and drew the "next" issue in cancelled golden age books - which might be of interest.
    Last edited by dr chimp; 11-20-2012 at 03:50 PM.
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    I used to think DC acquiring defunct characters would be a good thing, but they never seem to do much with these characters once they've got them and then they leave them in limbo. Marvel hasn't done much better except in a few instances. Dark Horse, Dynamite, and IDW seem to do a better job with reviving defunct properties.
    yeah, I think being swallowed up by Disney/Marvel or WB/DC is probably one of the worst things that could happen to obscure, under-appreciated characters.

  9. #9
    what happens next? tolworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    you'll find books in the style you like if not with exact characters in small press and kick starter.
    Thanks. I hope that's true. But my experience of modern comics in the style of old ones is not good. Possibly this is just nostalgia talking, but I really want to read the originals. E.g. I know a lot of people liked the 2007 Dan Dare, and Albion, but for me they were mockeries that completely missed the point of the originals. This is not me hating on the American style: the British updates are far worse. Ken Reid's Jonah is probably the worst example of all. I consider it the greatest comic of all time (even better than the Fantastic Four, page for page), but only for the Ken Reid weekly stories. The annuals at the time were stretched out and lost the energy, and in the 1990s there were modern versions that should be sued for defamation.

    Though to be fair, some of the old stuff had terrible writing. The British "Look In" stories for example had superb art (they paid better than any other comic) but the stories were all written by the same hack on a Thursday afternoon (literally) and ar an insult to the artists involved. There is a strong case for taking the art and rewriting the dialog from scratch, just as happened with the British version of the French TV show Magic Roundabout - we got different stories and it became a surreal classic in its own right.

    Even for the good remakes, they all suffer from modern decompression: the economic argument for using the originals is not just that they already exist and have historical value, but that they require so few pages. 100 pages of a modern comic is just an arc, but 100 pages of a 1960s British comic is often the entire canon.

    Finally, there is a quality that comes from being contemporary. A pastiche of a 1960s character can never be as authentic as a book actually written in the 1960s. And some of the 1950s stuff was written by people born in the Victorian era: you can't fake that kind of historical verite.

    My real motivation is not to create new comics, but to rescue great art works. It's like the entire output of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci is decaying in some forgotten landfill, and to me that is a crime.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post


    Even for the good remakes, they all suffer from modern decompression: the economic argument for using the originals is not just that they already exist and have historical value, but that they require so few pages. 100 pages of a modern comic is just an arc, but 100 pages of a 1960s British comic is often the entire canon.

    Finally, there is a quality that comes from being contemporary. A pastiche of a 1960s character can never be as authentic as a book actually written in the 1960s. And some of the 1950s stuff was written by people born in the Victorian era: you can't fake that kind of historical verite.
    A Hampson Dan Dare story could last up to 200 pages and 2 years of issues so they were telling very long arcs back then too.
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post
    How many forgotten gems are there? America is a big place, so I assume you must have a few? The best ones are probably the indie stuff that failed for reasons of distribution and finance, not quality. Outside the USA here are plenty of examples. Pretty much the entire IPC line is abandoned apart from 2000AD. IPC alone has fifty years of anthology titles, often ten or more per week. And of course there are newspaper strips. I presume that France is the same.

    If we expand the concept from forgotten brands to brands to brands with currently limited reach, the sky is the limit. How many Americans have read Garth for example? Or James Bond newspaper strips? I wonder how Americans would take to Black Bob the Dandy Wonder Dog? Some of those strips were beautiful.

    What think ye?
    Garth is actually still being used. He last appeared in print in the semi-pro fanzine Spaceship Away and has also been revived by the Daily Mirror online. As for the IPC characters, that is a very complicated situation. The rights to the line were divided up years ago, with the rights to the 2000AD characters ending up with Rebellion and The Dan Dare Corporation grabbing Dare and his associated characters; Egmont now have rights to a number of characters from their humour titles, meanwhile, while the majority of the adventure characters, including the Spider, the Steel Claw, Janus Stark and Robot Archie are in fact now owned by Time-Warner, which purchased IPC: many of those characters were revamped a few years ago in the Wildstorm limited series Albion, and could presumably be used by DC any time they liked, but they've shown little interest so far.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Scurlogg_Hawkk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post
    There are so many abandoned classics out there, this got me thinking. Why doesn't Disney/Marvel or Warner/DC buy the rights? The trick is to get a good product at a good price, without endless legal battles. Here is how I'd do it.

    step 1: get fans to suggest forgotten characters that are currently making zero profit.

    step 2: hit the rights owners about the head with a heavy object until they grasp this point: THEIR IP IS CURRENTLY MAKING ZERO PROFIT. Repeat until the concept sinks in.

    step 3: offer a fixed contract: Marvel/DC publishes a 100 page collection at standard royalty rates. If it sells it can be bought at a pre-arranged fee.

    step 4: fans vote on the products they want, kickstarter style.

    step 5: profit

    This idea should appeal to the higher ups at Marvel/DC: all they care about is owning brands with growth potential. Step 4 guarantees minimum sales so nobody loses. Until step 4, this takes place in secret. The new products have their own occasional title, kind of "showcase" or "world's greatest comics" but this time that's not hyperbole.

    Like I said, step 2 is the hard part. "IP ownership" and "reality" are generally non-overlapping magesteria. Rights holders need to understand: unless IP X has Alan Moore's name on it, Hollywood will NOT come offering you a million dollar price tag. better to make a dollar now than ten dollars never. I can only see two ways to persuade them:

    1. Pick off the minority of sane rights holders
    2. Personal friendships. Somebody at Warner or Disney should play golf with somebody at ForgottenHoldings Inc. and do some block deal.

    How many forgotten gems are there? America is a big place, so I assume you must have a few? The best ones are probably the indie stuff that failed for reasons of distribution and finance, not quality. Outside the USA here are plenty of examples. Pretty much the entire IPC line is abandoned apart from 2000AD. IPC alone has fifty years of anthology titles, often ten or more per week. And of course there are newspaper strips. I presume that France is the same.

    If we expand the concept from forgotten brands to brands to brands with currently limited reach, the sky is the limit. How many Americans have read Garth for example? Or James Bond newspaper strips? I wonder how Americans would take to Black Bob the Dandy Wonder Dog? Some of those strips were beautiful.

    What think ye?
    I think that sounds good but the big board of money making wont see it that way ...
    In brightest day, in blackest night,
    No evil shall escape my sight
    Let those who worship evil's might,
    Beware my power... Green Lantern's light

  13. #13

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    Maybe it's been done before and I just don't know about it, but I'd like to see someone publish an English translation of Mars Ravelo's Darna, from the Philippines. And if the old DC continuity still existed, Darna would've been a good candidate for the Global Guardians. As a mix of Captain Marvel, Superman, and Wonder Woman, she could have fit in with the old DC heroes. Now, maybe Dynamite could make good use of Darna.

  14. #14
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    Maybe it's been done before and I just don't know about it, but I'd like to see someone publish an English translation of Mars Ravelo's Darna, from the Philippines. And if the old DC continuity still existed, Darna would've been a good candidate for the Global Guardians. As a mix of Captain Marvel, Superman, and Wonder Woman, she could have fit in with the old DC heroes. Now, maybe Dynamite could make good use of Darna.

    I'd kill (well maybe maim) to see English translations of a ton of Alfredo Alcala's Philippine work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    I'd kill (well maybe maim) to see English translations of a ton of Alfredo Alcala's Philippine work.
    Seconded.

    A bit of it has been, I suppose - the Voltar stuff in Warren's "The Rook" magazine, for example, was that from his Phillipines period? Haven't read it yet, but it looks beautiful, as you'd expect.

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