Got it? OK, now here's Mr. Manley's.
The gist: D'Orazio thinks that within a few years time Marvel, DC, or some other publishing company will swoop in and take advantage of the increasingly popular venues on the internet (i.e. specific blogs or web comics) by buying up the best of the best and making them subscription sites, while stressing that their brand is the authority (for web comics, blogs, etc.), effectively making all other venues irrelevant. Manley, clearly taking issue with her lumping web comics into the mix, not-so-respectfully disagrees, flat out saying that D'Orazio is wrong. He cites the web comics creators who commented on D'Orazio's blog, basically saying they're doing fine and it would take a lot for a D.C. or Marvel to buy them out. He also says the internetZ is very big and there's room for everyone so play nice.
"But what's your opinion on this, Paul?" It's true, this is my blog so rather than spew out other people's opinions I might as well offer my own insight, right? After all this is a topic I'm interested in, and after the Comics and New Media debacle at Comic Con some real and interesting discussion about web comics is very welcome here at Wednesday's Child.
Overall I think it's clear that Manley's argument is flawed, and for a few reasons. First off, in his third paragraph he says
I don’t say this to call her out necessarily, but to point to it as an example of the kind of thinking that I’ve been running into pretty consistently since becoming CEO of ComicSpace and meeting lots of people in the “comics industry” (quotes because the Marvel/DC axis is not the only comics industry — it’s one of several, and not even the biggest).Now, when you talk about the colloquial "comics industry" rather than the comics industry proper, yes Marvel/DC actually are the big boys. I'm not even sure the companies he mentions afterwords,the rest of the "comics industry", have more pull even if we are talking about the industry proper; DC is owned by Warner Bros., and both Marvel and D.C. have become powerhouses in the world of film as well as comics. Their resources are superior to many other, if not all other, comics-based companies. So, yes, Marvel and DC are formidable, to say the least.
However, while Valerie uses DC or Marvel as an example, she explicitly states in the entry, "If I was DC or Marvel (or any other media company)..." So, ok, let's say Scholastic, United, or Viz are more financially equipped to buy out certain web comics. The concept is exactly the same isn't it? If Scholastic bought all of the best web comics and started their own site, discouraging people from viewing other comics, its the same as if Spider-Man and Wonder Woman were doing it.
Second: yes, it's all well and good that these creators are doing well for themselves now, and its nice to see idealism at this stage; that sort of "damn the man! you can't buy me!" mentality that comes with freelancing and ends with a steady paycheck. But I doubt whatever "expense" it would take to buy them out would be any skin off of Paul Levitz', or Joe Quesada's (is anyone above him at Marvel?), or Richard Robinson's back, especially when one of these companies can offer mass marketing and merchandising well out of those creators' reaches. If after a few years web comics skyrocket into incredible popularity then what Valerie's saying makes good business sense, and publishers would be foolish not to capitalize. It's happened with independent film companies, TV stations, radio stations, etc.-- what makes web comics immune?
Lastly, this comment:
I’ll make a prediction of my own. Marvel and DC are no more in a position to 'take over' webcomics than they are to 'take over' any of the other comics industriesis a little ridiculous, no? This is not like Marvel saying "hmm I think I'll purchase Scholastic today". "Web comics" is not a company, its a series of independent creators and smaller websites (and a series of tubes). That means you buy out one by one by one until you have all the ones you want, and it makes the rest irrelevant because they're not under the Scholastic or Marvel or whatever banner. Its the same exact thing that's happening with "real" comics-- yeah, Fantagraphics and D&Q and all of those great small publishers make amazing, subversive material. But its really just that: a counter-culture within a counter-culture. The "big two" still have the larger market shares, and with Diamond's new standards that's only going to get worse. The caveat here is that on the web its much easier and cheaper to produce for a site or blog than it is in print, but I think this will more be a victory by promotion rather than by capital. Sure there's room for all kinds of websites with all kinds of services, but some will be more accepted than others and a web comic on the Zuda imprint gets more publicity than one on Modern Tales.
His post is dismissive at best and patronizing at worst, and his stance is that he knows more about the subject than his reader does and that's that. And that's true, if we were talking about the current state of web comics. But what we're talking about is the future which is, if you'll excuse my French for a second, something he doesn't know dick about. Me neither, and neither do the Valerie D'Orazios, or the Richard Robinsons of the world, so we're all just speculating, and I think he's wrong, and he can think I'm wrong, and I'm coming from historical perspective and he's coming from personal experience, and that's all fine. Hey, if he ends up being right I'll be the first person to say his dick is so much bigger than D'Orazio's. I'll write a whole post about it. The subject line will be Look at the size of that cock, you guys. But you can't title a blog entry Occasional Superheroine doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about, and go around making bold statements like "you're wrong", and then follow it up by saying you're not trying to start a fight. Because, yeah congrats, I'm sure more people read your blog today because of it but there's no need to be such a dick you know?