Welcome back for another installment of “What Do You REALLY Know About Comics?” I want to thank ComicsBulletin.com for hosting these interviews and I also want to thank all of you who continue to read and enjoy them. I’m thankful for everyone that helps spread the word about these interviews and what they are trying to do. It’s been a great experience doing them and it’s only going to get better.
Before we get into today’s interview I want to thank everyone that came out and stopped by the COMIXTRIBE booth at the NYCC. The show was a huge success for the entire line of COMIXTRIBE books, including my book Scam. I want to thank everyone that stopped by to buy a copy and talk comics.
Today’s interview is with Graham. He’s a single, 27 year old living in NYC who currently works in advertising. His take on comics is something that will definitely get some people talking. So let’s find out what Graham REALLY knows about comics.
* * *
Joe Mulvey: First off, I want to thank you for doing this interview.
Graham: No problem. Like I said before, seeing all the comics as movies lately has me wondering if I should be checking out the books a little bit more.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, I’d hoped the success of the movies and the TV series would boost sales and interest in the comics themselves. I’m not sure if that’s happened just yet.
Graham: Really? Well then, shame on comics. That’s just a failed opportunity. I’m sure my point of view, coming from advertising, will have a few suggestions for that.
Joe Mulvey: It’s one of the reasons I asked you. We have mutual friends and in the few times you and I have talked we had some pretty good discussions about presidential campaign reform-
Graham: We have. So now that we’ve got that figured out, let’s tackle comics!
Joe Mulvey: HA! Exactly. No, but I meant that we had a good talk and I was hoping to continue that here. So tell me, exactly what do you really know about comics?
Graham: Nice segue. You’re a pro.
Joe Mulvey: I try.
Graham: Okay, so, what do I know about comics? A good amount I’d say. I know they have been around for a long time. I’d guess around 70-80 years. I know Stan Lee is responsible for a lot of the Marvel ones. Captain America, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four. I know Disney now owns Marvel and Warner Brothers owns DC. I remember the Image boom when I was a kid. Spawn, ShadowHawk and Wildcats and all that stuff. I know the form itself is sequential art on letter sized pages. Monthly instalments. Numerous cartoons and movies based on tons of characters from both companies. Then you have the off-shoot companies or characters like Sin City or Hellboy. Do I know a lot?
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, but this isn’t something I’m grading you on, I just want to know your exposure and understanding of comics. That’s all. No right or wrong answer.
Graham: I’m sure the more I think about it the more stuff that I’ll come up with.
Joe Mulvey: That’s fine. Did you read comics when you were younger?
Graham: I didn’t, but some friends and family did. I know my cousins were obsessed with Spawn. That’s why I know that Image thing. They had like multiple copies and hologram covers and just the crazy collectible stuff. I was always around it and would check them out or enjoy a cool drawing of some monster getting its heart ripped out, I think that was Spawn, and enjoy it. But I never got into collecting like they did. I had a few but I didn’t get the whole cardboard back or have the price guide.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, back then so many people thought the books were investments. That actually caused the boom in the market at that time and subsequently the big downfall that followed.
Graham: It makes sense from an artistic point of view, I guess, but commercially it’s dumb as hell. I mean these weren’t coins or stocks that you were investing in. They were comic books.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, well, I could see, to a point, the idea behind it. I mean you have books, first printings with special printings and gimmicks and you think the market might climb. I mean you have copies of Spider-Man or Superman’s first appearances going for some hefty prices.
Graham: Yeah, you’re right, but those are so rare and far between. I know I wouldn’t put my money into anything like that.
Joe Mulvey: Comics are just another form of storytelling entertainment, let people put whatever worth they want into it after that.
Graham: I hear you.
Joe Mulvey: Okay, so let me get a better sense of exactly what kind of stuff you’re into. Tell me some of your favorite movies, TV shows, games, hobbies, etc.
Graham: Sure. As far as hobbies go I definitely like to gamble. I go on tears like once or twice a year where I’m heading down to Atlantic City at least once every month or two. Just playing some cards or craps. Just for a night or two. I love it.
Joe Mulvey: Nice. I like Atlantic City but Vegas is the Mecca for me.
Graham: OH, ABSOLUTELY! But Atlantic City is just a drive away. If Vegas was a drive away I’d be there all the time.
Joe Mulvey: I’m sure it’s a good thing we don’t live that close. But when you’re not heading to a casino, what are some of the other things that fill your days.
Graham: Work’s got the top spot. Advertising is a crazy biz. It’s very much who you know and who you can get to listen to y
our ideas. So I do spend a lot of days heading out after work and trying to meet people at some work gatherings. But I guess when I get home I put on something meaningless. Seinfeld, Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, ESPN.
Joe Mulvey: Sports fan?
Graham: Yup. Big sports fan. Knicks, Yankees, Giants and Rangers. I’ll even get into the World Cup when it comes around.
Joe Mulvey: Okay, and what about movies? Have you seen any lately?
Who You Callin’ a Shitty Asshole?
Graham: A few, but just thinking about TV, I just caught up with the whole Mad Men show. Advertising in the 50’s. I HAD to check that out. Great show.
Joe Mulvey: I was going to suggest that show to you considering you’re in advertising. That show’s probably like a history of advertising class.
Graham: Yeah, what a great show. Such asshole, shitty people, very much real life in that way. I really like that show.
Joe Mulvey: And you said you’ve seen some movies?
Graham: Yeah, I just saw a few. On TV, not in the actual theater, but the movies are in the theater, if you know what I mean.
Joe Mulvey: I do. Don’t worry I’m not naming names, so feel free to speak freely.
Graham: Got it. So yeah, I saw Horrible Bosses. It was good. Captain America, not as much. Looked very odd to me. Like super cheesy.
Joe Mulvey: Were you talking about the quality of the version you were viewing or the actual film?
Graham: Good point, it could have been the way I saw it. But the story didn’t really make me interested to see it in a crisper version, if you get me.
Joe Mulvey: Got you.
Graham: Besides that I think I just saw the last Harry Potter movie and Conan. The Conan remake. That was bad. I can’t imagine how they made Schwarzenegger look like De Niro.
How Conan Should Have Been
Joe Mulvey: That’s NEVER the review you want for your movie.
Graham: No, it isn’t. And I don’t want to come off like some movie snob or anything. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Joe Mulvey: Would you say it was more like a cup of poop?
Graham: Steaming, yes.
Joe Mulvey: Okay, but you did want to see Conan at some point, so do you like those types of movies?
Graham: If I have to really narrow it down I guess I’d say I like action movies the most. Like, some of the ones I’ve really liked recently were The Departed, Inglorious Basterds, Inception and that last Batman [ed.- The Dark Knight]. That last Batman was not what I expected at ALL. It felt like The Departed a little bit.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, well that’s why I’m doing these interviews. To show people that comics aren’t guys in tights with a cape and the same old hero-villain- damsel in distress nonsense that a good amount of people unfortunately think.
Graham: Yeah, I get it. I mean I feel like that was Nolan’s influence. He’s a great director and he just took the Batman character and made him more realistic. It’s still fiction, but IF a rich guy had these issues and IF he went the way Bruce Wayne did, THIS is what would happen. I mean, it’s all just fantasy role playing anyway, right? Most people want to be Batman, and his movies put you in that space a whole lot easier.
Who WOULDN’T Want to Be this Man?!
Joe Mulvey: I don’t know if anyone would want to REALLY be Batman. I think the character is so well known that most people have some connection to him. They know his deal. I mean, yeah– it’s cool in theory to be him, but especially in those movies, it’s ANYTHING but glamorous. Maybe the Schumacher ones– where it’s lighter– but the Nolan movies make his life look like hell. Which, to your point, makes sense because that’s what a guy would realistically have to do to be a successful vigilante.
Graham: As a kid all you see is the hero. You haven’t grown up enough to realize the effort that goes into it, you just see the good person and adulation and want it. That’s why as a kid you put on the mask and pretend. You want to be that ideal.
Joe Mulvey: I’d put that up for further debate because that movie was a huge success and not just with kids. Adults ran to that movie too. While I’m not downplaying the attraction to the hero and fame part of it, I doubt if anyone would be willing to put in the work or endure the pain that being Batman comes with.
Graham: Jesus, no. They want the cool car and billionaire bank account. So do I. I mean, look at the people in this world that are rich and powerful. No one’s going out to defeat an endless line of criminals that NEVER seem to stay in jail. Maybe if he spent some of his billions on building a better prison, Batman could get a few nights off to go on a few dates or something.
Joe Mulvey: HA! That’d be awesome. Okay, so you definitely know some stuff about Batman. Is he a character that interests you?
Graham: The Nolan Batman interests me, not the weirdo that lets a little kid put on tights and help him punch bad guys.
Joe Mulvey: Dude, have I got some books for you.
Graham: Oh really?
Joe Mulvey: Really. That movie was based on some Batman comics. You’re definitely going to be surprised by what you read.
Graham: Yeah, I don’t know why I said that, considering how some comic movies have been lately. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised by the books changing it up a bit too.
Joe Mulvey: Which ones?
Graham: The last X-Men movie I saw was pretty heavy in tone. Heavier than I thought. I mean the Cuban missile crisis thing was crazy.
He ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
Joe Mulvey: You saw First Class? Cool.
Graham: Yeah, so maybe I shouldn’t just assume it’s all the film makers making this stuff as good as it is.
Joe Mulvey: I’ll let the books speak for themselves. I’m going to give you a whole bunch of books but I have another thing I’d like to try with you if you’d be interested.
Graham: Is this where I should get nervous?
Joe Mulvey: HA! Not at all. Let me just ask, have you heard anything about how DC comics is completely relaunching its books? Starting over with everyone from issue #1, calling it the New 52.
Graham: No. But I saw some new 52 commercial in a movie theater. Recently. Like the ads you sit through while you wait.
Joe Mulvey: So you DO go to actual movie theaters?
Graham: Sometimes I have to. Dates and what not. So what was the big 52?
Joe Mulvey: It’s a “jumping on point” type of thing from DC. It’s meant to get new readers and old to jump onto the books when the relaunch. So everyone can get in on the ground floor. It’s already a week or two into the launch. The books are available in stores and digitally, to be bought for digital readers. So iPads, Kindles, smart phones, etc. I’m going to give you $25 along with the other books in print to buy some digital books. Some I’ll recommend, but the rest of the money is up to you to use on whatever books you see that interest you. Now the ones DC are starting are first issues. All # 1’s, so ideally you should be able to jump right into any story from these issues, no problem.
Graham: You’re pretty trusting to just give me your books and $25.
Joe Mulvey: Not at all, I know you, somewhat. And the real point is to show people that comics aren’t what they thought they were. I’m not promising you’re going to like them, but at the very least you’ll have a different understanding of them when you’re done. And this way you aren’t out of pocket for MY experiment.
Graham: Fine by me.
Joe Mulvey: And also, having an advertising guy look at comics and like them, could be a big help to spread the word.
Graham: For $25 bucks? You think I come that cheap?
Joe Mulvey: I don’t really want to get into it, but yeah, I’ve heard some things.
Graham: I bet.
Joe Mulvey: So, for now I’m going to give you some books to read. As far as the digital books go, either go to Graphicly or Comixology and just pick a few that interest you. Then, when you’re ready, get in touch with me and we’ll do the follow up interview. All good?
Graham: Yes, sir. Got it.
* * *
Here’s the list of books I gave Graham.
In print he received Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman:The Dark Knight Returns, All-Star Superman from DC Comics; Scalped Vol. 1 from Vertigo; Powers Vol. 1 and Criminal: Coward from Icon; The Ultimates Vol.1 from Marvel; and Echoes from Top Cow.
Digitally he got Shinku #1, Who is Jake Ellis? and Green Wake #1 from Imag;. Artifacts #1 from Top Cow; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 from Marvel.
It’s been 19 days. Let’s see what Graham has to say.
* * *
Joe Mulvey: Okay, I’m eager to hear what you thought.
Graham: First thing I have to say– and I HAVE to say it– is SHAME ON COMICS! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON YOU! Be honest, how long have comics been like this?
Joe Mulvey: Years. For decades. Look at the dates on the books I gave you. Dark Knight Returns was in the mid 80’s. Comics have been good like this for quite a while.
Graham: Then the only thing I have to say is what a fucking waste. No wonder they get the ideas taken to the big screen, they get ignored in the books themselves.
Joe Mulvey: I wouldn’t say ignored but they certainly aren’t reaching the kinds of audiences they should be.
Graham: Bullshit. Sorry to step on you
there but that’s just bullshit. Products like this should be OUT THERE. They should be seen. I’ve got so much to say about comics and just everything with and about them that you’ll need to make sure your phone battery is fully charged.
Joe Mulvey: HA! Okay, then let me hear it. But first tell me what you read first and what you thought.
Graham: Batman: The Killing Joke was the first thing I read. That book smacked me in the mouth the second I finished it. Not even finished it, it probably gave me a good smack a few pages in. I have to dig deeper into comics and comic properties but I wonder how the hell that Adam West Batman show ever got made with stories like this.
Joe Mulvey: I think the era of books that that show was based on were very corny like that. Very kitsch. It changed a little later on when some different creators came in and really pushed the darkness of the character.
Graham: Well, I did say I have to do some more digging, but let me just say it– let’s get it right out of the way– YOU WERE RIGHT. Comics aren’t what I thought.
Joe Mulvey: So, by the enthusiasm you’re showing is it fair to say you’re a fan now?
Graham: A fan, yes. I don’t think I’m going to be an active collector, though. I’m not running to stores to get every issue and I don’t exactly have room for a huge library. I did buy more books though. I HAD to grab more Scalped. That was a story I had to see through. Even though I haven’t yet. Still more to go. I wanted to set up a tepee on the reservation or hide in the back of Dash’s car. That book will be a TV show in a few years. It’s too rich not to. It’s like a combination of The Departed, The Wire and Casino. Just great.
Joe Mulvey: But most of the books don’t interest you enough to buy regularly?
Graham: Digitally, yes. To me, the print thing is dead or at least a niche market. I see such opportunity to move these comics in such a big way. Other print mediums are translating themselves to digital to survive. Most of those magazines doing it have an already established routine to their publications. Eye catching cover, big news or gossip. Then a sex survey, a mid-level celebrity interview, some vodka ads and a columnist. But comics give original content every single month. New stories that every other medium is trying to get. They are inventive, crazy and unique. And somehow, comics haven’t gotten the word out properly. So, instead of reading the same old formatted magazine, people can check out a whole new form of entertainment, that’s new and up and coming right in the palm of their hand. That’s awesome.
Joe Mulvey: Wow. I feel like you’re selling me on comics. That’s definitely a first.
Graham: All entertainment is story. If you have a good story than the next part is just getting it seen by as many people, that would enjoy it, as possible. Comics haven’t done that. I honestly don’t know how an entire industry has existed for this long without growing or at least being recognized in a more honest way.
Joe Mulvey: Well, hold on one second. I agree with you about the fact that comics don’t market well. On my site and in past interviews I’ve said how the industry needs to advertise better. But there’s also a balance that needs to be maintained to preserve the economy of the industry as it is. Retailers, the stores that buy, stock and sell the books would get eliminated by a complete digital push. Not to mention the effect and benefit that having an actual book in a person’s hand has. You can set up autograph signings, design specialized packaging for books and collections.
Graham: If you want an autograph in a digital age, let the writer or artist sign your iPad. Make an app for your books that has a quick creators link, designed and meant for each book and creator. So, when the fan comes up to the person you go to that page on your books and have the creator use a stylus, pen or even their finger to sign it. You click, save and then have a library of that stuff saved on your digital device. And if you want packaging, make skins for whatever digital device you have and leave it at that. I get that print will be around but it’s a NICHE market. NICHE. If niche markets are well done, you can have a good business, but you can’t stall progress for the sake of a niche market. A niche market doesn’t gown an industry.
Joe Mulvey: I don’t disagree with you entirely, but I think you’d have to do a little more research into the business of comics first before you just say abandon print and push digital. There’s room for both, to get books into hands you have to work with both means of distribution to get the best effect for the product.
Graham: Why? Why would I want to go 10 blocks on a horse and buggy when I could be in a car?
Joe Mulvey: First off, there’s no better way of travel than watching a massive ass shitting right in front of you. I swear that’s where they came up with the reason for the tail pipe to be as far away from the driver as possible. That first car designer knew what he was doing.
Graham: HAHA! Seems to make sense. But really, tell me why you can’t just push the comics digitally.
Joe Mulvey: Again, I agree that having your books available digitally will help spread your product much quicker. ESPECIALLY with comics. I mean, there aren’t comics shops all over the place. You have locations all over the world that don’t have a comic shop near them. Those people need digital to get the books. But the retailers, at least currently, are where the fan base is made. Between that and comic websites. A huge problem for the industry is that it’s too insular. It’s a comic company, advertising through comic sites that are already filled with comic fans. No real push to grab an outside audience and the audience they do have is shrinking. Not enough kids are coming into the market. But I guess kids don’t really count as the only age group, except for the fact that tights and capes style super heroes are shooting mostly for that demographic, so you’d think they’d be able to bring in those kinds of readers.
Graham:< /strong> Yeah, okay, that’s what’s happening now but where’s the outreach to get the new readers. I mean it’s HARD to get anyone to read now a days, so where’s the advertising. Again, I get that I’m seeing this from the perspective my job allows me, but you can’t have a company, let alone an entire industry that wants to move forward or succeed by not using the means available to them and by not advertising. I’m sure comics run in a variety of success just like any other thing in entertainment, but there’s no reason comic books should be held back by some sort of false identity they’ve been stuck with for the last 50 years. Take me for example; going into this I would have said Comics = Kids. And like you said, with super heroes that is the intent, to grab the young readers. If that’s not happening, it’s because the object isn’t being properly delivered to the consumer. That’s a big issue. And nowadays every kid has or wants a smart pone or computer. So, for each one of those sold, you have a potential new comic consumer.
Joe Mulvey: Well, considering print is hard to sell in any way, what would you do if the entire comics industry came to you asking how to advertise more effectively?
Graham: Point definitely is: digital is the future. But there’s still good and bad ways to do it. I can think of a few recent books that grab an audience and make huge profits. The Harry Potter books, the Twilight books. Those zombie books by Max Brooks. I mean there are books that find their audience but in terms of comics, that can’t happen. Giant chain book stores which, if you’ve noticed lately, used to push these books, these authors and their product, are closing down. These were commercial hubs for publishing. Giant, chain outlet retail stores that provide almost everything for the book audience are fading. But at least they had that to sustain them for a little while. Where is that for comics? Where are there chains of stores?
Joe Mulvey: Those same book stores became big retail outfits for the comics industry. The trade paper back form of comics, collecting issues into completed books, was a nice sales boom for comics. The term Graphic Novel helped push the books to more people that weren’t looking at them before.
Graham: Okay, well from what I’ve seen, comics are sold through mom and pop places. You don’t go national or world wide by having a mom and pop place. You need to think broader.
Joe Mulvey: But what do you do when the broader reaching retailers, these bankrupted books stores, are closing down?
Graham: You get off the sinking ship and you move to the digital venue. It’s there for you, with the click of a button. That’s too easy and tempting a method of distribution to ignore.
Joe Mulvey: I’m not ignoring it, I’m embracing it completely. I just disagree that you have to completely cut ties with stores in order to succeed. Okay, let me just get back to the books for a second. You said you would enjoy them digitally more than in print. Is that just a space issue or is that because you like them better in the digital format?
Graham: On the iPad, they pop. They are just more alive on a tablet versus in my hand. Don’t get me wrong, the print works but seeing a ninja warrior woman cutting off vampire heads on her motorcycle [ed.- Shinku from Image] comes alive more digitally than a lot of the stuff I saw in print. I read the print first and then the digital last, so that’s something that I’d also have to look into further. Or it could just be my preference. What sells better, the digital or the print?
Joe Mulvey: Digital numbers aren’t completely out just yet, and with this new DC relaunch I’d think the digital numbers would increase, but print is still the bread winner.
Graham: Yeah, well again, I never knew the APP existed. Then I looked into the App and it’s a pretty big and popular App. They need to advertise that more, also.
Joe Mulvey: I agree completely with the need to get more advertising out there for comics, but I think it’s an economic issue. A book sells enough to recoup its costs and then give the creators or publisher enough money to make a profit. There’s no overlapping profit to cover an advertising budget. But I’m sure you can argue that Marvel and DC, who both have HUGE companies and advertising means behind them, could go out of pocket and spend the money to advertise their publishing properties more and grow the industry. That’s a point I’ve been pushing for a while.
Graham: Absolutely. Especially Disney and Warner Brothers. They have channels and multiple outlets to advertise. SHAME ON THEM TOO! Really don’t put any info more than my first name on this because I’d prefer not to have any of this come back at me later.
Joe Mulvey: You have my word. I’d never use more than your first name. I can even use a fake name if you’d like.
Graham: Nah, that’s fine. You’d be surprised how common the name Graham is in NYC.
Joe Mulvey: Actually, I would. Okay, so you mentioned Shinku before, the book about the chick on a motorcycle killing vampires. What else did you buy with the money left over from the digital copies?
Graham: I grabbed some new Batman titles. That’s definitely my go-to character. Besides that I just went with the FEATURED section of the site and the ratings. I didn’t dig too heavily into the whole site, really. I just read what was either the continuation of what you gave me or the recommendation after whatever issue I was reading.
Joe Mulvey: What did you continue getting?
Graham: I think I went another issue or two so far with Green Wake. That’s some crazy shit in that book. I feel like I need to be on something to really understand it.
Joe Mulvey: I always drop a tab before I dive into that book.
Graham: I feel like I should. People turning into frogs and just weird shit. I liked the Jake Ellis book. The Artifacts book was cool. Big action, huge characters, fun. I think that’s one I need to get more of. Catwoman too, and that’s a book I grabb
ed because I read Batman and they suggested it, so I one clicked and bought the book. See, digital is an easy sell. And something else with digital, I appreciate the art more. With my digital books I can blow up the panel to look into the background of the frame or see what someone’s wearing. Really pour over the stuff the artists drew in there. That’s tougher with print.
Joe Mulvey: You are definitely a digital fan. What about the print books though? I’m guessing you liked them for the most part?
Graham: Yeah. The Criminal book was great. I’ve since passed that on to someone else who saw it in my apartment and asked about it.
Joe Mulvey: So you’re making new fans too. I love the domino effect.
Graham: What’s crazy, is that before doing this interview with you, I would have NEVER had a comic or graphic novel sitting around or in my house. And now I have books in a few rooms. It’s amazing how perception changes everything. My friend came in, saw it on the desk and asked what the hell I was doing with it. Than he started flipping through, saw some sex or something and said WOW. Next thing I know he took it home.
Joe Mulvey: That’s awesome. But if the pages comeback stuck together, I will need reimbursement.
Graham: HA! I understand.
Joe Mulvey: Any other books you want to talk about?
Graham: The Ultimates? The Captain America/Avengers one with the Samuel Jackson character [ed.- Ultimate Nick Fury].
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, that was the Ultimates.
Graham: Was that made after the first Iron Man movie when they threw his character in at the end of the movie?
Damn Straight I Came First
Joe Mulvey: No, that was before. The book came quite a while before the movie. But you can bet the Avengers movie is going to take some notes from that book.
Graham: Yeah, it was good. The realistic or just more grounded approach that the books had on the characters is probably the biggest thing I was impressed with in all the books.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, man, comics are just so damned good. The level of talent in the industry right now is beyond ridiculous. And you can pretty much follow a creator’s name and enjoy most of what they do. For example, you liked Artifacts and Shinku, so you go look for other stuff from the writer Ron Marz or the artists Lee Moder or Michael Brussard. You liked Scalped, so check out other Jason Aaron stuff. That’s a lot of the fun of comics, you can bounce around and check out the other books the creators have worked on.
Graham: Well, I kind of did that. I really liked Echoes, by the guy who’s name I won’t even try to say.
Joe Mulvey: Joshua Fialkov. FEE-AL-KOV.
Graham: Wow, okay, that’s not that hard.
Joe Mulvey: That’s what she said.
Graham: HA! What?
Joe Mulvey: Sorry, I’ve been on a bit of an Office kick lately. So you read Echoes–
Graham: Right, I had read Echoes. Now that, probably out of all the books, was the most straight forward non-comic thing I could think of. I mean, that’s a movie or creepy Twilight Zone episode. Not what I would think to read in a comic. And I saw that guy’s name on another vampire comic and downloaded that one.
Joe Mulvey: I, Vampire? What did you think?
Graham: I thought it was a better take on vampires than I’ve been seeing lately.
Joe Mulvey: Would you stick with it and keep reading?
Graham: Sure. But like I said before I’m not going crazy and picking up all these books. But when I have some downtime, I’ll absolutely pick up my iPad or phone and download a copy. if I’m sitting in a waiting room, boom– download a copy. Sitting on the train or a plane, download a copy. That’s what so great about the digital. It’s immediate. It’s there when I want it.
Joe Mulvey: That is what’s great. And as much as I knock comics for their insular advertising, the industry does have a ton of great online sites to get info on the books and creators from. This interview will be on ComicsBulletin.com and that’s just one of a number of sites that help you better understand the books coming out.
Graham: I don’t doubt it. I went to a few of the sites that the forums from the app’s site suggested and you have reviews and then previews plus editorial stuff, very in depth. As someone new to comics, it was a bit much at first. I’d rather just pick a book and then like it or hate it go from there.
Joe Mulvey: Were there anythings that confused you about the comics? Any trouble reading them? Comics does have its own language and style of reading that some people have had an issue with.
Graham: Yeah, that happened a bit in the beginning, not sure where to start reading in the frames. But I catch on quick, so it wasn’t an issue. And then thankfully most of the books were pretty engrossing, so I just followed where the story was going.
Joe Mulvey: Well, I hope you stick with them, and I appreciate you doing this interview and all your thoughts on the subject.
Graham: Yeah, man, thank you. Since doing this I’ve spoken to a few people about comics and how they advertise. Actually, more like how they don’t. And I found out the Walking Dead show is from a comic too.
Joe Mulvey: Yeah, that book is a big gateway book for people. More people need to realize what they previously thought abut comics is wrong. I always compare it to TV. You wouldn’t put on the TV and see The Simpsons and think that’s the ONLY type of programming that TV has. You’d change the channel. Comics need to get that type of message out there. Comics are defined in a lot of peoples’ eyes as being Spider-Man and Superman. Comics are just as diverse a medium as any other type of entertainment.
Graham: You need to get a talk show. You’re a natural talker. You’d actually do well in advertising, I think. I probably shouldn’t say that.
Joe Mulvey: I worked in advertising for a bit. Trust me, you have nothing to worry about.
Graham: Well then, have the site you’re on set you up to do these interviews in person. Put those out on YouTube. Market your love and concern for an industry that doesn’t want to do it for themselves. It’ll hopefully spread the good word about what the new style of comics is like and maybe even set you up as your own commodity.
Joe Mulvey: You’re definitely in the right business. You silver tongued bastard.
Graham: HAHAH! Yeah, well, what can I say. Look, you seriously changed my idea of what comics are. I’m going to go grab a few more books now because of you. And you’re just one guy. No offense, but if you keep going at it this way, yeah, you’ll get some new readers but nowhere near as many as you could if you marketed yourself properly. Comics AND you need to market yourselves effectively to get the kind of audience you should be having. Start small, but think big.
Joe Mulvey: Trust me, that’s my plan. Are you offering your services to the cause?
Graham: Sure, as long as you keep shelling out money for me to buy some digital comics.
Joe Mulvey: I think we can work out something. Thanks for doing this.
Graham: Thanks for asking me.
* * *
That’s Graham’s interview. Graham definitely has his opinions on what the comics industry needs to do in the future. I’ve been begging for comics to do some more advertising and get the word out there. Comics are the new cool and people need to realize it. I’m doing my part and I hope you’ll do yours. So recommend this interview’s reading list, or any comics you’re a fan of, to someone who’s never read a comic and help people find out about the great industry we all enjoy.
As always I’m looking to hear from you guys. If you have any comments, feedback or book suggestions, let me know.
Contact me at: The comments on this very site for this very article, below.