The response from last week’s column on sex, politics and religion has nothing short of huge. There are a lot of people out there that feel very strongly about not only those topics, but the way that mainstream comics are being marketed, or to be more exact, not being marketed.

With over 600 responses the mood was one of fear. The tone of fear is that not enough is being done to update and broaden the consumer base. The majority of the readers that wrote me feel that the mainstream publishers do not know what the readers want and are not trying to find out.

Granted, this is only a little over 600 and it is all from the internet, but with the inconsistency of sales with the under top ten comics this is something that really needs to be addressed.

I’ve got to say I was surprised by the amount of retailers, creators and industry insiders that wrote and called with the same concerns and the wish to have their name left out of this. I understand that. Nobody likes being without a paycheck.

The general feeling was that mainstream publishers are doing super hero comics for their own entertainment and figure that if they like it their readers will like. Some of the creators that contacted me told me of editorial talks that were basically summed up as “If we tell the readers it’s cool they’ll believe us. What else do they have?”. They also mentioned that there is rarely, if any talk about stand alone stories, an interest to snare new readers or readers of all ages. The main goal is to write to the 20-55 age group and look no further. These creators know that sooner or later this group will fade, lose interest or die and there isn’t much being done to grow a new crop of readers.

The retailers that wrote me said that the only time they are heard is when someone raises a big public stink. Even then the publisher doesn’t try and change policy or address the problem as a whole, but they spray a little air freshener around the internet and hope that masks the problem for a little longer.

Yes, I did get input from some that things are perfect and that they are very happy with the way things are right now. Even a couple said I was a crabby person and unhappy because I’m not as pretty as Joe Quesada.

Of course I’m not? as pretty as Joe Quesada.

The system is broke on all levels. Make no mistake about that. More time should be put into how to advance and fix things rather than taking these comments as an attack. They aren’t. These remarks of mine, and the others that have written in, are like that of someone seeing a loved one with a broken arm that refuses to get it fixed.

Pay attention to what you buy. Take the time to see the bigger picture of mainstream comics and how they are being attended to. Take a few moments to think about the future of mainstream comics five to ten years down the road. If you really enjoy mainstream comics then consider these things. If you don’t then I guess you’ll be okay with the way they are.

Get Strongarmed!

As most of you long time Knuckleheads know, I’m not the biggest fan of manga and anime. It’s just one of those personal taste things, like tea or coffee, I just don’t care much for it.

Recently I was sent an advance copy of the upcoming Image Comics book STRONGARM #1 by writer Steve Horton and artist Dave Ahn. Well, I always read everything that is sent to me. I may not always mention them, but I do look at all of em’. Strongarm really caught my eye.

Art-wise it’s the best example that I’ve seen of details with an anime/manga influence. It was pulled off perfectly and was neither too sparse or too much of a mess. It’s all pretty much non-stop action. The best part is that it’s action that counts because it moves the story with it. No wasted jibber-jabber pages that do nothing but bore you. There’s an immediate interest in the characters making you not only care about them, but also makes you want to know more about them.

Writer Steve Horton knows how to pace a story and his use of dialogue is not wasted. Dave Ahn has a great way with expressions and position. He knows how to show emotion without a bunch of crosshatching that just makes characters look scarred and Rob-like.

My only complaint is that there are some “speed lines” or whatever you call those lines they always use in manga stories for impact or movement.

Strongarm #1 will be released through Image Comics, February 28. It’s futuristic action adventure that grabs you by the throat with it’s mechanical arms and doesn’t let you go until the last page.

Busted Knuckles Babe(s) Of The WeekThe Smallville Babes
– Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Erica Durance

Okay, this week I couldn’t make up my manly mind so I picked all three of the ultra hot babes from the TV show Smallville; the exotic yet cute, Kristin Kreuk, the sweet and smart girl-next-door, Allison Mack and the sassy and strong Erica Durance.

This is a “Beauopportunity” if ever there was one for all your red-blooded guys out there. Three for the price of having to read my words.

Support the show. It’s fun.

Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week

Fight Comics #13

In Fight Comics, everybody fights. This was some of the Golden Age’s best stuff. This particular issue is the crown jewel. Fight Comics #13 has one of the greatest comic book tough guys ever, Shark Brodie saving the damsel-in-distress from the Legion Of Satan right on the cover! Shark Brodie cruised the ocean taking care of manly business by droppin’ anchor on every psycho on the seven seas. With Shark it was fists first, questions if you lived. Every issue of Fight Comics was packed with tales of testosterone and fulfilled the wishes of every kid that ever wanted to right a wrong and throw a left. I hope one day to bring all of you the modern tales of Shark Brodie. I promise to carry the torch high.

The Roundup

Word in the cornfield is that DC Comics has finally bent to my iron will and will be collecting “The War That Time Forgot”. Here’s the solicitation for it:

    Written by Robert Kanigher
    Art and cover by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito

    Over 500 pages of classic adventures are included in this value-priced volume collecting one of the most unusual series ever from DC Comics! On an unnamed, uncharted Pacific island, dinosaurs continued to thrive while World War II raged across the globe. It’s there that members of the U.S. Military found themselves armed only with standard-issue weapons against the deadliest predators ever to roam the Earth!

    Advance-solicited; on sale May 2 ? 560 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

My hard suggestion to you is to put your order in for this RIGHT NOW. These are stories that need to be read and looked at. This is fun stuff at its most pure level. The only thing more fun would be Cowboys and Dinosaurs. You high brows can have your V For Vendetta and Sandman collections, but these reprints of “The War That Time Forgot” are the meat and potatoes of what truly fun comic books are all about.

I defy you to find a better way to spend $17.00 in comics.

I look forward to your input and ideas as always. I’m an easy guy to find. I try and answer everything sent this way when I can. Please know that I always read what you send. I appreciate your eyes, ears and thoughts.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin