Conundrums and Confoundments: No. 1 of a Series July 5, 2011 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hope all my U.S. readers had an enjoyable Independence Day. And I hope all of you, American or not, celebrated by reading an indie comic or watching an indie film!

This week I won’t be able to insert pics (will explain next time) so I’m going on a stream of semi-consciousness instead.

Hard as it may be to believe, even I get confused. Sometimes. Okay, a lot. Usually I eventually figure it out. Every now and then, though, Things That Bug Me linger on longer than they should. (And no, “Linger on Longer” was not the name of a Benny Goodman show tune.)

I figure everyone loves bullet points, so here’s a few things I’m aiming to answer. Maybe you can help.

  • Why are determinations of “number one” movies expressed in terms of total dollars grossed–which often has little to do with number of tickets sold, thanks to inflation, 3-D, Imax, and regional/national variations–when every other entertainment category is calculated using the simple metric of quantity?

Think about it: music albums and songs are measured in terms of quantity sold and/or downloaded. Video games and toys are measured by units sold. Magazines and comic books, numbers of readers/subscribers or issues sold. Novels and books? Number of copies sold (e-books in numbers of downloads).  TV shows are measured by numbers of viewers. Web sites, by individual visitors or number of hits. Even live sporting events are measured in terms of fan attendance, not ticket sales.

What the big-red-Mike-Mignola-character-birthplace is up with that? Surely theaters keep track of number of tickets sold. I couldn’t care less what a 3-D Imax flick made last year. Obviously Avatar is going to make more than the first Star Wars in 1977 or Gone With The Wind back in 1939 (a ten-to fifteen dollar movie vs. one that was a quarter or less? That’s comparing apples and orangutans. What truly matters is how many tickets were sold! How many people paid to see it?

Sure, I know the corporations behind the films want to recap their investments and make a profit, so they ultimately need to know the total receipts. But that idea applies to all the other forms listed as well. Why should movies be any different in terms of media coverage?

I’m confused. I just don’t get the logic behind it.

  • I recently ran across some Archie comics from about the late ’80s with a “Fawcett” logo on the cover.

Every price guide and database and online reference says all Archies were published by (of course) Archie Comics. What gives? I thought Fawcett got out of comics entirely after DC sued them for the popularity of Captain Marvel (I mean, “infringement of Superman”). I knew the company continued in publishing with various newsstand magazines, but what was the deal with Archies? Were they merely distributors? I asked on the ComicBase forum but no answer yet.

  • I often flip through “How to Draw ______” books at the bookstores. Sometimes to learn if they’re by folks I recognize and respect, sometimes to see how such a book is done (I’ve been preparing a proposal for my own for two years now–talk about dragging a process); and frankly, other times just to see how low the bar has been set for some.

I came across one that was promoted on LinkedIn by a major author of such books. The guy has the most serious credentials of anyone I’ve seen when it comes to these things. So I figure he must really know his stuff, right?

The one I perused was an anatomy book for a certain genre of characters. Problem is, they’re human characters. Stylized yes, but the muscles and bones are still the same for all human figures. And this book had a few incorrectly-labelled  drawings. We’re talking either mislabled muscles, unlabled major muscles or muscles missing altogether. (And the ones that were not labelled were labelled in others.) And I only went through the first couple chapters.

While I don’t consider myself anything close to an Albinus or Vesalius, I’ve read and studied enough books and photos over the last (gulp) three-plus decades to know the difference between my gluteus maximus and my olecranon. And the book is flat-out incorrect.

It may sound picayune, but to me, if you’re doing an anatomy book, you’d better get it right. You have a responsibility to those that will study it and learn from it. Sure, it can be stylized (so-called “artistic anatomy”, like that in Burne Hogarth’s famous tome, which actually carries a disclaimer that it’s not meant to be medically accurate), but there’s a difference between stylization and Just Plain Wrong. Either on the author, art director or editor end.

The conundrum? I would love to “connect” with this gentleman on LinkedIn and hopefully make a mutually beneficial connection. I am honestly amazed and awed by his astonishing output and would like to congratulate him on his success, as an icebreaker. But the fact that this book, being sold to young impressionable artists who may go on to emulate the errors within, is being promoted enthusiastically with blatant errors bothers me.

Should I politely and humorously point them out to show I know what I’m talking about, impress him, and help my fellow artists? Should I ignore it and just gush like a fanboy? Should I lie outright and tell him it’s awesome so I make friends? Or should I buy the book, scan the art and make fun of it here? (Some choices obviously have more risks than others…)

As always, suggestions are welcome. Correct or not.

Okay, that’s it for now. Gotta get to bed and hopefully dream up some insights.

See you next time.

 

 

 

 

Thanks,

Mike

P.S.: Feel free to post your answers, theories, insults or anatomical bloopers below. And if you’d like an artistically anatomically accurate art commission, just ask Craig here.

 

 

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