By Christian Beranek
Recap: Last column found our favorite CB not only without pizza — but a future as well!
I had been sitting in my house for over thirty minutes listening to a guy from the future go on and on about the end of comics. He seemed kinetic, erratic and perhaps a little bit drunk — oh yeah, and he said his name was Bill.
I had had enough, so I made the future harbinger of present-to-his past of our future doom get to the point:
“So Bill, when exactly did comics start to fall apart? What led us to The Collapse of 2021?”
“Comics got cocky. You see, in 2009, despite your weakened economy, the medium is thriving. The kissing cousin relationship with movies may be considered the driving force, but it’s actually the quality of the product that is the lifeblood — and those librarians and educators are slowly building support. But in 2009 comics still feels like the bastard step-child not allowed any ice cream.”
“Comics as in the comic industry?”
“No, comics as comics. It’s all one thing, whether it be a superhero book or a webcomic. It all comes from the same place. That’s what they forget as the new media ploughs ahead. They fragment more and form gangs. The bigger gangs squash the little ones. But it just dilutes everything and turns off readers. The base shrinks. The island gets smaller. Then there’s no room — no room I say! In 2021 the island collapses in on itself!”
“I get it. So readership continues to erode.”
“Yes. In 2009 on average there are only a few hundred thousand comic readers in the US. Sure, that’s four times the amount of people who survived the Cylon attack that destroyed the colonies in Battlestar Galatica, but it’s not a massive number. You start losing one, then you lose another and comics doesn’t work to replace the lost audience. They are like dinosaurs in the tar pits, not aware they are sinking. They look over at each other and say ‘Hey Big One, does it feel like we’re sinking?’ And the other one replies: ‘No, we’re totally fine. Say, do you smell any water around?’”
“Bill, you sure are dramatic and full of it. So, what exact event led to The Collapse? Was it Amazing Spider-Man #583? Final Crisis #6? Youngblood #8?”
“Youngblood #8 still hasn’t come out.”
“Yes I am. Liefeld is not the problem. He gave us Cable, c’mon!” Bill paused. It sounded like he was downing a beer. I wondered what future brew would taste like… And then: “No, things like ASM #583 and Final Crisis #6 were just more gimmicks. Comics has always used those to attract attention and drive extra sales. They were harmless — except for the poor mother who got turned away when she arrived too late to pick up a copy of the Obama variant. Her puppy dog eyes welled up with tears. All she wanted was a copy for her kids so they could know what hope is.”
“Comics are unforgiving, Mr. Beranek. You have not learned that yet?”
“No, I still believe in them. It is the greatest medium in the world. I love them. I love the damn things.”
There was a long pause.
“Then I was right to call you. Mr. Beranek, you must do something for comics. Your own little small part in this grand play: You have to go on an adventure. To show them. To remind them of how great comics have been, are and will continue to be.”
“I don’t know if I have it in me. I have sold off everything to print books, survived hurricanes, nagging girlfriends with deadly ultimatums and smelled the convention air one too many times. Plus, I think I’m going to follow the LCD and batten down the hatches to ride out this economic storm.”
“NO!” Bill screamed. “No, that is exactly what you SHOULDN’T do.”
“Then what SHOULD I do? And Bill, stop yelling at me.”
HERE’S AN EXCERPT FROM THE EXCITING CONCLUSION OF FUTURE PERFECT:
“Mr. Beranek, dragons don’t exist.”
I lowered my sword. The Dean of Education at Stanford University sighed in relief.
“Damn you, they do!” I said. “I’ve ridden them to the ends of the world and back!”
News bites from CB:
CB will be at Phoenix Comicon this coming weekend. I’ll be sharing a table with Raven Gregory. In addition, Willow Creek co-creator Josh Medors is making the trip from Columbus, Ohio. I have a very limited number of copies of Willow Creek #0 and #1 on hand so get ‘em while they’re hot.
Here are the panels I’ll be on and website info:
Friday 4:30:00 PM Palo Verde 2
Writing for Comics: Seasoned veterans talk about the craft of creating comics.
Featuring: Christian Beranek, Mike Bullock, Shannon Denton, Tim Seeley
Saturday 4:30:00 PM Conference Theater
Comics to Film: Learn the ins and outs of Hollywood and what it takes to put your story on the silver screen.
Featuring: Christian Beranek, Raven Gregory, Tim Seely
MAX PAYNE PREQUEL
I co-wrote an animated prequel for the Max Payne Unrated DVD. You can read more about it here.
Christian Beranek co-founded and runs Disney’s Kingdom Comics alongside Ahmet Zappa and Harris Katleman. CB has a first look film/TV deal with Disney/ABC. He has several projects in development around town including Dracula vs. King Arthur, based on the graphic novel he co-created. He is currently working on his first novel and an album. CB is never late for dinner and invites you to add him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/beranek