The Wrong Way to go about Doing Promos

November 10, 2002

By Avi Green

Bill Jemas. How can he do it, you ask? I mean of course, how can he go about making farfetched insults against DC comics, belittling them by calling them “AOL comics” and other appalling descriptions? Or, how can he go around behaving like an elitist, saying that “we’re better than anyone else?”

In the past year or so, since his going on such a big campaign to promote Marvel, he’s been resorting to some of the most exaggerated accusations against many of Marvel’s rivals in business, not the least of which was slander. In example, taken from an interview with Marvel’s loyal servant Newsarama:

"Joe (Quesada) and I told the Comics Code Authority figures that we felt comics are supposed to be about having fun and making money and we didn’t see how the Code was going to help us achieve either goal. DC, Dark Horse, and Archie said they needed the Code to protect them from their own American government. They told us that they were afraid of everybody from the son of Senator McCarthy to the PTA and the Cub Scouts."

This was during the same time that he was quoted, all for the sake of media attention at any cost, as saying that he’d be willing to publish the 27th-28th issues of Wildstorm’s The Authority, which was put on hold during the time that the World Trade Center had been destroyed by the Taliban, due to that one of the stories featured a scenario that was startlingly reminicient of that tragic day on 9-11-2002.

It’s an understandable step that Wildstorm took. So why then did Bill Jemas want to make such an outrageous statement?

For a very simple reason. He wanted media attention, at any cost. To say the least, he’s been going by the very iffy idea that “any publicity is good publicity.”

While he for one may not be worried about what it could do to his own personal image, be assured: not all publicity is good publicity, and what he’s said could be damaging, and it’s already shown as such. Last year, Marvel appears to have lost the deal they had to get Elektra used as a digital supermodel, and some of their other toy related deals petered out too.

I know that DC, in their turn, probably isn’t the least bit bothered by their pointless insults, but even so, it’s ludicrous that Jemas should be doing things like this, especially when they’ve got the upcoming JLA/Avengers miniseries being worked upon.

If Jemas wants to mend any ties that’ve been damaged, he’s going to have to start turning over a new leaf, and if he must criticize DC, then he’s going to have to do it for legitimate reasons, and not by tearing them down pointlessly. By making pointless and unfounded jabs at them, all he's doing is making himself and his own company look like a joke, and dismaying more than plenty of fans and people in public alike. And that, to say the least, will not bode well for his public reputation.

The end of the letter columns for DC and Marvel?

As you probably know by now, Marvel, followed by DC, have decided to cease publication of letter columns in their comics.

While some may argue that, with the invention of internet message boards, letter columns in comic books are no longer needed, believe me, it’s a sad thing due to the fact that now, readers will no longer be able to take pride in having a letter of theirs published if they do, so that then, everybody can see it in print for years to come, everywhere in the world.

I do know that in recent years, they both all but stopped publishing letters with negative comments in them, and that could certainly be a detractor. Maybe that does count as a fault, but even so, it’s still very sad to see the letter pages go.

As a writer to Scripps-Howard News’ Andrew “Captain Comics” Smith for a few years, I could get many of my letters published along with many other people without the worry that there wouldn’t be much room in his letter files for many of them on the old website he once had. The letter pages from DC and Marvel of course, being something done in print, don’t have that kind of room (not to mention that they were even reducing the text size quite noticably), but even so, getting a letter published in the comics themselves is an honor and a joy. In fact, in recent years, DC even came up with the idea of using messages copied from their own message boards and printing them in the letters pages.

DC at least, has an alternative to the letters pages in the meantime: they’re going to publish an editorial that provides inside information about what’s being done in many of their projects. As for Marvel, I cannot say just now. They no longer have a message board on their site, supposedly because they couldn’t handle it, and I’m not sure what they’ve even got in their comics themselves.

Sure, interaction on internet forums (I mean other than Marvel, of course) is now possible. Joe Quesada’s got his own board if anyone wants to see about it, and Geoff Johns’ site has one too that’s one of the most interesting on the web. But it still doesn’t replace the pride one can have in sending a letter to the company and telling them how much you do or don’t enjoy what they’re publishing right now. And that’s something that’ll end up being sorely missed in years to come.

Oh well, at least CrossGen’s still got them. And if you’re familiar with their great books too, you’ll be able to send them some opinions if you like. And who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky to get one of your letters published in their books as well.

Avi Green, who sent both DC and Marvel a few letters but never got any of them published, can be reached at avigreen2002@yahoo.com

Copyright 2002 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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