Saturday, November 24, 2007

One Banner #3- Submission and Approval

Continuing my history lesson of the rightly-doomed-from-the-start Christian Comics Conglomerate, circa 2003.

The Conglomerate Mastermind (I thought about abbreviating this but I really really like typing it every time) nominated himself to head the approval board for any comic that would apply to the Conglomerate. As a reminder, the Mastermind (to our knowledge) had no credentials, no comic book background, no theological background and no business background that any of us were aware of. So if you thought the marketing plan was fun, this should really crack you up.

This was where several people seemed to come out of the woodwork and offer their opinions. The Mastermind listened to everyone, I will give him credit for that. He was not as ornery or defensive as many are on the board (including me). He was smart enough to want to be the dumbest guy in the room (mission accomplished) and took in loads of input before making decisions. The discussion went on for a few weeks, each day getting more ludicrous than the last.

This was just one of the decisions: Quality was not going to be a factor in the approval process.

That's correct. If someone was submitting an 8-page photocopied b&w ashcan comic that he’d drawn and lettered with his feet, or someone else was submitting a glossy 48-page full-color graphic novel with amazing art and a well-thought-out story, they would both be privy to the same approval process. This was to ensure that untalented artists were not discriminated against. Because, you know, that would be unfair, and sad, and we don't want to leave anyone out.

Borrowing from Groucho Marx, pardon me while I have a strange interlude.

(It’s a good thing our police force selects fit, intelligent candidates. It’s a good thing that the airlines select thin attendants. It’s a good thing that many years of medical training are required to be a doctor, and exam is required to become a CPA, a good speaking voice is a must if you’re a radio DJ. If you want to work for Marvel or DC you have to display certain elements of consistency, competency and quality to your skill. But by golly, how many times have we all heard ferociously bad singing from a church choir, bumped into inept church board members, complained how bad most Christian music is, snored through a monotone sermon and had to grin and fake it to encourage horrible, cheesy, badly drawn Christian cartooning?!? “Having a heart for it” isn’t enough- if God has told you to jump into this pool, then in my opinion you’re obligated not just to do it but to get GOOD at it. Quality in presentation should always be an overriding factor in whatever we do, if we want to glorify God with it.)

The Conglomerate, to clarify, was not setting out to be a publisher or an editor. The purpose was to create some name brand product recognition and to allow for an avenue of marketing not otherwise available to small-press indy Christian comics. However, in yoking the talented with the untalented the "brand" would become its own worst enemy.

Let's say Blue Bunny Ice Cream (my favorite brand) put its name on Brussell Sprout flavored ice cream. Very quickly, Blue Bunny would become know for putting out crap. Now, that doesn't seem right, does it? After all, there was some well-meaning flaor technician at Blue Bunny whose heart was in it. Wasn't her fault that the public didn't like her idea. Well, yeah it is. She misread the public. She didn't do her homework. She didn't take the time to get to know her trade. And in the end she brings the brand down, despite the fact that the rest of Blue Bunny's line is oh-so-yummy.

Same thing here.

So what, exactly, was being approved you may ask?

Next installment: The Ratings System.


Mark said...

man...this is bringing back so many great memories. I forgot all about all this!!!

lightbulbcomics said...

I like Blue Bunny too! 2nd only to Ben & Jerry's.