Of Hobbyism, Logos & Innovation

By | Thursday, November 04, 2010 1 comment
Over at The Learned Fangirl, Keidra responds to a Salon article in which the author rails against National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as a "breeding ground of sub-standard literature, filling amateur novelists with false hope of publication and a potential audience." Keidra goes on to make a distinction between writing-as-a-profession and writing-as-a-hobby, and take umbrage that the Salon author can't seem to even fathom a distinction there. I respond there with a note about the teachings of capitalism and Western vs Eastern philosophies. The parallels with comics creation should be obvious.

Over at Modern Alchemy, Matt begins an examination of Fantastic Four logos used over the years. This first post focuses on the original design and its modifications over the years. My response there adds in a few obscure/esoteric details.

This morning, I attended a webinar hosted by Beth Comstock (Senior VP of Marketing at GE) featuring Chris Trimble, author of The Other Side of Innovation. He spoke mainly about trying to be innovative in a corporate culture that generally runs at direct odds at innovation. What was striking (from a comics perspective) was that how he showed just how badly corporations are being innovative -- even places like Google. It's easy to see how/why big corporate publishers like Marvel and DC, while allegedly in the business of being creative, inadvertently stifle themselves all the time. And I don't mean this to be malicious towards those publishers; it's just the nature of being a large corporation almost inherently puts you at odds with generating new ideas. I was reminded of a anecdote from the 1980s when somebody asked what Jack Kirby thought the next big thing in comics was going to be. He responded that he didn't know, but it would almost certainly come from some person you'd never heard of working out of his basement or back room.

Also, in a comics nod, Trimble referred to as myth the notion of some lone individual in an organization that comes up with a brilliantly innovative idea and fights the corporate bureaucracy to see it realized. This "Innovation Man" as he called him (Trimble's drawing below) was only as real as Superman. Which is to say: that never happens in real life.

Finally, I'll unfortunately be out of town during this weekend's Mid-Ohio-Con but the S.O. and I will be dining with the State Representative Elect of Illinois' 56th district and her family. That's not really comic related at all, but I'm really proud of and thrilled for Michelle; she and I go back almost 20 years and I know how hard she's worked for this. Congrats again, 'Chelle!
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Matt K said...

Thanks for the incoming link, man.

Very cool about your old friend; winning as a Democrat in this election was definitely an accomplishment.