On Business: Room for All

By | Monday, September 11, 2017 3 comments
There are literally thousands upon thousands of comic and book publishers out there. And millions upon millions of people who buy and/or read those comics and books. Not every book is for every reader. Not every publisher is for every reader. And whether that's because you, as a reader, don't like the specific content being published, or because you, as a consumer, don't abide by the principles or morals of the writer or publisher is irrelevant. You are not going to buy/read every book out there. There's just too much.

In fact, maybe there's so much out there that there are books being published that literally no one but the author has read. I mean, statistically, that has to have happened, right? Somebody had an idea for a book, sat down to write it, self-published the thing, and then found out that absolutely no one was interested. And while that probably was emotionally disappointing, perhaps even angering, to the author, that really hurt no one. Some lost time and money on the part of the author, but that's pretty much it.

What about those books which have a really small audience? Maybe 100 people or less. Still valid, right? Same for 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000. Unless the book is actively advocating hurting or killing people, what's the harm in any publisher putting out whatever books they want.

So, yeah, obviously, I'm talking about the little dust-up around Yoe Books from last week. I don't know Craig Yoe; zero personal interactions with him. I've got a handful of his books, including some of the Big Boy comics when he did those back in the 1990s. None of them are really "high art" but they're not trying to be either.

I've heard people disparage Craig Yoe for around a decade now. Mostly complaints that he's self-centered, and more interested in promoting himself than anything else. As I said, I've never met him so I don't know how he acts in person, but I can see how his branding efforts look like that. But my thinking is... "Whatever. If he puts out something I'm interested in, I don't really give a shit if I might get along with him in person or not."

When I was first studying comics fandom, I found there was really only one guy writing specifically on comics fandom at the time. I bought some of his books, read through them, and then reached out because I had some additional questions. He did respond, but mostly by suggesting I buy his other books. The handful of other interactions I've had with him were similar, so I don't bother reaching out any more. He comes across as a salesman who doesn't want anything to do with you unless you give him money. I still buy some of his books, but I gave up trying to have any meaningful discussions or dialogue with him.

And that's okay.

He's not doing anything to hurt me or others, so he can keep publishing whatever he likes. It impacts me not at all.

If I find one of his books useful or entertaining, I might write up a positive review. If I find one trite or poorly done, I might write up a negative review. But it's about the work, not the individual. Same with Yoe Books. I might write a positive review of a book if I find it entertaining, and a negative one if I don't care for it. Although, more than likely, I wouldn't bother with a negative review because life is too short to worry about bad comics.

I know some people are out there thinking comics should be universally praised as "high art" and they're still defensive about years of a derogatory perception, but let it go, man! Not all art is for all people; just because a book doesn't meet your standards of what the medium should strive for doesn't mean you should attack those who don't agree with your standards. It's a big enough field that there's room for everybody.
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Britt Reid said...

"I'm talking about the little dust-up around Yoe Books from last week."

Link, please?

There isn't a single link for everything. It started with this piece over at The Comics Journal (http://www.tcj.com/craig-yoe-a-disservice-to-comics-history/) and devolved from there. I saw the discussion thread also running on Facebook, Twitter, and a few other places.

Britt Reid said...

Thanks for the link.
Had no idea there was such a hubbub going on!
Personally, I love the range of projects out there.
My personal gripe is the lack of "clean" repro in the books.
There's no reason some basic descreen/cleanup of color plates and "boosting" of black linework can't be done on scans from printed books.
It's just a matter of a little time/effort/money on the publisher/packager's part to do so, but most don't want to make the effort (or spend the cash).
For the record, I feel Yoe Books isn't the worst of the group.
PS Publishing is.
Though they have comics history deity Roy Thomas writing wonderful text material for their editions, and the packaging (covers/slipcases) is first rate, the interior repro is horrible!
I received the Captain Video book as a birthday gift and it was almost unreadable!