I was encouraged to read about Heroes Union #1 on several levels! Let me tell you why!
A QUICK SUMMARY
A few days ago, the aforementioned press release about Heroes Union #1 was posted here at MajorSpoilers.com. Here’s the most important part:
Acclaimed writer Roger Stern (The Avengers, Captain America) joins celebrated artists Ron Frenz (Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man) and Sal Buscema (Captain America, The Defenders) to chronicle the explosive journey of a marvelous new generation of superheroes in The Heroes Union #1. Arriving August 4, 2021, this is the first of several planned releases to be made available as a modernized, Binge Book edition. Created by veteran TV writer Darin Henry (“Seinfeld,” “Futurama,” “KC Undercover”), Binge Books are tailored for today’s audiences used to “bingeing” their favorite content. At 68 pages, The Heroes Union #1 will be longer than the average comic, allowing for the complete, family-friendly adventure to be released all at once as a standalone story for $4.99.
I know that’s a lot of information, but there’s an important sentence beyond that:
The Heroes Union #1 reunites Stern and Frenz, the creative team behind the iconic Spider-Man story, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man,” (The Amazing Spider-Man #248).
Cudos to Mr. Henry for going “where few comics companies go” these days. Personally, I’m going to buy this book and support Binge Books wherever I can!
SOME NAMES YOU SHOULD RECOGNIZE
Hands up anyone who knows just who Roger Stern and Ron Frenz are. Extra points to those who recognize the names Sal Buscema and Brett Breeding!
All of these creators have shoulders upon which the comics industry has recently been built, not to mention talent!
If you don’t know who these people are, google them right now! You SHOULD know them!
The biggest loss to the comics industry from the pandemic, in my estimation, is that we haven’t seen these creators at conventions at all for over a year. (A quick aside—I’m hoping things are starting to get back to “normal” since there are at least two conventions going on while I am writing this column. And there are even more coming in the weeks and months ahead!)
I also grieve that we don’t see these names or their talents on display in other comics on the stands these days. Again, they SHOULD be!
If I was to start talking about these talented creators, that would take up several columns alone! But I hope that Mr. Henry will look around the industry and give some work to other comics “veterans” being overlooked, I believe.
People like Jerry Ordway, Kevin Maguire, Mike Zeck, John Beatty, Walter and Louise Simonson, Devin Grayson, Ann Nocenti, and many, many others. They still have the chops to turn out great comics. Why aren’t they?
WHY I’M FRUSTRATED WITH SHOW ‘BUSINESS’
When this topic comes up, I’m always reminded of the Janet Jackson song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Then I have to wonder, how many people today even know who Janet Jackson is?
I know I’ve used the phrase show business a lot in this column, but there are good reasons for it. As much as I would love comics to be an industry that didn’t need to make money, it does. It often comes down to numbers—How much did a comic sell? Did it make a profit? Can comics companies afford to pay creators what they are worth?
We often see companies turn to artists who live overseas for several reasons. First of all, they may not cost nearly as much as “American” creators. The cost of living outside the U.S. may not be as high as it is here. That can make people with names I’m not yet as familiar with more appealing to companies like DC and/or Marvel.
They want to make money, too, of course!
Seems like fans will buy comics created by artists they don’t recognize even more than ones they do!
And that’s aggravating! Not that we should NOT buy comics from creators outside the United States. It’s that we should ALSO buy the ones with names we do recognize!
I’M SUPPORTING CREATORS WHO THINK OUTSIDE THE ‘BOX’
I’ve often said on my podcast that Kickstarter projects are a podcaster’s best friend! Creators who use crowdfunding to keep their talents in the public’s eye deserve all the support we can give them!
Two names immediately jump to mind as I think about this—Karl Kesel and Ron Randall.
Mr. Kesel has brought a terrific book to fans through Kickstarter, and it’s called Impossible Jones. I’ve interviewed him about this book, and he enjoyed telling Harley Quinn stories so much he made up his own version of the character! Smart thinking!
Also, Randall has been creating Trekker stories for years, and they always sparkle! Again, Kickstarter has been the avenue for him to receive fan support that allows him to make these tales happen!
It may be that someday a comics company or two might look at these titles and make them more generally available to fans. I hope so!
I also hope that comics companies might send some work their way—if they can fit it into their already busy schedules!
I’m always intrigued by the fan who says, “That’ll never happen to the creators I like!” I think the person who buys into that notion is in for a HUGE surprise, and likely sooner rather than later!
I was talking with a creator whose name you would very likely recognize. I congratulated him on getting work at, shall we say, a certain “house of ideas.” His response was: “My career is over now. I have nowhere else higher to go.”
I told him that, as long as he continued to create excellent stories, he’d still have faithful fans and that he would help other “boats” rise if he worked for other companies. We would not desert him.
I don’t know if he believed what I told him, but at least I feel that way! I hope it encouraged him some, at the very least!
I would love to see other industry people follow Binge Book’s lead and send more work to these “experienced” comics creators. I also hope that many of us fans would continue to support these excellent writers and artists. I want more from them!
What do you think? Are you more or less likely to buy a comic with a name you recognize? Are you more or less likely to buy a comic with a name you don’t recognize? Or does that matter at all to you? Please be sure to share your thoughts below!