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dave roman

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talking about the future [Feb. 8th, 2009|07:30 pm]
dave roman
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My panel at ICV2 was so early in the morning I thought I'd be completely incoherent. But I guess some people thought I made sense.


A panel discussion between Ira Rubenstein, executive vice president of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group, Dave Roman, cartoonist and associate editor of Nickelodeon Magazine, and Stuart Levy, chief executive officer of Tokyopop.

Roman: Most people I know and that I’ve talked to don’t read books more than once. There is that collector mentality, but that’s a very niche comic book mentality that has to do with rarity and collectibility that will not exist digitally. The idea of a rare digital file may never really happen. So the idea of convincing somebody to pay for a book when so much reading online is free…that’s the reason newspapers are dying, because a newspaper would want to charge for their content – for like an editorial or something – but some blogger can do it for free, and for the most part people don’t care.

Rubenstein: But Dave, I think there’s a difference. No one can write about Spider-Man or X-Men except for us.

Roman: I disagree.

Levy: Totally.

Rubenstein: Those are our characters. How could someone else write another Spider-Man story?

Roman: Because fan fiction is becoming so powerful. I’ve seen the power of fan fiction. Working at Nickelodeon, there are people out there doing ‘Avatar’ comics that are soooooo much better…

Rubenstein: But that’s like saying YouTube is a real entertainment channel. It’s not.

Roman/Levy/like five people in the audience: It is.

Roman: I do think the future is more with the multi-platform things. Kids today are growing up with these devices so the learning curve is not there as it is in older fans. A lot of older comic book readers seem to have a tough time with web comics because it’s not what they’re used to. There’s this divide with reading in print and reading on screen, but with the younger kids you find more and more that they don’t have that problem. "

More here:


[User Picture]From: mildmannered
2009-02-09 12:53 am (UTC)
Oh man, Ira, CATCH UP.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-09 03:19 am (UTC)
I actually enjoyed talking with him even though we had some differing opinions.
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[User Picture]From: k0dama
2009-02-09 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm severely tempted to make a knock off sailor moon comic, but I wasn't sure if it would be okay to sell a fanmade work.

Then again, in Japan, they seem to do it all the time, which is where sailor moon is from.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-09 02:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, the Doujinshi scene hasn't really taken off here in the states just yet. There are some quality works but certainly not in that large quantity.
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[User Picture]From: rufftoon
2009-02-09 02:32 am (UTC)
I'm not sure a Doujinshi would work. Aren't the big companies here really trigger happy when it comes to the copyright laws? I don't think anyone could see a full comic with characters that aren't theirs.
Hey, mine were "donations"! I didn't make a cent.
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[User Picture]From: smuu
2009-02-09 01:20 am (UTC)
Excellent outfit co-ordination on the panel, btw!
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-09 02:10 am (UTC)
We're all business and synergy!
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[User Picture]From: ali_wildgoose
2009-02-09 01:26 am (UTC)
I love you, Dave Roman <3
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[User Picture]From: rufftoon
2009-02-09 01:52 am (UTC)
Do love your answer to Ira and the rest of the panel. Right on the nose.
Wish the whole thing was online somewhere (hey, maybe it will be!).

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[User Picture]From: dungeonwriter
2009-02-09 02:00 am (UTC)
I wish I had been there, I'd have cheered you. You get the fandom. You get us so well.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-09 02:10 am (UTC)
ha! thanks!
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[User Picture]From: dungeonwriter
2009-02-09 02:12 am (UTC)
It's so true. Fanfiction is making a huge dent, it's free, it's well written now and they need to start noticing us. We're unruly, we masses, we fans, and you get that so well. SO nice to hear from you again, dinner last year was amazing!
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[User Picture]From: steveflack
2009-02-09 04:58 am (UTC)
The problem with fan fiction is that 90% of it is crap. That 90% will always cause the 10% of quality work to be ignored.
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[User Picture]From: dungeonwriter
2009-02-09 04:59 am (UTC)
You could say the same thing about published books, sadly.
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[User Picture]From: emsariel
2009-02-11 05:24 am (UTC)
YES. Thank you.

I read very little fanfiction, but what I have read has been extremely good (or so bad that it's hilarious). That's true for me because I only end up reading fanfiction that has gotten a whole bunch of recommendations from people that I trust-- things that several people or sites have cited, outside of the usual fandom circles, as being really good.

In other words, what I've read has been through an editorial process. I think you have a point, Steve-- because most fanfiction is online, and there's little editorializing online, it's easy to see fanfiction on the whole as unedited or crappy. It is easier to encounter bad fanfiction than bad printed material.

But laid up against the print equivalent --not just what publishers print but their slush piles as well, everything they decide not to print-- fanfiction does just fine.
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[User Picture]From: kayjkay
2009-02-09 02:19 am (UTC)
Oooooh executives. You silly people. :)
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[User Picture]From: nenimo
2009-02-09 02:26 am (UTC)
I think the idea of rarity in a digital age is possible, but it has to be in the product itself like customization/personalization, not in the distribution. If you make a product with a certain level of personalization for someone then pirates can copy that product a million times over and it makes no difference because their copies are just carbon copies and don't generate the personal attachment of having something made for you.
Just an idea. :D

not only did you make sense but I think you said things that really needed to be said. Fans can say stuff but it often gets ignored as fan noise. you really seem to understand fans, and that's an awesome quality to see in a creator.
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[User Picture]From: marionv
2009-02-09 02:47 am (UTC)
Awesome. I knew somebody had to have a transcript!
lol @ 'like five people in the audience' ;)
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[User Picture]From: tohoscope
2009-02-09 05:42 pm (UTC)
"No one can write about Spider-Man or X-Men except for us."

What? I guess Ira never read comics and then tried to draw his own as a kid.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-11 10:08 pm (UTC)
I think an interesting thing to add to the conversation is that something like Spider-Man and X-Men have been written by so many different people and re-imagined "officially" in so many ways that it can get confusing since there isn't always a clear vision. Where as say JK Rowling is the only writer to officially write Harry Potter and most Manga writers are the only ones to touch their creations. And yet there are so many fan fics for those properties!

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[User Picture]From: andrewfarago
2009-02-09 11:47 pm (UTC)
It bothers me that the second post out of the gate was--I wanna do a fan-comic; how can I make money off of it?

It's one thing if these comics are being done for love of the characters, but it seems wrong for people to be making a profit off of their ongoing series utilizing an unauthorized, unlicensed version of someone else's characters.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-02-10 02:53 pm (UTC)

Fan Fiction, Homage, or Archetype?

Attending that panel, when Mr. Rubenstein made that comment about not being able to play with someone else's characters, I wanted to jump up and shout, "What about Squadron Supreme?!" (Which, as many people know, and which is mentioned in the introduction to the graphic novel, is Mark Gruenwald creating a version of the Justice League of America so that he could have them fight the Avengers.)

And then you have Don Rosa, who created Lancelot Pertwillaby so that he could draw Uncle-Scrooge-like stories, and who adapted one of his stories into "Son of the Sun", his first Uncle Scrooge story.

Oh, and I'm one of those "collectors"... (Actually building a library...) I try to read "Watchmen" once a year. Just re-read "True Story Swear to God". Bought the first two hardcovers of "Justice League International", which I first read when I was a teenager.

And do not forget, it's the "collectors" who put "Calvin and Hobbes" on the bestseller list, after they first read the daily strip in the newspaper.

Also, there are the Collectors who reread, and there are Collectors who are fans and want a paper collection to own because they love the strip.

My biggest criticism of the early morning panels? No mention of Cory Doctorow, Creative Commons licenses, and no mention of the many ways websites are making money. (Boom Studios placing a free copy online, retailers complaining because they weren't notified, retailers selling out of the comic which was previewed. Monty Python placing their videos on YouTube with links to Amazon, and sales increasing 23,000 percent. Mr. Doctorow placing his book, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, as a free download, and watching the sales of the paper edition continue to sell nicely.)

Go read Doctorow's "Content". You can get a FREE digital copy here:

Torsten Adair
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-10 06:06 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree. That's why things like the Avatar doujinshi and the Life Meter anthology were sold for donations rather than profit.
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[User Picture]From: phthoggos
2009-02-11 04:56 am (UTC)
I'm sorry I missed the morning stuff! That's a pretty telling exchange right there.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2009-02-11 05:12 am (UTC)
Thanks! And it was good talking with you. Hope Top Shelf had a great show!
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