Disney, Marvel, Tokyopop, Kodansha, ADV – and more

ADV , anime, comics, Disney, Kodansha, manga, Marvel, Tokyopop

So the Geekonomy has gone bugnuts crazy the last week.  Let's count the ways it changed:

  • Disney bought Marvel, giving them thousands of properties, control
    of more pop culture icons, and an endless parade of bad cartoons of
    Wolverine/Mickey Mouse fusions.
  • Kodansha is ending its licensing deal with Tokyopop.
  • ADV seems to be transferring it's properties to a holding company, making it sound like they're basically dead.

And I was worried about the Everything Wars.

First of all, let me state I DO NOT see this as part of the
Everything Wars – those are battles over technology and access.  THis
is what I've called the Secondary area of the Everything Wars – content.

there's a lot to chew over.  So in this analysis, let me do the chewing
– and figure out what it means for you in your career.

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Facebook and distribution

Idle speculation time here.

With Facebook pretty much dominating social media, and having obvious gaming aspirations, I began to wonder what else Facebook can deliver.  Once I began theorizing, I really began to wonder more.

Facebook could actually be useful as a way to distribute artistic (comic and manga) and written fiction.  Easy for alerts, easy to notify people it's ready, incredibly easy to get more fans to buy into it.  Nice, public distribution that makes people very aware of what their friends are doing and reading.

Facebook could be an excellent distribution platform – read the manga there, discuss it with your friends, etc.  There's already a lot of this in place now – and the widget creation could let OTHER companies do it while Facebook enjoys the piggybacking and additional attention (and possibly cash).

As its my firm belief community building is a big part of success for media efforts, especially new ones, Facebook is a logical place to try or do some of it.  You want to build and maintain an audience – that's one of the ways to do it very fast (with some limits).  A retained, happy, engaged audience buys more of your stuff when it comes down to it, and is more likely to want to see you at a con or invite you to one.

Do I think this is where media distribution is going?  No.  Part part of it doubtlessly will try, far more than is being done now.  I await seeing the results.

– Steven Savage

The Changing Role Model

I'm big on advising people to find role models to learn what to do (and what not to do).  However I've been darkly speculating that some role models as of late may not be as good as they once were because of changing economic and technological conditions.

Specifically, be careful of your role models in fiction writing, manga, and comics.  Those media who are experiencing rapid industry and distribution change.

I'm not saying you can't learn from your favorite artists and authors, but these are areas of the geekonomy that are underground rapid change.  Publishing is having issues, web distribution is up, serial fiction is poking around a potential comeback.  Written and graphic media is changing rapidly.

This means that even your best role model may have less to teach you as they became famous and respected in a different environment than you are.  Even someone who hit the big time as  a writer or artist or mangaka a few years ago was in a far different world than you are now.

So when you go looking for lessons from your favorite role models, keep in mind what is relevant today and what isn't.  You may even need to seek new role models to learn from.  Your comic idol from ten years ago may have less to teach you than you can learn from Penny Arcade or Girl Genius today.  There may be no new J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer ever – their success stories may be no longer relevant.

What made success even a few years ago is not the same as today in some media markets..  It's a hard lesson, and it makes learning from others harder, but it's something we have to face.

As for what is coming next?  We'll, I've been speculating and may try that in another column . . .

– Steven Savage