9 thoughts on “Ro-Busters at The Yellowed Pages

  1. Pat – That is truly a shame. Just because workers had no rights back in the day, doesn’t mean it’s too late to make amends. If we had some sort of ‘fair-trade’ stickers to slap on art, very few publishing houses would get any to put on their books.

    What artists lack is a union. I don’t know how it is in the UK or the US, but here, in Sweden, it’s a dog-eat-dog situation where people are prepared to not only sell out themselves to get published or get some media time, but also step on and backtalk colleagues. And no one seems to mind. But then again, maybe my disgust and incomprehension of the whole system is a class-thing? If someone had treated a work mate like that at my last job, I used to work as a metalcutter, before I got sacked (my day-job, so to speak), he would have had his ass handed to him. We were all united in hatred for our bosses.

    Thanks for your comments. I find it hilarious that someone felt the need to include an ad for a magazine that about 98% of the buyers are already familiar with.

    I’m glad you’ve managed to retain control of Marshal Law, since it’s a big favourite of mine, it means a lot to me on a personal level, and I’d hate to see it besmudged by cynic money-shufflers. I’m actually a bit worried about the forthcoming edition from DC. Which sounds lame, but hey, art sticks to you. Defines you, even. I get more soppy when it comes to other people’s art, than my own (or what you might call it), even though I can deeply sympathise about pouring your heart into a work and then see it mangled and distorted by editors or publishers. It’s not a good feeling. But I usually get more angry when it happens to others, than to myself.

    Bristle – Likewise! There’s just no excuse for some of the soddy re-prints. I can understand why some collections of pre-code comics look the way they do, with the majority of the material lost, but for modern books? No way. It’s all about the money. It’s very much a modern day business idea, the short term profit, to appease the shareholders or maximise the net worth of the brand. The very thought of product quality is regarded as old-fashioned.

    When it comes to comics, the US and UK business is well-deservedly sinking into a rancid sinkhole. One they created themselves by pandering to just one group – moronic fan boys, who are clinging to character nostalgia instead of good stories. To such an extent that they even hire other moronic fan boys to write the same bloody stories over and over again in some scary sect-like cannibalistic-necrophiliac orgy.

    Again, as a comparison, the franco-belgian publishers continue to publish books for ALL ages. For kids there are stuff like Yakari, for older girls Lulu, for teens Les Nombrils or what not. There’s also all sorts of books for adults and even as an adult, I can still get a kick out of the kid books, since they’re written in a way that elevates the reader, instead of sinking to a presumed level of idiocy or shallowness. Clearly, long term thinking at work, that encourage people to read, by providing them with good entertainment, written by people who have something interesting to share.

    Okay. Admittedly, that got a bit like… a saliva bursting, red-faced rant. Sorry. Anyways, thanks for answering, the both of you. It made my day to notice I’m not alone with these thoughts. Keep up everything and keep kicking ass.

    • Your rant is very welcome, CJ. And the whole fan thing you’re talking about I agree with and is mirrored by the next Dredd blog I write “Don’t mention the silver surfer”. This describes how it happened at the very beginning of 2000AD and was initially very good, but ultimately sort of bad. It will be a little while yet because I need to back up very much what you’re saying with as much evidence as I can locate.

      The standard excuse for decline, as you detail, is, “Oh, they’re French – they don’t count”. So I’m priming some further ammo. Why? Not sure. Maybe catharsis, maybe to spur me on with future projects.

  2. Perhaps I could crave a plug for my own blog, Pat – http://kidr77.blogspot.com – yours is already listed in its blog list. I used to do a fair bit of lettering for 2000 A.D. some years ago, and I doubt you’ll remember, but we once spent an evening chatting in Glasgow at some event or other back in the mid-’80s. Anyway, feel free to take a look at my blog and hopefully recommend it. Thanks.

  3. What makes me angry (but not surprised) is how anglo-saxic publishing houses are so contantly penny-pinching cheap when it comes to reproductions. To them, they could as well be publishing bread, it’s all about the money.

    Just leafing through the books I can see the cogwheels of capitalism grinding on, wich is rather horrific since the art itself, speaking of 2000AD, is decidedly left-wing and pro-working class. One of the few out there in English-language and the big reason why I fucking love british comics.

    I’m constantly disgusted by US and UK publishers who on a consistent basis publish crap, while ignoring to re-print good material. When they finally do, it’s in a cheap package and when faced with criticism, there’s a legion of brainwashed fan-boys jumping down the heretic’s throats screaming about how the poor, poor publishers have got to eat and how it’s IMPOSSIBLE to print things in colour, restore the art to a decent level, afford hard covers and proper binding and give the creator’s a proper financial return. Impossible!

    Three cheers for slave-mentality. Sad fuckers.

    Compare this to the belgo-french industry. The French language is spoken as a 1st language by about a third of how many that has English as a 1st language. A fourth, when comparing it as a 2nd language. Still, they manage to put out everything in nice, over-sized hard cover, editions with good reproduction and solid, sewn bindings and keep classics in print year after year. If I’m not mistaken, creator’s rights are respected a hell of a lot more as well and contracts are similar to what you get as a novellist. At least I can confirm that they are in Scandinavia, where we are perhaps not as good with the deluxe editions, but there are at least publishers who try. One or two.

    I’ve often asked myself why. I can’t come to any other conclusion than that it’s a question about the concept of culture, as in the meaning of the respect and will to perserve and encourage art, by transcribing to it a greater meaning and purpose, than just treating it as a capitalistic product, which exists only to accumulate financial gains.

    In any case, it’s cool to see the pages in colour. For me, the first time. I always grind my teeth when I see Charley’s War or any of the Titan or Rebellion re-prints, with those horrible scanned, and very dark two-spreads that originally were in colour or red or whatever.

    • Great comments, CJ. And you are so right. It is to do with Anglo-Saxon attitudes to culture and art which is still – to this day – very “rough and ready”. Hence why I worked a lot for France, because there’s a real appreciation of the beauty of comic books there. We are slowly getting better, but I fear it will take at least another generation to make a difference. And contracts too are far better in Europe. Thus Joe and I receive nothing for the reproductions of Charley’s War in Titan editions. It’s the responsibility of Egmont who control rights to Battle and Action. Ironically, they are a European publisher, but are very British when it comes to rights. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    • If there was a ‘Like’ button I would have pressed it on your post, CJ!

      The frustrating thing is that even if the original artwork is not available – and oh by Jove if that’s not another can of worms! – it is entirely feasible, with effort, expertise and a little time, to scan and ‘clean up’ from newstand comics using widely available desktop software so that artwork is crisp, text readable and the overall ‘feel’ of a strip as originally read is retained.

      David MacDonald proved this with his two Hibernia Books reprints – Doomlord and The Thirteenth Floor: both look excellent, and in some respects outstrip the reproduction quality on (for example) the Charley’s War hardback volumes.

      It’s not just about throwing money at something – though if you are a giant publishing company, then there is no excuse for not investing as much as is needed into a project if you expect people to buy your product. It’s about showing respect to your artists and authors, to the work itself, and to your customers & readers.

      • Well said!

        The French proved their respect – yet again – by doing their version of Charley’s War with colour pages reproduced in colour,

        I think one of the worst examples of lack of respect was a Dermot Power Slaine Treasures of Britain Hamlyn collection – which had an in your face advert for Judge Dredd opposite the beautiful last page and Dredd saying, “Buy 2000AD, creeps” or similar, in a bold balloon.

        Actually, it may have been Titan. I cringe – like you guys – at such insensitivity. Where possible, creators try and retain some element of input and control. This happens on Clint Langley’s Slaines – and Marshal Law – and the difference is crystal clear.

  4. I’m currently re-reading the entire Ro-busters saga but none of my reading material (Rebellion complete Ro-busters, Titan Ro-busters book 1 and 2 and 2000 AD extreme edition) has the colored pages. It’s nice to see them here! Thanks.

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