Insideman’s Piece of Mind™ Wading Through The Brackish Mire That Is Bluewater Productions

I do. Every fucking day.

And some days I actually do it. Scream my head off. People look at me and say, “Ian, chill. You’re going to give yourself a heart attack, man.” And you know what? I scream anyway… Because I truly believe that BOTTLING UP your emotions is a DEFINITE path to heart failure.

I am a passionate guy. I love just like I dislike. STRONGLY. But I try not to HATE casually. Hate is an emotion that I attempt to reserve for only the most contemptible of persons, creative endeavors or subjects. But I do bring hate out when needed. Sadly, for some people and subjects, it is the only descriptive term that FITS.

Similarly, I know I am an ACQUIRED TASTE. I completely understand this. You either love me or hate me. There is very little gray area in-between.

And that’s just the way I like it.

When I started acting professionally (and shortly thereafter, writing professionally) I was determined to make people FEEL… To have a reaction to whatever I was doing. To stir something inside of them. Otherwise, what would be the point? Why bother to put myself out there if all I did was elicit a YAWN of indifference? What a horrible fate, rolling through life-like a lazy marsupial– clinging to a branch barely moving– literally hibernating from life and the arts I supposedly loved so dearly.

That’s why I live the way I live. I work hard and I play hard. I love hard and I dislike hard. I am as compassionate and gracious as I am intractable and brash. It is, as a certain Charlie Sheen might say, “Just the way I roll.”

That is why the following ABOMINATION (masquerading as a comic book) makes me APOPLECTIC. Makes me see RED. Makes me want to HURL INVECTIVES until I no longer have the energy to GASP for air.

I knew this man.

And while there was a rather large disparity in our ages, George and I always got along really well… And I loved and admired him. I also feel qualified enough to say that I believe he would have HATED this comic with a PASSION… The very concept being abhorrent to him.

He would’ve also hated this HORRIFYING COVER… That looks more like a crazed, aged, drug-addled, thinner version of PAUL GIAMATTI than George Carlin. The homicidal humorless look, the overly elongated, white knuckled, poorly drawn hands that look frail AND angry– as if George is about to snap and throw his mic at an unseen audience member like a WWII Sticky Bomb.

Of course, I haven’t read the inside of this comic but I doubt it gets much better. (I’ve seen others from Bluewater. I know the drill.)

This book, whether it turns out to be totally respectful (leaping over any possible negativity) or not– amounts to seemingly little more than an assault on a dead manEXACTLY the kind of stuff that would quite possibly make George Carlin sick… And no amount of PR puffery can change that notion in my mind. It picks at the carcass of a deceased genius– simply in the name of profit. If there is a “somewhere” in the afterlife (a notion that George often boldly questioned), I am sure he is hurling many, many more than just the “Seven Dirty Words” that made him famous– and probably in several highly creative, colorful combinations that many of us have never even dreamed of.

This guy JUST DIVORCED the ONLY thing interesting about him

Most of these Bio-Comics are nothing more than perfunctory, lifeless shit. Stale wiki-padding slightly dressed up with hasty, unimaginative art. I wouldn’t be anywhere near as upset with the way these publications were presented if Bluewater would just have the BALLS to brand these books by calling them what that really are: Wiki-Comics™. Instead, we have to wade through paragraph after paragraph of PR from company wags describing these whatever-they-are as Biographies and/or Loving Tributes.

I have no doubt that some (and the KEYWORD in this sentence is SOME) of the talent that work on these comics are– besides hungry to break into the biz– also admiring fans of the subjects they have been hired to chronicle. That would make sense.

But in the end, it rarely seems to matter… As the whole enterprise of publishing this drek reeks of ANYTHING for a buck.

Which makes me wonder… What were the intentions of the people behind Bluewater… What were they thinking when they started their comic book company? Certainly they had higher ambitions than to simply re-purpose old celebrity news in comic book formats. Certainly no one wakes up and thinks to enter the notoriously “iffy” comic book business with these kind of publications as their highest artistic goal.

Right?

Sales apparently aren’t the impetus for publication either. While no complete sales figures are available (besides comic shops, Bluewater sells their books directly through many different retail outlets– including Amazon.com and eBay), NONE of their books made the most recent Diamond Distribution Top 300 Best Seller list. (For the record, the 300th Best Selling comic for the month surveyed sold a whopping 3,999 copies to comic shops– hardly anything to get orgasmic about.)

NEWSFLASH: Whoever's on this cover doesn't look like Justin Bieber

So why do it? What is the ATTRACTION of vomiting up this formulaic crap? There seriously cannot be any artistic satisfaction in producing these books… Leaving only the monetary considerations– which also seem minimal. So could they really be “creating” these trollop-y pamphlets simply for the publicity some of them generate? How do you make a living doing that? I do know that the publicity DOES seem to be an awfully BIG DEAL to the company. The press release for their Carlin comic makes an extreme point of trumpeting, “Bluewater’s biography comics have been covered by such mainstream media outlets as the Washington Post, The Today Show, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Forbes Magazine.”

Whoop-dee-fucking do.

I realize not everyone shares an overwhelming drive and ambition when they start a company– but there has to be more to this publisher than just wanting to read a couple of articles written about their output in the mainstream press.

So maybe they’re building toward something else… Using what little money and publicity these titles generate to create something else… Possibly several original books that would stand as a lasting legacy seemingly worth laboring over– more than this abysmal tripe.

Holy Artistic License, Lohan!

No such luck. A thorough look through Bluewater’s website seems to reveal the EXACT OPPOSITE. The company is obviously very high on new “umbrella” titles like INFAMOUS– with one issue already in the pipeline to feature the overly rambunctious Warlock Charlie Sheen.

The cover to INFAMOUS: Lindsay Lohan shows the actress in a ridiculously LOW CUT, REVEALING orange prison jumpsuit, holding a prisoner identification board complete with ID Number, flashing a sultry look and Quasi Peace/Gang Sign for a non-existent camera. (It is truly hard to tell from the shitty drawing whether the actress is supposed to be flashing a deliberate gang sign of some sort, pointing her fingers like a gun or is partaking in an awkward celebutard version of Rock, Paper, Scissors).

I can guarantee you– despite any possible protestations that might ever emanate from the Bluewater offices now or in the future– a photo of Lohan in this milieu, in this attire, flashing a gang sign does NOT exist ANYWHERE in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s photo files.

Raise your hand if you're DYING to read this...

This is all just so sad to me… Rather repugnant… And imminently forgettable. The anti-thesis of the impact I strive for in my professional pursuits. These books lack artistic merit and life… And they feed off the notoriety and misfortune of others– bringing up a VERY BIG DIFFERENCE between fictional sensationalism (think Mark Millar) and “biographical” sensationalism (think tabloid newspapers like the National Enquirer): Fiction is fiction. Life is real. Suffering, whether self-inflicted or not, is often agonizing and always unfortunate.

You should also note that almost every Bluewater “bio comic” that features a notorious public figure is also a Number One issue– and that’s it. Given the “boiler plate” assembly line nature of these titles, it makes sense that each one of these books is a “one-off” publication. But, again, bringing up the difference between reality and fiction… What happens when one of the wayward subjects of these comics unfortunately dies from their addictions or some other suspect activity?

... Or this scintillating extravaganza

Does Bluewater plan to publish a follow-up #2 as an “ALL NEW DEATH ISSUE”… Or will they simply start over with a flashy Number One again– under yet another “umbrella” designation like “INFAMOUS- The Grim Reaper Cometh?

Moving forward, it won’t matter to me. I’m done. I am so upset that the company decided to use Carlin as a subject for their COMICS line of books that I will NOT continue to buy the one comic that they publish that I actually DO admire: Their original take on William Shatner’s TekWar. (The Bluewater series is titled William Shatner’s Tekwar Chronicles.)

If they will “comic-tize” Carlin– the one man who anyone with a computer, a brain and ONE OUNCE OF SENSE should instantly realize would be offended by this posthumous treatment… Then it is clear to ME (at least) that they seemingly cannot possibly care about the man, his surviving family, his fans or comic book buyers.

Given that personal feeling, they won’t get dime one of my money ever again.

This entry was posted in BAD IDEA, Beyond the Pale, Book Reviews, Comics Commentary, Commentary, Conspicuous Consumerism, Controversy, Crap, Epic Fail, Ian MacMillan, IMJ REGULAR FEATURE, Insideman, Insideman's Piece of Mind™, Inveterate Media Junkies™ Exclusive, Inveterate Media Junkies™ Regular Feature, Mark Millar, Mystifying, Opinion, Perfect Preview™!, Ruh Roh! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Insideman’s Piece of Mind™ Wading Through The Brackish Mire That Is Bluewater Productions

  1. mattcd42(Wednesday's Serial) says:

    When I first saw these I thought it had to be a joke, some sort of off beat satire, when I flipped through and saw that they were just what you have described. For my peace of mind I had put them out of my mind, because as you’ve pointed out they’re not just another bad comic line on the shelves, they’re harmful to be in existence and it hurts me that in anyone’s mind this is related to the medium that I love so.

  2. J. says:

    Out of everything that you have written for the website, this is favorite piece. Very well said.

  3. jorge burgos says:

    Sorry to plug other websites but cammyscomiccorner did the same thing in audio form and agree on both him and you Ian on thus post people need to stop buying these comics and buy comicbooks that need buying

    • Insideman says:

      Jorge, you can plug any site you want! We don’t mind that at all.

      Nice to know so many agree with me.

      I remember seeing someone from Cammy’s posting a lot on Bleeding Cool until I got fed up with the bulk of the shit there. If memory serves, his posts were usually very insightful.

      I actually like the name Cammy’s Comic Corner. It’s very cute and catchy… I’m just glad he stopped there and decided not to get any cuter by spelling every word with a “K” in stead of a “C”. ;)

  4. Morlock50 says:

    Great posting, Insideman. This needed to be called out.

    But I thought I read somewhere that Bluewater was planning to start a line of superhero books based on the Greek/Roman gods, like they were going to have a contemporary Hercules and whatnot. Not that I’d ever spend money on it, of course.

    • Insideman says:

      Morlock, some kind of superhero line is mentioned on the home page of their site. It is only ONE post surrounded by a INNUMERABLE posts about various celeb books… So I didn’t bother reading it until just a few minutes ago. What you read was correct.

      I have, in the past, purchased their Isis and Blackbeard Legacy trades… Among a few others that featured actual “original” comic content (not celeb regurgitation). I found everything fairly unreadable until the surprising quality of Tekwar Chronicles.

      • Insideman says:

        P.S. Morlock… How is the baby? Getting any sleep yet? :D

        • Morlock50 says:

          More than I was a few months ago. Truth be told, my wife gets up most of the time during the week since she decided to quit her job and raise him full time, while I’m still working. I try to help her out on the weekends, but Helene bears the brunt of it. She’s definately my better half.

          My God, David is almost 9 months old. Time flies, man. It zooms.

  5. Allfather76 says:

    Loved this post Insideman, I couldn’t agree more. These books are an absolute waste – I would never even look inside any of these books anyway simply because of THE ABSOLUTE ATROCIOUS COVER ART. Who the hell draws these? They look NOTHING like the actual celebrities and would still be horrible even if they were fictional characters.
    Thanks for the great post!

    • Insideman says:

      I could not agree with YOU more, either!

      The only cover in the post that sort of looked like the intended subject was the piss poor Prince Harry line drawing that is obviously photo reference (as they mostly all are).

      The Ryan Reynolds cover looks more like Bradley Cooper or very young Luke Perry (just in the face… Luke was NEVER cut like that).

      I have NO CLUE what nondescript teen the Bieber cover is supposed to represent and the only thing the artist got right on Prince William was his teeth.

  6. tomstewdevine says:

    I own a comic book with George Carlin on the cover, but it’s not the one you’re talking about.

    Now I will finish your already good post.

    • tomstewdevine says:

      I have never read any book from Bluewater, and it sound’s like that is a good thing. Also, I can totally see your frustration, in this current comic book environment, every publisher needs to be doing outstanding work, and obviously this isn’t it.

      • Insideman says:

        You got that 100% right, Tom.

        Bluewater’s Carlin Comic Book press release ends with the most frightening line of all, “By covering such celebrities and political leaders as Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Palin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bluewater is bringing new readers to the comic’s world.”

        I have NO DOUBT this statement is true– as these books seemingly exist to primarily appeal to non-comic collectors who may be rabid fans of a certain celebrity… People who are intent on collecting ANY & ALL available merchandise related to said profiled person.

        My problem with the statement? Anybody reading one of these disappointing books will most likely NEVER pick up a comic book again.

        So, while the Bluewater offerings could very well be bringing new readers to comics… In the long run, their OVERALL POOR QUALITY could be doing a helluva lot MORE HARM than good.

  7. TheMSpot says:

    Screaming helps strengthen the vocal cords or so I’m told. Something I learned from the classic Stitches.

  8. (mguy1977) Matthew Guy says:

    Dead bio comics are tasteless & tacky.

    If you want to know about person A or B read about that person from a newspaper or book, a REAL book.

    Thanks for your column insideman.

    Matthew

    • Insideman says:

      Thanx Matthew!

    • tomstewdevine says:

      Matt, are you saying comic books are not real books, or that Bluewater books are not real books?

      • (mguy1977) Matthew Guy says:

        The later. Bluewater comics are the scum of the industry “books” in a loose term of the word books. Read a REAL book if you are interested on a person or topic dont go to the road lowest comic common denominator. Seek better worth matter to read whenever possible.

        Matthew

  9. ed2962 says:

    Another great article, Insideman! Although the Bluwater comics that I’ve seen look terrible, I never thought the idea behind them was bad. I’m sure Lady Gaga has more fans than say Deadpool. If a company were authorized by the celebrity and got professional artists and writers to work on the project, I think it could possibly bring new readers in, but as you say the shoddy production of Bluwater probably turns folks off. I kinda think though Marvel or whoever missed the boat by not coming out with the “official” Hanna Motana or Brittnay Spears comics when they were hot.

  10. Insideman says:

    As usual, you are also 100% correct also Ed.

    The BIO IDEA is fantastic. (But ONLY the BIO IDEA. The Infamous books and their ilk need to be shoved in the shredder.)

    Otherwise, they are a smart move. A way to marry genres and bring in fans who may not even know that comics even exist.

    But you’re right, QUALITY EXECUTION is KEY. That way you avoid the “tasteless & tacky” Matthew notes.

    If you manage to turn off new readers by Page 3, you can guarantee they won’t be “comic fans” later.

  11. Rob-ot says:

    Great article Ian!
    I’ve been trying not to criticize any artists lately, being that I have been putting my own art out there for public consumption. Not that I fear criticism myself (in fact, I encourage it!), but as an “artist”, I know how difficult it can be at times, so I really don’t want to slag anyone who is out there doing it.
    BUT… Those covers are some of the WORST pieces of comic art I think I have ever seen! They make Greg Land covers look like fine art.
    I’m not claiming to be any better than those artists, but something about those covers just offends me in almost every conceivable way.
    Anyway, like I said, great article man! :)

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