J. has been a comic book retailer for the last 18 years– having managed several stores for 3 different chains in the Chicagoland area. Amazingly, learning the ins-and-outs of the comic book industry has yet to deter his love for the medium. He hopes to one day have at least one store to call his own– and live out the rest of his days doing what he loves: Spreading the greatness of comics to a new generation and beyond.
Prior to co-founding Inveterate Media Junkies, Jose was the co-host of the comic book review/critique show Comic Culture Warrior (CCW*TV) on You Tube. You can still view these great videos and watch J. praise the best the industry has to offer– while tearing apart the books (and creators) that are a detriment to the business. (Basically what he does now on IMJ website– and in our longer, more in-depth Inveterate Media Junkies Podcasts.)
Beyond that, Jose is a veritable fountain of useless pop culture knowledge. He enjoys anime, manga, video games, a wide variety of music and film, genre television & import toy collecting… Among many other things.
Writer, TV/Film Producer, Sometimes Actor.
Animal Rights Advocate and Animal Rescue Volunteer for the better part of my life.
Lover of Independent Comics, Cinema and Music. Ian truly enjoys the maverick attitude and lifestyle. The idea– coupled with the knowledge– that there is still something new out there to be read, seen or heard. Something interesting to explore. Insideman also likes Mainstream work but strongly feels that the Independent Scene is where the present and the future of creativity resides.
He is also a huge music fan… Spending an inordinate amount of time listening to Xfm104.9 in London.
There’s something ROTTEN in the Comic Book Industry.
And it’s embedded deep in the whole damn business.
Can’t you feel it? It’s sick. It’s broken. And it’s not getting any better. And it WON’T unless WE do something about it. ALL of us. From the publishers, the editors, the writers, the artists to the shop owners to, yes– even US… The men and women who ACTUALLY PAY for all this four-color madness and GIVE these people these platforms and their livelihoods.
It has taken me a long time to write this piece. The approach is tricky and I am still not certain I’ve gotten the intended message right. The tone is too easy to turn preachy. So I am going to do my best to do NO preaching at all. Just hit the basics and then jump out.
You know why Jose and I do this, right? Because, like you, we love comics. So much so, that– also like you– we both devote MANY, MANY hours each day to discuss and promote them. And yes, we DO promote a shitload of stuff here at Inveterate Media Junkies.
We promote quality: Quality publishers. Quality writers. Quality artists. Quality comics. Quality Films. Quality TV. Quality Music. Quality Novels. And if you can’t see that– if all you see is negativity or capricious fools attempting to be hip by disdaining the very things they profess to love… Then my friend– it is time for YOU to move on.
With all sincerity, we truly appreciate having each one of you here (and are announcing phenomenal STATS on the site’s AMAZING GROWTH all the time) but if you’re here because you think we share your dim view of the industry… Well, we DON’T.
That written, there is something very foul eating at the foundation of the comic book business– and something needs to be done NOW if the medium we love and enjoy so very much is going to survive. If we want this business to be here– even in TEN YEARS– you, me, every fan you know– has to STOP BUYING SHIT™.
Yes, I know that seems simplistic (and it has been on the IMJ Sidebar almost since Day One) but it truly is one of those things that is a LOT easier said, than actually implemented. It is one thing to think, “I should stop buying Amazing Spider-man.” than ACTUALLY STOPPING yourself from buying Amazing Spider-man. You know it and I know it. (And yes, the Spider-man reference was just a title/character picked out of thin-air. There are a LOT of comics worse than Spidey clogging the stands that also deserve to languish unpurchased. Not a ton– but still, you get what I mean… It was a RANDOM choice.)
My main point is, a lot LESS people buy comics today than they did just 1o years ago.
If the TENS OF THOUSANDS of people who read Inveterate Media Junkies every week stopped buying certain books they have long since stopped enjoying and/or respecting (either out of habit, a need to keep their “run” complete or misplaced loyalty), just our numbers alone could cause a SEISMIC SHIFT in the market. If just 10,000 people said, “I’m going to pick up the next Thunderbolts– just because Jose has been talking it up for so long”… Then YOU– each one of YOU– would send a sharp and extremely loud signal to some very important people in this business.
And so I know that I am being clear here: If you stop buying a couple of books– the only way this idea works is if you put that money back into some NEW TITLES… Possibly stuff you’ve heard about here or something else you haven’t ever considered buying. If you give other titles a chance, I promise that you WILL find something you like more than the habitual shit you’ve long since stopped admiring… And you WILL be GLAD you did. At the same time, you will also be sending a strong message to the Powers That Be that their fostering of the shit being produced by their SMUGLY COMPLACENT TALENT will no longer be tolerated… Or, at the very least, purchased by YOU anymore.
If we are actually able to accomplish this, heads could most definitely roll. Shitty titles could be canceled. And yes, untalented people could finally lose their jobs… But all that would be a good thing.
Quality will win out. Quality creators will shine through and more such talented people will be hired. Quality books will survive. And if the quality people we currently favor wake one day so full of themselves (and so greedy) that they start taking on too much work– and their quality starts to suffer because of it… We will move on AGAIN… Stop buying their shit and discover someone new that is deserving of our hard-earned money.
If you decide to join the IMJ Nation™ in this experiment– do you know what YOU will be doing in 1o Years? You’ll be flipping though your collection and you’ll be EXCITED to see your OLD FRIENDS again. You won’t be sitting there shaking your head and asking yourself, “WHY did I buy this? What was WRONG with me? How IMMATURE could I have been?”
Instead, you’ll be PROUD. You’ll look at a book and think, “This was the year I developed a critical voice. This was the year that I started to realize that, while I was still only one person, I could be part of something MUCH BIGGER… And together our voices helped make a significant difference in a medium that I love.”
Some of you are already laughing at me. I can tell. That’s not PARANOIA talking. I know many of you have heard it ALL before. You’ve seen this kind of thing fail– and sometimes fail miserably. This idea could fail now too. But “scoffers”, I can only respectfully type that I think you are WRONG this time. In fact, I’m not certain you could be MORE wrong.
NOW is the time for all good women and men to take a stand for something they love.
Remember I wrote that a lot fewer people are buying comic books nowadays? While it’s true that the top monthly sellers can still break 100,000 copies sold– even that relatively paltry level is becoming harder and harder to obtain. Most titles today are considered to be extremely successful at the 50K or 60K per month mark and tons of books are still be published (even by the Big Two) when they barely surpass 10K.
Given these anemic sales figures, you can see how 10K ADDED to a quality title’s print run or 10K SUBTRACTED from a shitty book’s bottom line, would cause quite a stir. But why be satisfied to stop there? As the Inveterate Media Junkies audience continues to grow, hopefully the simple idea to support ONLY quality works will continue to expand as well.
I feel the need to clarify this too: Let’s say you are just a superhero fan… Just can’t get into anything that doesn’t wear a cape or revolves around something that isn’t super-related.
I get it. WE get it. What you need to know is, there are LOTS of QUALITY BOOKS being written about SUPERHEROES right now. Some of them just aren’t being published by companies you’re used to buying from… Or maybe have ever even noticed before.
And know this: This is NOT a call to stop buying comics… Or to “Wait for the Trade”. Far from it. If anything, it is me pleading with you to BUY MORE BOOKS… Because if you really EXAMINE the comic book business TODAY– you will discover something quite PHENOMENAL. The industry, as a whole, is producing the BEST MATERIAL it has produced in decades, possibly in TWENTY– or even THIRTY– years.
In fact, as we sadly watch what may be the comic book business’ dying throes, we might also be ironically witnessing a brand new GOLDEN AGE that, in many ways, may be more imaginative than almost anything produced by this industry back in the 1930s or 1940s.
That’s why, for all my complaining, criticizing and downright despising some (a lot?) of the material out there– I can’t shake the feeling how I LOVE so much of it too. Maybe I don’t love as much as I dislike… But hey, even GREAT Editors, Writers or Artists can have off days… Right?
And if we’re lucky? If enough of us QUIT sucking at the “Mainstream Only Teat” and start reading and supporting books based on QUALITY only– and not the LOGO in the top left corner of the front cover… If we’re really lucky, a by-product of this will be that we’ll have run some of the NO TALENT, DOWNRIGHT ABUSIVE ASSHOLES OUT OF THIS BUSINESS and we’ll have raised TALENTED CREATORS to a stature they deserve.
And if we’re really, REALLY lucky? We’ll still have a Comic Book Business to call “home” in Ten Years. Books will still be released monthly and printed on PAPER, in floppy formats– and not just on DIGITAL PLATFORMS.
Don’t think it can be done? Think I am fucking pie-in-the-sky crazy? Then let me throw this last fact at you: Anybody that tells you that they “always knew” IMAGE COMICS would one day stop aping the Big Two’s Superhero Machine and turn into the PREMIERE PUBLISHER of quality Independent Titles… Well, to put it mildly, they are LYING to you. No one foresaw this, least of all the Founders of Image Comics.
A lot can change in TEN YEARS. A decade is a very long time. You’ve seen big shifts in World Politics. In TV. Radio. Music. Film. Brick and mortar Bookstores and Music shops– once commonly seen on almost every corner– are virtually dinosaurs now. And despite what you may think: You CAN make a difference. RIGHT here. RIGHT now.
Want to join Jose and I– and STOP BUYING SHIT™? Want to stop supporting SHIT EDITORS, WRITERS, ARTISTS– and companies so complacent and cocksure in their position in this dying industry that they have ZERO PROBLEMS shoving their calculated pablum down our throats on a monthly basis?
If you DO think NOW is the time to stand up and finally try something different– I can only tell you that I KNOW you will be HAPPIER. You will discover stories and characters of such wonderment that your love for the medium will IMMEDIATELY be RE-ENERGIZED. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll ALL still be here in 10 Years– still bitching and still attempting to steer people, young and old, toward the good stuff.
Wouldn’t that be extremely cool?
Co- Founder Inveterate Media Junkies™ Website