Biocomics make superheroes out of anybody
SEATTLE -- Comics have entered the digital and downloadable age. But a Vancouver, Washington comic book maker believes there still a place for the old paperback comic with a non-fiction twist.
Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy and Sarah Palin as comic superheroes? Darren Davis thinks they can be. He is the creator of Blue Water Productions, a company that is bucking the trend of digital downloads with old fashion paper.
"You can't sign a Kindle, it's hard to do that," Davis said.
Blue Water has been gaining a reputation for well endowed we enhanced non-fiction. He hopes making 'biocomics," or illustrated unauthorized biographies, will generated new readership to a traditional caped crusader art form.
But it hasn't come without controversy.
"People have called me, like, whore, bottom feeder because they look at supeheros, or they look at comic books as tights and capes and that type of stuff," Davis said.
Blue is capitalizing on celebrity. Clinton, Obama, Kennedy and Palin are part of a Female Force series. There is a series called Fame on celebrities, one on politicians called Political Power, another on faith feature Jesus.
Barbara Walters was so proud of her comic, she showed it off to a national audience on her show "The View." She said "it got absolutely everything about my life including something I wish they didn't have."
"To get a call from Barbara Walters was pretty amazing," Davis said.
Compared to 15 years ago, revenue for the top 300 comics has increased 86 percent, but the number of comic books sold has increased only 10 percent. More money being made on roughly the same amount of books sold year after year.
"Movies like 'The Avengers,' 'The Dark Knight,' even 'Iron Man' are doing so well, yet it has not attracted new readers," he said.
The manager of Golden Age Collectables in Seattle's Pike Market says the person who picks up the newest "Batman" is not the same person to pick up a biocomic.
"They do sell to a different clientele than we normally have," said Tony Morigi.
He says the trend has been to pick up a graphic novel like " The Green River Killer." Thing of it as a non-fiction illustrated book about the capture of the famous serial killer. There's nothing funny about it.
Morigi says traditional hero comics are appealing more to the adult these days and that's what he sells the most.
Biocomics are giving more illustrators like Brain Smith of Puyallup an opportunity to get their foot in the door. Currently he's sketching a comic likeness of film maker George Lucas.
"It gives allot of new artists like myself a chance to showcase their work," Smith said. "Big hair, beard, and glasses, you pretty much got him"
But Star Wars is one of the most protected and copyrighted movie franchises ever. This doesn't deter Davis.
"Technically, these are still unauthorized biographies at the end of the day and we are within our first amendment rights to do these," Davis said.
Blue Water has received a cease and desist letter before but has never had to stop the publication of a biocomic. That's of course a superhero steps in to stop the presses with their superhuman strength.