Fucking hell, I had to google this guy to know what the fuck Willis was talking about (please provide a link, WIllis. Even Nerf Now does that).

Here’s what Eric Stephenson said

 

Right now, the fastest growing demographic for Image Comics, and I’m willing to speculate, for the entire industry, is women.

For years, I’ve listened to people talk about bringing more women into the marketplace.

Over the last few years, with your help, we’ve been doing exactly that.

You’ve seen the audience that’s building up around SAGA. You’ve seen how female readers respond to books like SEX CRIMINALS, LAZARUS, VELVET, PRETTY DEADLY, ROCKET GIRL, and RAT QUEENS, and one of our best-received announcements at Image Expo was Kelly Sue DeConnick’s new series BITCH PLANET.

We’re not the first to put out material that appealed to women – there’s a whole roomful of incredible people I wouldn’t be able to look in the eye if I made that kind of ludicrous claim – but I think we are among a select group in this industry who realize that there’s more to gain from broadening our horizons than by remaining staunchly beholden to the shrinking fan base that is supposedly excited about sequels to decrepit old crossovers like SECRET WARS II.

It is comics like SAGA that get new readers in your door.

I know this, because I have met SAGA readers.

They read SAGA, they read RACHEL RISING, they read Julia Wertz, they read FABLES, they read Nicole Georges and Kate Beaton, they read Hope Larson, Jeffrey Brown, and LOVE & ROCKETS…

They read all of that and more, but even better still:

They are hungry for more.

[Snip snip, read the link for the whole thing]

 

We talk about being obsessed with expanding our audience, but if publishing lesser versions of people’s favorite cartoons, toys, and TV shows is the best we can do, then we are doomed to failure.

Simply reframing work from other media as comic books is the absolute worst representation of comics.

We can invite readers to innovate with us, but repurposing someone else’s ideas as comic books isn’t innovation – at best, it’s imitation, and we are all so much better than that.

New creativity that is native to comics is what makes this industry stronger. It shows what comics do, what comics can BE.

Look at THE WALKING DEAD.

I know, I know – it’s a hit television show.

But before that – long before that – it was a hit comic book.

THE WALKING DEAD came out of nowhere one October, and it increased in sales month over month, year after year, for a full five years before there was a television show.

THE WALKING DEAD is one of the most successful franchises in the history of comics – we have sold millions of units of comic books, trade paperbacks, toys, statues, apparel, and hardcovers – and it is completely homegrown.

It started right here, in the Direct Market, with new creativity – with your support of new creativity.

THE WALKING DEAD is a towering achievement, an incredible success.

And YOU helped make that happen.

YOU helped build that success.

Robert Kirkman, Image Comics, you – we did that TOGETHER.

And we’re working together to build the next WALKING DEAD as we speak.

If you look at THE WALKING DEAD’s sales pre-television show, back in the days when sales were just great, as opposed to phenomenal, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ SAGA is just kicking the shit of those numbers.

The trade paperbacks, the comics – SAGA is a massive success.

And I will say it once again: It all started with new creativity and your support of new creativity.

Both of those books – THE WALKING DEAD and SAGA – have brought a lot of new readers into your stores.

It is not a coincidence that both of those books are published by Image.

And we publish a lot more books that can help you expand this market.

New creativity is the future of this industry, not the latest SPIDER-MAN #1.

People come to comic book stores looking for original content, because it’s what we do best, not for comic book versions of things that are done better in other mediums.

If we seriously want to expand the marketplace and appeal to new readers, different readers, we can only do that by developing new things that only exist in our market.

While the rest of the entertainment industry lays back in the cut and churns out sequel after remake after reboot after sequel, we need to be on the frontline with the biggest, boldest, and best of the new ideas that will keep this industry healthy and strong for years to come.

Let the rest of the world come to US – let them make movies and TV shows and toys and cartoons based on what WE do.

Their dearth of ideas and their continued fascination with our unbridled creativity will only make us stronger.

THE WALKING DEAD is proof of this.

Like I said, THE WALKING DEAD comic book was selling great before it was a television show.

Now it sells even better.

And that’s because the show made people aware of the comic – and those people came to your stores to get that comic.

Because they want the real thing.

TRANSFORMERS comics will never be the real thing.

GI JOE comics will never be the real thing.

STAR WARS comics will never be the real thing.

Those comics are for fans that love the real thing so much, they want more – but there’s the important thing to understand:

They don’t want more comics – they just want more of the thing they love.

 

His point is that the comics industry can’t grow because it’s just rehashing the same stories over and over and over all aimed at the same audience. This is deeply offensive to Willis, who has made a career of churning out the same material over and over and over, so he makes a comic about it.

But it’s difficult to attack the idea of “comics should be more inventive”, even if you can argue against it from a business perspective. So Willis, unable to argue with the point Stephenson makes, invents an entirely new point to knock down.

THAT’S why he doesn’t provide a link to the speech. Because he’s lying. He’s smearing the name of someone who, however indirectly, insulted him and his oh-so-fucking precious plastic action figures, by completely making up a assholish opinion that vaguely sounds like what Stephenson said (it almost seems trivial to point out that Stephenson’s advice was very specifically aimed at comic specialty stores, and Shortpacked is a toy store, but whatever).

Willis is a cunt for doing this. I’m normally nice, but fuck you, Willis. Fuck you, fuck your lazy don’t-give-a-shit writing, and fuck your stupid goddamn toys.