(Image from Isaia's Spot the Mythtakes puzzle!)
So the 2nd Avatar magazine went on sale this weekend, earlier than expected! Which means that I did nothing all Saturday and Sunday but read message boards and journals consuming all the fan reactions and theories (which means sifting through a LOT of shipping debates, of course). Happily, most of the feedback on the magazine itself is positive! IM looking forward to hearing and reading more peoples' thoughts and reactions. Positive and negative! I know we cant please everyone (especially with our page count limits and insane deadlines!), so some criticism a-okay.
Its a constant balancing act trying to do something that appeals to the hardcore fans but that doesnt completely ALIENATE the casual readers/viewers. We took a chance pushing things more toward the fan direction, and it would be great if that pays off. Maybe lead to even cooler things (backstories anyone??) next time. But there needs to be a next time!
Its tricky business, not just for the magazine but for Nickelodeon as a whole. Avatar appeals to an older and more sophisticated crowd that doesnt normally buy the product that Nick produces. Selling to the 8-12-year-old kids is really Nickelodeons established business. Thats what they know how to do, and the relationships with other manufactures are already in place. Certainly kids are the core audience of who read our magazines. And as hard as it may be to accept, a LOT of those kids who normally love all things Nick-branded arent so into Avatar. (Yet! I hold out hope they will grow into it!) And many older folks (even hardcore fans) claim to be embarrassed to buy Avatar products in public. Which, as a 30-year-old who still goes to see most kids' movies and reads tons of YA books, I cant relate!
But its these conflicting audience issues that I believe are why things like the Avatar toys werent huge sellers, and the show itself still isnt the all our friends are Avatards alongside us success it deserves to be. Its easy to say why doesnt Nick make more/cooler stuff for older fans. But its not so easy to convince manufacturers unless you have actual hard proof that it will sell. And its easy to forget that what seems popular on the internet doesnt always represent enough actual customers to make something a financial success.
I look at things like Joss Whedons Firefly, which have a huge, vocal fandom big enough to green-light a movie, but not big enough to make that movie a success or give it a chance at a sequel. This was why I really encouraged people to not settle for scans of the magazine on the internet, but hopefully go out and OWN it. Because seriously: $5 is not that much money compared to a lot of comparable stuff out there. And most people pay that much for a coffee at Starbucks! The joys of the printed page last way longer than effects of caffeine!
Of course, scans of the Avatar magazine went up before most people even realized it was on the shelves or had a chance to look for it. I assumed this would be the case, but was still surprised how many people are too impatient to wait an extra day or have to leave the house. By Saturday, I had read posts from people who already gave up even though the release date is still technically TOMORROW! Which is possibly insulting to all the writers and artists who put so much work into making it. Sadder still was reading message board posters that attack fans who have spoken up against the illegal scans. This really depressed me.
I am completely sympathetic to fans of the show that live outside of the US And Canada who want to see the magazine. And I thank the people who have the patience to wait until after the magazine is off the newsstands to openly share over the internet.
I love free stuff as much as the next guy.
But copyright infringement is NOT a given right.
Even if the copyright owners choose to turn a blind eye, scanning someone elses artwork doesnt not make you Robin Hood. You are not fighting THE MAN. You are stealing from struggling artists and writers and magazine editors, all of whom would love the chance to make more Avatar comicsbut will not be paid to do so, if there is no money in it.
See my earlier points about Avatar being a moderate hit, but currently not the kind that supports lots of product. And the magazine industry is not big money (even when they are connected to big corporations, the magazine divisions tend to be small outfits). Print in general is suffering. And considering that Nick Mags longtime competitor Disney Adventures just got cancelled this month, I wont pretend not to be personally invested in the future of kids comics and magazines.
Heres a good hack philosophy:
Always pay for and support great/interesting art in media.
Whether it be movies, music, comics, or videogames.
If you want to see more good stuff: make sure your dollars count. Dont waste them buying crap you dont need. If youre inclined to take something for free
make sure its something not worth paying for. Or else dont be surprised when your favorite things end up obscure.
--Ill probably end up revising that!
And to that end, I hope people who enjoyed the Avatar comics will check out the other works that the artists have done. Amy Kim Ganter, Johane Matte, and Reagan Lodge, as well as past Avatar cartoonist Justin Ridge, have all done amazing comics for the Flight anthology. And Amys Sorcerers & Secretaries series from TokyoPop was the main reason I knew shed be perfect for a Zuko/Mai date story! Go check it out!
And I really want to triple-thank all the people who have already gone out of their way for, or had to pull strings to seek out the Avatar magazine, whether by mail order, eBay or other means. And I will personally hi-5 anyone who has bought multiple copies for friends and fellow fans outside of the US. It warms my heart to see trading groups like this one: [link]
That is the definition of fan awesomeness. If you help set anything like this up please let me know so I can send people your way! Ive been mailing some of the organizers extra magazines to help out.
And just a reminder
its only Monday. So more stores should have Avatar magazines after tomorrow.
For those of you who buy copies, check out this super-rad contest started by Avatarspirit.net and dianam41:[link]
It is SOO appreciated by everyone who works on the magazine! Ill be donating more prizes for them to add to the mix, including a signed copy by Mike and Bryan.
Im sure no one needs a reminder about the Season 3 premiere on Fridaybut I figured Id mention it anyway. Cause,you know. Super exciting! Tell your friends! If they dont like amazing cartoons, thats their loss! Thanks again everyone! And of course thanks to all the people who made the show in the first place. They rule of course!
Long posts much?
P.S.: Big shout-outs of thanks to people like *BanishedPrince and *zvko and everyone else helping to spread the word!