I'm posting this as a new topic because it seems to have strayed from the original topic:
Mike Manley said:
"As long as the majority of the audience reads superheroes, wants that type of fiction, then that is how we are going to be labeled. That's what we sell if we want to keep going as long as we can. Nothing will change that until indy books sell more than Spawn. This will NEVER HAPPEN."
Never say never. (about comics ever transcending a minority male adolescent marketplace) But then again, you see what you want to see. I know it's overstated, but the glass is half empty or half full; it's up to you if you react to reality positively or negatively. Comic books should be able to cover as wide a range of quality and content as is found in literature, the only limitations are in your own mind.
Yes, maybe the traditional market will die off, due to problems with distribution and myopic retailers. I've said this before, but I think that comic book retailers, as a whole, might be the *worst* retailers out there. Compare your local comic book shop's ability to promote items and to present an atmosphere conducive to selling, and 9 out of 10 will get an F when compared to *any* other retailing industry. Almost everyone else understands the necessity of making your store and your products appealing, of promotions and of advertising. Most comic book stores that I've been in are **** holes, and they basically deserve to go out of
You're correct when you say that movies will never sell a significant amount of comics. What will sell them is an attractive store that doesn't lock itself into the popular perception of comics, in a good location (you know the rule: location, location, location), where people can see that the store is selling something attractive and interesting, but where they won't be able to peg it as 'comix'. Such a store would encourage people to walk in out of curiousity, and then encourage them to stay by providing an inviting atmosphere and knowledgeable (and skilled) sales staff. (This appears to me to be the model that most non-comic book retailers actually work on.)
How retailers relate to your comments is your assertion that indy's will never outsell
superheroes. This isn't true. Talk to Page45 in England or the Beguiling in Toronto. Both stores put their superheros in the back corner, since the 13 year olds will find them anyway. They promote everything else, and actively target other readers. They don't have (market limiting) Star Wars cutouts in the front window, Page45 has a reading lounge, their respective staffs understand more than action figures, they're located in high traffic locations, etc. Page45 claimed (somewhere back in Cerebus) that they do indeed sell more indy books than they do superheroes. I'd be willing to wager that the Beguiling is similar.
My point is that the barriers that we face are mental, and are not fundamental to the nature of sequential-graphic-word-art.
Maybe the death of the direct market and of the slow-witted retailers is something that has to happen. Maybe this will actually turn around and open something up, as the 'dinosaurs' die off and the 'mammals' take over. One of my theories is that as people become more and more visually oriented, comics will in fact become an ideal art form for the modern era.
There are many things that comics can do easily that no other art form can do. (Cerebus and Gaiman/McKean's 'Signal to Noise', for example, are store houses of depth, timing, and meaning that could *never* be transfered to another medium.)
Comic books/graphic novels have a huge untapped cultural potential, and it would be tragic if they disappeared with such a wimper. Yes the internet is a new mode of operating, but it won't _replace_ more traditional media. People will always lose their bookmarks and their files, but (judging by my own experience) there is significant satisfaction of re-reading your comics (and novels) and finding deeper layers of meaning in there every time again. (provided they're rich enough to be worth it, but that's our job.)
I believe that the sequential-word-graphic-art from is in fact nascent, or infantile (and could very well get killed off in its current weakness) but I'm not about to let it go down without a fight. Yes, we're going to have to get creative and resourceful, but if we're the
mammals to the dinosaurs, then that's what we're good at.
The last thing that we need is apathy or negativity from the creative community. Negative thoughts lead to negative realities.
and vice versa.