November 28, 2008
Here’s Keath Patterson’s prescription for the comics industry:
“Since Manga is in better shape than Marvel/DC can I offer a solution about the big two?
“Hmm – I’m not sure how doable my wish for the industry is since they tend to play it safe by structuring everything around what their existing base wants rather than risk trying for new readers, but a good start would be to bring in artist and writers who are outside the comics world and then let them draw/write what they want rather than making them fit into predetermined story arcs. The comic world has become so insulated it’s like a continuous series of inside jokes and specialist knowledge which is unhospitable to new readers. Since there’s no real money in comics it’d be hard to attract established, top level talent from other fields (who aren’t already fanboys), but there are lots of up and coming writers and artists who’d probably be glad to take on the challenge if only for the additional exposure. And if they want to have Wolverine fight a talking banana, for God’s sake just let them do it – the fanboys will buy it anyway to keep their runs complete and just maybe they might pick up some new readers who like the zaniness. Mostly tho I’m hoping the new talent would bring good, non-traditional stories to the table so it’s not just another issue of Hero A fights Villain B for the 500th time.
“Anyway – it just seems to me that crap like Final Infinite Crisis on Infinite Final Earths appeals to fanboys only, whereas something like Paris by Watson/Gane could appeal to pretty much everyone. It’s the lesson the Big 2 still haven’t learned from manga.”
November 27, 2008
Here’s Michael Jewell’s prescription for the comics inudstry:
“My RX for the ailing comix industry?
“Creators: Plan conventions strategically. Hold your nose and keep cozying up to the mainstream lit press. Forget even thinking about relying on the Movie boom (for a bust, she’s a comin’). Be proud of what you do and never apologize for being a cartoonist. Make yourself a stiff drink.
“Publishers: Don’t turn your nose up at the manga boom; exploit it, but don’t really exploit it. Do it right. Quit it with the anthologies. Scale back floppies, step up trades and GNs. Don’t be afraid of change. Stop fucking your artists over. Seriously. Oh, and the movie point should apply especially to you. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (majors) and don’t spread yourself too thin (small press).
“Press: Chill out. Everything’s cool.
“Take this and call me in the morning.”
November 27, 2008
Here’s Avery Dame’s prescription for the comics industry:
“I have two points which I think would help, though I certainly don’t think there’s a surefire solution.
“1. Digital Distribution: it’s the hold grail of comic industry success and for good reason. A mobile-device-ready format and contract with an existing media clearinghouse like ITunes would do wonders for getting people to impulse buy.
“2. Push to integrate comics into education, especially focusing outside depictions of classic literature: Comics can be great teaching tools even in areas one wouldn’t think of (see Japan, Inc.: An Introduction to Japanese Economics), make learning interesting, and gets the next generation to see comics as both viable lit and useful entertainment (and be willing to buy them on a regular basis). Also, educational comics can become a new market to tap.”
November 26, 2008
Here’s Lauren C.’s prescription for the comics industry:
“Prescription for the comics industry? Give indie creators a better chance to get their work to major bookstores.
“Okay, maybe that’s just me projecting.”
November 25, 2008
Here’s Matthew’s prescription for the comics industry:
“Refocus on quality instead of quantity. 300 Wolverine titles a month is oversaturation. Also end the mega- summer- cross-over events that will change the publisher’s universe forever. The few issues between events that don’t actually deal with the events seem like tossed-off filler. At the very least, don’t do the big events every flippin’ year!”
November 25, 2008
Here’s ahavah22’s prescription for the comics industry:
“What’s the best way to save the comic book industry, you ask? Take some pills and call me in the morning.
“Specifically these pills should consist of these fail-safe strategies:
“1. Take a page from the video and audio entertainment worlds and make graphic novels of all types available free or for a low “rental fee” on the internet, with advertisement revenue going straight to to publishers. Let’s face it; most manga is already available for free on the internet, but only the pirates (if anyone) profits from this practice. In addition, you can’t rent manga or graphic novels easily from online site a la Netflicks. So the smart thing to do would be to set up legitimate legal sources for free or low-cost entertainment media.
“2. advertise more! I honestly think most people’s ignorance about the literary, entertainment and artistic value of modern comics comes from lack of exposure. Now that more varieties of graphic novels are coming out, appropriate advertisement aimed at niche audiences of all different stripes could definitely help with sales. For instance, a realistic manga about a family dealing with their autistic son called With the Light could be advertised to parents and educators of special-needs children. I personally lent it to a special education teacher I know who normally has no interest in graphic novels, and she loved it!
“3. Make the government (and, therefore, all tax paying citizens) pay for it! I currently feed most of my manga diet via my public library, and am always surprised when I enter a library that lacks a graphic novel section. Yes, some of our poor underprivileged youth are live near libraries that lack a product that will keep them coming back for more. More graphic novels available in public libraries= more traffic within these libraries by irresponsible youth= more revenue for the libraries with late and lost book fees! Let’s educate our local politicians and librarians on the benefits of a large, diverse graphic novel section, and everybody wins!
“Well, that’s my $0.2 on how to save and revive the comics industry.”
November 24, 2008
Here’s Jamie Coville’s prescription for the comics industry:
“Often we are trying to bring non-readers into the comic industry. Either by getting them into a comic book store or hoping they visit the graphic novel section of the bookstore. This is extremely difficult and it typically takes a media event to do this. Buffy Season 8, Captain America dies, Obama and McCain bio-comics. This is great and more of the same should occur.
“I think the opposite also needs to be done. We need to bring the comic industry to non-readers. Now more than ever as traditional outlets begin to feel the pinch. Putting GNs into bookstores has helped publishers by giving them an additional revue stream. I think we need to find more places to put comics, and use formats that fit those delivery systems. Traditional comics wouldn’t work in bookstores and while I love GNs and read them almost exclusively, a different format would likely be needed in different markets.
“One avenue I’m really surprised no company has taken advantage of is breakfast cereal. Don’t tell me Spider-Man Sugar Pops or whatever wouldn’t sell to kids. Especially if there were a Spider-Man comic book inside as a gift, with an ad for a subscription and say the next issue in cereal boxes 1 or 2 months later. The same could be done for Naruto and any other character that appeals to kids (Bone, etc..). If something like this could be worked out it would be a great way to reach children.”