A response to “10 things you should know about the future of comics”.

Am article appeared on Monday by Shaenon K. Garrity entitled Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics. I found it to be insightful, honest, and a little scary. Read it. Below is my opinion.
1. Newspaper comics are dead.
Duh. They had the common sense to migrate to the web before the newspaper itself dies. Thats not intended to be snarky but we have known for quite a while that any viable strip based comic was on the web.
2. Monthly comic books are dead.
Yeah. Sad to say but its true. DC and Marvel signed the death certificate with the lowering of their prices from 3.99 to 2.99. You say thats a good thing right? Its more like they pulled the knife out of our back and shoved it in our gut. Marvel, at a shareholders meeting, cited the reason for the price increase being “whatever the market would bear”. (I shouldn’t put that in quotes because its a rough paraphrase at best) So now a year later they and the chief competitor are lowering their prices. Doesn’t seem to show a whole lot of confidence in the direct market.
3. Format is infinitely mutable.
Yes. Sequential visual storytelling has been around a lot longer than the American comic book. It should outlast it no matter what new technology comes along. I am just glad that this fad of motion comics seems to have subsided.
4. The audience is infinitely fragmented.
This point is a little complicated and requires a broad reading of genres. While I agree with the author’s perspective what I wish she would have stated was that genres are breaking down. Genre bending comic books have been some of the great stories to come out of the last couple of years. Bendis and Brubaker combining crime with superhero comics. King City from Image and Tokoyo Pop being of a Manga style but in a large American page count format. You have a crime/horror comics like Choker and Dead She Said. Its an exciting time to read comics if you aren’t into traditional genres.
5. But there is a canon.
This is like saying that there are comics that are popular and recognized as being good. I think the rule of thumb with cannons is innovators are ultimately rewarded above imitators.
6. Superheroes are not comic-book characters.
This may be the most controversial statement of this comics manifesto but I agree whole-heartily. The American Superhero has went through so many transitions through the years. If you try to take into account any character’s entire history they seem schizophrenic. Its best to view them in small runs by single creators or in other media.
7. Manga has changed the game.
Yes and I don’t read enough of it.
8. The line between fans and creators is razor-thin.
Shaenon K. Garrity comes of as a bit of an elitists in this point. I am in favor of any change in format that is going to allow people to have better access to an audience. This era of DIY comics is perfect for that. Its a lot harder to make a living at it but its awesome to have all these tools to promote yourself with. The scary thing for pros is when the direct market does collapse so does the monthly comic book and the monthly page rate. Publishers are going to have a hard time paying artists and writers on larger projects with larger page counts. And these are the only projects book stores are going to be interested in carrying. So when Shaenon K. Garrity says its a “saunter” from fan to creator “until you get tired of that and go back to being a fan” I raise my big furry eyebrows. Its going to be hard unless we come up with some better ways to monetize comics in this new DIY age. And if we don’t we’ll have to live with “we just love doing it”.
9. They are mostly girls.
Girls read comics? Nobody tell Dave Sim.
10. They are very good at making comics.
Can we make sure Dave Sim doesn’t read this. Kidding. Of course they are. Every year I see more female creators at cons. My hope is that they save comics from its self-destructive impulses. Somebody said that “innovators are ultimately rewarded above imitators.” Who was that? Oh yeah it was me.

Thats my two cents.

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Cartoonist and writer living in NYC.

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