- Posted by Johanna on May 14, 2007 at 11:08 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
What we think of as ‘the mainstream’ — the regular monthly books from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image — isn’t mainstream, and hasn’t been for twenty or thirty years now. Those comics are published for a fringe subculture, a group of hardcore hobbyists no different from model train enthusiasts or SCAdians or any one of a dozen different examples.
I only see three out of nine [FCBD Gold books] that I would say unequivocally are aimed at a general, non-comics, non-geek audience. All the others suffer to a greater or lesser degree from an in-group mentality, the automatic assumption that the reader will be some kind of geeked-out fantasy/SF nerd at the very least and an every-Wednesday comics regular at most. These books are all aimed at people that are already reading comics they buy at a comics shop.
if “mainstream comics” aren’t a big hit NOW, when’s it going to happen? What’s it going to take? Look at how geeked-out Hollywood is now, look at how successful Smallville and Heroes and Battlestar Galactica have been. … Never, EVER has it been as cool to like this stuff as it is now. But none of this acceptance and enthusiasm ever slops over on to mainstream comics. Sales keep going down. The comic book as we know it, the 32-page stapled booklet that comes out once a month, is only still around because of us, the hardcore fans. I don’t think that fabled next wave of new readers is ever showing up. Not for these things. They’re all reading manga digests and Shonen Jump.
To echo his comments, for years people have supposed that stapled comic sales were declining because customers just didn’t know about them, or know the variety that existed, or know where to find them. What if that’s not true? What if people just don’t want the traditional 32-page comic?
This, by the way, is why I refuse to use the word “mainstream”. Applied to mean DC/Marvel/whomever else you include, it’s just plain wrong. Applied to mean the real mainstream, it confuses everyone else in the discussion.