- Posted by Johanna on June 10, 2009 at 7:32 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
To promote their pirate comic Captain Blood, SLG Publishing has posted a four-page comic where the character preaches about the need to support independent comics in a market full of shops that carry nothing but “boobs and biceps”.
It’s a funny concept, by writer Matthew Shepherd, but it’s also full of ideas that, at this point, sound a little tired. Preorder alternative comics… independents are the future… corporate crossovers cost too much… It’s not until halfway through that it gets interesting, where the mouthpiece says expecting retailers to research everything is asking too much, and small publishers can’t afford promotion beyond online trailers.
A retailer later shows up to say he feels “like a crack dealer”. Who’s going to save comics, then? The readers. It’s their responsibility to “research” and “prepare” and “encourage new readers”. Well, that’s darn convenient.
I’m totally in sympathy with all these concerns, even if I’ve been listening to some of them for years now, but I still think it’s awfully convenient that it’s always someone else’s responsibility. The retailers want publishers to do outside promotion and bring in new customers. Publishers say retailers won’t support anything different and want readers to do outreach for them. The readers blame retailers who stock predictably and don’t have any new material for browsing. (A problem that this strip suggests can be solved online, but that’s not at all the same.)
Can someone, for once, try focusing on what they themselves can do to make things better, instead of fixing other people? I know all these things are true, but retailers, what can you do to improve selection and choice in your stores? (Or do you think things don’t need improving?) Publishers, what are you doing to get the word out? (An ad in Previews and material on your own website isn’t outreach, that’s preaching to the choir.) And readers, the best thing you can do is buy the comics that interest you in the format and venue you prefer and stop buying what you don’t enjoy reading.