- Posted by Johanna on April 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
The next (and final) issue of Comic Book Comics, #6, due in June, is planned to have a section on the future of comics. As part of the forces affecting the direct market, writer Fred Van Lente will be covering
the challenge posed to [comic shops] by digital distribution, both the legal kind and the less-than-legal kind: What’s commonly called “piracy,” though I know that’s a controversial term for some.
In order to avoid demonizing people who read scanned free comics, Van Lente opened up a blog post where he invited those who do so to talk about why, what they want from the comic business, and most importantly, whether they think piracy is responsible for declining sales. (Or people can email him directly at an address provided in that post, if they don’t want to comment publicly.) This input will inform the history he’s writing.
I’m curious to see how this all turns out. He’s against the act, as many (but not all) comic professionals who make their income from the direct market are, but a later Twitter comment — where he says, “It seems self-evident to me a huge part of comics’ piracy problem is US eco[nomic] inequality & 20-40% youth unemployment rate” — suggests to me that he is, at least, looking at the big picture. He’s probably already aware of the Underground example, but I thought readers here might be interested in seeing another collection of viewpoints, given the wide-ranging discussion that’s taken place here in the past.
A recurring theme in the comments at Van Lente’s post covers the category of “I download back issues that are too expensive to buy that I really want to read.” One person mentions Miracleman, another Black Panther. That’s an interesting sub-case of sharing that throws the whole collectible back issue comic market on its head. Supply and demand might raise prices of a rare issue to $100 or more, but now, no issue is truly rare for those who just want to read the story. I’m also reminded that “it costs too much” has traditionally been a reason to deny yourself, not to make a copy.