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  1. #46
    Astonishing Member FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    As Baseman pointed it, it goes beyond comics with the reading public. What are the most widely circulated books at most public libraries? Not the fine literature or new award winning critically acclaimed stuff, nosiree it's series romance books by Harlequin and the like )i.e. thing sread out of brand loyalty or genre fixation). And it's not the well reviewed critically acclaimed books that dominate the best-seller lists, it's the trashy thrillers like Dan Brown or Sue Grafton and the like churn out.

    Reality television dominated ratings for how long now? It's a trash culture that dominates and sells lowest common denominator fare. Comics merely reflect the broader culture in terms of the proclivities of what gets consumed and sells and what doesn't. There are a small number of vocal people swimming against the tide, but the tide hasn't changed and shows no signs of doing so.

    Enjoy the great books, recommended them to open-minded or like-minded folks, but don't expect them to be embraced by the masses as a whole until the masses proclivities change at all levels, not just in comics, and I doubt that's happening in my lifetime.

    -M
    Part of my problem is the very concept of "the masses". 250,000 people read the best-selling N American comics as most fans would have it. Think about that for a minute-- a quarter of a million people support an artform in the N American market, and that's before we even get into debates about taste. Millions of people read comics regularly in Europe, Asia, and South America. Millions, and most of them don't care about Secret Wars or Batman.

    That doesn't mean that material is good or even should be read, but that it exists and people are buying it. Why don't people buying comics in the N American market acknowledge that Raina Telgemeier is by far the best selling creator of comics in the Anglophonic market? The "masses" buy her books, but they aren't the same comic buying "masses". The 250,000 people that buy Secret Wars don't know that she exists, but she's sold a lot more copies of her work than any given monthly N American comic. More people read Peter Kuper's work through the New Yorker than the best selling N American comic books any given month. Who are these "masses"?

    It's not even an us vs them proposition. If you like good comics, they are out there. You can read them. It's not some precious subculture. Stop treating it as such.

    (And yeah, MRP, I know I'm yelling at the wrong person.)

  2. #47
    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    Part of my problem is the very concept of "the masses". 250,000 people read the best-selling N American comics as most fans would have it. Think about that for a minute-- a quarter of a million people support an artform in the N American market, and that's before we even get into debates about taste. Millions of people read comics regularly in Europe, Asia, and South America. Millions, and most of them don't care about Secret Wars or Batman.

    That doesn't mean that material is good or even should be read, but that it exists and people are buying it. Why don't people buying comics in the N American market acknowledge that Raina Telgemeier is by far the best selling creator of comics in the Anglophonic market? The "masses" buy her books, but they aren't the same comic buying "masses". The 250,000 people that buy Secret Wars don't know that she exists, but she's sold a lot more copies of her work than any given monthly N American comic. More people read Peter Kuper's work through the New Yorker than the best selling N American comic books any given month. Who are these "masses"?

    It's not even an us vs them proposition. If you like good comics, they are out there. You can read them. It's not some precious subculture. Stop treating it as such.

    (And yeah, MRP, I know I'm yelling at the wrong person.)
    The biggest issue is that comics are not a mass consumption industry any longer, they are a hobby industry sold only in hobby specific shops for the most part. However that said, if you break down the proclivities of people purchasing and look at percentages to the total potential market (i.e. books to mass market audience vs. comics to comics buying audience) they percentages of LCD material selling vs. critically acclaimed material selling to the audience actually buying is pretty much the same. Comics are a niche hobby market (hence best sellers only moving 250K units on a good day without market manipulation such as variant covers or Loot Crate bumps). Even digital availability or the availability of trades in bookstores or online marketplaces such as Amazon can change that reality. Look at tabletop wargaming for a similar trajectory of something that used to be a hobby for the masses (or at least a significantly larger audience than it has now) becoming a niche hobby, its loss of shelf space outside of core hobby retailer (and even in a lot of gaming retailers now as virtually every new product now needs crowdfunding to even get published) and price inflation, role of conventions in its life cycle etc. for some strong parallels for the North American comics market.

    As for why the North American market is so small compared to markets in other countries/cultures, that's a whole other kettle of worms I don't really want to get into in a comics forum because it ties into what and how we as a culture choose to enculturate and value and what we do not, which goes far beyond comics themselves but goes a long way to illuminating how and why we have become what some call a junk culture.

    -M

  3. #48
    Surfing With The Alien Spike-X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    How do we change this? I know I'm preaching to the choir, but how do we point people to better comics? Why does this thread even need to exist?

    (That's that the end of my hysteria for tonight.)

    But seriously, if we begin with the assumption that most comics readers can read (which for my money is fair) and at a certain point what they are reading doesn't work for them (which is inevitable), how do we guide them in the right direction? You would assume that the curious would follow creators, but most don't. How do we we get someone who likes Lemire's Animal Man, Green Arrow, or Hawkeye to read the Essex County Trilogy? To follow that to American Splendor? Or better yet to Eddie Campbell's Alec?

    How do we make N American comics fandom better read? How do we expand the 200,000 superhero faithful to embrace comics beyond their comfort zone? It's not like the comics aren't there. Why aren't millions of people reading these books like in Europe or Japan?

    I know I'd rather live in a world where Gene Yang's American Born Chinese is more read than his tepid run on Superman.
    How do we get people to listen to Miles Davis instead of Nickelback? It's a sad fact that, as far as entertainment goes, most people prefer shit.

  4. #49
    Extraordinary Member t hedge coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    Part of my problem is the very concept of "the masses". 250,000 people read the best-selling N American comics as most fans would have it. Think about that for a minute-- a quarter of a million people support an artform in the N American market, and that's before we even get into debates about taste.
    That's the real meat of it, I think. It's not even unusual, now, to pick up an American newspaper and see no comics in it. Which, ten years ago, forty years ago, would have been ridiculous. The North American/English-language market is shrinking in insane ways. And, what's left can be incredibly discouraging to new readers or returning readers.

    The last LCS I dealt with regularly begrudgingly ordered Planetary for me and a few others, and made a point every time, of telling me (and probably the others) how he was losing money buying this stuff to sell to us. The last LCS I tried to go make a regular thing made fun of my mom when she tried to shop there, made fun of my girlfriend (whose ex worked there) for trying to get back into a couple characters she'd stopped reading only a few years before as a "fake geek," and tried to refuse to sell comics to my nieces because they wouldn't get them or, with another title, because it was too girl (for tween girls).

    And, I've probably been part of the problem, before, more than once, without noticing I was. I can look back at old comments online and see where I was catty or overly judgmental about a comic. Who knows if I chased someone off.

    We're derisive. How quick did it take "batgirling" to be an insult? How soon was it before any comic that had a female protagonist or cartoonier style, no matter how long the book or character had been around or used those modes, started to be written off as "batgirled"? That snowballed fast, and there's so much stupid fear behind it. Desperate "fans" sure that if someone gets a foothold in their clubhouse, they can't sit around in their underwear or something.

    Making a hard line divide between comics and indie, or comics and manga, or comics and comics strips... we screwed ourselves.

    Do people love pop, disposable comics? Sure. We love pop, disposable entertainment in every medium. But, when a novel comes out from a major author, award-winning or incredibly well-regarded, there's press on it, even if it's not going to be the biggest seller or hasn't got Batman in it. That's true of television, movies, music, painting, theater... and, it's less true of comics press, which hurts considering how absurdly small the comics market is, anyway.

    And, those people who love pop still watch something new here and there, they try new characters, new stories in the genres they like, maybe even new genres. The radio introduces us to new music all the time. Television can present us movies and shows we don't actively seek out. If you've got a tablet, there are even tons of free, sometimes quality novels and prose stories out there. We can't passively get comics as easily in America, though.

    Over here, in China, you do. You get a lot of comics that are run free online first, or are presented through qq or other social networks. There was/is also a large pirating concern, that the government's cracking down on, that, unlike the American/traditional digital pirating atmosphere, was almost exclusively immediate-display stuff, so people posting whole comics page by page somewhere, so you did see it in passing. Different culture, in legit and illegit modes, though.

    Greg Rucka's had a free webcomic going for awhile now, and it's Rucka, we love Rucka, but nobody goes to the site to see it and nobody elsewhere talks about it. Warren Ellis has done some boss free comics online, one of which was just pure fire and love, only a year or so ago, but since it didn't have a preview anywhere, or reviews, or advertisements, it doesn't get noticed the same way something with banner ads gets noticed. Not that, I think, they're doing those comics to get noticed. Those are comics for the love of comics.

    Somewhere along the line, a lot of the dwindling market, the "fans" - and it is such a disservice that we call anyone interested in comics a "fan" the moment they have an opinion on something, somebody who's never read an issue, hates the character, hates the talent, but has an opinion so their opinion is "fans say" - the fans lost the love of comics and turned it into a love of specific characters, specific comics, with everything else imaginable as a threat.
    Patsy Walker on TV! Patsy Walker in new comics! Patsy Walker in your brain! And Jessica Jones is the new Nancy! (Oh, and read the Comics Cube.)

  5. #50
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2962 View Post
    Mia is talking about Hawkeye. And while I wouldn't call it one dimensional and I wouldn't call it a wish fulfillment fantasy in exactly the same way that say James Bond or Conan is, there's still an aspect of it that's male fantasy. I'm thinking of the aspect of the comic were you have beautiful exes that are willing to hang out with you and each other at the same time ( "Hey all of us have been intimate with Clint, but let's set that aside so that we can play card games together with just him and no one else"). And they are all willing to bail you out of trouble at the same time ( "oh that Clint, let's get together and help him out cuz we all still love him on a certain level")...yeah, that's kind of a male fantasy.

    There's nothing wrong with having male fantasies, but that's kinda what it is...
    Man I really love Hawkeye. I agree it's a male power fantasy, completely. It's sort of a homage to older movies/old school heroes so the tropes have to be in there. It's a shame Lemire's run isn't working for me, I think it misses the undertones of what Fraction did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baseman View Post
    Well this issue isn't specific to comics. Movies,books,Music all all suffer from the same thing really.People flock to the mostly less creative but more heavy promoted product because that's what they know.
    Which is why when "big budget" (DC/Marvel) meets "artistic creative genius" you get some AMAZING comics.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  6. #51
    Invincible Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    Man I really love Hawkeye. I agree it's a male power fantasy, completely. It's sort of a homage to older movies/old school heroes so the tropes have to be in there. It's a shame Lemire's run isn't working for me, I think it misses the undertones of what Fraction did.
    If undertones = depth, it's probably a good thing. While Fraction/Aja had it's strengths, I don't think depth is one of them when you stack it up against what Lemire is doing.

    That run was(barring some of the mechanical presentation they chose) very "This is our Revolver"(In the same way that "The Seven Capital Cities Of Heaven" lifted from some obvious sources during The Immortal Iron Fist)

    While it was good for something that was lifting from stuff L/R/C, it's not like it competes with what Lemire has been doing. So far, it has been way off of the beaten path. I'm sort of shocked Marvel seems to be pushing his upcoming run on Moon Knight when they could be trying to sell people on what is happening in Hawkeye.
    Last edited by numberthirty; 10-05-2015 at 01:44 AM.

  7. #52
    Invincible Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    As for "Big Two For The Discerning Reader", you might want to look into the "New52" volume of Dial H. I would almost "money back guarantee" that.

  8. #53
    Invincible Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Now that I've knocked Fraction, Future Foundation was really solid.

  9. #54
    Surfing With The Alien Spike-X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by numberthirty View Post
    Now that I've knocked Fraction, Future Foundation was really solid.
    Yeah, his and Mike Allred's run on FF was great.

  10. #55
    Invincible Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    That's the Fraction I wish folks wanted to talk about. Future Foundation was an almost perfect run.

  11. #56
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    Pretty much on board with this.

    I do like much of what Valiant publishes for superhero titles. I can read any of that content if I need a fix.

    As much I love DC's characters, there's not a lot I can enjoy. The occasional Batman title and then something like JL 3000.

    I've lost some fondness for Vertigo but I'm looking forward to the titles being launched in the near future.

    Marvel...maybe the most terrible stuff being published these days. Hickman's Avengers was OK. Ellis' Moon Knight was very good. I'll read Karnac. Other than that, it's very sophomoric stuff...but obviously it's aimed at a certain demographic, and if those readers enjoy the content, no problem.

    For me, the best comic publishers right now (without digging very deep into true indie content) are Image, Boom, IDW, Dark Horse, Avatar, Valiant and Oni Press. Plenty from those publishers to keep me entertained. I like some of the Humanoids books, too --- they remind me of old-school Heavy Metal.

    There's so much high quality content in comics right now that you won't suffer by abandoning superheroes if you've lost your interest in that genre.

  12. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnmahananda View Post
    Pretty much on board with this.

    I do like much of what Valiant publishes for superhero titles. I can read any of that content if I need a fix.

    As much I love DC's characters, there's not a lot I can enjoy. The occasional Batman title and then something like JL 3000.

    I've lost some fondness for Vertigo but I'm looking forward to the titles being launched in the near future.

    Marvel...maybe the most terrible stuff being published these days. Hickman's Avengers was OK. Ellis' Moon Knight was very good. I'll read Karnac. Other than that, it's very sophomoric stuff...but obviously it's aimed at a certain demographic, and if those readers enjoy the content, no problem.

    For me, the best comic publishers right now (without digging very deep into true indie content) are Image, Boom, IDW, Dark Horse, Avatar, Valiant and Oni Press. Plenty from those publishers to keep me entertained. I like some of the Humanoids books, too --- they remind me of old-school Heavy Metal.

    There's so much high quality content in comics right now that you won't suffer by abandoning superheroes if you've lost your interest in that genre.
    While I thought that Hickman's Avengers was AWFUL and I have never read any Valiant book ever, you are spot on about this.

    I am still reading Snyder's Batman because I am liking it. Other than that, I am reading no superhero book right now.

    Yes, Vertigo has lost its groove ever since Scalped and Sweet Tooth ended. But I have hope in this new line of books. However, Image's products are my favorite things in entertainment from the 21st century. I have not come across a "terrible" series from them since the 90s. Yes, they have had some bad series now and then, but most of what they publish is PURE GOLD. I swear my favorites list keeps on changing because of them. Just can't get enough.

    I have never read an IDW book past the new TMNT run. But I will say that the TMNT run they have right now is UNBELIEVABLE. Probably the best comic out there right now that isn't a book from Image.

    Dark Horse is hit or miss for me. For every Blacksad and Hellboy you get, you get a piece of crap like some of those video game based comics and the very grotesque stuff.

    Really liked your post! Thanks for posting your opinion!

  13. #58
    Titans Together!! byrd156's Avatar
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    I'm down to only two series that I'm reading, Grayson and JL3000/3001. And I still have problems with Grayson but still buy because he's my all time favorite character. I only read DC and used to read some Marvel but stopped a few years back.

    All the things that made me love DC and what made DC DC disappeared after the reboot, and I honestly think DC won't ever be consistently good again.

    I've never really been big on Image and all those other comic companies, I don't really have an interest in what they have.

  14. #59
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    Too bad, Image has such a diversity of books, it's hard to see how anyone couldn't find something to like. So many of them are superb.

  15. #60
    Extraordinary Member t hedge coke's Avatar
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    I was pretty much raised on back issues and quarter bins, so my tendency isn't to follow Company A or Company B, but it's also not following new comics, necessarily. There's always quality, attractive comics I didn't get to yet from five years ago, or twenty years ago, fifty, seventy...

    And, we're living in the greatest reprint/collected edition era ever, and that's just going to get bigger and better.

    I missed things like Skip Beat and The Establishment, or Spicy Tales and Thriller when they came out because I was reading other things or because I was dumb and wouldn't look at a comic my brother liked, etc. But, you don't have to read comics the month they come out. All the words and pictures are still there later.

    And, thank so many gods for that.
    Patsy Walker on TV! Patsy Walker in new comics! Patsy Walker in your brain! And Jessica Jones is the new Nancy! (Oh, and read the Comics Cube.)

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