Monday, 11 July 2011

Shaking up comics - an ambitious idea?

Here's my pitch:

I think comics are the best they've ever been right now.

I think that comic creators are the best they've ever been right now.

I also think comics are in as much danger as they've ever been right now.

It doesn't compute on that level. Recently, I've blogged and discussed the whys and wherefores of this problem with a number of people and it seems that the one thing we can all agree on is that comics need to be shaken up, but that shake-up has to come from someone other than the complacent publishers owned by corporations.

Mark Zuckerberg didn't create Facebook while he was the CEO of Microsoft, looking for a way to beat the competition. The Arctic Monkeys didn't build a huge following on MySpace and sell 363,000 copies of their debut album in the UK alone because they happened to know thousands of people who'd do them a favour. J.K. Rowling didn't write the first Harry Potter novel and revitalise children's literature off the back of an established wizard craze. These kind of revolutions come from unexpected places and unexpected people who are willing to do what others aren't, or can't.

Unrealistic as it may sound, that's what I want to do with comics.

It would be all too easy to sit back and watch the industry we love peter out. Books will become more expensive and audiences will shrink, because nobody out there in the wider world is going to be convinced by another reboot of Superman. We can look to the Great White Hope that is digital comics, but what if it doesn't work?

What I'm proposing is a group, a committee, of passionate comic creators and fans who can see past current comic book business models, current marketing strategies and the limits that comic books have put on themselves since Wertham screwed them over; people who can see things a little differently, coming together online and throwing out ideas that are designed make genuine changes to the comic book industry. Backed up with research, accumulated know-how and most importantly, the drive to see it through as a concept initially and, if possible, as a reality. This may ultimately lead to the creation of a new comic book studio, official think tank, publisher, consultancy group or just a helpful ideas blog for creators and comic book professionals in all fields to consider. It really depends on how this thing develops.

Think of this as comics activism. Whether it's altruistic or opportunistic is up to the members of the group and the resources we have.

There's a world of difference between wishing things were better and wanting them to be.

I want to change things.

If you're in agreement and want to help, e-mail me and let's talk.

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