Friday, January 07, 2011

This New Year: Bigger and better for everyone (we hope!)

There's a new interview up at Newsarama  talking once again about how digital comics were the huge story of 2010.

As a retailer of good ol' print comics, I hope it doesn't come off as arrogant to say that, even with the new market of digital comics barely at the starting gate in the Great Horse Race of the comics' world, I am tired of all the talk dedicated specifically to digital comics.

I'm also hopeful, though.

I believe in the resilience and the long-term staying power of printed comics... whether 32-paged periodicals, 100+ paged trade paperback compilations or original graphic novels, like SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE or PRIDE OF BAGHDAD or Darwyn Cooke's THE OUTFIT (all excellent and all pictured here).

The late great WILL EISNER often talked about how many times the comic book business nearly went under during his 60+ years in the industry. For instance, when TV became the big thing in the late '40s and early '50s, that was supposed to spell the end of comics.  Didn't happen.

The Great DC Implosion of the '70s was thought to be a sign the end of comic books was near. Didn't happen.

The bubble market of huge growth and huge losses in the 1990's was thought to be the last gasp of comics. That didn't happen, either.

There have been several more such difficult times in the history of the American comic book market... and yet, comics are still here. In many ways, comics are stronger and more ubiquitous than at any time in the last 50 years.

We live in a culture that is soaked in comics--- from all the big budget movies, to TV shows, to advertising--- all visual media get their strongest and most profitable ideas from comics.

And while it's true that comic book sales are no longer anywhere near the million copies per issue level the best-sellers once boasted, the current market is in so many ways more vibrant than ever.

All across the comics' spectrum, there is entertainment for anyone who loves to READ!

That is the key. Reading! While more people spend more time in front of a computer screen or locked onto their smart-phones, iPads and other digital devices, blogging, tweeting, scanning short status updates from friends, browsing news headlines and sports scores... there has to be less and less actual time dedicated to reading going on these days than ever.

Reading... especially reading comics, takes dedicated time, energy and the willingness to be  something more than just a passive observer (see: TV, movies, etc). Comic book readers need to be willing to engage both sides of their brains at once--- the cognitive for reading the words and the interpretive for seeing and absorbing the pictures.

There's a wide variety of material available in comics--- and plugging here, Flying Colors carries a good assortment of the styles and genres found in contemporary comics. Yes, we have an abundance of super-heroes (they are super-popular!), but for nearly every book genre you can think of, there's a comic book for that category, too... often many good ones!

We're a week into this bright and beautiful New Year. There's a lot of hope and a long way to go to see this one to the finish. Along the way, please accept my invitation to visit us at Flying Colors. Challenge us to find a comic book or graphic novel that you will love!

...and your pleasure reading will be so much better for it!
More soon...



(Knowing that many people read this blog who are too far away to visit Flying Colors in Concord CA,  please let me suggest that there are a couple of good sources to find other comic book specialty stores. As president of the industry's retailer trade association, my first suggestion is to check out ComicsPRO's list of retailer members. Also, please check the Comic Shop Locator Service for a list of other comic shops all over the world.)