Long post is long. You might want to grab cookies and a coffee before you begin...
Raven wrote:Remember, though, it's only negatives from one point of view - that of the people seeing their old culture become museum pieces.
I could have some real fun with that word.
The aspects of comic culture which ensured - even briefly - loyalty to a character, title or publisher have been shattered completely through the disappearance of multiple titles and publishers. We don't have the breadth of choice that once marked out the scope of British comics, and thus we might be persuaded to think
that this is is it. This is the big one. Doom and gloom and no more slap up meals at the end of a page of hijinks. We still have a culture here in the UK, but even though it isn't what it once was, there's life in the old beast yet. Take this forum - and other fora - for example. Just because something changes, what once was is still there, like obsolete DNA swirling around our bodies.
When we look to the past, we aren't really looking at the past. Not truly. It's mixed in with rubbish from pop culture, and other people's memories, and things we would like to remember slightly better than things actually were. Brutal, unflinching, often painful honesty, in examining that supposed past is what is needed. Was it really a great culture, or could things have been better? There are some things which have massively improved - creator rights, for one. From the collecting end of things, distribution may have become hit and miss, but there are specialists delivering the comics people want right to them
And yes, I did trip up over your answer to my comment there - took me a moment to self-correct from mausoleum to museum. Either would, I suppose, fit. Still, we aren't witnessing the end of anything, merely transition. Nobody knows what is happening during transitions unless they have a crystal ball. For all we know, the Next Big Thing could come along and shift the kinds of numbers Viz was enjoying in the late 80s.
Raven wrote:I agree that if DC Comics had really wanted to revitalise itself, it should have looked to create the new Watchmen, Sandmen or Invisibles for the 2010s, not clog the shelves with (almost) 52 new, same old, superhero comics in a market oversaturated with superhero comics that the world has no interest in.
But those titles - the gloriously anarchic, rule-breaking, attention-grabbing and (massively important in light of the 1990s UK crash and burn) profitable
comics - should have seen light from a company such as Fleetway Editions, or Trident, or... Whatever publisher was available. That those creators had to go to the US is the issue, which leads to...
Raven wrote:When a market is shrinking and sales are dropping, companies are much less likely to take any risks.
It is the best time possible.
When there is nothing to lose, then there's a window of opportunity - the shrinking market means that whoever gets the notion to grab all the attention and sustain a period of quality which engages readers is going to be the one to make it out the other end of a difficult time. This is a difficult time. This is precisely the time to aim above the parapet and see just how much of a potential readership is out there.
Raven wrote:But the real issue for comics as we know them to continue is that the new generation of kids must get into them and want to read them for pleasure - and they're the ones who, with their own new media literacies and diversions - mostly, aren't interested.
Yeah. The kids are the main problem.
There's ways of approaching narrative involvement - and not just like the utter failure of a title Diceman - which replicates a degree of interactivity. The other aspect that is required to interest (and maintain) younger readers is immediacy, which is why you ignore that completely - It is why you don't give people what they want, you give them what they need
. Continuing stories, which will compel readers to keep purchasing a title, is the only way to stave off the shrinking story mass in comics. I have some comics which have pages stuffed
with artwork, and when I see pages with seven panels, or eight panels, or whatever reduced number we are inching down to, it signifies a lack of trust in the reader. Readers - even small children - are incredibly intelligent.
One thing I hate - utterly detest, and wish that publishers would quit already - is signposts. Large, neon signs illuminating how clever and witty they are, and explaining why the reader should know what they have done. Ugh. No. Be clever and let kids figure things out. When things are so simplified, so contained within the confines of expectation, there is no room to enjoy the grand world of the characters. They stop being individuals and are turned into cyphers. There's a TV Tropes page - don't explain the joke
. All the little bits of business should stand or fall on their own merits.
I have pointed out (numerous times across the internet) that writers should always write up to an audience, but I am not seeing that across comics as a whole.