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feb. 23, 2009, 2:20pm

So...I've had this discussion over and over with my friends and co-workers. What makes a mainstream comic book?

This may be mainstream within the comics community...but is it mainstream in the larger sense? (maybe...if you look at movies)

But superhero movies aren't the only successful movies, why are comics so limited?

Limited readership?
Limited access?
Smaller overall financial pie to split?

There's a ton of other stuff out there in American comics,but sales

Why is it different in Europe and Japan?

Should I just get over it and move on?

Editat: feb. 23, 2009, 2:42pm


I think that's the magic word.

"Should I just get over it and move on?"

Well you and me both and a lot of folks here I think. ;)

It's interesting that comics still exist. I thought gaming and all things computer would have completely wiped them out, but they're still here. There are so many people who draw outrageously, lovingly well, and they still love the idea of comics and I go to their blogs and get high off their work.
It's too bad there aren't that many books being put out right now that I can get that from.

I definitely think there's a limited, marginalized, aging readership. Will there be a continuous, new, 10 year old audience for mainstream comics in the next 10 or 20 years?
I personally can't see it.

feb. 23, 2009, 3:01pm

Sometimes I feel guilty, like my generation killed comics by keeping them with us as we grew up and not leaving them for the next batch of kids.

My son will read a book here and there.
He loves his Bionicle comics (I know....but he likes them)

I also loved the comic book stores when I first saw them...but moving the comics away from the newstands may have been a very bad thing.
Years ago, when I did one of my comics, I went to my childhood 7-11 so I could buy my own comic off the racks I bought comics from when I was a kid.
But, the guy there said they didn't have comics any more.
I think that's changed again. I see more comics here and there.
Maybe the problem isn't our fault or comic's fault...maybe it's just the way things change.

I'd hate to see comics die though. they are a medium one person can use to tell their story visually, retain complete creative control and do it relatively inexpensively.

Of course, now I'm the enemy since I work in video games...

feb. 23, 2009, 3:05pm

Why is it different in Europe and Japan?

Don't know about Japan, but for starters the whole "Superhero" thing never really caught on here in Europe. Then there was an entirely different form of publishing. Our whole idea about comics was formed by magazines publishing stories in weekly installments of a couple of pages at a time - leading to books of usually either 48 or 60 pages (but sometimes many, many more). And they were full magazine format, so that had a huge influence on the graphics.

I thought gaming and all things computer would have completely wiped them out, but they're still here.

That's sort of what happened here in Europe. Comics are now for a much smaller and aging audience - but it's also an audience that really likes good comics and is prepared to spend some money on it.

feb. 23, 2009, 3:25pm

Are you mostly talking about England...or is the aging readership true for France too?

feb. 23, 2009, 4:25pm

I can think of Don Rosa's *huge* popularity in Europe from his amazinlgly detailed illustrations and research from his stories of Uncle Scrooge. Just not quite hitting it as big here in the states. I know Dave Stevens and Bernie Wrightson were and are very popular when doing conventions overseas....
Their works are greatly appreciated there.

feb. 23, 2009, 5:42pm

Actually I'm not that sure about the UK situation - off my scope. I'm Dutch and I mainly know about the situation here, and in France & Belgium.

Yeah, for some reasons the Donald Duck / Uncle Scrooge weeklies were always hugely popular here in Europe. In fact, it used to be the case that a lot of the material was produced on this side of the Atlantic - under license. Not sure how that is today.

Editat: feb. 23, 2009, 6:18pm

Sorry about that.
I made an unconscious assumption based on thinking the UK market would most closely parallel the US.

And there's so much cool stuff I see coming from France, I didn't think they would have the same problem with the younger readers.

But, from what you say, I wonder what the global state of comics is.

I'm still assuming Japan is strong. Anyone know what's up there?

feb. 23, 2009, 7:59pm

When I lived in Japan in the 80's Manga were still hugely popular - I think that has waned a bit but they still sell a lot of paper there. Back then you were almost forced to travel by train and reading Manga made the time go by much faster, plus it made it easier to ignore the packed environment. Much of that has been replaced by electronic devices, so you can watch full on anime instead of carrying paper. It's still a big deal there but not like it was.

Manga in Japan has always had much broader acceptance than comics in the US - in Japan everyone reads comics and the stories have always been directed to different sexes and age groups. In the US most comics are created and marketed to a specific male-oriented 10-16 year-old group (yeah I know there are exceptions but I'm talking about the majority of what's published in the US). Also in Japan many of the popular Manga is made into animated series or features - usually the more adult oriented stuff makes it into Anime. In a strange reversal, the animated stuff is mostly adult while the live-action produced for children (where all those power ranger groups came from). Since this stuff is layered throughout their society, it's very socially acceptable to read comics there - while in the US there is still a stigma against those who still read comics as an adult (luckily the attitude has changed some but it's still a perception here).

Editat: feb. 26, 2009, 12:59pm

4>"That's sort of what happened here in Europe. Comics are now for a much smaller and aging audience - but it's also an audience that really likes good comics and is prepared to spend some money on it."

I don't see how this bodes well for the continued success of comics in Europe or in the States.