If Mark Millar didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him:
Comics are doomed! Want to know why? Read my next column in SFX in a couple of months.
And no, this isn’t the usual shite where people say GAMES will replace comics. That argument was crap and made about as much sense as CHEESE replacing comics, the two things being totally different. No, this is for real. And take it from the politics buff who noticed in 1995 an old interview by Denny O’Neil which sparked off my eye for the TRENDS in comics that had ran for three generations. The biggest boom EVER is coming between 2010 and 2013, but then it all crashes and will be as defunct as the British comics scene. For exactly the same reasons. You’ll see what I mean when you read the column and realize why it can’t ever rcover. Just like commercial British comics.
They’ll still exist in some format, but… Well, you’ll see what I mean. But this just struck me a couple of days back and I almost, as they say, shat a brick. It’s good for creators, but very bad for fans.
Fans aren’t convinced, for obvious reasons:
“I assume you mean comics in their current format? I shouldn’t get to worried Mark, your predictions arn’t always true, you did after all think Superman Returns was gonna be the biggest film since Titanic.”
It would have been with the right team.
But they won’t change format as such. In a way, yeah, but only in a small way. Marvel and DC won’t be producing even a fraction of the comics they’re producing now. It’ll be the biggest cutback ever and make the 90s collapse look like the eighties boom. There’s no way this won’t happen. Again, see what I mean because I’m right in the middle of WHY it’ll happen and can lay it all out for you clearly in my piece.
The thread devolves from there pretty swiftly, with Mark continually trying to hype his (admittedly unwritten) column for SFX magazine by simultaneously prophesizing fortune and doom for the comics industry while no-one really falls for it.
Bryan Hitch comes in to back up his mate:
I know where Mark’s going with all this as we’ve been discussing these trends for a while but it only just dawned on us what the probable outcome of these events are.
We are already on the path to what’s going to happen as creators, this is just a look at the inevitable conclusion of the trend and it’s one seen in other industries, including the British comics scene.
It isn’t the END of comics per se just a major shift in the whole thingie whihc WILL result in fewer comics, it HAS to and arguably comics of poorer quiality too.
It’s like the end of the industrial revolution and the beginnings of the information age. I must say it’s hugely exciting on a personal level and I’m enjoying the heck out of what’s happening.
Watch this space and remember where you heard it all first…
And Mark returns to toot his own horn some more:
This isn’t doom-mongering. Don’t panic. I just can’t help thinking everything through several steps ahead of what anyone gives a fuck about. It comes from being a chess-player when I should have been out playing more football. This is actually very exciting and, just like I was plotting for the boom during the last bust, this is just me thinking aloud about the next bust when we’re in this ever-increasing boom.
The next seven years are going to be amazing for writers, artists and retailers.
Wait, it isn’t doom-mongering? Even if you say “comics are doomed”? How does that work? Luckily, after swearing that he won’t talk about it anymore and that people will have to go buy the magazine, Mark then starts to talk specifics:
[Y]ou’ll still be able to break in [as creators] and the success will be bigger when you go onto the thing I’m going to tell you about. But the comics you do, after 2013, will be tiny web-based things you’ll pay for yourself. I don’t think we’ll have publisher as we understand it anymore by about 2015. We’ll be a petri-dish and mostly working for free at first if we’re doing comics.
That’s right; it’s the old comics-as-intellectual-property-R&D-only theory that’s been floating around for years and years, apparently. Or maybe I’m thinking too small. Mark?
The change will make the switch from news-stands to the direct market look like a fart from an ant. There won’t be publishers paying people to produce comics anymore, except some R and D guys, I think, but the money will be much more than creators have ever seen. Will it be paper comics? No. Will it be digital? No.
These things will exist in some form, but be limited, I think, and eventually fade away. This is something else and so obvious you’ll all kick yourselves. The minute I realized it and saw what was happening to my friends I realized exactly what’s coming next. It’s cool in many ways, but comics will essentially cease to exist.
I could be wrong, but everybody who has heard this theory today seems shocked.
Wait, so all printed comics will fade away? Shit! I AM shocked. ALL comics, you say?
No, [Japanese and European publishers will] be absolutely unaffected by this. It’s an interesting point, but it won’t matter a jot to them and the bulk of their sales aren’t through comic stores in US and UK so even if those stores go away if won’t make any difference.
This is entirely US and UK, mainly US. The guys who will close the industry down (aolmost by accident) don’t care about those other two markets.
So, let’s get this straight: Comics are doomed, except this isn’t doom-mongering, and comics aren’t doomed anyway because it’s only the US Direct Market that will be affected. Okay. Glad we’ve sorted that out.