Heidi has been a little depressed about the state of comic books lately:
There is no market for the quirky creator driven book anymore. The audience craves shock and horror and not solid, character driven fiction. You can’t blame the Big Two for giving the people what they want. As an observer and a sometime editor, my instincts tell me that readers want characters they can identify with and clear problems that these characters need to solve. But the real world shows no evidence whatsoever for this. Was I wrong all along?
Dirk tries to offer some comfort, after a fashion:
Superhero comics turning into a more elaborate clusterfuck, attracting hardcore nerds and repelling everyone else? Big deal. Something else will rise elsewhere to fill whatever active demand isn’t being met by superhero comics. In fact, it already has, and it may account for 90% of bookstore sales, if the guy talking to Dallas Middaugh was telling the truth. When the superhero nerds die off and comics shops follow them into oblivion, comics will still be available at Borders, or online, or from some other outlet that sees a buck to be made.
Relax, Heidi. It’s all good. Comics are resilient. The comics medium’s going to be fine…
To return to my own empirical field research, it seems like every time I get on the subway I see someone reading a comic. Sometimes its a manga, sometimes JLA, sometimes Ultimate Spider-man. I suspect these subway riders are what I will call “recreational readers.” They are not fans per se, in the collector, plastic bag, Android’s Dungeon sense. They are the current incarnation of those regular folks who like to read comics because they provide fun stories and engaging art. That’s right, they read comics for fun.
… At the end of the day in the spirit of “How can we?” I think we need to question all our assumptions. The audience for FUN HOME is not the audience for CIVIL WAR, thank God, and I’m not trying to say that the people spilling into the Android’s Dungeon to buy CIVIL WAR are suddenly going to get interested in AYA. We’ve proven many many times that just putting indie comics in the proximity of better selling superhero books doesn’t sell more indie comics. But the rising tide is lifting all boats. The important thing is for publishers to stop accidentally knocking holes in the bottom of the boat by telling Joss Whedon he has to write CIVIL WAR: BACK DOOR.
Depends. Is “Civil War: Back Door” an Eros title?