Just when you thought the current state of the world economy couldn’t get any more depressing, along comes the Columbus Dispatch to prove you wrong. There are certainly worse things going on in regards to the economy than falling comic book sales, but if things don’t start turning around sooner rather than later, the comic book industry as a whole could be irrevocably damaged. As the article states, we’ve already seen a few publishers go under, and chances are, more will fall by the wayside. Comic shops will be the hardest hit, with many stores forced to shutter their doors like we’ve seen in every other area of business. Even the stores that manage to survive may be forced to lay off their employees. The speculator bust of the 90s will seem like a walk in the park in comparison.
There is something of a bright side, however. No matter how many publishers or stores fall victim to the recession, comic books will never go away. As much as I personally dislike digital comics (I’m old school. I need to hold the comic book in my hands.), they do provide a more economical means of publishing. In the unlikely event that the direct market system crashes, you’ll still be able to purchase comics via online distribution means. And of course, there will always be enterprising and ambitious creators willing to self-publish their work, even if it means heading down to Kinko’s and photocopying ashcan books. Like our favorite superheroes, the comic book industry survives one way or another. It lived through Frederick Wertham and the Speculation Age, and it will ultimately endure this economic crisis.