Friday, February 28, 2014

The Changing Face Of The Comic Book Industry

I blogged a few months ago about the fact that my comic reading tastes are changing after more than 40 years in the hobby.  Specifically, I'm enjoying more creator-owned titles and fewer of the big publishing house releases (notably Marvel/Disney and DC/Warners).  I think there's a huge difference in quality between those two camps right now, with the creativity shown by the former group absolutely eclipsing anything coming out of the Big Boys.  There's only so much you can do with corporately-owned figures like Batman, Superman,  Spider-Man and the X-Men, after all, and only so much creative energy that a truly talented writer or artist is likely to spend on stories about them.  Titles like Velvet, Saga, Fatale and Lazarus, on the other hand, are all creator-owned and awash with new ideas and revolutionary stories.  All four of those titles, along with the monstrously-successful Walking Dead series, by the way, are published by Image Comics.

Recently, the head honcho at Image, Eric Stephenson, delivered a speech to a gathering of comic book retailers (i.e. a roomful of Comic Store Guys, in Simpsons-speak) that I think is brilliant and dead-on.  He talks about what it will take to bring new readers to the comics industry, highlighting the importance of being innovative in terms of character and story rather than in packaging and hype.  This sort of thinking, which he's obviously backing up in practice as shown by the incredible quality coming out of Image right now (in sharp contrast to the crap they used to be known for back in the 1990s), has the potential to revolutionize the comic book industry over the next few years if it catches on.

No comments: