TFG1MIKE 365 – 2019 Day 65
The Way of the Comic Book
Hello all and welcome to a NEW Daily Blog series from me… TFG1Mike! The idea here is for me to write something, anything, once a day for 365 days. From January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. In my 65th entry, I’ll be talking about the comics industry. But first… We are 65 days into the year, and only 300 more to go. I’m not sure if I can keep up the daily blogging, but I’m going to try my damnedest to do so. If you have been following this series since Day 1, thank you. Lately most of you will have noticed that I’m getting 2, 3, 4, and sometimes even 5 days behind in getting these posts online. It takes time to write, you have to be in the right mindset, and you have to find a topic that you either are passionate about, or have an opinion on. So needles to say it’s been a bit difficult to keep up with this project over the last few weeks.
Today’s topic is all about the methods that we read comic books. Whether in print or digital, comics have been around for 80 or more years. Let that sink in a visual medium, that teaches everyone to read, has been around for EIGHT DECADES or more! If you have been listening to THE PULL BAG for the last 6 years… you’ll know I was only a casual comic book reader as a kid. However I did have a love for the Sunday Comics in the paper, and I do remember reading a few Batman and Spider-Man books back in the late 80s through the mid 90s.
Where we are with comics today… I think is amazing. Everyone has so much choice, DC and Marvel, while still the big two, they aren’t the only game in town anymore. Between the licensed properties at a companies such as IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, and so many more… and the creator own comics from several of those companies as well which include Image Comics, Valiant, and others… I’d like to think comics is a booming not dying industry.
Reading is reading no mater what you Read. I’ve talked about this before on DAY 30 of this writing journey. Everyone should learn how to, and then enjoy reading. Whether you read novels, comic books, magazines, or newspapers. Reading is fun, and it can be very educational. Back in my day we read and wrote everything out. We had to read chapters of our history and science textbooks for homework. However as I’ve said before, I also read for enjoyment. Comic Books are just another form of reading, but they are more visual than regular prose type novels.
Being a podcaster for the last ten years or so… I generally consume media in any form in order to discuss it on the podcasts I produce. Comics is a main part of that, because The Pull Bag has taken up the last 6 years of my podcasting “career” I’ll read a comic for the story, take notes, and even though I look at the art as I’m reading, I go back a second time after I’ve gotten the story read… In order to appreciate the art in all its glory.
As I began writing this entry, I saw a post on Facebook from a comic writer friend. Pat Shand had this to say, “I don’t agree with any speech on How To Fix The “Dying” Comics Industry that doesn’t even address how the way people consume media in 2019 (and 2018, 2017, 2016) is completely incompatible with 20-page monthly stories being our primary product.” My response is that he’s exactly right. We consume media so much differently than we did 10, 20, 30, even 40 years ago. In Comics yes the companies thrive and depend on those single issue sales, but readers these days want the whole story. I personally believe that the comics industry needs to grow beyond the monthly books. There are times when certain companies do 4 or 5 week events with a comic series, but that generally is for a larger over arcing event series that includes multiple titles.
He goes on to say the following: “People want longer stories. People who didn’t grow up reading comics do not relate to the idea of sitting down and reading a story for 10-15 minutes and waiting a full month to continue. Even people who did grow up with that are buying less single issues and are for SURE letting them build up in stacks for months. The conversation needs to shift away from variants and toward the larger existential problems with this industry and art form.” Again what Pat says here is correct, we do need to change the conversation. The thing is, as I said above… I want the whole story. I no longer buy print or even digital single issues, I wait for the collected editions. I also am a digital comics only kind of person now. The only way I’ll buy single issues on Comixology is if that is my only option. I used to buy peint and go to my local comic shop every week, however after trying to read Welcome Back Frank in trade in one sitting, and falling asleep from holding the book up to read it… I needed to go digital. When I first went digital I was buying comics every Wednesday, hell they have a subscription method available on the website, and for those books that I wanted to read weekly… I just subscribed to the series. It was easier than having to remember what comics were coming out and when. Lately though I’m ok with waiting for the trade.
The Way of the Comic Book has vastly changed in the last few decades, and I think that trades or collected editions are the way the industry should be moving towards. Do you read comics, and if so what are your favorite series, characters, and comic companies? Let me know in the comments below.
Pat and I will be recording a special episode of The Pull Bag talking about this later this month.
Join me tomorrow morning March 7, 2019 as I’ll be writing about home ownership.