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Monday, December 28, 2015 

Do they care that there's still censorship madness today?

KPBS in San Diego wrote about a local comics store opening an extra branch in town, and along the way, they cite a problem from history that's still quite relevant:
Comic books were once the Rodney Dangerfield of the literary world. Not only did they fail to get any respect, they also came under attack. There were comic book burnings in the late 1940s, and in 1954 a Senate committee was formed to consider if there was a link between comics and juvenile delinquency and if the government needed to step in and regulate the industry. Comics survived that wave of moral panic to face new challenges and stereotypes.

"For longest time people only thought of comics as juvenile fare and nothing that you’d want to read once you were past 13 or 14, and recently we have seen that to not be the case," Robert Scott said.
Trouble is, if you know where to look, many still do. And as I've written before over the past year, and come to realize, there's still a serious problem with SJWs who'd gladly commit book burnings today, and for now are certainly enjoying both yelling for censorship of sex-positive storytelling elements while enjoying the backing of a complacent comics press that's been throwing well regarded artists under the bus by trying to shame their art designs. I hope the store proprietor they spoke with understands that. In a way, it all began with the cases that led to the Gamergate campaign, but video games obviously aren't the only product of the entertainment medium that became a target of such pathetic SJWs.

However, this same article also contains something that bothers me:
T.J. Shevlin manages the Comic Art Gallery and said his new neighbors prove one thing: "Brick and mortar comic shops are never going to go away. Comic book stores are special. They don’t sell anything that you need; they sell something you want. And it caters to that desire."

Hitting that niche market is part of what drives the success of a comic book store.

"We have a specialized product that has a fan base that is highly motivated to seek it out, so that helps," Scott explained. "It also comes out on a regular basis. We have new issues every week, whereas if you are a book reader and you have three or four favorite authors you might see a book a year."
I wish that were true, that the stores sell what you want, but that's not always the case. Or, what a certain crowd wants is not what it actually wants to read, but rather, store in plastic in hopes it'll become monetarily valuable someday. And it's that speculator crowd that's been turning the industry into a joke. The customer isn't always right, and if I were a speculator, I'd be wrong to focus my attention solely on buying various comic pamphlets just for profit and not for reading and entertainment value.

And even the part about publishing basis bothers me. Pamphlets are outdated, and paperbacks/hardcovers make a far better way to convince people to take the art form seriously, yet no arguments are raised on why it's better to make the shift. I don't know how many authors there are overall in comicdom, but even comics in paperback and hardcover form can debut every week, so it's not like there wouldn't be anything to buy and read. There's also no mention here of whether cover prices have gotten too big for anybody who does believe in reading value, and if this could discourage new readers from trying out pamphlets, even though, as mentioned, they're decidedly an outdated format.

That's the problem with some comics store managers. They don't seem to consider the long term effects for the medium, and how to make improvements for the better.

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Despite some of the gushy puff pieces that get published in the MSM, the comics format (including comic "books" [i.e., magazines], trade paperbacks, and graphic novels) is still disreputable. The medium is the message, and when the medium is in a comic strip format, the message is, "This is not to be taken seriously."

For years, the assumption was that a typical comic book fan was a preteen kid. (Plus some adults with low IQ's.) Today, the stereotype is some nerdy young adult social misfit (like Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory.") The medium has not lived down stereotyping; instead, old negative stereotypes have been replaced by new ones.

A lot of teenagers and adults will openly talk about going to see the new Batman or Captain America (or Star Wars) movie, but they wouldn't be caught dead with a comic book featuring those same characters.

I doubt that there will be an anti-comics crusade on the scale of the 1950's. For one thing, most comic books now lean left politically, and the SJW's will approve of them. Also, back in the fifties, comics were (accurately) perceived as a children's medium, so there was naturally concern over graphic sex and violence. Today, most kids seem uninterested in comics. They are more into (and their parents are more concerned about) the internet.


That is not to say there won't be some complaints now and then, but I don't expect any Congressional hearings or anything. And the medium is practically dying, anyway, from low sales, so it is not really on anyone's radar.

Agree that speculators are hurting the medium, artificially inflating sales.



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