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Saturday, June 21, 2008 

Drawing new readers but for how long?

The Saratogian talks about the upcoming convention at Saratoga Springs, but again, this is one of the umpteenth articles I find where the answers given just skim the surface:
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Comic book retailers seem to agree on one thing: The recent influx of summer blockbusters like “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk” and the upcoming “The Dark Knight” is attracting new readers to the old characters.

“What happens with a lot of people is they might stop getting comics for a while, then when they see a movie they may say, ‘I really liked that character; it interested me,’ ” said Shaun Belsito, owner of Spa City Comics. “Then they want to reacquaint themselves with that character.”
But alas, they may not find it easy, if they're aware of the crossovers the big two have become enmeshed in these past couple years, and then who knows how long they'll want to stick around when they're faced with something that makes them inaccessible to even older readers?

The following part though is what's really superficial:
“I don’t think we’ll ever achieve the status we had in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Belskis said, referring to the time when new retailers entered the industry with the hopes of a high return on their investment. “A lot of people speculated on new comics and thought they’d be able to send their kids through college by buying and selling them. The companies then overproduced the stuff to match the demand.”

Belskis said the industry still hasn’t recovered from the speculator market of that time, but the good news is the business is back to where it was before the boom — a time of true fans and readers.
Alas, it's more like sunk into a time when too many crossovers have led to where you're faced with a situation in which too much money would have to be spent. Is it any wonder then that they may never be able to regain the status of the 80s and early 90s?
“Comics have always seemed to hold up when times get tough since they’re an escape from reality, like certain novels,” Belsito said. “People enjoy reading them to escape from the current situations that may be going on.”
Totally missing how now, they're making it almost impossible to escape from current situations, as Civil War could suggest.
What keeps readers interested, Belsito said, is a comic’s story.

“If you put it in terms of comics like movies, are you really going to watch movies that have really fancy special effects but no story whatsoever?” he asked. “Comics are like that; you want good visuals and good story.”
And unfortunately, that's just not what they're providing at the moment. All they're putting out now is stuff that's even more vapid than the movies themselves, that features little to no convincing character drama, and under which the current writers are either going along with an editorial mandate, or are not allowed the freedom to write something that's really engaging.

And why must some retailers provide only a superficial picture of what's really going on? I know they have to earn a living, but still, I think they're doing more harm than good to comics as a whole by being as simplistic as they are.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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