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Thursday, April 21, 2022 

A specialty store in Hudson Valley wants it to be known the medium's not only about superheroes

Hudson Valley 360 covered a specialty store in the area called Pure Folly Books, and tells the following, although there's also something mentioned that may not please everybody in view of recent events:
“I think a lot of people have a very specific idea in their mind when you say comic books,” Uvanni said. “A part of my goal with my store is to show people that your idea of what comics are might not necessarily be true.”

Over the past two decades, comic books have experienced a cultural paradigm shift that went from appealing to nerd-niche audiences to asserting a mainstream appeal in books and film. This is partly due to the allure of Marvel - a publisher of comic books since 1939 that started making movies derived from their classic comics in 1998 with the release of the film “Blade.”

Since then, comic books adapted into movies have focused on the superheroes’ journey. Films like “Spider Man,” “Black Panther,” “The Avengers” and dozens of other cinematic stories have garnered billions of dollars for Marvel, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
Umm, after the Disney corporation's turn to divisive politics, something tells me that, along with Marvel's own cinematic shift to wokeism - which is what "mainstream" can allude to now - will lead to less success for their movies, if realists don't want to finance Disney by extension. On the plus side, however, the manager says, in a followup to the earlier part about people's ideas/perceptions:
Uvanni wants people to realize that comic books are not only about superheroes. There are historical comics that focus on true events, narrative-driven graphic novels and much more.

Many potential customers who walk into Uvanni’s store have never read a comic book or graphic novel before.

“With someone who is not interested in comics or not super-familiar with them, the goal is to find what other art they consume through a conversation,” Uvanni said. “If they can give me a touch point, I can find a recommendation.”

This is because Uvanni has an encyclopedic knowledge of comics, although he is too humble to admit it.

He’s read comics since he was a kid growing up in central Florida.

“I always used to call myself an omnivore when it comes to comics because I love everything from mainstream superhero comics to weird underground comics from the ’60s and ’70s to manga to experimental art comics and everything in between,” he said.

[...] Uvanni also plans to become more involved with the community in Hudson. On May 7, he is participating in Free Comic Book Day and will provide free comics to everyone who visits his store.

“And just because you maybe don’t want to jump into the superhero universes doesn’t mean that there’s not amazing art that isn’t out there to be shown,” he said.
No argument there. That's precisely the point that needs to be made about comics in general, that it's not just superhero themes that should be emphasized, and that for science-fantasy fans, there is more than just superhero themes alone to check out. It's the adventure themes that should matter most, and even Marvel/DC have some lead characters who aren't portrayed as costumed crimefighters per se, like Nick Fury, and even Adam Strange. IMO, most specialty store managers should consider trying to downplay promotion of Marvel/DC products altogether, considering the way they're going towards political social justice propaganda these days, and concentrate instead on promoting creator-owned titles and/or independent productions that could be avoiding divisive themes with ultra-leftist motivations. I'm sure there are some retailers who do make an effort to steer more to the comics that're less connected with mainstream publishing, and if the press would pay more attention to them, comicdom would be in much better shape artistically. Come to think of it, when Marvel/DC's comics lines are no longer under corporate ownership will be good news too.

For now, it's good if the store proprietor in focus wants to do his best to widen perspectives of what the comics medium can be all about, which is definitely more than just superheroes. And future creators should do their best to emphasize that fact too.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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