Why Comics Aren't What You Think

We're all comic creators. So it stands to reason we should know what comics are, right?

Wrong.

Well, actually it's not that black and white.

We definitely understand our medium and industry. I'm not contesting that. Many of us are familiar with its history - at least its recent history - and keep track of the controversies and developments that challenge our industry and push us forward, respectively.

However, where most of us fail is in trying to look at comics relative to other parts of the entertainment landscape.

When we take this comparative perspective, that's where we get a clear view of how limited our thinking is.

Because we're not just making comics. We're creating an entertainment product, as cold as that might sound.

And when we think about releasing a comic and consider the state of our industry we need to consider the other parts of entertainment.

What I mean by this is:

When you're trying to get people to buy your comics, you're competing with everything else your audience in consuming.

Movies, television, video games, books, plays.

The entire media landscape is your competition. Your comic can't just be better than the average comic. It also needs to be better than the average anything that your audience regularly consumes.

That's why we need to, individually, strive to create the best comics we can and, collectively, work to improve our industry.

Does it make sense for a reader to choose to buy 22 pages of a comic every month if they can get almost an hour of television every week, or all at once?

What can we do to innovate and challenge the traditional comics model to widen its appeal and make working in comics a more financially justifiable prospect for creators?

I don't have the answers, but this isn't the kind of problem that gets fixed with one solution.

It requires a lot of different approaches - a lot of experimentation - a lot of different people thinking about the problem and coming together to discuss it.

We've already seen a lot of innovation in comics over the past couple years, but I'm hopefully 2016 will see a whole lot more.


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