Monday, July 25, 2011
What is the future for comics, both in newspapers and in book form?
One area of media that seldom gets mentioned, but I believe is very important, is comics, both newspapers and in comic book and compilation book form. Comics were seen as vital to bringing in newspaper readers a hundred years ago, and I believe they serve the same function these days despite the industry's virtually ignoring them in recent years.
I don't know how many times when I was talking with readers while at the Milwaukee Journal, the comics came up. Often it was "I started reading the newspaper with the comics," or "They're the only thing my son/daughter reads." The same with comic books, which are a way of getting children to read (an active intellectual pursuit) rather than just watch television (a passive media experience).
Tom Siebert files a long and thoughtful post on the current state of the comics business from the San Diego Comic-Con (it includes lots of links for those wanting more). His takeaway is that, despite the splash comics are making in movies and on television, the actual comics themselves aren't doing too well financially but remain important creatively. Even if the 32-page, full-color comic book is merely a loss leader these days, as he concludes, its importance to the industry is that it spawns the compilation books that are big money-makers (not to the mention the films).
Meanwhile, those readers remain lonely, but Siebert's post shouldn't. It should be read by anyone interested in media future.
Posted by Steve Byers at 6:12 AM