Welcome to 2011! and Why Comics Require Activism

05Jan11

Welcome to the first new comic day of 2011!  After a sort of start in 2010 on this blog, I’ve got a lot of plans in store for this year.  We’ve got some cool promotions planned, and I’ve got some commentary and reviews in the works that hopefully will keep everyone entertained for a long time to come.

Before we get to that, though, I want to address a theme I am going to return to over and over again.  Comics need you.  They need you spreading the word.  They need you for a myriad of reasons.

Comics are a niche industry and art form.  Recently, the top selling monthly comic is barely hitting 100,000 copies sold, according to published estimates.  A hugely successful graphic novel that isn’t directly tied to a TV series or movie appears to be only in the 20,000 range.   Most GNs fall well short of that.  Compare that to top selling DVDs and top-grossing movies, and how tiny the comics market is becomes readily apparent.  Comics just don’t have the cultural penetration of other commercial art forms.  As a result, the marketing money that exists to promote them is similarly tiny.  This is why it becomes more important for the people who love the art form to do a little legwork in helping to spread the word.  The comics industry is somewhere that a little effort goes a very long way.

There’s lots of ways you can exercise comic activism, it just takes a little bit of thought and creativity.  Here’s some of the best ways I’ve done so, or seen others do so, over the years:

1.  Give comics as presents.   Doesn’t matter if the person you are buying for reads comics or not.  In fact, it is better if they don’t already read comics!  If they like watching any TV or movies at all, there’s probably a comic in a genre they would enjoy reading.  Doesn’t matter what the holiday is, comics are always a great gift.

2.  Offer to volunteer at your local comic store for Free Comic Book Day.  FCBD has become a major event for most stores in reaching out to customers.  If you have some time to spare, let your local store know you’d like to help.  Sorting comics, arranging displays, crowd management, there’s no end to the list of things you can help with!

3.  Give comics for Halloween.  Seriously.  I do this every year and kids *love* it.  Put out a box of comics and a bowl of candy on a table next to each other, you’ll be surprised how many kids will forget the candy even exists.  Comics are too expensive you say?  Go to your local store and ask them if they have any overstock they would be willing to sell cheap for you to give away.  Most stores will be happy to work something out within your budget, or at least come up with ideas on stuff that can be ordered for giveaways.

4.  Litter.  …ok don’t throw comics out your car window.  But I’ve known plenty of people who buy comics and then leave them in strategic places for the masses to discover them.  Coffee shops and fast food restaurants are perfect spots.

5.  Post about your favorite comics and/or stores on social media.  Nothing beats word of mouth advertising, and this is no exception.  If you really enjoy a store, or a specific book, why not post on Facebook that Fables vol 14 was awesome?  Twitter about the awesome The Dark Knight #1 by David Finch to all your tweeps!  It is all about spreading the word!

If you have ideas on how to spread the word, share in the comments or e-mail me directly at morefun@keithsneatstuff.com, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Personally, I love the comic medium for storytelling.  I not only want to keep enjoy it, but I want others to discover it as well!  Sharing your love of the form with others will help us all continue to enjoy comics for years to come.

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One Response to “Welcome to 2011! and Why Comics Require Activism”

  1. I like your idea of becoming Comics ACTIVISTS rather than mere “readers” or “enthusiasts”… Plenty of folks gripe and moan loudly at whatever change comes down but few actually VOTE with their Comics Purchases! (Exhibit A: The Wonder Woman make-over and the recent Thor title)

    I especially like the gift-giving and Halloween idea… I think I’ll start buying birthday comics for friends based upon what I think might blow their minds. But why not also become an ACTIVIST and actually pick up that Batwoman or cool struggling title to read then pass along?

    Oh yeah, and bring back spinner racks to plant strategically around the Denton Square 😉


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