Part I: Perhaps it’s time to install a Nostalgia Filter?
I’m not a marketing or advertising expert, but I love comics and I’d love to see the medium experience a resurgence.
The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the comic industry needs new blood. We need more readers, preferably young ones who will become lifelong readers. I feel like I need to staple a sign saying “Stop pandering to 30-something fanboys!” to some executive’s heads, but I know that would be futile. 30-something fanboys are the ones writing comics, so it’s no surprise that the industry is running on nostalgia rather than innovation. For example, look at DC’s description for the brand-new Batgirl reboot:
“Yes, it’s really happening!
Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!”
This description is not for new comic readers, it’s for fanboys. People who already know who Barbra Gordon is and have, presumably, been waiting for her return. If I’m approximately 15-25 years old and have only seen the movies I don’t know who Barbara Gordon is. I might have foggy memories of cartoons from when I was younger, but I still don’t have a lot of reasons to be excited about Barbara’s return, because to me it wouldn’t be a return at all. If I’m a kid under the age 12 I would have even fewer clues as to who Barbara is and why I should care about her “return.” I also take issues with the preview panel DC released that is essentially a reference to Barbara being shot back in the 80’s, before all these presumed new readers were even born. It does serve as background information about Barbara though, so I don’t take huge issue with it, even though I know it’s meant more as a note to fans saying “Here’s how this universe is different from the one you already know” than anything else.
Specialty comic stores are not killing the industry. I feel like I need to underline that ‘not’, because when you suggest the end of comic shops, fans usually react like you’ve asked them to sacrifice their first born. The problem is that specialty stores are the only practical place to go for comics.