Hmf. I’ve been trying to add old blog entries from previous blogs to this one, back dating as I go. I’m having little success doing this – it either works once, and then starts treating the entry as a modern one, but Blogger just send bland and useless responses to my queries. I’m sure I can’t be the only person having this issue.
However, having just read Steve Holland’s recent report on latest comics sales over at Bear Alley, this post, originally written back on 22 May 2006, is still pertinent, so I’ll leave it here…
Hmf. We seem to be in the grip of a vicious circle when it comes to comics in Britain, in terms of sales, perceived value and the like, with the result that, I think, we’ve lost sight of the fact that the comics we, as a country, generally produce some damm fine comics.
So it’s time we started to use some guerilla tactics to get them back in people’s faces.
We should be out there, urging people to buy comics. Not in a ram it down your throat way, but subtly:
1) Use the web to our advantage. Tell people The Beano was darn funny this week in an e-mail to someone who might not read comics.
2) Make sure that when you find WH Smiths have yet again left the comics racks in a mess, tidy them up and put the best — the Beano, the Dandy, TOXIC and yes, Wallace and Gromit, right up front.
3) When WH Smiths decide to cram all the magazines we like into a smaller and smaller spot, so it’s harder to find the new ones — why have all the Panini titles been stuck behind SFX where they can’t be seen in my local branch for example? — write to WH Smiths and complain…
4) Try and persuade your local literature festival, if there is one, to have a comics writer or artist at their next festival. There’s plenty around the country: and they’re paid for out of your taxes.
5) Ask your local indie cinema to consider a night of comics-related films: I’m sure there’s people where who could suggest some that aren’t The Punisher or Elektra.
6) When you’re having a clear out of comics, don’t just recycle them in the green bin… although I’m sure few people reading this would. Take them to the doctors and stick them on top of the piles of five-year-old Reader’s Digests. Who cares if someone rips them off? You were getting rid of them anyway. If a kid takes them home and then starts looking the latest issue, it’s another convert.
7) Or how about this: if you aren’t already, locate your local BookCrossing locations and leave comics or graphic novels there: www.bookcrossing.com
I’m sure none of the above are original ideas, but what the hey. They’re worth re-iterating.
Be proud of comics. Support the small press, because there’s talent there. Champion them. Don’t ever give up.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.