Thursday, November 09, 2006

Non Traditional Comics? - Oh , for god's sake.....

Via Newsarama:
A host of retailers talk about Non-Traditional Comics.
Which, obviously to these people means anything that doesn't star a recognisable superhero.

This is exactly what we've been fighting against for so very long at Nostalgia & Comics. The only reason that superhero comics are seen as the only sort of comics in the eyes of the wider world is because most comic retailers see the world that way as well, don't bother stocking anything else, and are genuinely surprised when something "non-traditional" actually sells. (Obviously, not surprised enough to realise that they might want to order some more of it, but never mind.)

Now some of the retailers make valid points. But they're just doomed to fail because they've started out with the assumption that there are "traditional" superhero comics & then there are the "non-traditional" other comics.
God help us.

This was my favourite bit of stupid thinking (& Dirk Deppey's on Journalista)
"As a rule, most customers that come into a comic shop to buy some non-traditional publication that they heard about will not stick with buying comics once that publication has ended" said Matthew Hawes, owner of Comics Unlimited in Evansville, Ind. "Still, there will be some that stay, and that is reason enough to keep trying to publish such books."

And that, ladies and gentlemen is why most comic shops are not worth walking into.

You have a new customer coming in off the back of, say, Persopolis, the fantastic book by Marjane Satrapi that got a load of press a while back in the UK. If you're any bloody good at your job you're showing them all the other stuff they might like. Joe Sacco, Julie Douchet, Chris Ware, Seth, Chester Brown, The Hernandez Bros and many, many more.

You have a new customer coming in off the back of the V for Vendetta movie. If you're any bloody good at your job you sell them more Alan Moore stuff. Not the superhero stuff, not even Watchmen because even that is too mired in the standard grammar of superhero comics. You sell them From Hell. You sell them Promethea. Then you sell them on the non-superhero work of Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and countless others.

You have a new customer coming in off the back of a review of some of Kyle Baker's stuff. If you're any bloody good at your job you find a host of other great books to appeal similarly. We always found Andi Watson's stuff sold to anyone, how about some Box Office Poison or Blankets?

But that's just the point. The sort of retailer who writes about "Non-traditional comics" doesn't have these things in. Hell, they probably haven't even heard of them. So you have a new customer, new income, the reason you may be able to buy a new T-shirt (one without stains perhaps?) this month.
That new customer just left because you were too stupid to realise they might have some more money to spend and didn't want the latest tight-fest. And they won't be back.

Comics Retailers. Dumb.

Obviously there are exceptions.
Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham, Page 45 in Nottingham, Gosh in London are my three favourites. & there are many more.
But not enough.
Nowhere near enough.

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