Following the last Comics International Thoughts post, a few of you have been jumping up and down about the points I made regarding the ideas about what comics are and what I've always wanted them to be.
Just to set the record straight about this:
I think it's an obvious fact that comics, as they stand today, appeal to a very small minority of the population.
I think this is a bad thing.
I want comics to be read, and loved, and bought by huge numbers of people.
I want those huge numbers of people to buy lots of comics from great stores like Nostalgia & Comics Birmingham.
As comics stand today, this is not going to happen.
For many, many reasons, comics today are still dominated by one small genre: Superheroes.
I think it's obvious that the potential customer base for one small genre is limited.
It doesn't matter what that genre is, by it's very nature a genre is a limiting factor.
The best way to increase the readership of comics is to broaden their appeal.
To do this I think you should broaden the genres available to customers.
Superheroes, Biography, Humour, Crime, Sci-Fi, Romance, Drama, Reference, Children's, Fantasy........ the list is as long as you want it to be.
My views have nothing to do with the relative merits of each genre.
Obviously no genre is more worthy than another.
No genre is better and they all produce examples of literary greatness and abysmal drek.
But to get more people reading comics you have to change what you do as a store.
Broadening the range is a great start.
But it's not enough.
Look around and steal every good idea in bookselling and retail.
Rack books by the same authors together.
Rack different genres separately.
Make your windows stand out, make them appeal to new customers.
(Because you really shouldn't need to appeal to your existing superhero customers at this point. Trust me, they'll still come in if the latest Spider-Man isn't in the window)
Promote yourselves outside normal comics circles.
It's up to us to ensure that the Medium of comics continues.
I believe the best way to do this is to promote the medium as a whole to a lot of potential customers,
rather than one small part of it to a few interested customers.
(And to think, I really wanted to get to bed early tonight.)