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Monday, February 28, 2005
Indy Comics Verses Superhero Comics:
The Absurdity of the Genre War
There are those who believe that all superhero comics are bad, others who wouldn't touch an autobiographical graphic novel with a ten foot pole, and still others who hate manga and everything it represents. You can hear them preaching their respective gospels on messageboards, read them belittling those who don't subscribe to their particular beliefs on industry websites and in magazines, and see them turning up their noses at another's selections at places where comics are sold. Apparently these people think that these different aspects of comics are best divided, forever locked into their unique genre definitions and battling with each other in some sort of comic readers secret war.
Sure those people are out there, and because they can be so ferverent about beating the genre war drum they've helped make the perception that is how most, if not all, comic readers make their buying decisions at the comic book counter. And that is the way that comics have to be sold. But that's just not the case. If anything, quite the opposite.
When you're taking a stack of comics up to the counter you're more likely to be hoping that you'll be getting your hard-earned money's worth out of that pile of funnybooks than you 'll be thinking about what genre classification they fall into. And as long as the person behind the counter doesn't go out of their way to make you feel embarrassed by your selections, you're going to leave that store thinking about going to your favorite place to read and finding out what lies inside those comic book pages. And when you're reading those comics you're going to be thinking about whether or not you're enjoying those comics, not some non-exisitant spandex vs flannel spectrum on the nerd totem-pole.
In my experience I've found that the majority of comic readers are looking for one very simple thing in their comic entertainment. Something that makes them love comics all over again, even if that means checking out something that falls just outside of their comfort zone. More often than not, if a reader hears that a book is good, they'll at least flip open the cover and see what it has to offer. If they like the look and it's in their price range they'll give it a try. More than anything comic readers just want to be entertained and occassionally enlightened by their comics. And they don't like missing out on the comics that might do just that for them.
Us verses them retailing is absurd because all it does is limit the consumer's choices and discourage both consumer and industry growth. Perhaps all that fans of superhero, manga, art comics, and any other genre of the artform truly need is a place where comic genres are considered equal and get to stand side-by-side, not as genres, but as that which they all truly are... comics.
Because who among us doesn't love comics?