Tuesday, 15 December 2015


Wow!  Who's this handsome buggah?  I'm on the turn!
Oh, it's me!

Some of you may be finding this series of posts a little
tedious.  Lemme tell you, they're nowhere near as tedious to
read as they are to write.  I'm trying to be as thorough as I can
however, because you can bet I'll be accused of having 'conveni-
ently left out' or ignored some part, thereby implying I've distorted
or 'twisted' the other fella's words.  In fact, despite my attempts at
thoroughness, the charge is still likely to be levelled against me.
Truth to tell, parts of the guy's post are inane and repetitive, and
not worthy of attention - but, if I leave them out, I'm 'editing'
his words in a devious and diabolical way.  (According
to him and his small band of cronies, that is.)

Therefore, any repetition in my own posts is actually
dictated by the one I'm responding to, and I don't really see
any way around  it.  So bear with me for the present, eh?  What
I may do when I'm finished, is go back and write another post, in
which I summarize the main thrust of the other guy's diatribe, and
then I can edit my own responses down to a more concise and
digestible level, but you can be sure that I'll be accused of
'manipulating' the facts whatever I do.
Anyway, as I said in the previous part, it's now time to
look at what constitutes - in real terms - an industry.  Join me
after the screengrab below - if you're still awake that is.  Oh, and
look how he recommends that you buy some Annuals or Christmas
Specials this year.  Despite all his talk about digital comics, note he's
recommending the traditional format.  Maybe even he realizes (deep
down) that traditional is best.  An interesting point to ponder is this:
If you gave a kid a code to access a digital comic as a Christmas
present, would the kid regard it as a 'real' gift?  Nothing physi-
cal to hold in his hands, nothing to see lying at the foot of his
bed?  The digital equivalent of a 'No-Prize' perhaps?

It's a bit like those digital Christmas cards people send.
Sure, you can see them on your screen just as well as you
can see an actual card on your mantlepiece, but it still doesn't
seem the same, does it?  "You can print them out!" you say?
Yeah, but that's a bit like sending yourself a card, isn't it?

Yes, I'm just having some fun.  (But maybe...)

Definition of 'industry':  1)  Economic activity concerned
with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of
goods in factories.

2)  Hard work.

Now, I'd suggest that when most people hear the word
'industry', they tend to think of production lines churning out
cars, or machinery, vast sprawling factories, rows of assembly
lines, large pallets and heavy crates, sweaty men with oily rags,
cranes, ships, girders, vats, etc.  There's just something about the
word that suggests huge and bustling enterprise, and that's what
I tend to regard as Industry with a capital 'I'.  There are also
smaller, more sedate forms of 'economic activity', which,
to me, is industry with a small 'i'.

At one time, the two largest publishing empires in
Britain were IPC and DCT, who churned out magazines,
books and comics by the bucket-load.  Enormous presses in
almost perpetual production of  all kinds of periodicals for sale
at home and abroad, printed in their many thousands (indeed
millions), resulting in them being relatively inexpensive
due to the immense volumes in which they sold.

When it came to comics, they sold because they were
cheap disposable entertainment, and because kids loved
them.  The BEANO, DANDY, EAGLE and TV21 sold, at
their height, in the millions, and comics really were a humongous
industry at one time, although, truth be told, they were really no
more than a sub-division of the publishing industry.  It's been said
that comics came into being in order to keep the printing presses
running, because it was less expensive and more efficient to do
that than have them lying idle for any length of time when
they weren't running off some periodical or other.

Of course, things are done differently these days so I
understand.  And for a wide variety of reasons, it's now a sad 
fact of life that comics no longer sell in the same large numbers
that they used to.  Once upon a time, there existed huge publish-
ing corporations that produced all kinds of periodicals and books.
There were editorial staff, art bodgers, office workers, freelance
contributors, printing plants, distributors, warehouses, exporters,
vans, ships, 'planes, and doubtless all kinds of other cogs in the
wheel involved in the production of comics.  Now that's my
idea of industry.  C'mon, there's part of you that, how-
ever reluctantly, agrees with me, isn't there?

Look at what the digital comic 'industry' consists of (or
will do) in its purest form.  This is the world that's coming.
A guy sitting at home writing and drawing his own comic strips.
Or perhaps there's someone else writing them, or even lettering
and colouring them.  (No change there.)  Whether it's done at his
own whim or at the request of a commissioning employer doesn't
make much difference.  However, everything changes hands at the
press of a computer key and there's no need for anything else in
the digital 'publication', and all the other factors that used to
figure in the comics industry are eliminated from the bigger
picture at a stroke (or the press of a key).

Tell me, if a giant shrinks drastically to a fraction of his
former size, does he remain a giant?  Nope, is the honest
answer.  Whatever he's become, he's no longer a giant.  If an
industry shrinks to a fraction of its former size, does it remain
an industry?  And it's just not the shrinkage, it's the jettisoning
of limbs and appendages that once contributed to its stature and
status.  When an industry is no longer 'industrious' to the same
degree - by a wide margin - does it remain an industry and does
it deserve to retain its former status and title?  Perhaps in an
honorary capacity, but it's been downsized to a such an ex-
tent that it's not really an industry anymore is it?  At
least, not with a capital 'I'.

And despite all the small press publications and digital
manifestations, that's not my idea of an industry in the way
that sprang to mind when the word was synonymous with the
far bigger picture that I've just painted.  It's strictly small scale,
to the point where it's fairly insignificant.  It's but a pale shadow
of its former self.  "Aha, but a shadow is still a shadow!" you cry!
Okay, but it's not much of a shadow and it's still shrinking - and
when the light fails, it will disappear.  That's why, in real terms,
the industry - as it once was (and I've always made that clear)
- is dead or dying.  Sure, it's on life-support at the moment,
and being kept going artificially, but the spirit has long
departed and is unlikely to return.

If the industry has evolved, it's evolved into another
species, which bears only slight similarities to the original,
and therefore needs be reclassified to take these changes
 into account.  Now can you see my point?

"Yes, but we still disagree with it!" you declare.  That's
fine, you're perfectly entitled to do so.  Believe it or not, it's
never been the intention of these six posts to change your mind
on the matter.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to a mere
difference of opinion (particularly on how the words 'comics' and
'industry' should be interpreted).  You have yours and I have mine,
and perhaps never the twain shall meet, and that's okay.  However,
perhaps now you more fully understand exactly what my opinion
is and where it springs from, as opposed to the gross misrepre-
sentation of what it is and what prompts it as presented by a
handful of scurrilous individuals, desperate to malign those
with a different take on things.  Yes, some people really
are that insecure - and nasty.

Finally, if you forget everything else you've read, try
and remember this.  No one that I know of  (and certainly
not me) who laments the decline of the industry, does so out of
malice, or from a desire to see it fail for our 'own selfish reasons'.
Nobody is trying to put people out of work, or stop anyone buying
comics, or trying to deprive kids from fun reading material that will
encourage a love of reading in them.  That's just downright silly to
suggest it.  In fact, it's more than that, it's nasty!  To question the
reasons and cast aspersions on the motivations of people of a
different opinion to them, reveals the shrivelled, evil nature
of their souls.  And to describe anyone as a 'troll' for
merely expressing a point of view is just infantile.

So let's be clear.  I have never claimed that fortnightly,
monthly, or nursery comics 'don't count', or that every peri-
odical which contains some text features automatically doesn't
qualify as a 'comic' because of that fact.  These 'silly rules' are a
figment of his own imagination, and not based on anything remotely
resembling truth.  In failing to supply even one shred of evidence for
them, he has likewise failed to comply with the 'proper journalistic
behaviour' as defined and expected by one who sprang to his de-
fence and apparently endorsed even the spurious sentiments
of the post by cross-posting it on his own blog.
Here endeth the lesson.  Everybody shout
        Hallelujah and Amen!  (Twenty times.)         


DeadSpiderEye said...

Digital media represents a unique challenge... I put that in italics because it's the kind phrase that gets trotted out with tedious regularity in this context. The ellipsis (actually it's just three full points) stands in place of the stream of platitudes, that inevitable follow such boilerplate phrases. The inconvenient fact here though, is that such statements encompass much truth. For me, problems arise in the way that challenge is assessed and solutions formulated to accommodate it are put forward. The Dandy website would epitomise those problems: failing publication + dwindling circulation + lack lustre content = fantastic opportunity for digital media, is not the calculation I would've made. Even so, if the website had offered some decent content to attract attention from on-line competition, it could've been viable. My assesment is, that the problems with the Dandy website, were a consequence of the way DCT approached the scalability of internet based operations. Going into detail there would be tangental but the example does serve to illustrate some naivety form established industry players.

That naivety has implications for the way the British comic industry is represented in digital media. Allow me to illustrate, buy any British comics for your Sony Playstation recently? Oh no you haven't? what a surprise there. Now there may be something available through that platform, I haven't found any myself; and it may not necessarily represent much impact in terms of market share but,if my observations are accurate, it illustrates a lack of depth, regarding the representation of the British industry in digital media. There is a certain degree of on-line activity, and with various e-book formats. The question you need to assess is, how many of those efforts have the backing to promote wide scale distribution? You know, you meet on-line comic creators all the time, flip even I've had stuff published on-line, so what does make me, one of the supa dupa thriving on line creators? Well no I don't think it does, despite the fact I got paid for it, which something I'm not that confident, is something that occurs with digital media that often. Digital media is going to grow and it's an avenue worth exploring, I read quite a bit of stuff through digital media but it's the eclectic material I can't find in print. I suppose that's an indication of the greater choice it represents, of course with more choice comes more competition.

I'm having to break off here, I might come back later and expand on the topic a little later if that's OK.

Kid said...

Sure, DSE. Will look forward to it, as, I'm sure, will others.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...