Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Change Comics Can Cash In On

Over the last year, my enthusiasm for comics has started to wain. What was once my number one entertainment media love, has become a passing interest. And while this isn't the only reason, it sums up a lot of them. Everyone is putting Obama in their damn books. Comic publishers can be so damn short sighted, milking the creative cow until it is dead, and this is just one more example.

President Obama has been in COUNTLESS comics, and there is probably no end in sight. It started with his own biographical comic, to then appearing in the pages of Savage Dragon, Spider-man, Youngblood, and now both Conan and Army of Darkness mini-series. Seriously. And people are buying them!

I understand the historical magnitude of his election and the superhero-esque appeal he has. I understand that now, as a public official, using his likeness is free. And I understand each of these are selling, and that the gimmick can pay off. My point is, I thought, as a medium, we were past this. And this time, even more than the reflective surfaces of the covers during the 90's, this Obama comic craze is missing the forest for the trees.

Whether you like him or not, Obama's message was one that comics could really benefit from. Change. Figure out what isn't working and bring in something new that can fix it. Excite the masses again, not just your base. Get the younger generation involved.

Whether Obama has held up to those promises or is for another time. What I am saying is, instead of putting the man on the cover, find your OWN Obama to save the medium. Because each year that goes by, printed comics are losing ground. The talent that could produce great stories are going elsewhere. And the audience, that could love it like I did, and I still do, is each day forgetting comics even exist outside of the movie theater.

Don't just be inspired by the money you can make off of him, be inspired by the example that was set by him.


Zack Thompson said...

The trouble here is the same trouble everywhere in art today: the big firms won't take risks. Look at literature. Look at film. Heck, even musical theatre. Everything is based on something that is already successful. The money behind these mediums isn't willing to commit until they know that they've got a success.

Michael Jungbluth said...

Yeah, I know, money rules the world. But comics seem to run something into the ground even faster than the other medias. I am sure it has to do with a dwindling market share, but it is always competition for the same dollars, while crying out that no new readers are coming in. And the way they try to get new readers is by rebooting Spider-man, or making a kid friendly Hulk. And that is the problem. Those are the old, antiquated toys. Those are the same old, same old. Instead of championing super-heroes, which EVERYONE knows comics have, start spotlighting something else.

And that is why I get so fed up about this, because their newest shtick is synonymous with the answer.


Michael Jungbluth said...

Not to mention, the money it takes to make a comic is FAR less than games or movies. It should have the most mainstream experimentation. But instead, the mainstream just continue to turn out monthly rush jobs and silly events.