Thanks to the Beat for pointing out this link: Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics By Shaenon K. Garrity (published at comixology.com)
It’s an interesting look at how younger people (under 30) view comics, and it does parallel a lot of what we’ve learned in talking with teachers and store managers, plus personal experience out working within the industry.
Sad to say, there really is a much clearer division between the under 30 and over 30 crowd when it comes to comics purchasing habits, so stores would be better advised to start preparing for the buying power of the under 30 readers as they start to become more financially liquid as they move into their 30s. It will be tough for many stores to break with the monthly comic book as the primary delivery method of new comics. It would take a miracle to turn around the monthly comic book sales, as discussed earlier this week on this site.
I agree that there is a much more unbiased look at making and appreciating comics in the under 30 crowd (generally females). As a person that has to work with definitions and boundaries all of the time this is something I have to get my head around all of the time when people question the category definitions, or rules for how a person is determined to be a guest at a comic book show. Younger fans don’t see a difference between format and content. A comic is a comic, it can be delivered to you by any number of delivery systems. Needless to say we have discussions every year on the definitions for our awards and categories based on feedback we receive.
I completely agree that the line between fan and creator blurs considerably in these days where we tout internet news site coordinators and artist reps as headlining professional guests at comic book conventions and festivals. I often find myself looking at guest lists at shows and being surprised at how few of the people being advertised are familiar to me – and I make it my business to be familiar. If you have talent and imagination (or sometimes just one of the two) then you can easily set yourself up to build a following of friends and fans around you who support your work and get professional work.
I’d say up until now that my peers — the people (generally males) currently in their 30s and 40s, were those that came from a more traditional, pamphlet-driven access to comics, we are the children of the direct market, flawed as it is. We are devoted to new comic book day. There is some resistance to embracing web/digital comics and a lot of resistance to abandoning monthly comics, particularly superhero comics. For younger people, the superheroes populate other media – videogames, movies, television, cartoons…. we think of those things as peripheral to the comics… they think of the comics as peripheral to the other media. We are also the generation that bought into speculation, and we are still the quickest group to jump on that gravy train over “hot” books.