Every three or four years I watch the peaks and troughs of the comics creative environment in the UK hit and even lower mark than previously experienced.
I’m sat having a coffee again trying to find something to talk about on a podcast. Don’t worry, I’ll find something but it’s taking longer and longer these days and the trawl of some of this stuff is hurting my eyeballs and sending my eye-rolling into a Vegas spin.
This week in October 2022. A week and month that should be exploding with enthusiasm and great releases seems muffled and foggy. Full of people who think that their identitarian politics alone can make for an amazing story – with arse-numbing artwork to boot!
As we are prone to mention on the Awesome Comics Podcast this period of the year has become over-populated with conventions and events. In the six weeks spreading onwards from the start of October 2022 alone we’ve had The Lakes, BAM, MCM London, Nottingham, and Thoughtbubble. Not to mention the New York Comicon, M.I.C.E. And Baltimore over in the states with Lucia in Italy. The expectation of a slowly shrinking base of fans to attend all of these is being quickly monetised with the ever-ready to spend hordes of FUNKO, Movie and Manga fans to fill those cash-strapped gaps we leave.
But nevertheless the events are many and serve as an opportunity to advertise, promote and possible sell your new comics product.
But where are they?
Sure, there are many that are nipping at my nerves on social media and Kickstarter. But where is the real grit and originality. Do we really need another ‘New Fantasy tale of a lone female warrior’ or the ‘Explosion of a brand new superhero universe’ or, even worse, a new ‘COVID Diary’? All I ever seem to see now are tiresomely pushed crowdfunding projects that have all the attraction of a beggar with a Burger King cup outside of Camden Town tube station.
I started reviewing comics around twelve years ago and podcasting around seven and a half. This may be the rose-tinted comics nostalgia speaking but this medium seemed both less cynical and more prepared to take a chance back then.
As I type I’m about 48 hours from assisting on a panel about Autobiographical comics. At once one of my favourite genres and also the single crowd that can annoy me the most. Mining the last self-absorbed feelings for one last volume of ‘How Sad I Am’. Some of them so blindly deluded in their personal navel gazing obsessions that they can’t see what they are putting out is utter crap. And more importantly uninteresting. Please, have something to say…
OK, there are a couple of people out there. The odd person putting out something of worth. But it’s a rare lump of sweetcorn in a volcano of shit.
I dare you now to scroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and tell me honestly you came across more than one worthy candidate for a few hard-earned quid rather than someone you just ‘mercy back’.
Come on folks. Stop playing it safe. Stop worrying about offending. Stop trying to get picked up by Boom or Image or Marvel. Even if they do notice you it likely won’t even help you pay your gas bill.
Just make something fucking interesting!!!!
No shit. Genuinely. 90% of the stuff I receive is so vanilla and boring it gives me a migraine.
Do it for the love and passion. Let it come from the heart and mind and not an algorithm that you think will sell (it won’t).
Make it for the art.