Thursday, August 05, 2004

Blanderizing of America

In discussing Fallen Angel on Newsarama, a poster made this comment about why comic shops don't support it:

It seems comic stores now are geared to picking up customers coming off the back of the marvel films, and with stores having no interest in trying to promote a title that breaks the trend of comics and are trying to make new ground and do not star a well known character or brand the future looks bleak for Fallen Angel and comics like it.

Peter David responds with an excellent post that sums up the state of, well, everything in the United States:

Well, that's just an extension of the uniform blanderizing of America, when you get down to it, right?

Once upon a time America was filled with diversity. A vast array of family run or independent Mom and Pop stores, restaurants, service outlets, clothing outlets. There was variety. There was something for everyone.

And over the years, American tastes have become more and more limited in scope. Less adventurous. Less interested in trying something new and different. What's the Holiday Inn slogan? "The best surprise is no surprise." That's what Americans want.

Which is why Mom and Pop stores and family-run stores are dying, and why every major road in the country is a clusterf**k of Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, the Gap, Home Depot, Office Max, Staples and Borders Books.

That's what mainstream comics have become. A book like "Fallen Angel" is a Mom and Pop diner drowning in an endless cacophony of signal-to-noise through which it cannot penetrate because the vast, vast majority of fans are too busy chowing down their McComics.

I cannot tell you how many people came up to me at San Diego, telling me they're huge fans of my work, love everything I write. And when I would say, "Do you read 'Fallen Angel?" the response was invariably blank looks. "What's that?" "Never heard of it." "When's it coming out?" It hasn't registered on their radar. But Every Single One knew about "Madrox" and it doesn't ship until next month.

Losing readers? How about they're just not finding us. Based purely on numbers alone, about 80% of comic readers have never even tried it...and based purely on personal experience, the vast majority of that hasn't even heard of it. And every retailer who can't be bothered to stock it or hides it behind other books just makes it that much harder.


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