by KC Carlson
2010 was one of those years in comics where really only one word could succinctly and concisely sum up everything that happened this year. And that word is…
Not to say there weren’t some great comics around (and some in unlikely places), but it seemed that when folks gathered to talk about comics this year, it wasn’t often about the comics themselves. There were much bigger issues afoot, from digital downloads (both legal and otherwise), to the cover price of comics, to Big-Name superhero fans/creators announcing they were done with the current form of the genre, to the failure of notable publishers or imprints. The format (including the ultimate delivery systems) of comics itself was endlessly debated, making many in the Direct Market system of distribution — the primary method of distribution for most traditional comics for several decades — either scramble for higher ground or left them quivering in the wake. And all of this was trumped by the horrible economy, most likely the primary factor in the closing-up-shop of many comic-related businesses — including many comic shops themselves.
If you weren’t careful, the eerie specter of The Death of Comics was hovering in the ether, just over your shoulder.
As in the superhero comics themselves, where death is now an overused, hackneyed, and virtually meaningless cliché, so is the current sturm und drang of The Death of Comics. While a few titles may have bitten the dust this year, like Superman, like Captain America, like Barry Allen, like Aunt freaking May — they all come back eventually.
As the brilliant philosopher Anon. once said: “It’s all a bunch of hooey.”
Comics are not going away any time soon. They have existed for billions (or thousands, depending on your religious beliefs) of years on the walls of caves (just ask Bruce Wayne!). While someday there may not be newspapers to give us our daily dose — or even paper itself — as long as there are people with ideas and the ability to communicate those ideas to others with that unique combination of pictures and words, there will be comics. Not even Marvel or DC (or their current corporate gods de jour) can screw that up.
Although, surely they may try…
(And don’t call me Shirley! Hail and godspeed, Leslie Nielsen! Now, there was a death of a real comic!)
May the peace and love of the season be with you wherever you may journey.
Peace on Earth, good will toward men.
KC CARLSON is currently recovering from eye surgery, which is why he hasn’t been around much lately. The surgery went fine — just taking a while to heal up. My distance vision is now near perfect, but my old glasses are useless for mid-range close-up stuff (like internetting and typing) and I can’t get a new prescription for several weeks — until my eyes completely heal. Despite these frustrations (which will fade in time), this has been the best Christmas present ever!
Comic cover from the Grand Comics Database.