Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Save us, Digital, you're our only hope! (and a smatter of politics)

I'll cut to the chase. The digital media revolution is great. Sure, we are still ironing out some kinks (to DRM or not to DRM - how do I get my book/comic/movie/album to the most eyes/ears?, etc), but the ease of getting ideas to the consumers has never been cheaper or easier.

On the side of comics, many people are talking about how digital will be the great savior. Most of those people are creators, a lot of them are not the traditionalists - the big two, Diamond and the stores.

There is a certain element of truth to this. The doors to the big companies are getting smaller and smaller - the fall in traditional sales means that there is less room at the big boys table, and it gets ever smaller every day.

Digital allows new creators, and those creators looking to maintain some element of control over their ideas, more opportunity to reach their audience. An audience which is increasingly coming from outside of the traditional catchment, it should be noted.

That dwindling traditional market rarely tries something new, belongs pretty much exclusively to the whims and fancies of the corporate comic companies - what ever event is happening, is happening for them!

Digital will be a great help to new creators who have found it hard to get noticed above the noise of the bigger companies within the Diamond model. Will help keep some control over the distribution of work (I've said it before, but it bares repeating - the value of knowing where one's fans are to be found is huge, something you can get from being in direct contact with them, but not from the traditional model).

There is still some place for mainstream and traditional comics in this changing world. There is still some value to a good Local Comic Store, and to browsing in person - some even love the oldey worldey physical stimulus from an actual book. However digital is not the savior of that particular world.

Digital really helps the smaller guys out. The bigger guys will meet resistance from the LCS competition, they will find themselves catering to the same group that they always do, and the actual creators will get less and less out of the new media venture.

This, along with the current drive to push the familiar seen by the big two especially, has basically closed the books on new ideas. A mixture of editorial dictate and saving ones best ideas for ones own adventures, has seen a slow decline in new characters, in a certain sustained freshness from the regular books. Instead they are singing to the choir. Their voice is loud (thanks to huge advertising and brand awareness) but the song is looking a little tired these days.

I try not to mix messages too much on this blog, but I've been thinking about politics a lot recently. Please feel free to leave me to this one, I don't expect this to be a regular occurrence I promise!

America, as with any major country or empire, is built on corruption and conspiracy. It is the way of the world, and that is just how it goes.

Not a grand Poobah level of conspiracy - no one can sustain that, and I think we give our leaders far too much credit to even consider something like that.

More small-scale, keep the wheels turning type conspiracies.

America has a constitution - a fairly new idea in the global arena - and something which can often lead to confusion, disagreement and misadventure.

The simple fact that the highest court in the land, the Grand Jury, was split fairly evenly (5-4) in the recent Affordable Healthcare Act debate should show us all that some things are not cut and dried. The law, and politics, is a wile beast!

However some things are pretty clear. Separation of Church and State, freedom of press, etc etc.

It saddens me that people are ready to shout loudly about something so gray, and yet be completely silent when it comes to police-brutality against our press, against the collective civil protest towards a group of elite criminals that just so happen to have the keys to the executive bathroom.

These things are far more dangerous to our society than any starting of a debate about whether or not an idea should exist.

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