From Kevrob@21:1/5 to All on Sun Feb 23 15:06:44 2020
Recent news accounts about Dan DiDio being let go as DC Comics co-publisher
of DC include speculation that, if the new 5G series of books fails, AT&T
will sell the publishing division or shut it down, perhaps licensing out characters, and otherwise restricting them to appearances in other media.
I haven't been buying "pamphlet comics" for years,
and precious little in other formats, so I'm essentially
a "former customer." I'm old enough to have bought some
of the "facsimile editions'" originals off the comics
rack at the candy store or the 7-11, back in the 1960s
and 1970s, and at the comics shop in the 70s and 80s.
It will be sad when the last of what started out as
"all in color for a dime" issues ships to the few
outlets that still sell comics.
A big part of my childhood was bicycling around town,
my jeans crammed with what cash I could earn doing
odd jobs like lawn mowing, and hitting every place
that had a comic rack or a shelf of their magazine
rack dedicated to comics, buying an reading my
favorites, then figuring out how to smuggle them into
our house and hide them from my comics-hating parents!
The trouble I was in when my comics caches were found
was almost worth the pleasure of subverting the system.
Nowadays, what 10-year-old kid gets to roam around his village
unaccompanied for hours on end, untethered by a mobile phone
or anything more than a promise to be back by dinner time?*
Do people still hire youngsters to cut lawns or shovel snow?
I can remember some teens offering hen we had bad weather a
couple of years ago, but the building owner where I was living
has a "plow guy." Fear of adult creeps might have quashed
such adult-child commerce.
Friends of mine owned a comics shop or two during the 70s
and 80s, and I had a part-time job in college staffing the
comics counter in an antique shop that had a "comics department."
I used to sell a lot of new and even back issues to kids who
walked or biked to the store. Sometimes they could only afford to
buy one book from the "quarter bin," while others were very well-
funded. One shop was in a low-income area, for the cheap rent,
with the adult clientele driving in from all over. while the
youngsters without much cash were from the neighborhood.
Another shop was in a more middle-class area, but not out of
reach of the poorer kids. I always appreciated the enthusiasm
of the kids, who, like me at their age, had to scrape together
their nickels to buy their favorites. If comics are only
available as collections of reprints, what will be the features
that speak to tomorrow's young folks? Who will their Superman,
their MAD, their Spider-Man, their New X-Men? The libraries
carry comics collections the way they never did when I was
young, and the "graphic novel" didn't exist then. The whole
nature of the medium could be changing. Could "all-digital"
be a winning business strategy for a spun-off DC, or other
Nothing beat stopping on the way home from buying comics on a
hot summer's day, finding a patch of shade to sit in, with
perhaps a cool drink at hand, and reading a stack of my weekly
treasures. What's the modern equivalent? Plunking down
where there's a good WiFi connection, and scrolling through
the newest comics on an e-reader or tablet?
I remember the first time I encountered a shop with boxes
of back issues. Just the _smell_ of all that old pulp
made me feel like I was in the presence of wonder!