You are flat out WRONG! EH-URRRR!
Are you ever wrong!
Just go to any Barnes and Nobel. What's the fastest growing segment?
What is Manga? Japanese, or Japanese inspired comic books, graphic "novels", magazines, movies, video games and the like.
Over the past five years, I've made many props like swords, broaches, armbands, shields, breastplates, helmets, and other props for my daughter and her friends, as they've first gone to the various manga and comic conventions here in NYC, and then, as they got older, around the East coast.
I've also spend more than a few nights, until the next days' dawn, sewing costumes. We've had our entire first floor of the house covered with cloth, and our dining room table used as a sweatshop with as many as three sewing machines, as we've made costumes. Nothing like having a half dozen girls (and a couple boys) over for two days straight doing this.
Believe me, if the tablet is going to get teenagers reading from it, comic books are the place to be.
Locked down, nailed on 100% agree with that guy Melgross post. The tablet and full blown digital distribution will change EVERYTHING! Read Scott McCloud's 'Re-inventing Comics' for the forward thinking ideas that are only now on the cusp of being realised. Hot read.
Secondly, Manga is obviously huge in Japan where they sell more comic books every year than American and Europe put together, I think. They sell hundreds of millions if not a billion of the bleeders every year. And they're far bigger than the pamphlets you get in the states. Plus the genre diversity is amazing.
'Dying artform'? I think not. Ironically, while the big publishers like Marvel and DC have seen some success with Movies and constant reinvention of older Intellectual properties eg Ultimates...we have see a general trend to Independent publishing houses AND Johnny Appleseed Small Press publishers style creators who are just 'putting it out there on the web' and collecting their dailies into print format collections later on. Individual creators are flourishing on the web. There's a veritable GOLD MINE of comic stuff on the Web. It's like the wild frontier. For me, the big publishers have been slow to exploit the web. *Shrugs. Let's hear it for the little guy. It's been a 'two horse' race for too long.
And...to add to Melgross' post. I had to smile as he told us of helping make costumes and props for his daughter and friends. I used to attend the United Kingdom Comic Art Convention many, many moons ago. Highlights are myself dressing up as 'Solar, Man of the Iffy' (Complete with 'hose'), The 'Rowenta' WarMachine (no, that was my wife...I think), AND the 'Silver Cullonder (Where I dressed in silver foil, a real collunder on my head...AND a childs inflatable surfer board also attired in foil. I had to shuffle on stage..and under the stage lights I got cooked. And when I won a prize for it? Hassan threw my prize on the floor for me to collect it...which means the gaffa tape holding me together exploded...) You think that's bad? I had my ex-wife go as Ms. Swamp Thing in hessian potato sack and mouldy tea-bags (my idea...) and me as the 'Murphy Richards' Iron Man. Big embarrassment was carrying the 'box' around London and bumping into Dave Gibbons (Watchmen Artist) in a lift. I smiled at him weakly. He smiled back sympathetically. I think I looked like a yellow and red lego brick in that one... Crazy? Hey, sane people don't post on boards like this...
Noted. Good catch. Smiles. IF that isn't part of the Job's master plan...
While I don't think comics are a big deal these days, I think it's the distribution format rather than the content that's dying. As mentioned in one of Apple's keynotes - people just don't use books that much any more. They waste so much space in our modern minimalist homes and trading them is almost impossible so it's not environmentally nor wallet friendly.
Newspapers, comics, magazines, educational texts, fictional novels - they all need two things: a profitable distribution method and a client device.
Stores + physical format don't work because foot traffic in dedicated book stores and even libraries is so low. Check your local ones and see how empty they are. People don't have time to waste referencing text in books without search or finding well-reviewed novels.
Amazon + Kindle doesn't work that well because although they are a high profile distributor, the client device is poor (dedicated is not enough) and so expensive for what you get.
Apple + tablet does work because they have 50 million+ people at least in this eco-system buying games, movies, apps etc. I read comics on the iphone - daily web comics - and I love it. Same with a few books. However, a tablet works better for sitting down for hours and engaging with this type of content. I have read a few books on the iphone and while I don't mind it, having to scroll pretty much constantly isn't ideal.
Even better is the idea of interactive comics - if you've seen a motion comic e.g:
then you can see the possibilities. It brings comics to life for kids whose imaginations have been rotted away by endless hours of watered-down Disney slapstick entertainment and engages them in some thought-provoking narrative. But the key point is that it's not limited to this function. If you want to do something else you can and this is where so many devices fail.
It doesn't matter if comics would be enough to sell a tablet or if the tablet is enough to sell comics, they would give a significant boost to each other and you may for example buy the static comic and find out you want the motion comic/the movie or check out the website and buy products or review it online. It can all be done on the tablet.
I think Bill Gates is correct that it will be the most popular form factor sold eventually - he was a little off with the timing and that it would be a PC.
I am amazed!
Don't you guys ever go into bookstores anymore?
Comics and Manga, in particular, are the biggest growing segment.
Grins very broadly. A very, very, very perceptive post, Marvin. Excellent analysis. You seem to have the knack of nailing it on the head every time. Very rational and well thought out.
Yes. distribution of comics has long been a thorny issue. I suspect that a ubiquitous tablet/reading device will not only benefit print delivery in general but add a real boost to comics, an area which has been quite conservative over the years when it comes to 'new thinking' or genuine innovation. Too much me too-ism goes on there. And yes, distribution gets a real shot in the arm. If people can go with micro payments and add a few bells and whistles to the digital format, 'reading' can once again be fashionable to our children once more. Because, like the app store, things will be cheap! Accessible. £3 for a comic? Or 50pence? Or less? You don't mind wasting more on 6 comics for £3 if you can fully harness the leverage of the net's scale of economics. Kids play games, sure. But the net is all about pictures and words. That's comics, more or less.
This thread is the most pertinent (to me) thread of Appleinsider I have ever come across. And I have enjoying the read. Keep it coming.
As for Melgross and people going into stores and actually reading books/comics. Sighs wistfully. I know the feeling. You can't beat the smell of paper, fer me. And many of the children at my school agree. When the 'book club' is in town...we always have loads of sales. Did £500 plus of business in one week. Not bad for a generation of illiterates? And ironically, after years of being in the wilderness, comics are coming back to my school! We've got graphic novels aplenty! Jason and the Argonauts, the classics, some donated from my collection, my English head of dept is very aggressively pushing this to help the boys at our school get into reading! And what's more the girls are getting in on the action. A girl said to me today she'd ordered 'Jason and the...' at her local library. I was amazed at her reading a comic book. A girl. Now I think back to this morning...I'm quite shocked I guess. When I asked who wanted to go down to the library to go on the waiting list for it? An avalanche of children put their hands up for that. So, paper aint dead or dying. But there's no doubt that a Apple eBook reader could change EVERYTHING. I could well imagine going to a 'book store' online at Apple iTunes and browsing the latest cool comics and discovering a gem and putting in on pod cast subscription. As opposed to driving down to P.45 in Nottingham. (If you're in the midlands in the UK and get the chance to go to P.45...do. One of the best comic shops in the UK.) Sure, nothing ever beats the real thing...but if anyone can come close? Apple.
My recommended read to Mel: 'Strangehaven' by Gary Spencer Millidge. It's a cross between Prisoner and Emmerdale Farm and a weird old Hammer House production. It's the only thing that's keeping me reading comics at the moment. I can also heartily recommend Dave Sim's Cerebus the Ardvark. Can an Ant Eater be corrupted by power? And if you haven't read Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons? Do so. Far better than the 'died at the last hurdle' movie.
Lemon Bon Bon.