So, are there any of the so-called ‘new readers’ out there reading this column? Anyone recently discovered the worlds of comics due to the movies or the DC relaunch and has been drawn into the accompanying universe of message boards and articles? Anyone?
As more and more of the market turns to mail order or more importantly digital, it is increasingly hard for this fan to tell whether the Holy Grail of ‘New Readers’ being drawn into our cosy little world has been achieved or not. Is the new reader little more than a mythical beast?
Certainly the sales figures would bear out that there is a strong possibility that the new reader is indeed real. Despite the year beginning with the same falling numbers, by November, comic sales had topped sales from the same month during the previous year by an impressive margin, and exceeded the year-to-date figures from the previous year.
However, one has to account for the completists, those serious collectors amongst us that would dive into the events like Flashpoint, Fear Itself or the DCnU with gusto. Yet none of us seem to have escaped the icy grip of the recession that we keep hearing about, so I wonder if the completist has become an endangered species.
Sales have swung from month to month from the comics to the graphic novels. Now the graphic novels are an interesting aspect, they have long been considered the ‘respectable’ face of the industry. Before ‘geek’ was ‘cool’, the graphic novel was how ‘normal’ people were exposed to comics.
The very fact that such terms feel so very long ago shows just how far the industry has come. Why, I almost feel nostalgic thinking about the differential that was assumed between comics’ fans and ‘normal’ people from previous decades. The Frog Brothers, thankfully, remain solidly in yesteryear.
I think I believe in new readers. (And anyway, if they are like fairies, I don’t dare say that I disbelieve in them!)
Now, for the recommendation of the week. Having been drawn to the more noir-seeming titles, my first pick from the pile was Fatale #1 from Image. Written by Ed Brubaker, it seems like a set up similar to the Unwritten, with wonderful noir Forties action juxtaposed with modern descendants of an original mystery. Oh, and a little element of Boom’s Fall Of Cthulhu thrown in for good measure. (Enough to keep me happy at least.)
As the various new spandex titles from DC and Marvel are starting to bed in, Fatale offers a curious mix of a breath of fresh air, and those elements that drew me to Boom in the first place, and I heartily recommend it.