Industry Buzz #1: The Kids Are Alright

My latest feature over at Buzzscope is a column called Industry Buzz, a monthly roundtable featuring some of the most outspoken creators, retailers, pundits and advocates in comics commenting on the issues affecting the comics industry. Check it out and add your two cents to the discussion!

The Participants
Ronée Garcia Bourgeois – National VP / PR, Friends Of Lulu
Johanna Draper Carlson – Reviewer, Comics Worth Reading
Gerry Gladston – President, Midtown Comics
Brian Scot Johnson – Proprietor, Khepri.com
Frank Miller – Proprietor, Richmond Comix
Chris Pitzer – Publisher, AdHouse Books
Jason Rodriguez – Editor, Hoarse & Buggy
Rose Vess – Reviewer, Shrew Review
Scott Wherle – Writer, Blacklight
Plus, Special Guest: Jim Salicrup – Editor, Papercutz

The Topic:
Kids & comics. Is the comics industry so healthy that it doesn’t need an infusion of fresh blood to keep it going? Where does manga fit in? And what about Marvel’s 7/11 deal?

The Highlights:
IS HAWKINS CORRECT IN SAYING THAT “COMICS AREN’T REALLY FOR KIDS ANYMORE”? IF SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE FUTURE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY?

“When you’re announcing that one of your main characters has two penises (the X-Men’s Nightcrawler) and you’ve got tentacle porn in a mainstream book — Outsiders #20 — then you are firmly outside the realm of Comics Are for Kids.”

HOW ARE TODAY’S BEST-SELLERS – ie: NEW AVENGERS, ASTONISHING X-MEN, SUPERMAN/BATMAN – DIFFERENT FROM THE COMICS OF THE 70S AND 80S THAT WERE, PRESUMABLY, MORE KID-FRIENDLY?

“Despite some people thinking that today’s comics are vastly more mature or sophisticated than comics from previous eras, they are mistaken.”

WHAT ABOUT MANGA? IS IT OVERLOOKED WHEN IT COMES TO THIS TOPIC?

“…they’re a big hit in book stores, not to mention across the pond where they sell in the millions and their creators are treated like rock stars as opposed to societal rejects. What are we doing wrong here?”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MARVEL’S 7/11 DISTRIBUTION DEAL AND THE $1.99 MARVEL ADVENTURES COMIC THEY KICKED IT OFF WITH? GOOD FOR THE INDUSTRY, OR JUST FOR MARVEL?

The distribution deal? Great. Marvel Adventures? Horrible. Look, the Marvel Adventures comics are dumbed-down doo-doo, based on what is perceived by parents and powers-that-be as “what kids want”.

WHAT COMIC BOOKS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO A BRAND NEW PRE-TEEN/TEENAGE READER?

“Why the hell isn’t Warner Bros/DC working with J.K. Rowling to add promotional comic books into the movie licensing deals? Kids would be lined up around to block for Harry Potter #0.”

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