Metro West Daily News interviewed the owner of a specialty store in Framingham, Massachusetts last month (and also another one in Bellingham), at the time Free Comic Book Day was taking place, who said the following:
Jack Lefevra said it’s good for everyone — comic book stores, creators and shoppers alike — that it’s not just major superhero stories getting made into films and TV shows now, like Netflix’s “Umbrella Academy” and “Locke & Key” and Amazon’s “Invincible” and “The Boys.”
“It’s nice because some of these younger artists or writers that start out on these independent books don’t get the acclaim that some of these writers get on some of the bigger books, like Spider-Man,” said Lefevra. “It’s more available to kids today. When I was a kid, you were pretty nerdy reading comic books.”
Lefevra admitted that, after decades of reading superhero comics, he looks more to independent-type stories for entertainment, like “Oblivion Song,” created and written by Robert Kirkman. Kirkman also co-created the comic that inspired the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead.”
I’d say it’s certainly a good thing when somebody can expand to more than just one theme of adventure. Of course, most people working on Spider-Man today aren’t all worth the overrated reputation they get. Definitely not if it’s somebody like Dan Slott. But, that’s the problem with how the media influence goes: their attention spans are limited, and while some independent writers and artists do get coverage, it’s often not widespread, and nationwide sources don’t cover them, if at all. Not that they actually give creators working on major mainstream titles serious attention either, though, and it’s not like the average moviegoer reads the comics, even as they go to the movies. Trouble is, they won’t read the indie creations either, and for all we know, they might not even read novels later adapted to the silver screen. If not, it just shows it’s not simply a comics and pop culture-related issue. The store proprietor interviewed also made the following statement about speculator purchases:
Recently, Spider-Man made headlines with the record-breaking sale of a 1962 comic featuring the iconic character’s debut. Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for $3.6 million; the previous record was from a sale earlier this year of a Superman comic for $3.25 million.
“This is not what this industry is about,” said Lefevra of the selling and trading of comic books, saying he didn’t like the speculation of them as though they are commodity on the stock market. “It’s about having a good time, having some escapism, and just imagining yourself being the superhero — or maybe even the villain within the story.”
Just not the villain, because there’s too much of that going about. But they’re right this shouldn’t be based on speculator collecting, which is still ruining the medium. Fox-9 in Minneapolis also mentioned the matter of buying these old classic copies through auctions, and it’s not good for the medium’s image. Indeed, this is exactly why I’m glad to own a lot of these old classics as paperbacks and hardcovers, and read them for the enjoyment. I’ve been trying to build up my Spider-Man collection – namely, the stories published up to the turn of the century – as trade archive collections, and I’m glad that today, this is becoming more possible than before. More people have to speak out against the speculators due to the embarrassing image they’re giving the medium’s customers, because it is hurting us. Why, these speculation market collectors are partly the reason why we’re at such a dire turning point with the mainstream today. Where were they when the Spider-marriage was originally broken up? Where were they when DC’s cast of characters underwent similar horrors, or worse? This is precisely why they don’t belong in fandom.
On a semi-related note, I noticed artist Patrick Zircher telling the following:
Nightwing, Scarlet Witch, Sandman, Green Arrow, and Black Adam have all trended tonight.
A generation ago only comic book fans knew these characters.
— Patch (@PatrickZircher) October 9, 2021
But only the true fans read their stories. Do the moviegoers by and large read them? Stagnant sales suggest otherwise. This goes for the independent titles too. Most moviegoers are bound to have superficial knowledge of the characters’ histories, and couldn’t care less about the illustrated stories on paper.
Again, the store owner interviewed says the right thing that comicdom should be built on entertainment value. It’s just too bad it still gets marginalized by moviedom.
Originally published here.