Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "Memorial to dead childhoods."

Strong Enough for a Man, But Made for Skid Marks

Written by Zenguru on Tuesday, October 23 2007 and posted in Columns
Hello! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Skid Marks! My head’s recently been getting full of opinions on the comic industry. And they need somewhere to go. Since I’m not fond of barfing, they’re going to have to come out of another end. They’re also probably going to leave a stain, but hey! Who [...]


So here’s what’s been on my mind…

As a lifelong comic reader, I’m given to bouts of nostalgia. Usually, I fall back on comics I read as a kid. Revisiting those great classic stories that I came across by chance at the grocery store, the newsstand, or the local 7-11. Back in those days, those were practically the only places one could get comics. I know my first lcs didn’t appear until roughly 1985.

But whenever I look back on those days, whenever I rummage through those back issues, one thing always comes to attention: The price!

Well, why not? It’s on the cover isn’t it? And it used to be so small in those days. My allowance was never very big. But nothing felt better back then than stretching a couple bucks over four or five comics.

Nowadays, of course, a couple bucks doesn’t go very far in terms of comics. A ten spot gets me what a couple bucks got me lo those many years ago. Oh, it was so exciting to pick up a few comics and find out what was going on in different worlds!

Not so exciting these days, I’m afraid. But why? Comics are everywhere. More expensive, sure. But they’re done better and on better paper. In fact, the paper their printed on now will ensure our favorite comics of today will last a long time.

And therein lies my problem.

Because comics are, for the most part, no longer printed on newsprint, their rarity is no longer a question. They’ve lost an ephemeral quality that made them burn so brightly in my desires. I think we’ve all felt this to some extent. It may even be the reason some us decide to get out of comics partly or altogether.

I postulate it’s time for another major change in the industry. It’s time for comics to again be printed on newsprint paper. Some may agree. Many may not. But here are my reasons for this suggestion:

1. Switching to a cheaper paper stock will make many comics more affordable. Thus making it easier for more readers to access them. And I think that’s an excellent idea.

2. Speculators would probably hem and haw over this, but an increase in rarity could increase the overall value of comics. I know better paper was used because it made artwork look better, but there has to be ways to make it look better on newsprint these days.

3. Printing comics on newsprint again could definitely make them more sought after. Seeing as how their lifespan is decreased, so to speak. And that can only increase initial orders, yes?

But now I hear some people think, “Why newsprint again if it doesn’t last so long as the paper we have now?” Either that or “do I wear the blue one or the purple one?”

Maybe newsprint doesn’t last so long. Maybe it does yellow over time as all old comics do. But who said a comic book had to last for eternity? We still have comics from the Golden Age hanging around right? Yes, many of them in horrible condition. But no one had the resources to preserve them as we do now.

Maybe we should petition the companies to consider this move. I know the prices of comics have been a growing concern. And for me, it’s continuing to grow. I think most, if not all, people agree more readers is good. And I think this is a move that could reap a good, if not great, result.

Of course, a change like that would not be quick in coming. Companies would be loathe to reduce the chance of profit for a big risk like that. But with more people reading comics in trade rather than from the shelf, I think options like this need to be voiced.

Perhaps nothing will come of this. Perhaps my opinions have no weight except in my mind. Or perhaps my ramblings may catch an errant eye or two. Or nostril, depending on the size of the stain I leave.

Which reminds me, time to go. I gotta go get rid of a few opinions.
*shuts bathroom door*

To discuss.

Posted originally: 2007-10-23 18:17:57

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About the Author - Zenguru

Zenguru has been an Outhouser since the days it was blue. He's the Rick Jones of The Outhouse. Not always in the mansion, but always around in a pinch. Just don't pinch too hard, okay? He's written a few articles, notably $k!d M@rks, and has published several books of poetry. Lately, he's been writing poems and fiction about diners. He's been reading comics since the mid-70's. He dreams of one day traveling between dimensions to be Jonah Hex's sidekick.

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