Has the European comics scene, long the idol of US comics elitists jumped the shark? Bart Beaty examines the issue at The Comics Reporter:
After a period of tremendous experimentation and growth in the 1970s, the 1980s witnessed a devastating retrenchment, where publishers chased best-sellers by duplicating what they’ve always done. Very little of the resulting work was worth remembering, and the industry collapsed. It was revived by new voices — the L’Association generation of small press artists and the manga invasion.
But more and more I hear from artists who meet tremendous resistance to change from the established houses. The manga generation wants longer stories? I’m sorry, we do 46-page albums here. Black and white is ok? I’m sorry, our albums are always full-color; it’s a tradition. You have an interesting new take on storytelling? I’m sorry, Spirou and Fantasio are busy in Tokyo. Perhaps we’re primed for the next big generational shift in comics, with this generation’s L’Asso equivalents prepping their work in their ateliers. But after a long period of aesthetic expansion, there’s a conservative tone starting to seep back in to things at the moment.