Frank Santoro has posted an important essay on the end of the direct market as a conduit between comics for art and comics for commerce :
The bridge is over. From 1975 to 2005, the Direct Market was the bridge from the old world “Comics-as-ephemera”, returnable periodicals model to the new world “Comics-as-Literature” bookstore model. The bridge changed comics, saved it from sure death on the newsstand and put comics in a place of permanence. Everyone in Comics has noted the consolidation of the DM and the rise of the chain bookstores & the internet as venues for new work. Now, this year, more than ever, I seem to be repeatedly noting to myself the real split between the mainstream and the alternative sides of comics.
The comment section is an all-star think tank and other comments are springing up. We were so busy finishing up our debut novel “Comic-Con report” that we haven’t had time to fully digest it, but we’ll join in as soon as we’ve had our tea.