A few ruminations on the Fate of the Pamphlet:
I’m just like ranting here, but yeah. It’s really, really hard for a graphic novelist to lock themselves up for a year or two, with little-to-no feedback and an ever-dwindling advance, and crank out a book. Back in the old days, the serialization of Louis Riel or Berlin or Optic Nerve provided feedback, interaction, and occasionally periodic injections of cash, all of which made it just a little bit easier to be a graphic novelist. Er, comic book artist. Cartoonist? Illustrator? What did people call themselves in 1996? I was still in highschool.
• At Rocket Bomber, Matt Blind has a long essay examining why the business model has to change:
Times were different then. Not Simpler, not Better, just Different. And while I went through puberty and slowly figured out first that girls were different, and then that girls were fantastic, and then that girls just don’t like me much, the Direct Market for Comic Books was also maturing and comic shops as an entity came into their own, crashed, came back — and even today soldier on.
The ‘drugstores’ of American legend are gone — subsummed into a morass of embedded pharmacies in supermarkets (and Wal-Marts) and 24-hour convenience stores that just happen to also employ pharmacists. Unless you live on Manhattan or within cell-phone-tower range of the exact center of your local Metropolitan Statistical Area you likely have no idea what a ‘newsstand’ even is (or was). Today, if not found on the checkout aisle at the grocer, magazines are bought at the local big box bookstore (as a concept, themselves not even two decades old yet) and comics are bought at a Local Comic Shop, if you bother, or collected into graphic novels which are readily available online and occasionally found on a front-of-store display at BigBoxBooks for an impulse buy. The landscape has changed.