Over the recent holiday weekend we had occasion to spend a fair bit of time going through posts from the Old Beat, clearing out some spam and trying to clean up the database for various purposes. Along the way we were forced to violently relive the last few years of the last decade. It all seemed so simple once. So many news stories that never went anywhere — a few we jotted down for future investigation, but there were also things like this fellow who spent money in 2007 to announce his new blog. Now it’s only a reseller placeholder. They had such big dreams, but those big dreams crawled under a rock to die.
Here’s a pretty interesting post from June, ’07, three years ago, in which Tom Spurgeon identified contemporary industry issues, namely:
1. The Greatest Issue Facing the Direct Market?
2. Syndicates and Self-Knowledge
3. The Mainstream Comics Event Comics Publishing Dilemma
4. The Alternative Comics Serial Comics Publishing Dilemma
5. Manga’s Publishing Dilemma
6. Loss of the Professional Class?
Which is a pretty good snapshot of where our heads were at a mere three years ago when it was all so simple, and people were launching comics blogs. Anyway just to quickly contemplate the trajectory since then:
1. This had to do with the great swaths of the country not serviced by comics shops. Strange to think that in 2007 digital comics was right up there with ethanol and trepanation as crazy ideas held only by crackpots. Luckily, digital came along and solved all our distribution problems.
2. Digital also solved all the problems of syndicated strips, that is, if you consider what William Munny did to Little Bill at the end of UNFORGIVEN as solving problems.
3. The Mainstream Comics Event Comics Publishing Dilemma — still with us undiminished!!!!
4. The Alternative Comics Serial Comics Publishing Dilemma — Diamond solved this one in William Munny fashion.
5. Manga’s Publishing Dilemma — Tom wrote:
Is there an expectation of a broader but still significantly vital market driven by mid-level hits? The US manga industry has really never communicated a sense of its own publishing future, in a way I think such silence actually detracts from the ability of some market mechanisms and some readers to fully invest in what they’re doing.
which called it pretty well.
And then #6 — I guess NO ONE ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED that in 2007 we were actually in the beginning stages of The Great Recession, and all this worry about making a living for cartoon types would spread to cover, oh, the entire US workforce. Good one.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.