The Wisdom of Steven Grant continued: This week he reveals the secret truth no one wants you to know about!
The American comics industry has lived for a long time on its own relatively isolated little island, where things have developed under fairly unique circumstances. But the medium’s no longer an island; only the business is. And now only if we choose to be. Because comics are mainstream now, as mainstream as anything. They’re acceptable. They’re accepted.
Repeat that until it sinks in. They’re accepted. Comics are accepted. We’re accepted. We’re not lionized, for the most part, but why should we be? But we’re not freaks anymore, or outsiders. The island is no longer a necessity. Great as it’s been living on coconuts all these years, there’s steak out there to be had. There’s a whole world a hell of a lot bigger and more diverse and more interesting than our island.
And I suspect that’s what a lot of people in American comics are secretly worried about.
This idea was tangentially discussed at the “State of the Industry” panel we took part in the other night, ably reported on by Laura Hudson:
When the panel discussed ways to expand the audience for comics and graphic novels, Phegley said that the medium would never truly go mainstream until it was embraced by middle America, and suggested that it would be beneficial if a graphic novel were promoted by Oprah’s book club, for example. MacDonald agreed that “passing the Oprah test” was something she often came across in her work at Publishers Weekly, and an important factor for mainstream acceptance.
Actually what interested us the most about this panel is that when asked to mention comics they liked, Bully said Dark Horse’s Little Lulu reprints and Kiel Phegley mentioned Dark Horse’s Casper collection, books the very little Beat was reading all those years ago.
WE’re not sure we can articulate the connection right now, except that the idea of acceptance for comics is scary because Oprah might not like YOUR comic, and then where would we all be?