Saturday, January 07, 2006

Solutions and Theories: How To Change The Comic Book Industry Part Four

Here we are- finally at the end. Shall we finish it now?

5. “Invite and deal quickly with complaints. Word travels quickly, especially over the electronic networks such as Internet. Have people monitor the on-line services and response to any complaints or problems quickly. “

We have gone over this before, but it holds very true. Respond to complaints and learn from them. Don’t just pass readers off as rabid fan boys and get a big chuckle. Be very afraid, comic book companies. If you don’t watch your butt now, the future is bleak. The internet is a hurtful, harmful entity if used for wrong. Take control of things and turn lemons into lemonade.

That wraps up the secrets of business success portion of things. Thanks to for the use of their secrets. Now for my final thoughts.

One thing I didn’t address well is a very good point that has been brought up on other blogs. Don’t act like there aren’t problems in the industry. Also, don’t act like you are marketing to all audiences because that is a flat out lie. Super heroes of both sexes wear tight, revealing outfits for a reason. We can take that any way we want, but we need to acknowledge the sexuality of it all Using codes is a help, if they are understandable. Can we find a universal one? I don’t know, but we need to try. I am not talking about censorship; I am talking about being helpful to kids and their parents when looking for a book to buy. Vertigo and Max are a step in the right direction. Retailers understanding the rating or the type of book is crucial as well.

Another subject is sexual harassment and favoritism towards males. I hate the thought and fact that the comic book industry is treated as a casting couch of sorts. It doesn’t matter where you work- it isn’t cool to grope or verbally abuse anyone for any reason. You know if you are guilty and my message is SHAME ON YOU. Get your sh*t together and be a responsible adult. I know that it is harder to do the right thing sometimes, but try.

The use of alcohol and partying at comicons is glamorized and touted as cool. As a social drinker, I am not condemning it, but I don’t want to make it seem like it is required either. As someone who has been in awkward encounters with a drunken person, I can’t accept it is right. I can’t count how many times I have read about situations that have ended badly or embarrassingly that didn’t have to. Monitor yourselves, and if you see a friend getting out of hand, speak up.

Last message: if you are in a position of power, use it for good not evil. Don’t make people do unethical or uncomfortable things to get a job. Hire people based on talent and dependability. Also, check your conscience- it is the most powerful thing you have.

It is time for comic book companies to use the wisdom given by successful people in the business section at the book store. Entertainment is the name of the game, but it needs to be treated like a business and customers need to be valued. Take it from someone in business with qualified experience- you will die out without these tools.


okumarts said...

This is great. Thank you so much for posting this.
I have had similar conversations with comic book fans, creators and retailers for years. I think the medium of comics is wonderful. It allows creators to tell stories in a visual medium that is relatively cheap and easy to produce and can spin off into other ventures such as merchandising, film, games, etc. I think the comics medium is changing. I feel like the balance is finally shifting and it takes the eloquence and logic of articles like this to prove to me that we all have to challenge what we think is wrong with comics and make it into something we can be proud of.

Heidi Meeley said...

Thank you for your kind words!

I hope that the balance is shifting as well. I just don't know how to break up the "good old boys" network so to speak. There is so much to learn from other industries.

I was remembering that when the Fantastic Four DVD came out, there was a big display at Best Buy. Why couldn't they have added trades, comics, and other merchandise to it? They get our attention, but don't maximize it.

Thank you again!