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An Question and Answer Session

Occasionally, I get asked some interesting questions about comics on the website, where you can find my 'expert' page. I have expanded slightly on one of these question and answer sessions below:

1. What do you think are the difficulties for someone who wants to get into comics? That depends what level you want to 'get into'. Professional levels are very difficult, but there are always possibilities. The best research here is into those big names in comics and how did they do it -people like Alan Moore, Alan Davies, Jim Lee etc, biographical data all relatively easy to find on the internet. 2.Which company have you seen have the most sales in comics? (Such as DC,Marvel, Dark Horse, etc) and why do you think that is? I'm not up to date with the latest sales figures but it's not hard to guess that Marvel would be doing well on the back of the continuing success of their movie series. There's more to it than just movie success, though: it has a lot to do with the 'Marvel brand' that has been revitalised by the films. The Marvel magic is based on knowing what customers (comic book readers) really want. They did this very well in the 60s and only began to lose sales in the late 70s and 80s when they drifted from this and became a little 'lost'. What was happening under the surface was that the culture was becoming more and more 'ironic' -darker and more psychological. Comics, by their nature, struggled to change enough, though you can clearly see a significant rise in the profiles of cynical characters like Wolverine, and the Batman became much grimmer. Marvel's movies tapped into the successful actions of the more epic 60s and have triggered a renaissance for Marvel comics. 3. Do you think indie comics struggle to compete against the big 2? (Marvel and DC) Yes, for obvious reasons. 4.Has there been an increase interest in comics since the Marvel movies started to become popular? Yes, see above. The movies are being written, produced and directed by those people who grew up on the comics back in the 60s and 70s. Even the themes and ideas of the films are drawn directly, in many cases, from the stories told in comics at that time. 5. What would you suggest for new comic book readers to pick up and get started? Difficult, because the world of the comics has been re-structured, re-booted and re-imagined so many times. I would say pick up Avengers for a good overview of what's going on at Marvel. 6. What would you suggest for people who do not like superhero comics? Don't read them! Or take a look at Alan Moore's Watchmen or V for Vendetta as a kind of way in. Both of these examples read as literature in their own right.



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