I walked the aisles of the San Diego Comic Con (Well, strolled, dodged, traipsed... pick your appropriate verb depending on the day you attended) and looked at the sheer diversity of material and was, unlike a mere 7 years ago, so encouraged by what I saw that I actually see the medium gaining momentum as opposed to being filed away with "horse and buggy".
Unlike the '90's, where collector fever and a slavish approach to art along with a great reluctance to try anything new in terms of distribution or packaging, saw a tremendous shrinkage in the actual numbers of a reading audience, today we're looking at new markets and new mediums being bridged almost daily it seems. Who would have seen Top Shelf and Oni succeeding 10 years ago? Who would have forseen Slave Labor still being around? Probably only Dan Vado, but he was right.
I can pick up Blankets, From Hell, Genshiken, and my Ultimate Avengers Trade all at the same Borders. And Borders is the important part of the equation because adults shop there, in big numbers. The kids reading manga are learning a visual language that we take for granted, and that we have to explain to others who have never read visual sequential narrative (comics). They will read other things and may eventually read Maus and Blankets and From Hell, or not, but at least we have a new ground swell of audience some of which will move on to other comics.
I'm encouraged that our medium is not entirely seen as the bastard stepchild of empty printing presses from the 1930s, run by morons. Have we finally moved beyond the '60's Batman show? Perhaps, since that did as much to set comics back in the minds of adults as Seduction of the Innocent. Finally, we can be open about our love of these books, this medium, and we have quality material that we can give to people and say, "Here, read this. I don't think that you'll be disappointed."
'Bout time True Believer. Nuff Said.