The bridge book: the future of the medium?
Much has been made of the elusive bridge book, the comic tht would allow the reader to move gracefully from the Ritchie rich to the fantastic four to Kill your boyfriend in three easy steps and 30 years worth of maturity. So much time has been spent looking for this progression that I’m not sure that anyone has recently looked at it in light of today’s marketplace.
We often talk about comics and don’t necessarily define our terms for the discussion that well. There are comics as the things tht we read, a particular issue or trade or long box in the garage, and there are comics, the medium that we have works produced in, in the Scott McCloud definition of words and pictures working in concert to tell a story. Frequently the two get mixed up and the discussion gets muddied, which is not my intent here at all.
What we’re discussing today is comics as medium, a mass medium, which is not something that we could have said as easily 10 years ago, and how it relates to today’s buying public. It is helpful, and occasionally instructive to look at other mediums, vastly more mature mediums, (for all that the comic has been around since the 1930’s) such as books and film in this regard.
I believe that the notion of the crossover comic is not one that is particularly relevant anymore, if we could accept the premise that the person who is likely to rent Terminator 2: The Director’s Cut is not generally the same consumer who rented
While there is the occasional crossover blockbuster in any medium, as I defy most any of the Merchant/Ivory filmgoers to actually deny, with a straight face, that they have never seen Jaws for instance, it would be far more helpful and interesting for there to be as wide an array of comics available to the potential reader.
Last week I went home with the following in my bag to read:
- Criminal #8 by Brubaker and Philips
- Mighty Avengers #4 by Bendis and Cho
- Powers #25 by Bendis and Oeming
- The Salon by Nick Bertozzi
And I think nothing of mixing Criminal in with the slowest moving Ultron saga ever (literally, Mantis had become the Celestial Madonna in the time it has taken Ultron to take over the world again) or moving over to the over the top art references of The Salon, but I’m beginning to think that there may not be that many of me out there. It has been put to us in
It is, alas, the terrible fact that to be a true mass medium, you need the mass of numbers. Because without that, you're a pretender, which is what comics have been for the last 20 years. It really is my answer to those that think that teh San Diego Comic Con should spin off the comics into their own con again: we've waited long enough in the wilderness as fringe media, don't exile us again because you don't like crowds. We need a huge number of readers, used to the conventions of visual storytelling to continue the tradition, and we need a great wealth of material to bring people back again and again. It is not the book itself a lot of times, but the habit of reading the book. If the habit is there, then they will go seek out the books themselves, and, thankfully, these days there are more and more books to fill in the gaps.
OK, so I'm being a half-full kinda guy these days. Can't help it. Came back from the San Diego Comic Con believing that I saw such an amazing breadth of material being published that almost any age should be able to find a comic to enjoy.
If only they know to look. And its a big IF.