The Archive of The Obscure: A Business Proposal

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

Cheap Thrills is one of the columns here that amuses me greatly.  There's something wonderful about seeing the strange stuff dug up by Daniel's brave ventures.  Except for those moments I weep for humanity and bitterly see darkness in all things.

But when Dan delves into the cosmic crap-pile of comics, now and then he finds something like "Ogre" that are weird and obscure comics.  We've all seen them.  Some of us had them or have them.  Hell, I remember the indie explosion of the 80's and last time I went through my collection I wondered where I'd found this weird stuff.

So let me make a humble proposal out there for you all.  Please, steal this idea.

We need a project to archive and even digitize the weird, cheap, strange, odd, limited, indie stuff that's been out there.

We need to do this.

Every strange title gotten out could be an idea that today's world needs.  There could be some future epic languishing out there to be found or updated.  Also the rights may be cheap.

This is our history.  How many great names (and now not-great names) started with weird indie titles?  How many of these tell us about the times?

This is important for technical history.  The production of an indie comic now or a small press comic now is a lot different.

This is important for research.  How much can we learn out of this?  Stories of origins, of careers, and more could be settled.  The answers are there in our bargain bins.

There are people to recognized.  Unsung greats and influences, almost-greats, and more.  It's what we've inherited over the decades - let's remember them.  

Could this be a business?

Probably not, but it could be part of a larger profitable effort or a shared non-profit among pros.  Certainly it'd benefit us all.  In fact, to further encourage some profitable ideas let me suggest:

  • A digital archive fed into e-comics services.  Some smart people who get the rights and archive this stuff might make some profit.
  • A magazine or e-pub on the odd or obscure comics.  That could get quite a readership (I'd read it) and help fund the above archive.
  • Extend the archive/magazine with interviews, historical articles, and more.  Then you really bring value.
  • Produce documentaries on the subject matter.

So what do you think? Anyone feeling like looking into the past and into our bargain bins and oddball comics?

- Steven Savage

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