By Beau Smith

There’s something goin’ on in comics right now that most publishers aren’t aware of. It’s standin’ there pissin’ on their heads and they thinks it just a rainy day.

What is it?

Diversity of taste in readers.

There is more diversity in the wants of readers right now than ever before in comics. Thing is? nobody has figured it out yet. The publishers sure haven’t? and may not want to.

I even think the readers don’t realize it completely. Kinda like a 12 year boy lookin’ at Eva Mendes and not knowin’ why his body has taken a more erect posture. The urge is there? just don’t know what to do with it.

How do I know this? I was a 12 year old boy once? and still am in many ways.

Through talkin’ to readers at conventions and store signings, in reports I get from talkin’ to really good retailers and from lookin’ at what other hunks of pop culture comic readers are takin’ a bite out of. That’s how.

Yeah, part of it’s the natural instincts that I’ve been blessed with? among other things that you can envy from afar. Good old-fashioned research is the other factor you can add to the checklist.

Readers are prime for crime books, adventure, westerns, comedy, romance, horror, sci-fi and more. Thing is as an industry, we’re all self brain washed into that mind set that we had all through the false bottom 90s. Hell, I was to blame as much as anyone. I was there at Image Comics shakin’ that six headed snake at everyone tellin’ em’ it was ok to get bit. Buy multiple copies? buy all these different shiny covers like a drunk raccoon. We all got caught up in it a bit, in one way or another. Some have learned from it? some ain’t. I’d like to think that I learned my lesson.

Thing is now we’re lookin’ at financial times that are one belt notch away from our pants fallen off. Trust me, that will not be a pretty sight. Most publishers can’t afford to take the risk because of printing costs, creator costs, overhead, but the biggest reason is that they’re just flat out scared that nobody will buy anything other than our childhood buddies – the super heroes.

They need you readers to stand and deliver. For you to put your money where your mouth and your internet screen name is. When you say you want something new and different? then show you got the sack to back it. Your money is the only thing that publishers really understand. Let’s face it ? publishin’ is a business. That means they do it to make money. It ain’t out of love for comics? oh, sure? there are some of us in publishing that really love comics, but it’s still a stone fact that the money comes first.

Your wallet is the strongest muscle you have to shove the publishers in the readin’ mood that you’re in. If ya don’t let em’ know what ya wanna read they’re just gonna keep pumpin’ out the same ol’ stuff. Some of you ladies out there know just what I’m talkin’ about? if ya don’t tell that baboon that you’re doin’ the lay down mambo with what ya want, then he’s just gonna keep doin’ the old ditch diggin’ dance? speak up and back it up. You ask, you get, then you show em’ why it was worth their time to do it right.

It’s a shame that everybody is locked into the same old missionary position at conventions. Ya go, sit in on borin’ panels, stand in lines to have some goofball sign your comic, go to the different booths to be ignored by knotheads that are bored from sittin’ there doin’ their jobs.

Time to knock that off.

Let these publishers that are afraid of change know you want something else besides the same ol’ menu. If and when they give it to ya? then back it up by buyin’ the books.

You’re gonna have to bust up some of your bad habits as well. Stop supportin’ books that ya really don’t enjoy or even read anymore. Toss em’ aside like a used prophylactic. Ya wouldn’t use that twice would ya?

This tired old marriage that we’re all in has gotta change or come to an end. We gotta get some romance back in our lives and soon. If not we’re all gonna feel the kinda frustration that’ll turn us all into old people that care more about our lawns than anything else. We’ll be waitin’ for “Murder She Wrote” reruns to start and our VCR and DVD players will forever flash 12:00.

Don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna live that life.

It ain’t gonna happen over night. You know that and I know that. It’s gonna have to be a gradual change. But? .it does have to change.

Start bein’ more vocal with publishers. Publishers, ask more questions. We gotta start makin’ commitments. Some of the publishers under Marvel and DC market share are doin’ the right thing. They are offerin’ a more diverse choice. Readers that really love the stuff need to keep backin’ it and start spreadin’ the word to more folks.

Most of ya that are payin’ those Marvel and DC payrolls need to pressure them into publishin’ stuff you wanna see. They’ll always do your favorite super hero books, but get em’ to up the ante up and show that they really can grow a set and publish like big boys.

Readers, speak out.

Publishers, listen in.

I’m not jokin’ here, amigos. I’m as serious as havin’ sex with your girlfriend when you’re not around.

Unless you want your next kid to look like ol’ Beau? ya better start workin’ your deal and workin’ it hard.

Sneakin’ out your back window,

The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin