Saturday, July 28, 2007
It strikes me that British comics might stand a better chance of attracting new readers if they were displayed more attractively in shops. Take a look at this picture I took the other day at a local town centre newsagent. Comics are shoved into the display rack, spilling out in some cases, or upside down or with titles obscured. It looks a bloody mess quite frankly. Partly the fault of publishers taping or bagging bulky free gifts with the comics, partly the fault of uncaring shop staff. Who wants to pay £2 or more for a comic that already looks like it's ready for the recycle bin?
And this was one of the neater displays! Don't even get me started on WH Smith!
Flashback to 40 years ago and comics were displayed flat, masthead logos prominent, on a newsagent's counter. A perfect "impulse purchase" as they now call items next to the checkout.
I'm not suggesting for a moment that shoddy displays are the main reason for falling sales today, but I'm sure they have some small impact. Admittedly with the huge number of titles out there (and those damned bulky gifts) comics can't be displayed flat now, but some sort of neater shelving system (and attentive staff) might help. It's all very well having shelves that show the full cover, but the comics are so flimsy that they often roll over with the weight of the gifts! Not only that, but the garish colours and "busy" cover design of all the titles gives the impact of a technicolour nightmare. No wonder I get migraines... ;-)