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Saturday, April 07, 2018

Let's help raise public awareness of UK comics!

One of the halls at Olympia for London Film and Comic Con 2017.
As well as being an engaging way to encourage young or reluctant readers, comics are an important part of British culture and have a rich history dating back to the 19th Century. Modern comics are more diverse than ever, with titles for all ages covering a wide variety of topics, but you won't find those in newsagents because the cost of distribution is too prohibitive for independent publishers (and newsagents today prefer comics based on an existing brand). Therefore publishers have to rely on mail order, comic speciality shops, and conventions for sales. They deserve better.

It would be good therefore to see the BBC respecting the artform with a regular programme covering the past and present to raise public awareness that there's more to comics than superheroes and the Beano. (Not that there's anything wrong with those obviously.) Convention organiser Shane Chebsey has created the petition below, which I've just signed, so let's see if we can get more signatures.

Read Shane Chebsey's thoughts on the matter over at Down the Tubes:


Paul Mcscotty said...

Happy to sign this although my "fear" with TV is that is mostly portrays comics as a childish pursuit for adults and at best a bit geekish for "strange" anti social blokes (whilst not untrue is not the norm) - I continue to be amazed that despite comics seeming popularity in films, TV, fashion etc that the medium is not flourishing , for me that is down to the content (most not all) of the comics as much as the perception of the print medium - I have to say that I wasn't aware according to this article, that we were in "crisis" that's a shame I thought things were going ok just different - a prog done right would be good though.

Lew Stringer said...

I'm not totally in agreement with Shane that we're in crisis. I think comics are still holding their own alongside any other print medium. Sales are clearly only a small fraction of what they were 50 years ago but then the popularity of most things have declined, including TV viewing figures.

What's needed for comics to continue to survive in the long term is something to encourage the general public to accept them as a legitimate entertainment form for all ages and types, not just trash for toddlers and geeks, as is often the current perception. A TV show would be good to bring the rich tapestry of comics to the attention of Joe Bloggs. That said, I'm doubtful the average guy in the street will ever care enough about comics to explore further.

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