On History: 2010

By | Monday, October 26, 2015 Leave a Comment
2010 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide
2010. Five years ago. Doesn't seem very long ago, right? Let me rattle off a few tidbits, with varying degrees of significance, about what we started 2010 with...
  • Zuda Comics was still an ongoing experiment.
  • None of the major publishers released their digital comics on the same day as their printed ones.
  • Harvey Pekar, Joe Simon, Jerry Robinson, Shelly Moldoff, Al Feldstein, Nick Cardy, Herb Trimpe, Dick Ayers, Al Williamson, and Joe Kubert were still with us.
  • The as-yet-to-be-called "Marvel Cinematic Universe" consisted exclusively of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.
  • Neil Gaiman was single.
  • Copies of Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 were, during the year, auctioned off for over $1,000,000 each, breaking the previous record of most-expensive-comic-ever-sold by at least 300%.
  • The Xeric Awards were still a thing.
  • The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum had not yet moved into its current home in Sullivant Hall. Lucy Caswell had not retired and was still the curator.
  • The Kenosha Festival of Cartooning had not started. Neither had C2E2 or the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE). Mid-Ohio Con had not been purchased by Wizard World.
  • Superman still wore his underwear over his pants.
  • Time Magazine named Kickstarter one of "The 50 Best Inventions of 2010." Patreon hadn't been created yet.
  • The iPad (also named as one of Time's "Best Inventions") was first released and included the newly created comiXology app.
How many of those items do you discuss the same way now as you did in 2010? When was the last time you had a "day and date" discussion? How often does crowd-funding NOT come up in talks about making money from your comics? How many days do you go without catching wind of something Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Tom Hiddleston, etc. were doing, even if you're not paying attention? When planning which conventions to attend, how many different choices do you consider?

My point is that, in all likelihood, your thinking about the comics industry has changed pretty radically in the past five years, whether you realize it or not. What you consider normal now was viewed by many with skepticism or even outright fear just a few years ago. More significantly, however, is that these changes in the overall industry mean that individual businesses need to change as well. You can't continue to operate in an environment that's changed without making changes yourself. Remember the old adage about being the town's best buggy whip manufacturer in an age of automobiles?

What's more, while people typically think of these shifts in terms of business, they not surprisingly apply to individual creators as well. When it comes down to it, most creators are operating as small businesses unto themselves, so that makes sense, right? But it also applies to readers/consumers. How you read comics is impacted by how they're created. How you buy comics is impacted by how they're distributed and sold. How you relate to comics is impacted by how they're marketed.

Five years. Seems like a fairly short amount of time, but things can alter pretty dramatically. You don't necessarily have to jump on board and embrace each and every change that comes along -- some will be short-lived failures, of course -- but be aware that things ARE changing, and you need to think about and react to them; you can't just assume that what worked five or ten years ago will continue to work today because the environment is constantly changing around you.
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