On -isms: Why BHM Comic Deals Are Worth Sharing

By | Thursday, February 04, 2016 Leave a Comment
Look, you've already heard the hoopla about the Black Kickstarter, right? By the time you've read this, you've either already pledged or are trying to figure out how to save a few bucks elsewhere so that you can. That it was timed to start on February 1 -- the beginning of Black History Month -- was no accident, obviously but it's almost-assured success (as I write this, it's already only about $1500 away from its goal and it's still just a few days in) speaks to the creative team's caliber and the huge, mostly untapped desire for this type of material.

But what if you simply can't afford to help, but still want to support comic diversity?

Well, here are two books available for free on comiXology right now that might help...
  1. The first volume of Concrete Park
    I wrote about great this was last year. This is seriously a fantastic book on its own basic storytelling merits, but when you add the racial subtext, it just adds to the experience. Do yourself a favor and pick this up -- the whole first volume is FREE on comiXology throughout the month of February.
  2. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #1
    Also for free on comiXology -- but I don't know for how long -- is this Mile Morales story. If you've heard snippets about this Black/Latino Spider-Man but haven't actually read anything about him, this would be a great opportunity to find out.
Now, how does this help, you might ask, since you're not actually sending money to the creators here?

While getting these books for free might not send creators extra cash, it DOES notify everyone involved of the desire for more of this type of content. It tells comiXology, of course, but it also alerts Marvel and Dark Horse to the interest level. Previous sales can gauge/be attributed to the interest of customers already pre-disposed to the characters or creators. What if there are more people who would be interested in these books, but simply had not heard of them because of insufficient marketing or other books that came out around the same time or whatever. By providing digital copies for free (which doesn't cost the publishers anything, really) they can see if there's interest for more of this type of material beyond the people who've already purchased them.

There's a more immediate sales component, as well, of course. People who liked those can come back to purchase subsequent volumes, and that's probably more what the publishers are thinking about. But the interest sparked by the downloads can also point to latent interest.

Cynically speaking, it is a bit of a gimmick, playing off Black History Month. But realistically, we're living in a culture that generally suppresses or ignores Black voices, both fictional and in real life, so taking advantage of the greater attention afforded Black people during February makes sense. And the more of these stories you read during February, the more likely you'll be to pick up similar items in other months as well. The more you can start to question why you don't see more of this throughout the year. The more you can bring these questions up with others.

Let the creators and publishers know now that you're supporting more diversity in comics. And keep them in mind one, two, three, four... months from now as well. Maybe you can't afford to contribute to Black right now. But thinking about it now might allow you to contribute to the next project of one of these great creators!
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