I took a couple of hours out of my day to be on a panel for Young Author’s Day, an event put on by the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association. I was invited to join by John Lustig, who I feel very lucky to call my friend and mentor. We answered the usual questions about the writing process and how we broke into comics, but I was even more intrigued by the audience. Notice something about them?
Yeah. GIRLS. Very. Young. Girls.
So I asked THEM some questions. “How many of you read comics?”
All hands went up.
"How many of you want to make comics some day?"
Most of the hands went up.
Here’s where it really got interesting. “How many of you BUY comics?”
Only one hand raised. I asked her where she buys her comics. She said, “At the comic book store.”
"Do you have a comic book store you like going to?" I asked.
She hesitated. “It’s complicated.”
That’s 10 year-old speak for “I have to go there to get comics but the store makes me uncomfortable.” The rest of them read webcomics. None of them had heard of Comixology before, but they knew all about it by the time the panel was over. What comic would they like to see most? Minecraft. Only Steve needs to be a girl.
It was a fascinating experience, especially in the wake of this article detailing why girls in the 1980s (like me and one of the moms nodding eagerly in the audience) stopped buying comics for 20 years.
The future of comics is bright indeed.
This is absolutely wonderful.
Nice post… though I’m surprised at the section where OP asserts ‘10 year-old speak for “it’s complicated” is, “I have to go there to get comics but the store makes me uncomfortable.”’. This makes me uncomfortable as she seems to ignore every other, apparently more probable, interpretation such as ‘I have multiple stores’ or ‘I don’t go often’ or perhaps even the ‘my parents buy them for me’… But ya’ know, that’s just me.
There was more discussion with the one girl that actually goes to the comic store that I didn’t include. She doesn’t like going, but being 10, couldn’t fully explain the reason. That she likes the product but doesn’t enjoy where she has to get it is a problem on its own. No assumption was made about why the others don’t go, but if I was to draw a conclusion based on comments from women my own age on all of these reblogs, it’s because they didn’t have mothers in the habit of going to comic book stores because the 1980s stores made THEM uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, the brick and mortar culture has resulted in two generations of girls who don’t go to the stores in significant numbers. The challenge now is to find a way to reach them again, because relying on dads to pick up a couple of issues it seems like their daughters would enjoy while picking up their own orders is under serving the market.
Anonymous said: how often do you read manga?
well I haven’t read any lately, but I try to read some when I get the chance
Anonymous said: Will you be doing the flat plastic badges like you did last year or will you be taking the route Everfree took with the big paper thing that was impossible to keep straight?
Nope, we’ll be doing the flat plastic badge cards again this year. The most durable badge you can get! ;)
Couldn’t keep the Everfree NW big paper badge straight? Well that’s interesting feedback