A post from my old Marvel blog about the growing acceptance of comics as a worthwhile medium.
For years, one of the major goals of comics fandom in general was gaining acceptance for the art form, getting to a point where reading a comic book in public wouldn’t mark you as some kind of intellectual defective. And maybe I’m just feeling upbeat coming out of the New York show, but I think that, in large measure, we’ve made it.
At this point, comics and comic book derived properties rule the roost in terms of popular culture. A glance at this summer’s slate of blockbuster movies proves it. And where at one time you might find one or two books of comics-derived material haphazardly tossed in among the humor section in your local bookstore, nowadays there isn’t a bookseller who doesn’t stock a wide selection of trade paperbacks, hardcovers and books about comics. And that’s not even factoring in manga.
The free-flow of creators back and forth from more respectable media has helped to legitimize comics as well. With people like Joss Whedon, Brad Meltzer, Jonathan Lethem, Orson Scott Card, Kevin Smith, Jodi Picoult, J. Michael Straczynski, Stephen King and others of that caliber all contributing work on a more and more regular basis, it’s become all the more difficult for anybody to denigrate the work we do. And the flipside is true, too, as filmmakers pull more and more of their inspiration more and more obviously from comic book stylings (and creators such as Frank Miller are beginning to become known as much for their motion picture directing chops as their graphic novel work.)
Magazines like Entertainment Weekly have begun covering comic book news on a regular basis, and with the same sort of zeal they’d apply to movies or television programs. And sites like MySpace are actively seeking out exclusive preview content, as they’ve realized how it can drive eyeballs and attention to where they are.
Now, it’s not all sweetness and light, of course, and not every single person has gotten the message. But the penetration of the material we produce has become widespread and mainstream to a degree we could only dream about when I started in the business eighteen years ago. There’s still plenty to do–including conquering the inevitable switch to digital media that’s looming in the future of every company that produces entertainment of any sort. But some genuine strides have been made, and the future looks bright.
Heck, just take a look at this enormous banner of the Iron Man movie that’s hanging from Madison Square Garden. Tell me there’s somebody in this city that doesn’t know this movie is coming–and that it’s based on a Marvel comic.