Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grant Morrison Vs. Comics (Not Really)

Well, here it is. This week's most controversial comics-related thing.

Comics writer, magician, and altogether genius Grant Morrison gave a fascinating interview with Rolling Stone earlier this week. The article, entitled Grant Morrison on the Death of Comics, features Morrison talking candidly about a whole mess of things.

Included in those topics of interest is his deteriorated relationship with fellow writer Mark Millar, a frank discussion about comic book groupies, and the obligatory promotion of Morrison's new book, Supergods, which is a history of the comic book medium.

But what's caused the biggest reaction from the comics community has been Morrison's comments on the state of the industry itself. The title of the piece certainly hits the nail on the head in terms of the long-time writer's feelings on today's comic book landscape.

I encourage you to read the article in full, but if you don't, here are the bits that have been most talked about online:

DC is relaunching its entire line – is there some desperation there?

There's always going to be a bit of that because comics sales are so low, people are willing to try anything these days. It's just plummeting. It's really bad from month to month. May was the first time in a long time that no comic sold over 100,000 copies, so there's a decline.

Do you think this is the death spiral?

Yeah. I kind of do, but again, you can always be wrong. There's a real feeling of things just going off the rails, to be honest. Superhero comics. The concept is quite a ruthless concept, and it's moved on, and it's kind of abandoned, the first-stage rocket.

And you know what the crazy thing is? I think what he's saying makes a whole lot of sense. "Death spiral" might be a bit much, as comics have been in a seemingly perpetual death cycle since the late 90s.

But comics has a readership of--at the very ceiling--one million people. If that was the amount of people watching a TV, on any channel, it would be cancelled after two episodes.

We hear a lot of creators talking about how things are actually just fine in comics right now when we all know that's simply not the case. It's refreshing--though a bit scary--to hear arguably the most important writer in the medium speaks openly about how he sees things from his side of the convention table.

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