Last week I went to the Special Edition: NYC convention, a spin-off convention of the New York Comic Con that has a focus completely on comics and their creators. Now, we could discuss the bitter irony of New York Comic Con requiring such a spin-off, but the fact that Special Edition actually had legroom kind of balances it out.
Instead, I want to talk about a statement I overheard while in Artist Alley. It’s a statement that I hear a bit often. The statement was: “I wish every book was like Ms. Marvel!”
Now, let’s get one thing out of the way: I love the Ms. Marvel book. I wouldn’t have made it my Favorite Company-Owned Book of 2014 if I didn’t. That being said, the idea of every book being like Ms. Marvel is a bit disturbing. I want you to visualize it for a moment: Every book on the comics market was a book that embraced a variety of cultures, genders, sexual identities, e.t.c. Now that, would be awesome! A market that embraced diversity in such ways would be a fantastic market.
Now I want you to visualize this: a market that solely catered to one genre and one tone. That’s a market that is ready to collapse. But that was what the person was talking about. They wanted a whole market of books that catered to one, very very specific standards. And I see that mentality more and more.
Look, people are allowed to like what they like. That’s fine! That’s great! What does bother, apart from above statements, is when a lot of people equate “this book is not for me” with “this book is terrible and bad for the industry”. I can acknowledge when a book is well made and a positive force in the market, even when I don’t care for it (like the current Batgirl, for instance). Fact of the matter is, I cannot imagine a single book that is made with everyone’s feelings in mind. That is impossible. And that’s fine.
Diversifying the market is more than just diversifying gender, race, sexuality and such. It’s also about diversifying genres and tones of stories. More importantly, it’s also about creating great product that knows what it wants to be and knows the audience that they are trying to reach. This industry needs its light-hearted, fun comics as much as it needs its dark, grim, introspective ones and it’s fine to be only a fan of one of those two types. Just respect that not everyone has the same tastes as you.