A PSA About Comics

I’m going to take a moment to talk about something not totally library related, but is still a subject near to my heart and one that I feel is important to share.  Recently, The Movement, a comic written by Gail Simone and published by DC, released its twelfth issue.  It was also the last issue, as The Movement was cancelled in February of this year.

You may not have heard of it, but The Movement was a great book.  It took place in the DC universe (it was released as part of the New 52), but it was set in the new location of Coral City rather than Metropolis or Gotham.  It only had the slightest of character connections to more well-known and better established heroes (Batgirl makes a guest appearance in issue 10).  But while it was being printed, it was one of my favorite books, and I will never stop feeling guilty about its cancellation.

Why?  Because I didn’t buy it while it was being released.

I love comics, but I’ve never been a person with a pull list. I have always preferred to wait for the trade collections, because they are sturdier, easier to re-read, and are meatier by design.  They’re also a cheaper deal and have no advertising.  So when I picked up the first couple of issues of The Movement, read it, and loved it, I decided I’d definitely be buying the trade.  I avoided spoilers and looked forward to it being added to my semi-annual collection of trades (this is how I read Batgirl, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman).

Comics get cancelled because people don’t buy them.  When I heard through Gail Simone’s twitter feed that The Movement would end after 12 issues, because the sales numbers just weren’t there, I wondered how many people like me there were – content to wait it out until the trade release.  This was a killer reminder that the sales numbers won’t, can’t wait for the trade releases.  Publishers need to know their books can make money month to month, and maybe if I’d been buying The Movement all along, it might have survived.

I know I can’t keep a book afloat all by myself.  But I also know there are other people like me, who choose to consume their comics in trade format rather than monthly issues.  That habit has always seemed like a valid choice for me, and it still is – but now I understand better what happens when you aren’t seen to be supporting the books you love from month to month.

For the first time in my life I have a pull list.  I’ll always be sad that The Movement ended before its time, because of how amazing it was in the comics landscape – a team book where the prominent members were LGBTQ, one was physically disabled, with multiple people of color and women in prominent roles.  It was a book that should have had my monthly support, and I’m sorry that it didn’t.  I won’t be making that mistake again.

Think about the comics you want to read, and the ones you want to see more of.  Pick a couple of books and buy them every month.  Show the publishers what you consider worthy of support.  Be part of their success.  Because otherwise they may not be around to experience in the future.

If you’re curious, my current pull list is:

Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Windblade, by Mairghread Scott
Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson
Tomb Raider, by Gail Simone
Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

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Comics and Things

I haven’t updated in a while because things at the library have been super busy, and I’ve been right in the middle of the action.  Things I’ve been doing with my time:

– I started a comic-book based discussion group for the teens, and the first meeting went well.  I learned some stuff that will improve our meetings going forward, like to have more targeted questions prepared to keep us on track.  I also want to start incorporating video clips into our discussions, because I think comparing the way heroes are handled in cartoons, movies, and comics has a lot of potential for exploration.

We got a lot of the “If X fought Y, who would win?” conversation out of the way, which was good – I want to see if we can get into meatier discussion topics, and I think that will be easier with that kind of groundwork already laid.

– I made a booklist brochure for the graphic novel sections, basically promoting the crap out of it because I’m ordering a lot of new things that are really exciting (to me, anyway).  I want to make sure the section gets used, and unfortunately, most of our teens aren’t always the most…literate, I guess.  So my thought was, if I highlighted some topics and genres of interest (romance, sports, horror, etc.) it would make the section as a whole more accessible.

– Summer reading starts soon, and every librarian knows that can be a HUGE amount of work.  I’ve been trying to make myself an indispensable employee by volunteering for everything, and it’s paying off in a huge way – our public relations manager asked if I would help her put together a community scavenger hunt (which is going great, I put together a prototype passport and we have six businesses already who are interested in helping us out).  I’ve been keeping things on track getting the supplementary materials together and just generally have my hands in everything.  It’s a great feeling be such a big part of things.