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Obsession Perception #7: Expanding The Community

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First and foremost, I apologize for the absence of Obsession Perception last week. Tattoo sessions until 3 AM really eat into a guys writing time. But this week I thought I’d try to spread the good word of our lord and savior….. Comic books (or Scott Snyder, everyone worships him these days, for good reason). So here we go, Obsession Perception episode 7 begins…….Now!

In my career as a tattoo artist there is a rich and tight knit community of artists, journalists, and collectors who, for the most part, like to keep things tight within those who have worked and struggled hard enough to break into the fold. By and large, we aren’t completely accepting of new-comers and outsiders. For the sake of protecting our livelihood we keep it hard to break into. The comic book community and it’s devoted fans are the complete polar opposite. We always want more people to read, write, and draw these funny books we love so much, that in my personal experience, I’ve shoved trade paperbacks into people’s hands so I had someone else to talk to about that specific book. In this day and age comics are in a bit of a renaissance with more and more quality books being made weekly and more and more readers flocking to them. It’s a great time to be a nerd. The truth of the matter is, the more people we can turn onto comics, the more successful the industry is, and the more successful comics get the better it is for us all. Every time one of your favorite comics is canceled ahead of it’s time or you wonder why it’s disappeared from shelves it’s because comics publishers (Marvel and DC mainly) are first and foremost a business and if there aren’t enough readers then those books go away (I, Vampire R.I.P.). So with that being said, I encourage all of you fanboys and girls to get as many comics in the hands of your friends as possible as soon as possible.

There are many ways to spread the word, but oftentimes it only takes one book to open up a whole new world of story telling for someone. Whether they are captivated by the artwork, or surprised by the quality of story telling, there is a comic out there for everyone. I’ve written before about a few of my favorite books to force into the hands of friends so I won’t go too in depth, but I’m finding new comics every day that I love and I know they’d really work to widen the audience if they are given the time of day by a friend or two. Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon is a slice of life tale of a writer living his life at different stages and through death he connects deeper with the events of his life. Books like Daytripper are incredible examples of unique story telling where some of the most poignant moments in a book with pictures are what happens between the panels that you don’t always see. Punk Rock Jesus is Sean Murphy’s commentary on the effects of religious extremism on modern society through a reality television show that follows a scientifically cloned modern day Jesus Christ. Story telling like that of those two comics doesn’t happen anywhere else. Movies and television often times either can’t depict or would cost too much to show things the same way they can be drawn in comics. Novels and short stories can’t properly display beautifully rendered art like a graphic novel can. Both these points are big selling points for comics that I use to try to get friends to read.

Comic book based films and television shows also open the door to potential fans and readers. I’d say that we can pretty much safely say that everyone loved The Avengers movie, so using that as a spring board into comics is a great way to expand readership. People love AMC’s version of The Walking Dead, many of which don’t know how highly regarded the comics are and how they differ from the narrative of the show.

Comics sites, media, and podcast are also a great place for people to gather and talk about comics, and the more people who are talking about comics the better. All-Comic’s own podcast network includes Splash Page and other comic-centric discussion podcast that are always a fun informative way to expand outward and bring in friends and family. I attempt to do my part by writing these columns. In my mind, even if only a few people read my opinion and it influences them to check out a book like Y: The Last Man (seriously, read it!) then it was totally worth the time it took to write this. It also gives me a great outlet to be creative and write about comics which in the future I hope to be able to focus enough time and effort to start writing comics. Which leads me to Comixology and digital comics which play a massive part in expanding our community by giving the random dude (or lady) like myself an outlet for our comics to be published and accessible for a mass audience once we find the time to write them.

Bringing friends to your local comics shop or even a convention is a great way to plant the nerd seed. It’s hard to walk into a good shop and not be interested in all the shiny colorful goodness of the new release section or the toy and statue shelves, and a con is that shiny greatness amplified tenfold. It’s almost inconceivable that a non-fanboy on a convention floor wouldn’t leave with some sort of interest in comics. Especially with all the joy on the faces of the nerds lining up to buy the sort of merchandise only a comic convention could offer or the dedication that cosplayers have to craft their elaborate costumes, even the really bad costumes are worn with pride and happiness because they fit into a pretty great group of people.

At the end of the day it boils down to the fact that I need more people to nerd out with me over the latest issue of Saga and Daredevil. So do your part, hand a friend a comic, drag them to a convention, beat them in the head with a Walking Dead compendium. Whatever it takes so we can all have more conversation about comics and save books from being canceled. As always www.all-comic.com is a great source of information for all readers, rookies or veterans and check back next week for Obsession Perception.

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