Last week I was interviewed by Dan Berry at The Comics Bureau in his end-of-year wrap up. It was fun, although I got a little mean-spirited in my rant about the UK comics scene. None of it was untrue, I just could have put it less snarkily.
I talked about a “line in the sand between Pop Comics creators and Indie Comics creators“, and during the WAW+P radio podcast recording today Mike Leader called me out on what I meant by that. Essentially, why didn’t I put ‘small press’ and ‘professional publishing’?
Well, my choice of words was deliberately obscure (but I might have muddied it by using ‘Indie’ in this context; it’s got too much baggage already). What I was getting at was the divide between a certain kind of energy that seems to exist in comics right now, a split between uninhibited populism and occasionally arch literary comics that’s throwing up genuine barriers for participation. I’m not couching the small press/big press debate in new terms; I actually mean different things.
How about this; Pop Comics are playing with the possibilities of print and digital distribution to great effect because they want you to read them everywhere. Indies know where ou’re reading them and are waiting for you to come to them.
Or this; Pop Comics love you and love your money. Indies probably hate you, but definitely need you to stick around.
Pop Comics aren’t afraid of green and orange. The Indie palette would be nothing without blue.
And so on. If it needs to be added, I’m being tongue in cheek about all this.
There’s no financial threshold for the two, though The Small Press scene certainly claims ownership of the Indie field. Thing is Bad Machinery, Tozo and (one hopes eventually) Chloe Noonan are all SUPERFUNPOP comics.
And what I was trying to say during the interview is that among the smaller reach indies, people I know, there’s a proper lack of dynamism and enthusiasm at the moment. That, in turn, gums up my engines a bit. I wanted to do more this year, with comics, and it wasn’t just breaking my elbow that slowed me down.
So I’m going for it for twelve more months. Four issues of Paper Science (though one might not be out until early 2012), largely tilting towards SUPERFUNPOP, plus whatever else comes along while that’s happening. We’ll see what’s what after that.
By next December I’ll know if I want to be a “cheerleader for comics” anymore.