Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 1, 2009

And They Will All Live Like Cartoonists: The US Economy And Comics, Post #34

* magazine of record Editor & Publisher does a magazine of record thing that has nothing to do with providing facile analysis on some podcast somewhere: it lists the five newspaper companies that have sought Chapter 11 bankrupty and provides basic facts about them.

image* the good thing about following this moronic storyline in Brenda Starr where we see Brenda get furloughed from her newspaper job is that its general stupidity and creaking, out-of-touch presentational style provides its own argument for having the whole industry go right in the john. Would anyone take a similar decline of television as anything other than something to celebrate if what was being offered up as a newsworthy event was a crudely-written storyline on a 2009 sequence of Sanford and Son episodes starring current Fred actor Cedric the Entertainer and current Lamont actor Dule Hill? Although the idea that this has anything to do with cynical businessmen in ascots -- or perhaps Wanda Sykes' Aunt Esther -- might be weirdly comforting on some level.

* Baker and Taylor leaves its living room and walks out to the street and shakes hands, encouraging those gathered outside of the gate that they're doing reasonably well and there's no need for a death watch, thanks.

* chain bookseller Borders leaves its own living room, goes to those gathered outside the front gates, passes out and has to be helped back inside. In other words, the already bleak outlook facing the bookstore chain looks worse for the rest of 2009, to the point where no one would be surprised about a chain-wide shuttering now or later. While this would be horrible given the number of people that have come to depend on their community's Borders and for all the people that still work in its stories, the long progression into ill-health may have allowed most comics publishers who might be exposed to significant risk to negotiate that risk a bit.

* a lot of future economic analysis will be wrapped up in staring at the various estimates of sales in the Direct Market; John Jackson Miller talks a bit about what those figures don't reveal.

* missed it/not comics: card company Inkworks ceases operations. The comics companies and the trading card companies aren't as closely aligned as they were 15 years ago, but this still seems worth noting.

* finally, one thing that's frustrating about watching the publishing industry fidget and fail is that attention is paid to strident articles like this one. On the one hand, the fact that no one knows if the future brings with it a viable and sustainable way for authors to make money should be a huge concern. On the other hand, none of that has anything to do with maintaining a certain kind of infrastructure, which is probably hard to take if you benefit career-wise from that infrastructure.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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