Sunday, May 2, 2010

FCBD 2010- Mavericks Comic Shop

What!? I thought kids didn't read comic books any more!

Judging from the turnout at Mavericks Card and Comic Shop in Dayton, Ohio Saturday afternoon for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) the rumors regarding a lack of interest in comic books by today's children have been greatly exaggerated. Kids love comic books and the excitement in their eyes as they look for that one special book is still the same as I experienced as a youngster looking through the spinning wire rack at the drug store when I was a boy. The problem isn't a lack of interest on the child's part, it's a lack of follow up on the industry's part. it just sees as if once they've given one token day to providing children with an age appropriate comic book there's no follow up. One day for the kids and then its back to the ultra violence and the harsh language of a dark and angry world.

Kids love comic books and parents like the cost of providing them to their kids when compared to items like video games and electronic gaming machines. In an economy like the one our country is currently experiencing comic books are a wonderful entertainment alternative for children, if only there were more of them available in the marketplace. And I'm not talking about the ones costing twice the price of a regular book, but printed upon the worst quality of paper and containing material that treats children as though they are mentally deficient instead of just young developing minds.

One day a year parents can enjoy a day at the local comic store with their children. One day of light and then the darkness descends upon the landscape once again and everything good and wonderful about comic books is buried beneath a ton of ultra violence and sexual titillation. Three-hundred and sixty-four days of emptiness and silent shops and yet the industry continues to miss the message of FCBD. There's nothing like kids in a comic book store. They are the future of the comic book industry and it's lifeblood.

As I visited website after website and blog after blog the images I saw sent a message that was loud and clear, but no matter how loud and clear any message is, if it falls upon deaf ears and blind eyes it goes unheard, unseen and unheeded. From the ivory towers in New York to their counterparts on the west coast the future of the comic book industry isn't just ignored, it's viewed as an inconvenience. Comic books for young readers are viewed as a waste of time. Movie deals don't come out of comics geared towards young readers. There are too many restrictions to deal with when writing books for young readers. These excuses only hold water to those whose minds are closed and to those who have no interest in young readers. Those living in the ivory towers of the comic book industry have become blinded by the gold in the hills of Hollywood. Potential movie producers are now the main audience being catered to instead of comic book readers and the children we wish to pass our passion on to.

FCBD is a wake up call if the industry chooses to heed it. The comic creators need to come to their senses and shake off the madness of gold fever before the foundations of their industry crumble beneath their feet and their house of cards collapses upon their heads. The truth, the elephant in the room that no one in the industry wants to acknowledge is that we, the comic book reader, haven't abandoned you, it is you who have abandoned us. It isn't the fanboy suffering from the disease of gold fever, it is the comic book creators. The gold you chase in the Hollywood hills is a fool's gold. Just as freely as it flows one day, it dries up on the next and there quickly comes a day when the name on the party guest list belongs to someone else and you are no longer a welcome guest.

FCBD at Mavericks in Dayton, Ohio was a warm and wonderful afternoon. It was good to see so many kids in the shop. Their excitement was infectious and a reminder of the joy we experienced as children when comic books were written with us in mind and weren't yet considered the sole property of mature adults. It was good to see those bygone days again, even if only for an afternoon. Maybe we'll see them again one day, when the gold rush ends.

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