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February 3, 2010 3:00 PM   Subscribe

The racial politics of Archie comics
posted by Artw (53 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jughead is the Aryan superman!
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 3:03 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, that cover is HOT. Go Archie and Val!
posted by scrowdid at 3:06 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My wife teaches high school in a predominantly black and Latino area of the South Bronx. Some of her remedial students reading skills improve when they read a lot of comics. One of the most requested? The Archies. Go figure. Of course there's a neighborhood in the North Bronx called Riverdale, so maybe the kids think they're neighbors.
posted by jonmc at 3:15 PM on February 3, 2010


...And thus, Sarah Palin's worldview was shattered.
posted by Toby Dammit X at 3:16 PM on February 3, 2010


My first thought was: What? I thought Archie married Veronica! Don't want to spoil it for anyone. If you want to find what happened with that, check out Wikipedia. Thanks for the post Artw, I still enjoy reading about Archie for some strange, inexplicable reason.

This is a good a place as any to point out that I am awesome, because I bought the original art for an Archie story a few months ago (less than $10 a page!). It involves Archie, Betty, and Veronica. The title is...wait for it...."The Triangle!" Here's the first few pages of it.
posted by marxchivist at 3:17 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, Archie was old when I was a kid, and that is really saying something.
posted by fixedgear at 3:17 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


me too, fixed gear, but I somehow find it comforting to know that it's still out there.
posted by jonmc at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm still not convinced that Archie isn't Bazooka Joe.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, anybody else here ever fantasize about having a woman dress up in the Josie & the Pussycats costume for you?

anybody?
posted by jonmc at 3:22 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


*raises hand*
posted by brundlefly at 3:27 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, who reads Archie comics? Who and what is its audience? At this point, Gilligan's Island re-runs are nostalgia, barely above laughs for stoners, and dirt-cheap to air. But Archie is still in print. Who is buying it?

Also, anybody else here ever fantasize about having a woman dress up in the Josie & the Pussycats costume for you?

Had it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:38 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


*hand*
posted by craven_morhead at 3:38 PM on February 3, 2010


Did y'all see that Optimus Prime dryer? That was badass.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:38 PM on February 3, 2010


Who is buying it?

Kids. My kids read it at the grocery store. We had a friend whose 10-ish-year-old daughter had a huge pile of recent Archie comics under her bed. It's the checkout-line chocolate bar of the literary world.
posted by GuyZero at 3:41 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine that works in publishing and I were buying a bunch of alcohol at a Safeway in SF a couple years ago.

ME: Archie Digests!? How do these guys even stay in business in this here modern era with the computer box and the jet shoes and whatnot?.

HER: No dude, those things sell MILLIONS of copies a year. No, really.

ME: lolwut?


So this is a net benefit for society. At least the parallel Shadow Society that still buys these damn things.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:47 PM on February 3, 2010


Seriously, who reads Archie comics? Who and what is its audience? At this point, Gilligan's Island re-runs are nostalgia, barely above laughs for stoners, and dirt-cheap to air. But Archie is still in print. Who is buying it?

I always like to glance at the covers of the digest-of-the-month while I'm in line at the grocery store check-out, repeat the joke real loudly to my wife and fake-guffaw heartily.*

That's probably not their business model tho'.

-----
*She loves when I do that
posted by mazola at 3:51 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The success is also based on the fact that they're cheap. $1 doesn't buy much these days for a 10 year-old. At the same time, it's nothing. To buy your kid 1 or 2 Archie comics every time you go to the grocery store is nothing. But it adds up.
posted by GuyZero at 3:51 PM on February 3, 2010


...this is actually a pretty big deal.

Betty and Veronica attending a Mandingo party would be a big deal.

This, not so much.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:32 PM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've posted this before in other Archie threads, but I used to be a pretty big Archie comic collector largely because of the beauty of late 1950s/early 1960s Archie comics with Dan DeCarlo artwork. Dan DeCarlo was the Jack Kirby of Archie Comics. A consummate company man, he drew thousands of pages of artwork for Archie from the late 1950s to 2000, helping to solidify a house style that persists even today.

In comics, the most talented artists are the ones that get to do the cover art because a great cover can sell a lot of books. DeCarlo was so important to Archie Comics that he drew most of the covers for their entire line of comic books for decades.

He created Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Cheryl Blossom, and, probably most famously, Josie and the Pussycats, naming the lead character after his beloved wife whom he met while serving in Europe in WWII. After he found out that Archie was planning a movie based on his creation, he sued them for a licensing fee and ownership of the character, and they promptly fired him after 43 years of faithful service.

He died on December 19, 2001 less than two weeks after the Supreme Court turned down his final appeal, and was quoted in an article published in early 2001: "Sometimes I feel like a loser." Heartbreaking. All over what turned out to be a fairly crappy movie.

Fuck Archie Comics. And this lameass attempt to purge Dan DeCarlo from their history.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:46 PM on February 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


That's fucked up about DeCarlo. See also: Marvel's treatment of Jack Kirby and DC's treatment of Siegel and Shuster. I'm sure there's lots of other examples.
posted by marxchivist at 5:01 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


All over what turned out to be a fairly crappy movie.

It's a misunderstood masterpiece.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:10 PM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


That DeCarlo story is quite shitty and, I assume, epidemic among churn factories devoted to the mass production of creativity.

However, Josie and the Pussycats is a very good movie, amusingly subversive and metatextual, and had the good taste to cast Rachael Leigh Cook and Alan Cumming as, well, anything.

on preview: I included the same link as mr_roboto, so now I'm taking it out. But that makes three of us!
posted by Errant at 5:24 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, ARCHIE comics in their various titles and permutations still sell in our two stores about at the level of a low-range DC or Marvel or Dark Horse title and about at the same numbers as the average new Image comic. (Disclaimer: I still read and enjoy JUGHEAD.)
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:27 PM on February 3, 2010


I'm sure there's lots of other examples.

Just about* every comic book contributor ever, up until the late '80s. The way the artists were treated is especially reprehensible. I've read that Bill Gaines had a contract printed on the back of his checks which stated that all rights to all artworks would be handed to him. In order for the artist to cash the check he had to wave all rights to his work. The work was often subsequently shredded.

*barring creator-published works like Cerebus.
posted by lekvar at 5:27 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess we just needed a Vulcan to lead the way, first!
posted by yeloson at 5:44 PM on February 3, 2010


The work was often subsequently shredded.

Actually, Gaines kept most of the work and it was sold at auction by Russ Cochran. But your point stands. I don't know if the artists got any money from the art sales.
posted by marxchivist at 5:49 PM on February 3, 2010


Due to an encounter with porn comics at a tender age, I can never think of Archie without picturing Cherry Poptart. -- No, you google it for a link. The art's a perfect imitation, FYI.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:50 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a little odd to single out Bill Gaines as a publisher who treated creators badly, lekvar; I'm not saying he couldn't have been fairer, but this doesn't sound like the generalissimo of a sweatshop to me, particularly:

Gaines was deeply devoted to his staff, and fostered an environment of humor and loyalty. This he accomplished through various means, notably the "Mad trips." Each year, Gaines would pay for the magazine's staff and its steadiest contributors to fly off to some world locale. The first vacation, to Haiti, set the tone. Discovering that Mad had a grand total of one Haitian subscriber, Gaines arranged to have the entire group driven directly to the person's house. There, surrounded by the agazine's editors, artists and writers, Gaines formally presented the bewildered subscriber with a renewal card. Eventually the trips became more elaborate, and the staff would visit six of the world's continents.

But even before the salad days of Mad, the ECs credited (and lionized) their artists in a way that just wasn't done in the 1950s, a time when writers and artists were rarely even granted bylines. And then there's this story about artist Graham Ingels -- a troubled alcoholic who had basically abandoned his family and was nowhere to be found for years -- which goes (and now I will type out a bunch of text from Grant Geissman's Foul Play [HarperCollins, 2005]):

Bill Gaines had been slowly selling off the original art done for the E.C. comics through a regular series of auctions...by the late 1980s most of the...art had been sold. Although he was under no obligation to do so [italics mine], Gaines had been splitting the proceeds with the original artists... Ingels at first refused the money [as Ingels was by now a born again Christian who viewed his horror comics work with disdain], until Gaines protested that it would 'crap up his books' if he didn't send Ingels his share. Gaines suggested that if Ingels wasn't comfortable taking the money for himself, that he at least take it, and then if he wanted to, do something like give it over to charity. Ingels relented..." (p. 99)

You can argue that Gaines shouldn't have had possession of that art at all, but I think it's hard to say he did wrong by the artists in his employ, especially relative to the times.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:46 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


An Archie post and a Berke Breathed post, all in one week? An embarrassment of riches for this niche comic fan.

First of all: a LOT of people read Archie. I formed my habit at a young age, when a kid could encounter a decent selection of comics at the grocery store or drug store, and not have to visit a specialty shop. I read a ton of Archie as a little kid, along with the various Disney comics (Unca Scrooge, Mickey and Minnie, etc), and Sarge, and Richie Rich. When I was a camp counselor, the Archies were in heavy rotation - not only amongst the 10-14 y.o. camper set, but also, most definitely, among the counselors as well. And now that I'm an extremely advanced adult, I really enjoy coming across the low-grade but consistent fandom of my peers. I trade Double Digests with my sister-in-law, and if I'm going on vacation, I definitely pick up a few to read. The Archie universe is endlessly fascinating - the notes in this article about the one-note stereotypes are right on, but that's what makes them so engrossing. It's kind of a Jungian archetype parade of human concerns, writ with the shallowest and most efficient possible renderings.


Just for the record, ARCHIE comics in their various titles and permutations still sell in our two stores about at the level of a low-range DC or Marvel or Dark Horse title and about at the same numbers as the average new Image comic.


I'm not sure if this comment is supposed to indicate Archie's success or his failure, but data from a comic store is already kind of biased. My brother worked for Mile High Comics for many years, and has an extensive and highly developed rant about "what's happened to comics." Basically, it boils down to the way comics migrated from dime-store, bookstore, grocery-store, and drustore environments and into specialty stores, where they sought to keep the same audience, rather than cultivating a new audience. In the process, comics publishers and retailers have divorced themselves from a lot of their potential market. When we were kids, anyone and everyone might encounter comics, because they were sold at outlets that all sorts of different kinds of regular people shopped at: newsstands and groceries and five-and-dimes. Today, a far, far narrower range of people encounters comics at all, because they've been sequestered in highly gendered, highly mannered "comic store guy" environments which are flat out not very welcoming to most readers. Young kids don't run across the genre easily at all , meaning it's challenging to recruit new comics readers, - and girls and women? Hardly ever - all of which means the comics market ends up obsessively catering to sort of a 25-50 white male demographic.

If you look outside that demo, Archie is doing VERY well, thank you. That's because you can still find it in the grocery store, which is where I most often buy the DD. Girls and women are willing audiences for comics, as are younger kids and other adults, IF you market them where a person without a high degree of focus is going to run across them. It would be smart if publishers realized that broad-based distribution outside of niche "comics stores" and obsessive audiences was a good strategy.

That essay now behind me, all that remains for me to say is - cool cover, good deal. As far as the marriage to Veronica, that was a fantasy sequence, remember? An alternate-future story which was paralleled by a similar "What-if" story about Betty. So Archie's definitely still a free agent. I guess there's some small amount of cultural commentary to be gleaned from the publisher's willingness to do this storyline, but the Archie franchise has always seemed to be flailing with regard to reading the zeitgiest, so I'm not sure this represents a true cultural milestone or just an odd "throw it at the wall, see if it sticks" blip in the comfortingly reliably stodgy Archieverse.
posted by Miko at 6:54 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


(By Sarge, I of course mean one of the titles in the Sad Sack ouevre).
posted by Miko at 7:11 PM on February 3, 2010


Thanks kittens for clearing that up about Gaines sharing the art proceeds with his artists. Now that you told that story, I remember that about Ingels not wanting to take the money. I remember a few years before he died, Ingels surfaced and even did a few "Old Witch" paintings. Couldn't find any examples online, but back in the 80's I was in an APA (anybody remember those?) and I recall the editor telling us about it, I think he was in on it.

Sorry if this is a derail Artw, but damn, we're talking about Graham Ingels here.

Spot on comment Miko. When I was really into comics back in the 1980's things like Dark Knight, Watchmen, and Maus were out and getting reviewed in the NYT. Everyone was real excited: "Finally, comics are getting some respect as a serious art form. You know in Europe, adults read comics on the subway." Well, in a way it has kind of happened. Comics in the bookstores now, and of course all the blockbuster movies. But at the same time, they seem still ghettoized with the "Comic Book Guy" being the stereotype. I remember back in the day things like Elfquest and books by Trina Robbins were being held up as comics for girls. I'm just kind of rambling now, but your comment reminded me of those heady days; reading The Comics Journal and wondering if there was ever going to be another Rocketeer comic.

Like you said, Archie comics are some of the few comics kids can get at the grocery store anymore. Hell, Marvel oughta reprint some the old Ditko and Johnny Romita Spidermans in cheap-ass $1 comics and toss them in grocery stores.
posted by marxchivist at 7:51 PM on February 3, 2010


Valerie deserves a LOT better than Archie!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:13 PM on February 3, 2010


I've always liked Little Archie. Great stories and great artwork.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:14 PM on February 3, 2010


When I visited Bangladesh yearly in the early 90s, to meet my relatives, my cousins and I would grab hold of any Archie comic we could get. It was the comic - you couldn't really get any other comics there, and Dhaka bookshops were full of them. Archie comics were a part of my childhood (including a very short-lived crush on Jughead) and I'm glad that they are still around.

(And thank goodness they got rid of that stupid pseudo-manga look!)
posted by divabat at 11:03 PM on February 3, 2010


Actually, Gaines kept most of the work and it was sold at auction by Russ Cochran.

Ah, my memory slips just that much more as the years pass...

It's a little odd to single out Bill Gaines as a publisher who treated creators badly, lekvar...

I brought Gains up as a single example of a a behavior which was, sadly, pretty rampant. marxchivist corrected my mistaken statement about the artwork being shredded by Gaines, but, with a few notable exceptions, there was no such thing as creator-ownership until very recently. Artists lost their original art (and yes, I've heard directly from old-timers about it being shredded, I misremembered which company though) and writers lost their creations.

He may have eventually started sharing the profits with the artists, but only after holding their paychecks hostage in order to get it.
posted by lekvar at 11:33 PM on February 3, 2010


I'm not sure if this comment is supposed to indicate Archie's success or his failure, but data from a comic store is already kind of biased. - Miko

and

Today, a far, far narrower range of people encounters comics at all, because they've been sequestered in highly gendered, highly mannered "comic store guy" environments which are flat out not very welcoming to most readers. Young kids don't run across the genre easily at all , meaning it's challenging to recruit new comics readers, - and girls and women? Hardly ever - all of which means the comics market ends up obsessively catering to sort of a 25-50 white male demographic.

Well. That's that then. I humbly withdraw from the discussion, taking my bias with me.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:36 PM on February 3, 2010


I don't know if it's still true, but once upon a time (like when I was a kid) every sentence in an Archie comic ended in an exclamation mark! I guess it's exciting to live in Riverdale! I think the fact that Archie and co are making out with people regardless of their skin colour is kinda cool, but what I really want to know is, does he still drive a jalopy? And do they still hang out at Pop's? It's probably time I bought another Archie comic!
posted by h00py at 3:46 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


meaning it's challenging to recruit new comics readers, - and girls and women? Hardly ever

Um - not really, most big B&M bookstores have a rack of comics - that gets the boys.

The girls? They are after manga, which is typically several shelving units these days...
posted by jkaczor at 5:08 AM on February 4, 2010


I'm not sure if this comment is supposed to indicate Archie's success or his failure, but data from a comic store is already kind of biased. ...

Today, a far, far narrower range of people encounters comics at all, because they've been sequestered in highly gendered, highly mannered "comic store guy" environments which are flat out not very welcoming to most readers.


I know you probably don't mean anything personal, Miko, but that's a pretty offensive dismissal of my friend Ron Thanagar whose had a store for over two decades and has spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money chasing casual readers over the years. To immediately dismiss what was an innocuous comment about sales in his store and then paint him in with the "comic store guy" crowd is just ignorant.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:21 AM on February 4, 2010


Also, I don't disagree with your premise that comics aren't picking up many kid or female readers, but I think it's kind of a fantasy that the mere act of putting books in grocery stores and other casual environments would cause a resurgence in comic reading. The reason comics have largely disappeared from those markets is because they just weren't selling there.

The big companies have focused on the narrow demographic of men 25-50 because they're the ones buying the product. I know for a fact the publishers have tried repeatedly to reach other demographics, but for whatever reason, success has been modest (Vertigo) to non-existant (Minx).

One quick anecdotal example: a local indie comic fan opened a shop and got a lot of positive internet buzz and industry fanfare about his approach, which was to set up a store exactly how you are describing: more female and casual reader friendly with a bookstore vibe rather than the stereotypical comic shop look, carrying a large assortment of indie-popular graphic novels while downplaying the usual cape-n-tights stuff. The owner, who came from an advertising/marketing background, had a blog where he'd write about the problems in the comics market and how the other stores in the area aren't marketing things right to reach out to other audiences.

As the months wore on, economic reality set in and he started carrying more and more superhero books to pay his bills, and he eventually closed within about two years of opening. Those other stores he was bitching about because they were doing everything wrong are still open.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:44 AM on February 4, 2010


I know for a fact the publishers have tried repeatedly to reach other demographics, but for whatever reason, success has been modest (Vertigo) to non-existant (Minx).

Well, now, wait. Success has been so modest for Vertigo that the imprint's been around since 1993? Hook me up with some of that modest success, I won't mind. Vertigo sells quite well through the bookstore market (why the books come out as singles at all eludes me). Minx was cut down before it got a chance to establish an audience (and, with a series of titles aimed at young women that were mostly created by men, it's easy to see reasons why it didn't catch on right away that have nothing to do with whether comics for young women are really such a good idea, saleswise).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:19 AM on February 4, 2010


including a very short-lived crush on Jughead

Mine is still kind of current.

that's a pretty offensive dismissal of my friend Ron Thanagar


I'm a little surprised that the comment would be considered "offensive." Disagreement or more information is certainly most welcome, but I really don't see how it could have offended to say that data drawn from specialty stores about what sells best is biased toward the sales made to the kind of people who enter specialty stores. There's absolutely no personal content in this statement - it's a factual observation, not meant to give offense.

My point is that Archie comics clearly sell well and are surviving even in what seems to be considered a hostile marketplace, a marketplace in which, by comic-store judgements, they shouldn't be viable. Yet they are. They have readers and followers and make news because of their cultural impact.
posted by Miko at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2010


Miko, those aren't the words you used in your first post.

You lumped my friend's shop in with your view that all comic shops are "highly gendered, highly mannered "comic store guy" environments which are flat out not very welcoming to most readers" and then dismissed his input completely.

If you don't see why that's deeply offensive, then I'd suggest you run a shop for 22 years, spending tons of money and hard work trying to reach any number of different demographics only to have some internet know-it-all who has never set foot in your shop suggest that you are the worst kind of stereotype and that your input in a discussion about comics is therefore biased and unwelcome.

I may be exaggerating a hair, but you certainly did not chose your words terribly well, and I'm not even sure why you reacted the way you did because he was suggesting that Archies sell in his store better than one might think.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2010


Looks like Chris Sims just quit his comicstore job... THIS IS YOUR FAULT METAFILTER!
posted by Artw at 10:10 AM on February 4, 2010


MegoSteve, I think you're taking this in an excessively personal manner. Someone who sells comics in a store spoke about how Archies sell in comics stores. I spoke about how and why the majority of those issues aren't sold through comics stores, and why judging the success of the Archie franchise by sales would require more data than the data generated from within comics stores, where most Archie readers never shop.

Throughout that portion of my comment, I was also paraphrasing what I called a "rant" of my brother's (which I happen to think is astute, though you're free to disagree).

Finally, I'm as entitled to talk about the general atmosphere of most comic book stores as I am, or you are, to talk about the general atmosphere of most convenience stores, or grocery stores, or DMVs, or fashion boutiques. I was not "lumping your friend in" - I have no opinion of your friend's particular store, and my comment was not a critique of his particular store, since I don't know what or where that store is and have never been - it was a caution about using comic store sales as a data set.

Your friend's store might indeed be a welcoming and marvelous store that caters to a mixed-race, mixed-gender, age-diverse clientele, I don't know. It would be a wonderful thing if many such stores existed. What I do know is that, thanks to my brother's sometime vocation and consistent avocation, I have been in countless comics stores and have yet to discover any that I felt really took me into account as a potential customer.

The comments were general, but you seem to have taken them as a specific critique of your friend or his store - that wasn't intended. I can't have known a thing about his store and had no intent to offend. I still think the broader point about which comics appeal to whom, and where they are sold, is a fair discussion and not targeted to offend.

I see that you have both reacted very strongly, and I think that results from a misreading of my comment, but if disagree and want to continue the critique of my tone and to call names, I'll invite you to do it by email so as not to continue derailing the discussion.
posted by Miko at 10:15 AM on February 4, 2010


Actually, Miko, I took Thanagar's first comment as merely an interesting datapoint, not defining Archie as a small product. The fact that they still sell pretty well in a comic book store is intriguing because it's the niche marketplace. When I was a kid, I received a steady supply of Archies from supermarkets. I didn't even know they sold at all in comic stores, much less fairly well.
posted by graventy at 11:07 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Miko, I took Thanagar's first comment as merely an interesting datapoint, not defining Archie as a small product.

Right, that could be exactly what was meant, but that point is not in conflict with my point - that however well Archies sell in comics stores, that still forms only a part of the total distribution.
posted by Miko at 11:13 AM on February 4, 2010


Some interesting results from a quick look-see:

Interview with chair of the Archie comics parent company (and son of the originator):
RO: Archie comics sell in places other comics only wish they could sell. While the newsstand distribution has all but disappeared for most major publishers, Archie is available at grocery store check stands, Wal-Mart & K-mart nationwide. Why is Archie successful while other have failed?

MS: The outlets you mentioned above are high traffic family outlets and as I said above, for more than 60 years, parents feel that Archie Comics are safe for their kids and encourage their kids to read. Most adults have grown up reading Archie and feel that if it was good for them when they were kids, it is still good for their kids today.
Also, Archie is the most-frequently-downloaded digital comic on iTunes.

Some other new comics aimed to pick up kids are following the distribution model that Archie never abandoned:
Boom! Studios will be distributing its new Disney comics through newsstands and mass market bookstores in the United States. Back in March, Boom announced a deal with Kable Distribution Services for newsstand distribution of their monthly Disney/Pixar comics The Incredibles and Cars. It is this same distribution channel that will be used for the new titles that start in September, including Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories (WDC&S) and Mickey Mouse and Friends.

Kable has a lot of experience in getting comics to kids with the distribution of their Archie Comics, which is virtually the only comic book available at grocery stores like Wal-Mart. To purchase any other comic book, Americans need to find a specialty comic book store or go online. This is quite different from the situation in many European countries, where Disney comics are sold nearly everywhere and reach huge distribution.
A reflection on what comics stores as a direct market do and don't do well here:
The creation of the direct market had the biggest impact on the comic book industry because it encouraged the emergence of the local comic book stores, it created a comics distribution monopoly with Diamond, and it led to the collapse of the comic industry after a speculation boom in the 1990’s. Before the creation of the direct market, comic books were sold in the mass market in public areas such as drugstores, grocery stores, and newsstands. The comics were haphazardly available and arranged. This discouraged fans because it was difficult to follow the storyline of the comics. The local comic book store took risks on new comics, kept old issues under the direct market system, displayed the comic books in an organized spacious fashion, and kept the comic books in good condition. The comic book specialty shop became the center of the comic book fan culture, encouraging new fans and sustaining the current fans. However the local comic book stores became secluded from the public and overtime this developed the stigma associated with comic books today.
posted by Miko at 11:30 AM on February 4, 2010


"This morning's comment by Miko was, without a doubt, the worst comment ever. Rest assured I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world."
posted by entropicamericana at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2010


I guess I'm ahead of the times. I'm a white guy and I've wanted to fuck Val since I was about 14.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:33 PM on February 4, 2010


I think the real shocker of this cover is Archie kissing yet another hot girl.

How the hell does that ginger-headed muppet keep getting the pussy?
posted by Target Practice at 2:11 AM on February 5, 2010


He asks.
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on February 5, 2010


Top seller on iTunes; only comic available in Bangladesh... I wonder what part of Archie sales are international? It seems like the kind of thing that would translate well in exactly the way many other comics wouldn't -- No long-term storylines, minimal cultural references...
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2010


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