Over on Comic Related there have been a couple announcements about press/ad agencies opening up that are focused on comics, comic creators, and related properties. You can find the relevant bits here: Sequential Support has Arrived and here: Bonfire – A New Ad Agency for the Comics Ethnic Demographic. I’m not terribly thrilled with Bonfire’s use of “ethnic demographic” to refer to comic fans. Not that it’s entirely wrong, mind, but in common usage the word ethnic has particular connotations that don’t apply to the higgledy piggledy collection that is comics fandom. That’s not really why I’m here today, however, so I’ll be moving on.
What interests me about all this is that agents, press men, ad men etc. have never been very visible in the world of comics as a whole. Oh, the big companies certainly have them, I’ll not deny that. The currently available information about Bonfire is a bit scanty, so it’s a bit harder top speak specifically about them, but in general both of these companies seem to be shooting toward an audience of indie comics and even individual creators; Sequential Support in particular seems to be offering services that go beyond those of ad men/press managers, and which are oriented toward indie creators.
I’m curious to see how these endeavors work out. Like I said, this sort of thing has never really been that visible in the world of comics. The closest I personally have ever seen is various folks over at Digital Webbing proposing to put together “talent agencies” of one sort or another. Maybe these postings proved phenomenally successful and I simply missed it, but somehow I doubt that. One of the problems is that the indie comic world tends to be rather disorganized in certain respects; in particular a lot of people seem to want to leap in without having a lick of business sense. Of course I suspect that problem plagues any number of creative industries and their offspring (such as retail stores). There’s also the fact that some folks think they have what it takes when the actually don’t, but that’s a post for another day. Maybe having agencies like Sequential Support and Bonfire, presuming they’re run by people who know what they’re doing and not just hopefuls posting on a message board, will help to both strengthen and improve the quality of comics, particularly of the indie/small-press sort. While I’m not one of those to cry that the sky is falling, I also don’t think a good shot in the arm to shake things up a bit would be at all bad for the world of comics.
On the other hand, even if these sorts of agencies prove efficacious will they really catch on? Given that they haven’t really been part of the way things have been done, or have been done poorly, is there going to be resistance to this sort of thing? I don’t mean people actually protesting so much as people simply not turning to them for assistance.
Of course this is all just idle rumination on my part. Time will tell whether these two and similar ventures prove to be successful. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on them, and perhaps I’ll even see about giving one of them a try.