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Image Publisher Eric Stephenson Asks Comics Industry to Embrace Change Over Tradition

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In a speech given to the 10th Annual ComicsPRO Membership Meeting in Portland, Oregon, Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson spoke at length about the history of comics as well as the current state of the industry, offering advice and suggestions for what can be done to inspire and incur positive change.

There were many instances, Stephenson says, where comics were on a downhill slant–but managed to evolve and prosper thanks to creative talents and a gradually adapting retailer system. There have been several cycles where it looked as though comic books as an industry were going to fail, followed by positive resurgences and renewed interest. However, Stephenson points out now that it seems as though comics may be suffering again, and it’s not due to the lack of amazing talent:

No, people are worried because we are once again falling victim to our worst instincts. We are letting short-term thinking dictate our future plans. We are letting greed guide our way.

We worry too much about what we don’t have instead of focusing on what we’ve got, and we keep marketing the fear of missing out as excitement.

So we’ve gone back to gimmicks, to variant covers and relaunches and reboots and more of the same old stunts disguised as events, when really all our readers want are good stories.

We’re giving them great jumping on points over and over again, but it’s becoming so commonplace our audience instead sees them as opportunities to cut and run. We are misinterpreting sales spikes for long-term success, and worst of all, we are spending so much time looking at how to keep going that we’ve lost sight of where we were heading in the first place.

Stephenson goes on to say, however, that there are changes that can be implemented in order to improve the comics market–and one of the biggest is that the industry needs to not allow itself to be beholden to tradition or nostalgia because that’s “the way [it’s] always been done.”

The speech in its entirety can be read here, and if you haven’t yet, you should check it out.

(via Comic Book Resources)

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