But I have a theory, and it’s this:
Small press (and by small press, I mean, those people who retain absoloute creative control, from creation through to production) will be the ones to survive when traditional print media dies. Look at what’s happening in the record industry. Small indie bands are the ones capable of selling vast quantities of material via the internet while making enough money to produce more work. The big publishers can’t cope with how the internet works – you download it for free? it can be copied, for nothing? people pay if they like after hearing it? good grief. Hence the frenzy to make downloading as much as sin as they’ve made it a crime (music downloads steal money from artists: no they don’t, they rob the giant music companies who have been robbing artists for years – that’s true).
Coming back to comics, eventually, there will be some format for reading comic material which will, in essence, do away with the need for production that we take for granted as a cost (this may or may not be hand held computers with hi-res screens, it could equally be huge print-on-demand units in bookshops or some other unforseen thing). At that point, the big companies will want to protect their huge investments in the machinary of publication, to the detriment of the artists that are tied in to them. The small press creators will thrive in this environment, no longer will printing costs be an inhibitor, instead you can have full colour/b&w or whatever at no additional cost. Your audience size will dramatically increase, not because there will be more people reading comics, but rather because – say 5% read small press, 5% of the worlds population is still much much larger than 5% of the people who visit your local comic shop. I have no problem if the only people who read my small press work are other small press creators (and, if I’m being honest, it’s been my experience that most comic readers [small press or otherwise] want to work in comics anyway, it’s just the small press readership/creatorship have much more eclectic tastes and have the chutzpah to get up and do something about it rather than bitching about things on the web).
Anyhue… to sum up:
10 minutes into the future, when things like production costs evaporate, any comic creator with any sense will become a “small press creator”. Because small press means control.
Just posted this in response to a poll on the forum. Thought I’d post it up here.