An interesting article has popped up over on The Spectator about the lack of a fully realised British comic book industry that can rival that of the US or the rest of Europe.
While missing in a lot of details, I think the argument about distribution getting in the way is one of the key reasons. Some of the comments after the piece really help to flesh it out too.
Meanwhile, the New Stateman has a great counter article to the one written by Abbot.
Still, I don’t believe things are as healthy as they could be. Because of the distribution problems over here, we’ve got no clear picture of whether UK comics are selling well enough in the UK to actually make back the money that the small press and larger establishments, like Rebellion, are putting into them.
2000AD is doing relatively OK - progs and Megs are stocked in newsagents, supermarkets and comic book stores in the UK and beyond, plus the graphic novel sales are healthy and really help the bottom line. The problem is that the rest of the industry is not in such a position and a healthier comic culture in the UK would help boost 2000AD sales - a rising tide lifts all boats. At the moment there isn’t a “ladder” of titles that progresses from kids comics to 2000AD, which reinforces the idea that comics are just for kids and, more importantly, means these potential readers drop out of the reading habit. However, Strip is working on getting stocked in newsagents and there is also The Phoenix, plus a wealth of other titles from a resurgent group of independent British comics publishers as well as a vibrant small press to give new creators space to hone their skills. So everything is looking better than it has for a while. Hopefully, those two articles are just the beginning of more serious coverage of the British comics industry, but don’t hold your breath.
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