View Full Version : Comics for those who don't read comics

Tyrant's Heart
08-03-2006, 12:48 PM
Here's a challenging question for readers:

How do you make comics for non-comic readers? What sort of comics would you make for them?

08-03-2006, 01:05 PM
Honestly, I don't think the problem that most non-comic readers have is with what comics are as opposed to what most people think comics are. Because of this, I think the answer lies more in getting non-comic readers to actually read some comics and break any stereotypes they have about comics. I also think that if someone is opposed to "comic books" that even though when they think of comics they will most likely first think of superhero books and disregard them as being for a young audience, they will probably apply this bias broadly and disregard the entire format. Therefore, it is unlikely that writing anything in the comic book format (even if you are intentionally trying to reach those who do not read comics) is going to draw anybody in because they probably won't pick the book up in the first place. I don't want this to sound discouraging, I think comics are a powerful medium with infinite potential and the only problem for them is that most people don't know it yet.

08-03-2006, 01:08 PM
First of all, introduce them to something that goes beyond their preconceptions of what is found in comics. A few years back, I introduced a buddy of mine to PREACHER and he ended up reading all of my TPBs after never having read any comic previously. Another friend recently asked me about Y The Last Man, because he had read somethng about it in some magazine somewhere. A lot of people that haven't or don't read comics, do so (or don't for that matter) because they believe they are just juvenile cape and tights adventures for children.

08-03-2006, 01:10 PM
Comic strips.

Ingrid K. V. Hardy
08-03-2006, 01:22 PM
Comic strips.

dano, you're my hero! Short, sweet and to the point every time, (grammatically speaking of course!) :) Seriously, I truly think that just promoting the hell out independant comic books - internet, libraries, book stores, shopping malls, posters - any and all ways available, to make them know to Mr and Miss/mrs Everybody would make a difference.

08-03-2006, 01:25 PM
How abouit actually telling stories and not making floppies. Time and time again its been shown that non-comic readers prefer GN/TPB length...and there's a pretty good case that they also prefer manga-sized (paperback, really). Why? Better odds of picking it up in public.

08-03-2006, 01:26 PM
:laugh: No, I'm being serious!

08-03-2006, 02:38 PM
I'll speak from experience:

Don't offer superheroes. Watchment and Dark Knight may be amazing works, but to a non comic fan all they see is spandex!

Do offer a genre they already like: horror for horror fans, sci-fi for sci-fi fans, etc.

Don't overload them with trades, but don't give them only the first issue of a 24 issue arc. A complete story that's easily digestable.

That's worked for me!

Larime Taylor
08-03-2006, 05:35 PM
In a word?


08-03-2006, 05:42 PM

08-03-2006, 07:56 PM
Honestly, I don't think the problem that most non-comic readers have is with what comics are as opposed to what most people think comics are.


That said, don't underestimate the power of porn.

Anyway, it kind of seems to me that you think there aren't many comics for non-comic readers. But if you look, you can find a comic about anything, or close to it.

As for comic strips, look in my signature for one that might appeal to those who appreciate sex jokes, dark humour, and assholes.

08-03-2006, 08:22 PM
I honestly think some people stay away from comics because they don't want to be labeled a geek. Or a nerd. Or a fanboy/girl.

Even in movie magazines, when they review films based on comic book properties, they nearly always have a sly dig at the fanbase of the original, usually something like "of course, the costume change caused the geeks to inundate the message boards at blah blah.com". In all honesty, we don't help ourselves in this respect.

We really, really need to lose the stigma. I can't, for the life of me, think how that's possible. Seriously, who in their right mind would voluntarily join the ranks of the derided? You see Joe Q on the Colbert Report? People were laughing when he was describing Civil War. It's great that Marvel got that mainstream coverage, but when you take a step back and look at what he was doing, Joe becomes... well, he seemed geeky even to me.

We all take it so seriously. OK, not all of us, but there are lots that do. It's impenetrable (sp?) to non-comics readers. It's probably the reason that Maus has gained the literary status that it has, because it's OK to read that one. It's safe. My college tutor told me so. Different rules. Just don't get caught up in that tired old superhero stuff. (Pretty much what I was told at college, by the way.)

Oh, and I don't mean to take anything away from Spiegelman with that comment. It's rightly regarded as a masterpiece.

08-03-2006, 08:57 PM
I gave one of my teachers the first two issues of We3 and I said MOrrison was the modern Philip K. Dick. It worked out well.

08-03-2006, 09:03 PM
As has been pointed out, the question asked is all wrong. The question should be "How do we draw a [insert genre] fan's attention to a [insert genre] comic book?"

Truth be told, comic books DO have a stigma due to the market being dominated by superhero books published by the "Big Two". Here is where I see the problem. The "Big Two" have a strong following based on tradition and history. When DC or Marvel try something new or different, fans follow. Even some of Vertigo's stuff, stereotype-defying as it is, is often read by people who were fans of comic books to begin with.

So, to answer my own question: I have no flippin' idea.

Tyrant's Heart
08-04-2006, 09:36 AM
As has been pointed out, the question asked is all wrong. The question should be "How do we draw a [insert genre] fan's attention to a [insert genre] comic book?"

No, really, that is my right question. I meant, what sort of comics that you as a creator would like to make for the non-comic readers?

The question is inspired by what Nintendo is doing. They claim they wish to create games accessible & fun for non-gamers, for they see these non-gamers as an untapped market for the gaming scene and wish to capitalise that. They really proved that with the release of Nintendogs & Brain Age for the DS.

So what about comics? Would creators create new comics for the non-comic audience besides introducing current non-superhero comics?

T.J. May
08-04-2006, 09:52 AM
No, really, that is my right question. I meant, what sort of comics that you as a creator would like to make for the non-comic readers?

Well, you don't create for a reader. You create your book for you and thne you go out and market it to the people you think would want to read your STORY. it's not about the medium perse, it's about getting them with your story.

It helps to have friends who are already comic readers take your work to their other friends that aren't readers. For example a good friend of mine loves stories, period. Comics, novels, film, dosen't matter. And he's a huge horror fan, and friends with other horror fans who traditional stayed with film and novels. But he started bringing them my comics. A dozen or so of his friends now buy every book I do.

Word of mouth is the best way to go. And then try to get your work talked about in other arenas. I'm doing some gorier comics than I've done before. When I'm done I'm going to ship to Fangoria which traditionally focuses on film.

08-04-2006, 09:53 AM
Who cares if they don't read 22 page monthly comicbooks? Why should they have to?
The key new audience for comics will always be kids 8-15. It's like cigarettes; you're not going to try to get adult non-smokers to smoke. It's just not going to happen no matter how you change the image of cigarettes.

You have to get them when they're young and hope it carries with them into adulthood.

So to answer your question, make more comics aimed at kids interests and make it easily accessible.

Lynn Lefey
08-04-2006, 09:54 AM
I have a friend of mine who is adamantly against 'super-heroes' in all their various forms, but she loves 'The Matrix' which I have explained to her is a superhero movie. She loved the movie 'From Hell', and loved 'V for Vendetta' so much that she's now reading the TPB. She loved it so much, she's now put 'Watchmen' on her reading list. I find this particularly ironic, since she bought me a copy of Absolute Watchmen for my last birthday. She even had my old Watchmen TPB forever, and swore up and down that she'd read it, and that it just didn't stick in her memory.

In addition, she's read every Star Wars: Clone Wars TPB, being a fairly big Star Wars fan.

She bought the 'Serenity' Comic series, after Firefly/Serenity spread through our group.

And finally, having been a big fan of 'Babylon 5', I coerced her into reading 'Rising Stars', by J. Michael Straczynski.

This shows me a consistent trend in her that I think might be common among many people who were not comic book readers from childhood. She will read comics only after being exposed to the ideas through motion pictures (either TV or movies). She also tends to follow authors over characters (with Clone Wars being an exception in this case), and she remains adamantly against most material that started life as comics. For instance, she 'hates' the X-Men movies. I actually think she has put a mental block up ,preventing her from even really looking at the X-Men movies. She's gone in convinced that they suck, and nothing will change her mind, regardless of the movies themselves.

I'm trying to get her to read 'Sandman', but 'Neverwhere' and 'Mirrormask' on film are not making a strong arguement for me. :)

08-04-2006, 10:20 AM
Some comics I've loaned people that made them comic readers.

Superman for all seasons