In 2010 I launched a campaign asking bloggers -comic readers as well as so called "comic professionals"- to just ad a banner reading "Let's Support The UK Comic Industry" and "Let's Revive The UK Comics Industry". The result? Not one person did. What did happen, I think, shows just why British comics died.
I was attacked online, at CBO as well as on various comic forums that I was not on, therefore could not defend myself against slurs and lies. Why? Well, for one thing I had dared criticise the editors doing a lousy job at D. C. Thomson and the mess that company had become. Certain job-worths (now getting payback by being out-of-jobs worths) attacked my criticism by attacking me. That means that with every fact stacked up against them they could not refute all I had written so had to attack me.
"What have you ever done for comics?" was one vitriolic question. Well, I supported the Small Press, creators, promoted UK and US comics and much, much more since the 1970s. A good few comic pro creators owe getting work to my efforts as their agent. I'm not going to go into everything here because that just smacks of egotism. Do your home work.
"You have Christ-like pretensions!" Hmm? I was stumped on that one until the ill educated moron who wrote it posted again and I realised he meant that I thought I could raise the industry from the dead by myself. That was never ever suggested, written or said. It was just one more last desperate attempt at justifying the stance of a few idiots who could not argue against what I had written with facts.
Oh, it went on and on....answer something they had written with facts and politeness and -screeching dribble came back. It even went to the "My brain isn't clever enough -I'll get a few of my mates to stir things up with me.
And, yes, some American and European readers were stumped by this, but I was torn into for having campaigned for Creators Rights in the 1980s and promoting them still. "I never asked for Creators Rights!" was one vehemic response....followed by an unbelievable what amounted to "They are the bosses and if they want to take my rights and pay me peanuts that's okay!"????
An editor at a certain "Scottish Company" may well have said I was "A C***!" (in front of someone working there who knows me) but I really don't care. I have as much respect for their, uh, "Editorial standards" as they have for me. Here I resist the temptation to publish a letter from an editor at said "Scottish company" that I received just over a year ago.
It is a fact that around 95% of those involved in the Small Press and who create/publish successfully have absolutely no knowledge or interest in comic books. I cite responses to things I said at such events: "Stan Lee? Oh! He's that character on The Big Bang Theory, right?" Then "Jack Kirby? What's he done?" (???????) and I thought I'd drop more names, titles of best-selling comics....blank responses. Oh lords -to see a look of surprise and hear "Oh, were they comics before movies?" when I mention the Fantastic Four movies, Spider-Man and various Batman and other comic based movies.
In a way that is good because it means the people involved are creating independent of many in independent comics who think they are creating the next Walking Dead, Batman and Avengers Assemble that will make them rich movie screenwriters!
The Small Press and Independent Press in the UK is now ten times bigger than any UK "comics industry" was. Being amateur based there are no details regarding industry sales for each year -these people do not even consider themselves part of an "industry". Amalgamated Press/IPC/Fleetway used to cancel and merge titles for various tax loopholes and even poor distribution was "created" to help in the grabbing every penny possible by publishers. UK comics, though great, were never ever published because the publishers liked the readers: it was all about grabbing every penny and **** the comic readers. It was "cheap, profitable entertainment" and that's it.
But that does not in any way diminish the memories and fun we (over 40s!!) had as kids when we saw that golden dagger about to strike adam Eterno. Or Tim Kelly engulfed in a huge explosion -could even the eye of Zoltec protect him from that? Or even the latest adventures of the Q-Carters/Bikers, General Jumbo or Billy the Cat. These were great days with the lies and cheating being something we kids were unaware of (thankfully).
Did web comics save the pitiful dribble that we now call "mainstream comics" in the UK? No.
Those idiots who allowed themselves to be walked over and used and now find themselves with less and less comic work...have only themselves to blame.
IPC has stated that it has not been "involved in comics for over thirty years and we have no interest in that field". Panini...less said the better. D. C. Thomson HAS the potential but its editors and management have no real interest or incentive and seem to be just waiting for comics to die -as one of its top men stated on BBC TVs "The Money Programme" in 1984(?): "Comic books will be a nostalgic memory in ten years time" and that was it. Almost thirty years later comics are still created, published and read. Where did the rot set in?
Over the last five years I have approached IPC, Panini/Marvel UK, Egmont and Thomson with various projects using old and new characters. The artists involved have been some of the best around but the response has allways been the same: there is no interest in exploiting the massive market that is out there in the UK.
Until some smart businessman willing to invest comes along well, in the UK, we still have our memories!