Where is “The Comics Community”? . . .
. . . Not in the LCS! At least, not in my regular LCS. As I wrote yesterday, I spend maybe 20 minutes, once a week in my main shop. I sometimes have a brief conversation with one of the clerks, but more often lately I just pick up my books, sort through them, put back a few, pick up a few, and then check out and leave. That’s it. That’s the community experience that I’m supposed to pay a 35% premium for? Huh?
That’s one of the things that made it easier for me to switch to buying my books online. Where is the community? The community is online! People don’t hang out in shops very much and talk about books or debate things, they do it online. From podcasts (my favorite) to forums, to blogs, to news sites, the community has moved nearly exclusively online. Every once in a while you’ll have a great conversation at a shop, but I’ll bet more often than not you just pick up your books and head out.
The one exception to that rule is conventions and other special events (sales events, signings, etc). It’s great to meet other people at cons, talk to creators, listen to panels, and buy some books. The other big thing that I see happening at conventions is people who are part of the various online communities getting together for drinks and to talk comics. That, more than anything, may be driving the surge in con attendance over the last few years. People want to get together and hang out in person with the people they interact with online.
Wonder Con in San Fran is coming up this weekend. I’ll bet most of the people attending have posted that they’ll be there on at least one thread someplace.
What does all this mean for the future of the hobby? I’m not sure, but I have some ideas . . . more posts to come.