You Shouldn't Need Super-Telescopic-Vision to See the Comics Industry

If I named an upcoming movie you were looking forward to, you would know the release date off the top of your head. I was looking forward to "Thor", so I knew it was coming out May 6th. I do not work in the film industry in any way.

If you named an upcoming comic I was looking forward to, I could not tell you when it was scheduled to be released. And I work in the comics industry in several capacities. Both Josh and I were looking forward to Norwegian comicsmith Jason's first collaboration with a writer: "Isle of 1000 Graves" but I had no idea it was set to release until it arrived in my store in a box from Diamond Distributors. Nor could I have told you when "Flashpoint" #2 or "Fear Itself" #3 (arguably the two most high-profile series coming out of the mainstream right now) were going to drop. The comics industry has a problem. I have recently named it. Lack of Visibility.

Now, some will be quick to point out that this information is absolutely available. And they are right. There are one or two websites with release schedules. You could ask your local comics shop's employees to take a look at their order forms and/or Diamond Distributors' website. But it's not in your face, it's not the ever-present, everyday, cultural bombardment it probably should be.

Small publisher Fantagraphics (@fantagraphics) is getting around this by posting 'book trailers' of their upcoming releases like this one on Flickr:
and there's many more on their YouTube channel at

You should check them out if you're at all curious about their soon-to-arrive comics.

That's an excellent idea, but it requires sitting at a computer, logging on to YouTube and searching for Fantagraphics to find it. As I wrote here, I eventually want comics huge and on Times Square billboards, but in the meantime I don't think it's too much to ask that Comics promotion be in your face at work, at school, and at home just as it is with all the other entertainment artforms.

When DC Comics' (@DC_NATION) big news broke two weeks back, the story was picked up by all manner of normal entertainment news sources as I reported here. The news is a part of our everyday lives. YES, that's a great start but journalism is not advertising (although the distinction can be blurry) and the one thing better than getting people to talk about your art is getting people to THINK about your art. That's why the logo for The Long and Shortbox Of It is a THOUGHT balloon and not a speech balloon. We want you to think about comics first and then talk about them.

There ARE simple and cheap ways to be visible on a small-scale:
[All the following photographs are my own.]

Take a look at how a student advertised her senior-thesis graphic novel gallery exhibition. Nicki France followed the precedent of other studio art majors at Bard College and designed a postcard to advertise her gallery opening.

The front was a two-page spread from the graphic novel itself:
Silhouette Cut-Outs Have A Stop-Motion Quality in Comics

While the back simply has the exhibition's information:
Nicki France's Art Opening at Bard College Fisher Studio Arts

Literally, a little comics in my mailbox. Somewhere I look everyday. YES.

(The Scott Eder Gallery and the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art [@MoCCAnyc] wisely do postcard mailings as well!)

Manhattan Comics & More (@MnhtnComicsMore) a NYC comics shop designed an awesome cross-promotion with Big Daddy's Diner, a restaurant just a few blocks away from the store.
[Manhattan Comics & More is an employer of Jon Gorga.]

Comic-Book Cross-Promotion!

Comics advertised at a place I eat. Somewhere I am likely to be. YES.

In the two years I have been going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's cherry blossom viewing festival, I have seen Abby Denson (@citysweettooth) sitting at a booth, putting her comics out there both times. I also discovered in the year between my two Japan-centric visits to those beautiful gardens, that some of her work is available at Tekserve, the 'Apple Store before the Apple Store' here in New York City.

Abby Denson is always at Sakura Matsuri enjoying the event and promoting her comics!

Comics presented at an outdoor event celebrating nature and at a prime location of consumer technology. Two places everyday people of different stripes are likely to be. YES.

Part of the entirely normal and accepted model for making webcomics is printing tee-shirts with logos, panels, characters, and in-jokes from the work itself. Just google "webcomics tee-shirts" and you'll get a ton of examples!

Yes, comics are visible. Comic-strips appear in daily newspapers all over the country and many people read them. But many people don't THINK about them. We need to find ways both big and small and digital and analog to remind people that we are here, that we exist, and that we are doing quality work.

Think about the possibilities. You may surprise yourself.

~ @JonGorga

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