I just got back from a mini-convention that was in all honesty, a bit depressing. I am determined to be a part of the change I wish to see in the world, to borrow a phrase. It was cramped, not very accessible, and the “goodies” were also a bit depressing. I got a smashed tootsie pop that was probably about 3 years old in the bottom of my bag. My kids and I also got some back issues from a collection that clearly, no one was interested in any longer.
I had some moments of doubt there as the whole scene sunk in. But then something else happened. I received a message this morning from another creator who is very close to having a project funded as well, so I’m taking these positives and focusing on things like that instead of my crushed lollipop! The number of comic store owners willing to let me distribute my flyers was also a great experience. The kindness and positivity of those in this community is one of my favorite things about it. They’re just good people.
As far as what’s next? I’ve thought about this a lot. I happen to think that the kind of stagnation, limitations, suppression and the fact that we now live in this post-truth, post-Trump (hopefully), COVID-19, AI generated world that is screaming for accessibility and representation in all forms of media leads me to believe that we are on the cusp of an explosion of creativity and new methods of delivering art. There are definitely some experimental things I want to try with Dolorem that are already written/planned for future issues.
I believe that we are very close to a resurgence in comics with the demand for new kinds of stories that will span multiple forms of media. It reminds me of Frank Herbert’s book, God Emperor of Dune where Leto II controls all aspects of human travel and migration for thousands of years in order to build up their desire to scatter and explore. The moment he dies the great scattering begins, ensuring that humanity will never fall victim to a single threat. This is what I hope for the comics industry; for it to become so varied and dispersed in the stories that are told, how they are told, the kinds of people who read and see themselves in them, that regardless of the economy, the performance of the big two publishers, the demand for print copies, or Amazon’s meddling, will never prevent a wide range of stories from regularly hitting the market where they can be shared and enjoyed to entertain and inspire.
Mike Scrase is working on a comic called Zip that also represents those with disabilities, and from what I can see, the connection to things like ADHD in the hero genre is another important aspect that needs to be told. I was so intrigued that I was inspired to back his Kickstarter as well. Glad to see more of these kinds of stories inspired by the invisible struggles that so many of us face daily. See the overview below with a link to his own Kickstarter.
Zip #1: A Grungy Superhuman Comic
Zip is a black and white, 22 page independent British comic book about imperfect superhumans. It reimagines superheroes as an analogy for disability, and explores the passive, quiet side of prejudice fuelled by ignorance and apathy, rather than the more traditionally understood motivation of hatred. Pledge here and get your copy today!