Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who Cares If A Comic Book Doesn't Solve a Problem?

I wonder with some of these vendors, these artists, these companies--are they really asking themselves ‘what problem does this solve?’ --Nina Stone

Maybe I just didn't understand the argument, but I'm not sure if I get the point of Nina Stone's post about the New York Comicon. Stone writes with great empathy about the plight of the lonely vendors with empty booths at the convention, dredging up her own memories of being a gifted elementary school near-crybaby and comparing her experience of being thrust into the adult world of problem-solving without the tools or even the desire to figure out solutions in a logical, "adult" way, to the experience of entrepreneurs, publishers and artists who have created products for which there appears to be little or no market. Stone blames the "insular" and "self-serving" (read: childish) nature of comics fans for their inability to be "more successful."

Businesses and products (and art) flounder and fail all the time. And its not just because the creators can't see past their own navels and are stuck in a sort of anal-stage of business development, playing with themselves like monkeys in a cage and filing their own shit in sealed mylar sleeves. If the magic key to "success" was "solve the 'right' problem" (which sounds like "build a better mousetrap" to me), you would still have the same situation. There are so many other factors that go into "success" it's almost not worth talking about. Much more than "guidance," a lot of it seems to be luck and timing. Oh, and intelligence. And talent. And a million other things. And what is "success" anyway? I'm guessing, the financial renumeration enjoyed by people on the bestseller list or people with a blockbuster movie. Or "success" means having a girlfriend or the respect of strangers, maybe?

For many, comic conventions are therapy. They are a thousand other things. Comic conventions --just like hardware conventions or fashion tradeshows-- are also filled with dishonesty and ugliness. Intellectually and aesthetically. Sometimes they are also filled with great art or, at the very least, even products that satisfy a small but needy and grateful market.

No comments: