Thursday, December 14

Comics — The Extreme Competition

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When and where shall we find our success in life?  This is a question common to all people around the globe.  From the daily drudge of the most menial means of livelihood, to elite aristocrasies and national leaders; everyone must find a necessary amount of success on a daily basis.  The degree of that success, however, is of a highly variable nature.  Will one find nutrition and drink today?  Shelter?  Will one succeed in crossing the street today?

If the above sounds extreme to the reader, consider the examples which have been put forth carefully.  It seems that we take many of our daily successes for granted; or, better yet, in stride.  Certainly this should be the case for our own comfort and peace of mind.  After all, most people have quite a bit on their minds without having to be overly concerned with “little things”.  But it is precisely these small accomplishments that enable us to perform on a day in and day out basis.  Yet, if competition is introduced to the equation of success, our struggle becomes all the more intense.  To what degree is directly proportional to the amount of viable competition present at any given time.  This holds true especially in the world of business.  And few industries are as diverse and competitive as that of the mass production and distribution of comics.

Laughing yet?  Let’s take the comicstrip “Blondie” for an example.  This strip was first introduced on September 8, 1930, and has been steadily distributed and enjoyed the world over to the present day.  How does that particular feat measure up under the term “success”?  Remember “Garfield”?  The merchandising which has resulted from the success of this particular strip generates between $750 million and $1 billion annually.  Right.  Very nice “degree of success” from those royalties, no doubt.  And these are but two examples.  How many comics does one see in the Sunday newspapers?  Quite a few actually; at least for the newspapers.  But how many people submit ideas to the syndicates who distribute these comics yearly?  The answer is that there are literally thousands of submissions to all syndicates annually.  And how many of these are eventually published?  With the major syndications such as Universal Syndicate and Kind Features Syndicate, the numbers can be counted on one hand.

So how many syndicates are there in the United States?  Twelve major syndicates exist in the United States.  Remember the word “competition”?  And this is for comics.  Comics that appear mostly in newspapers.  What about other types of comics?

Comicbooks come to mind immediately, or they should.  How many comicbooks does one find on the web?  A simple search should yield some interesting results.  Most of us are quite familiar with “Batman”, “Superman”, etc..  However, these are published by major companies.  There are also many comicbooks which are published by very small organizations worldwide, and are fiercely hawked on a very consistent basis via the Internet and various other means as well.

So when one considers success and competition, these words are generally with business endeavors.  Next time you visit a bookstore, or a library, or a retail store magazine rack, remember those silly looking comics just sitting there.  They never seem to move, or is that simply because we’re not looking for the comics when we peruse the available selections.  Business.  Competitive.  Sports.  Competitive.  Comics?  Why, they’re just for fun, aren’t they?

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