Purist of the Pure: Part II The Larrys (Finding your True Comic Identity)
Last entry I went ahead and did my best to create a category for the different type of comic readers out there. http://kittyspryde.forumotion.com/indypendently-speaking-by-hrdwrkngxsoldier-f21/what-kind-of-comic-reader-are-you-t1198.htm#8209
The way that I’m laying this out is last week we gave everybody a collector first (and sometimes also a middle) name. As I take readers deeper into each classification this should help further define reader type by adding a last name. I know that in some cases individuals to not accept that they are only boxed into one category so your last names could end up hyphenated, so depending on how you categorize yourself you could end up having 5 or 6 names, having the title that comes of the tongue like an 18 century British noble. (example David Fredrick Casual Closet Lantern.) That may not make much sense now, but as this in depth look at the types of comic readers develops every thing should come into focus.
Today we will examine further the Leisure Larry (Lisa) reader. This diverse creature comes in many shapes and forms, but in my opinion is the heart of the comic book industry. The comic biz is huge and there is definitely a great deal of people contributing to the success of the market. If it weren’t for all the casual fans out there the movie productions that we have received over the past decade probably wouldn’t have been near as successful as they were. The world just loves comics again and a big part of the revitalization of the industry is these leisure readers. Monsters are not the only things in the closet.
The Closet Reader: Many individuals that have classified them selves as Freds, Daves, Ikes, or anything else could fall into this category. These are the readers that don’t want anybody to really know that they are into comics. They pick up a few comics from time to time, but don’t really care about keeping or collecting them. Closet readers are more likely to be lurkers on message boards and forums, but may make the occasional post. They aren’t necessarily ashamed of being a comic geek but they definitely don’t wear their membership on their chest. They get excited over new movies coming out and usually have no problem with continuity problems between the films and the books which prevents them from being caught up in a bout of nerd rage by their non-geek friends. They still have a pulse on the industry somewhat and usually keep track of things via the internet or pick up and browse through a Wizard Magazine to get up to date. Being in the closet is okay, the rest of the comic reading world still accepts you. They will converse openly when in the presence of other comic readers and pick up some new knowledge if they have been out of the loop. Closet readers may be afraid of being judged for liking something childish, or just not want the hassle of being confronted about their secret vice. (If you’re lurking…its okay to post here folks. We won’t judge.) The internet said….
The Database Reader: This is the leisure class that just doesn’t see justification for purchasing comics in a business that keeps getting more and more expensive to follow. They may be broke, or could just be prioritizing many other things above their love for comics. They will make the occasional purchase usually a trade paperback of a story arc interesting to them. The Databasers do however get most of their knowledge from Wikipedia, ComicVine, Marvel Database, and other sources. They might have a couple comic’s news sites favorited in their browser. They aren’t afraid to discuss comics with people, and appreciate up to date information even if it has spoilers in it. (They probably read solicits anyway.) Database readers still love the industry enough that they will see most comic related movies, and may even purchase a couple action figures or some t-shirts. Their knowledge will have story gaps in it because as good as database sites are they are far from conclusive. This reader is generally online often enough that they will enter comic message board and forum discussions. Sometimes scorned upon by more active readers on the boards due to not actually paying for anything they may be currently complaining or griping about. If you classified yourself under anything other than Larry/Lisa and this is how you keep up on comics… Well you were mistaken. You are also a leisure reader. The Binge!
The Binge Reader: Just like every habit or hobby, the comic industry has their bingers too. The gaps between purchasing/reading books can stem from months to years. The reasons contributing to the binge are varied. The binge could be onset easily by a new comic related movie coming out, not having time to read, or just boredom. Cost is also a contributing factor, hobbies are typically something that requires some sort of financial backing and economics can be tricky. The binge reader may just happen to walk by a comic shop or the magazine section at a bookstore and pick up a nice stack of books to tide them over until the urge comes again. Binge readers may not stay up to date with news and the goings on of the business on the net or with magazines but get chucks of stuff that interests them all at once. Because their purchase varies from multiple titles to see what is going on to a year long run on their favorite character or team, bingers have different degrees of comic knowledge. Another benefit to us all is that bingers tend to be the ones reselling their books after they are read. It could be immediately or after loosing interest again, but their items will hit the garage sale, auction block, or craigslist eventually. Could be good…right?
The Dabbler : These readers are far from being in touch with the mainstream of the industry. They may like comics but only in small doses. They constantly think about getting into the pool but settle for testing the water with their toes. They pick up a lot of #1 issues and re-launches to see if it may be something that interests them, and tuck them away hoping they could be worth something someday. Once in awhile there is something that catches their eye (could just be the pretty pictures) and they stick with it for a story arc or two. Dabblers are easily turned off by mega crossovers that require 50 books to get the complete story. They may check the net to get the cliff’s notes version of what they have missed, but typically are known to be sporadic in their comic purchases. A lot of dabblers tend to be genre readers get drawn in by thing like Marvel Zombies, Death of Dracula, or a new movie based book. They are interested but not committed. ROM, you are missed.
The Left-Out : These are leisure readers that want to read books but they were left out of the mix. They were often fans of a series that got cancelled, a character that died, or characters that just don’t get vary much exposure. The Left-Out buy books when they come out. Some-what related to the Freds of the world they just have their favorites and they have no interest in reading something else. This could be a fan of ROM Space Knight, the original Earth616 Captain Marvel, or the underused Cloak and Dagger. (I’m kind of a Marvel Mike so forgive my lack of knowledge about other brands.) They would put more money into the industry if their books weren’t cancelled every 3 years after their 4 issue attempt at an ongoing. The name I came up with suits them perfectly. They may spend their dollars at the movie theaters, but they can’t find stories they like much less merchandise (like clothes and toys) to show their support. Everybody here may know one or two of these unfortunate souls. Be sure to let them know when something is out that they would like, even something similar. Just being exposed to something new could be enough to garner their interest to get them out of their comfort bubble.
Understanding the Larry/Linda reader is important. This was as comprehensive a breakdown as I could come up with. If I missed something don’t be afraid to point it out, I may just have it falling under another category.
I don’t believe the leisure reader is aware of much of the indie industry out there. So fans of publishers like Avatar, Moonstone, and Creators Edge Press (A lot of the Ike/Ingrids) could have an opportunity to inspire these readers to branch out a bit by introducing them to intensely story driven content.
Next week I will go into the Fanboy Thunderdome (thank the guys at panelsonpages.com for that term) and study the intricacies that are the Marvel and DC reader.
So again, what kind of comic reader are you?