Thursday, October 28, 2010

Komiks, their Competition, and their Interrelations

A common point of contention by new and old komiks makers alike is that they face so much competition from other media and hobbies. I think this warrants a closer examination. What exactly are komiks competing against and who are they competing for?

In past komiks essays by Prof. Soledad Reyes, the interrelationships between komiks, romance novels, film and TV were deeply explored. Komiks stories often became films and TV shows, and some famous films & TV shows were also adapted to komiks. Many komiks writers, such as Mike Relon Makiling and Carlo J. Caparas, went on to become popular movie writers and even directors. At this time, komiks were made for public consumption.

The advent of newer media, such as cable and video games, meant more competition, but also new sources of inspiration. Unfortunately, komiks creators were unable to enter relationships with these new media, because at the time they came in, they were exclusively foreign. People who started enjoying cable shows and video game consoles didn't get callbacks to Pinoy komiks as they used to.

As the industry shrunk, komiks started targeting smaller niches; hence we had all romance titles and all children's komiks titles. At this point, komiks buying and collecting had become a simple hobby, and now started to compete with other children's hobbies. So these komiks had to interest kids who may also have been into various sports, video games, hip-hop, bands, basketball, 4 wheel drives, collectible card gaming, MMO gaming, blogging, etc.

Nowadays, kids (and young adults) have a myriad of hobbies previously unheard of. The one which particularly interests me is cosplay, because it's so new in this country and yet so succesful, but there's even more! Competitive gaming, toy collectibles, parkour, street art, and speed stacking are just some of the new hobbies kids are getting into.

I don't think we should see these new hobbies exclusively as komiks competition. Rather, you have to consider each cosplayer, parkour performer, toy collector, etc. as a potential komiks reader (or if you make komiks, as a potential market). Some of them already are, and they could just as easily get their friends into it too. There is an opportunity to form interrelationships with these other hobbies and share hobbyists across the board. And this does not necessarily mean making komiks about toys or cosplayers! Although that would be the obvious route, of course.

What ways do you think komiks fans can get other hobbyists engaged into buying and reading komiks? And how can komiks creators interest kids who are into different hobbies into buying and reading their komiks?

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