The BBC Should have a regular show covering the medium of Comics and Graphic Novels
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The British Comic Industry, despite being more diverse and compelling than ever is in crisis!! (And America isn't far behind).
The BBC covers all sorts of arts on a regular basis. It covers popular culture too, with Music, Film and other mediums sometimes given prime time programming.
However Comics and Graphic Novels, which are part of British heritage and have a huge national interest, are not covered.
Interest in comics has skyrocketed in the last 15 years with multiple comic conventions now happening every week of the year, when in 2003 there were only 2 in the entire country annually.
When I did my first convention in 2006 there were still only 2 other shows that whole year across the UK. Now when I announce a show there are two other shows that same week!
Still the BBC does not cover the medium. This seems to defy all logic.
The general public still has this idea that comics are just for kids or that they are only about superheroes.
However as well as hundreds of British artists and writers working for the big American companies, there is a huge swell of underground and independent comics being produced in this country telling stories in every genre imaginable. 2000ad is just the tip of a huge comics iceberg.
The damaging perception of comics only being those on display in the newsagents, with free toys and puzzles obscuring the comics themselves, (although these comics sell well and are an essential part of the industry) threatens the very existence of the comic industry in the UK, with comic shops closing all the time, and less and less people of all ages now reading comics.
Pay for comics writers and artists continues to fall as sales fall and print costs rise.
Publishers are going out of business and artists are falling into poverty or having to take other jobs to supplement their income.
(Remember the Dandy anyone? RIP)
Digital sales are not as high as people think and whilst films and games featuring characters and stories sourced from comics are high on the public's awareness the source material remains obscure and largely under appreciated.
The biggest selling independent comic in the world "The Walking Dead" drawn by British artist Charlie Adlard sells less than 80,000 copies a month. Yet millions watch the TV Series derived from it every week, many unaware that the comic even exists.
And this comic is considered a huge success! Indeed it is thanks to huge trade paperback sales and licensing of the property into other mediums.
The comics medium is unique. Both literature and art, telling stories in a way no other medium can. Comics are a national treasure!
The BBC is obligated in its remit to cover comics and we demand they include comics as a medium in their weekly arts programming, (BBC 4 Perhaps) raising awareness of the medium to a wider audience and providing the thousands of existing comic fans with a mainstream source of comics news and features.
Not only will this be hugely popular with the fans, more importantly it could play a huge role in changing public perception of this incredible storytelling medium and create the building blocks in turning around the fortunes of the struggling industry.
It would never be short of material either. A quick peruse of the hundreds of online shows and podcasts covering comics shows that.
It could feature creator interviews and artists profiles, reviews, related media news, event reports, "how to" tips and lively industry panels.
There are many comic creators and fans with professional television experience and the coverage could build a bridge allowing comics to once again become a mainstream entertainment medium as well as the respected artform it deserves to be.
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