The teaser for Mark Millar's SUPERCROOKS.
A trailer for a comic book?
This should give you (and me) pause. Isn't print dying? The evolution (devolution) of publishing is a constant narrative in modern media. Yet, if this teaser trailer suggests anything, it challenges our conception of the modern media landscape. Are we misguided in our assumption of failure?
Perhaps a more accurate assessment of publishing is that established media companies are struggling to maintain a revenue model created in the nineteenth century. They are trying and failing to support a system created before computers and the internet splintered the mass audience. The democratization of the modern media means producers can't promise their distribution network will reach a critical audience. In contrast, digital born entities, smaller creators and firms willing to innovate, can and do use the digital tool and dynamic media landscape to their advantage. They can and do target narrow more self-defined audience motivated by their unique product. It is not a mass audience in the classic sense, but it can be a global audience.
From academic publication to newspaper to brick and mortar bookstores, the world of print seems to be struggling. Yet, the common criticism that people don't read is clearly wrong. The explosion of blogs, twits, and related social media requires...reading! So, what we are witnessing is millions and millions of people reading differently. Does that mean they do not read deeply or engage with thoughtful content? I think the answer is no. People navigate a large and complex media environment, processing a massive amount of data. They will read deeply if they are motivated to do so. The key is motivation, and comics motivated.