There is currently a crisis in the NHS with more people wanting the core service than there are nurses, beds, doctors and ambulances. Some of this is caused by people demanding services when they shouldn’t, for instance turning up at A and E for a cut finger, ringing for an ambulance because they cannot bend down to put their shoes on, not turning up for appointments or demanding prescriptions for things it is cheaper to buy from a pharmacy such as paracetamol, but the biggest problem is that over the years ‘the suits’ have decided that certain elements of care provided directly to society were not needed. District nurse visits have been cut… midwife services have been cut… care at home for the elderly has been cut… nursing homes for mentally and physically disadvantaged people have been closed… The list could go on. They have also ignored the obvious factors like the continual growth in population, average age and the increasing number of new medicines and procedures available. They did not see the service as a whole and now we are in a situation where so much needs to be corrected in too short a time to make the service fit and safe for all of us.
This segues nicely into the comic industry. The ‘suits’ that drive Marvel (Disney) and DC (Warner Bros.) only see the icons of Batman and Spider-Man as money machines. They are making very healthy profits from merchandising, films and graphic novel reprints of classic older comics while seemingly ignoring the damage they are doing to the grass roots. They see comic shops as the enemy – I speak from experience here and not from misguided antipathy. Ideally they would like stop publishing any comics and just profit from the characters. In the short term this will, of course, work. However, they need the grass root interest in their characters to be fostered and cared for otherwise the whole community will wither away. This nearly happened back in the late 1970s, but the rise of the comic shops saved the industry. It is a little discussed fact – but a fact nonetheless – that Warner Bros. actually contemplated selling DC comics in the 1980s and that is what drove the initial Crisis twelve-issue maxi-series into production. The powers that be didn’t care what Marv Wolfman (writer of the series) did with the DC Universe. Ironically, it increased interest and the sale of the company never went ahead.
I feel very strongly that the time has come for the major comic publishers to get together with the major comic retailers and the readers and find out what is wanted and needed to drive our industry forward in a positive manner. We need to work together to keep this most wonderful and unique medium alive and vibrant.
Biff’s Reading Tip for the month
Matt Kindt is a New York Times best selling writer and a much respected comic creator. His work on Mind MGMT, Super Spy and Dept H is highly regarded and worth seeking out.
Matt’s work on current title Grass Kings, from Boom! Studios, is him at the very top of his game. This mysterious story centres on three brothers called the Grass Kings, who rule a trailer park inhabited by lost and lonely souls. The tragedy already unfolding in their lives is compounded by the arrival of a young woman, Maria, who flees to their community for safety.
The stunning water colour art by Tyler Jenkins draws you in to a very believable world and within the pages, the story generates an empathy with all of the lead characters.
I highly recommend you seek out this series. There is a hardcover out in February 2018 collecting the first issues. The artwork definitely justifies paying a little bit more for this premium edition.
Enjoy what you read and pass on your enthusiasm!
From The New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land.
Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom?
Perfect for fans of True Detective: Season One or Scalped.