How and Where Comics Cultures Flourish
by Amy Louise Maynard
In a Twitter thread composed in mid-June this year, creator Darryl Ayo (Little Garden) decried what he considered to be the lack of cultural spaces for independent and/or small press comics, both online and offline. According to Ayo, the demise of Google Reader and the decline of Tumblr meant that it was harder for independent creators to have a virtual ‘hub’ where their work could be found, shared and discussed:
Indie comics has a culture problem: specifically, that indie comics attaches itself to other cultures to survive. Whether it’s being driven out of the direct market shops or hitching its collective wagon too tightly to 2000-2008 era internet websites [sic]. Indie comics has the following culture problem: it attempts to survive as a symbiotic subculture but doesn’t insist on its own boundaries (Ayo, 2017).
In regards to physical spaces, Ayo pointed out that serial comics produced through the direct market system still had hubs for consumers; the comics store:
One thing that is appealing about “mainstream” comics, i.e. the North American direct market, is that there remain dedicated cultural spaces. There is a self-sustaining cultural space to go to and to be and to experience that culture. Yes, it’s a commerce space. But it fits (Ayo, 2017).