In academic parlance, the word industry refers to a broad set of business-related practices, including financing, marketing, distribution, sales, and (usually nonartisanal) production. Perhaps surprisingly, industry has not been a particularly important word in comics studies, nor have the practices to which it refers had much of a discursive life in the field. There are two reasons for this, the first of which has less to do with comics themselves than with the methodological demands associated with studying industry—demands that tend to require the research tools of social-science disciplines. The second has to do with the comics industry itself and the ways in which its differences from other media industries have effectively precluded the development of a strong trade press (i.e., a network of professional news publications written specifically for working members of an industry). In what follows, I discuss each of these reasons in turn, but I also offer suggestions for how comics scholars might more closely attend to industrial practices in the future.

This essay may be found on page 127 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay