The quote below is from CBGXtra.com CBG is the Comic Buyer's Guide, a comic book industry watch dog for something like 30 or 40 years, I think. It was the voice that retailers listened to when I worked in a comic store in 1989-94 or whatever it was. I am really interested in the Black and White Glut and I was looking it up online. I found this post. The most interesting thing about it is that the one thing the CBG people were ignoring was expanding the actual readership of comics. At first they acknowledge it as a cause but then ignore as the cause in the end. Instead, the article blames publishers for putting out too much work. They had their finger on the pulse of mainstream and adventure comics but there is no real mention of what has since been proven, if you expand the available variety of comics to include a million different traditions of storytelling, you bring in the audience for these stories. It is there but it is ignored, or at least I think it is. Read on:
"The editorial of [CBG] issue #1031 provided a warning to publishers of the market’s precarious position. Don and Maggie Thompson wrote that 762 titles were solicited by Capital City Distribution for July, costing anybody ordering one of everything $1928.69, then an all-time high. Warning of what happened during the black-and-white glut, they wrote:
There are more stores, more comic-book purchasers (there is a question of whether there are more readers). But the audience has not grown enough to support this much material.
And do you know what? Some comic books last heard of during the black-and-white glut are back, adding to this new, larger glut.
After every glut comes a collapse and, with every collapse, there are casualties, including a lot of good titles and a lot of good publishers.
So, if you’re thinking about getting into comic-book publishing, our advice remains:
Don’t do it.
Good advice, preceding a seven-year recession that took down many retailers, publishers, and distributors before ending in 2000.
But whenever the market actually peaked, it wasn't entirely clear to many until January 1994, when, faced with the potential of staying open into another tax year, at least 1,000 shops shut their doors."
From my perspective the truth is exactly the opposite of this conventional logic. The limited amount of publisher (of all shapes and sizes) is what contributed to the crash. There were a handful of alternatives to mainstream fantasy comics. Not that they are bad, but that their ruling hand is what kept comics crashing over and over again. A dying audience that eventually learned that they weren't into what was being done. The more different comic books that exist, the more there is for people to read.