Monday, August 12, 2013

If this is the in-crowd, I want out.

The comics industry has a lobby group that I'd almost forgotten existed.

"Does Comics Pro still exist?  Have they started inbreeding yet?"

I was reminded of it by one of the major retailers incidentally mentioning that he'd quit Comic Pro because it was only representing the big stores, instead of all the stores --- especially the small stores.

Thing is, it was pretty obvious from the beginning that their instinct was to be Exclusive rather in Inclusive.

I had a problem with the original executive director who struck me as the quintessential "in-crowd" person.  That is, her instinct was to suck up to the big guys and look down on the little guys.  But I thought that was maybe just her, and that I should give the organization a chance.

Then I noticed that they had closed their discussion boards to anyone who wasn't a member.

So I thought this was shortsighted.  Here's the thing.  If you pretend to represent the comic industry, then you shouldn't be afraid to share information.  If I'm wondering whether to be a member, nothing would be more beneficial than for me to talk to the members, to hear what they're saying, to see what they're doing and so on...

Closed off, I nearly forgot about them.

The next time I heard about them was when they got "Special Covers" just for members.

Now exclusive covers have always existed as rewards.  If you fly to special meetings, you get a special cover.  I don't have a problem with that.

But when you pretend to represent the industry as a whole, then you'd better not be taking gifts that aren't available for the whole.

To me, it would be like the directors of a union receiving gifts from the manufacturers that isn't given to the rest of the members.  Taking something from the Man, instead of representing the members.

The next time Comics Pro came to my attention was when there was a big problem -- I can't remember what it was (must not have been very big, eh?) --  and I asked what Comics Pro was doing about it.

No answer.

Finally, I asked.  "Are you still there?"

So the executive director came up finally and said what the policy was ... something committee speak and so diplomatic as to be useless.

"Who knows this?" I asked.  "Was it ever announced?"

Turns out the executive committee knew, but no one else.  So I said, "If you are going to be of any use to any of us, don't you think you should tell us what you're doing?"

So for about a quarter of a year thereafter, the Comics Pro people were pretty good about coming on other sites and announcing what they were doing.  (Which usually didn't seem like much...)

Then they disappeared again.

To me, this seem to be true of most organizations who supposedly represent the broader membership -- they eventually only represent themselves.

I'm sure they're still out there, but they seem pretty useless.  If you say you represent, then you better represent.

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