So I was checking the comic & media news-site, Comic Book Resources (CBR), and noticed something odd on the right side of the screen where they feature previews of the latest comics & graphic novels. The list is set up as small icon pictures of the covers & titles of the most recent updates. There was one title and cover that just looked a bit off – Tribute: Nelson Mandela #1.
As you can see the error continues with the incorrect title accompanying the preview and correct content description. I have seen this problem occur from time to time on this site, but not with such an absurd & ironic result. Here is the cover:
The Bluewater Comics provides an interesting range of material. The target audience includes the family friendly, educational, entertainment, and literacy/reluctant-reader grouping. Topics range from current celebrities to iconic political & entertainment figures.
There are attempts at broad entertainment, intended to appeal to both the tween and teen demographics of both genders. There are some strange blends of audience appeal, trying to hold to family values and not upset conservative American educational systems/boards, while courting the young audience of the 21st century. While it appears that sexual orientation is avoided initially and there were no celebrities or political figures strongly associated with equality issues related to this issue – see Anderson Cooper bio comic and Raven HIV hero. Religious & political issues appear to emphasize Christian and conservative values for the most part. The previews suggest a moral lesson in life stories. Katy Perry started out as a Christian singer before becoming a pop-singer – ‘she’s been married, divorced, and she’s performed in front of millions”. Sam Kinison starts with “humble roots as a preacher” before becoming a Rock and Roll Comedian and ending life in tragic death.
Trying to appeal to the rebellious teen without offending the parent ?
Many of the illustrations, based on the previews do not have the same style or sophisticated quality of many of the larger superhero oriented companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image or Dark Horse. Some seem to be a bit more edgy, if the celebrity/story-line, such as Kinison, attracts a different target audience. This brings up some other confusion/conflicts in target audience. Compare covers for style & content – it seems to be all over the place, trying to serve two masters.
For girls the Katy Perry paper doll – body image ?
A classic role model from Canadian literature ?
For boys Vertigo / EC comics inspire art & stories………. ?
Fantasy horror & adventure
The Real adventure of America’s Armed Forces.
Separation of Church and State.
Mix Fantasy worlds of action, adventure & supernatural horror.
Discover classic heroes of the past from literature & cinema.
Bluewater should be commended on its effort at diversity. This is a problem faced by the comic book & graphic novel publishers. The potential target audience is very diverse, but public perception combined with marketing practices have created barriers to connecting the product with the appropriate audience. Gender and age have been the greatest problem in identify and reaching a specific demographic group. Bluewater appears to be trying to negotiate this complex market; sales through iTunes and other eBook formats may help overcome this hurdle, as may reaching out to educators and targeting reluctant readers & the tween market. Unfortunately, at times, it feels like it is immersed in a late 1950’s world; it can not make up its mind whether it is following the EC comics tradition or trying to be Dell comics, or Illustrated Classics . Perhaps Nelson Mandela – “The master of classic horror” does accurately sum up their present situation. Their future success will tell the tale.