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As such, self-publishing is the norm for a lot of local graphic novelists.

This is hardly new for comics as a medium—for decades, underground comic book creators of more esoteric, experimental fare such as Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman have self-published.

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Men and women of all ages now gather on Twitter to dissect the latest movies, Snapchat pictures of cosplay competitions and dance-offs, and descend upon Artist’s Alley at comic cons to buy merchandise and fanart.

It is from these Artist’s Alleys where many Australian comic creators display and sell their work to the public.

As mentioned, the popularity of superhero movies has raised the cachet of comics to the general public.

Nowhere can that be more keenly felt than at pop-culture extravaganza events like Supanova, Oz Comic-Con and SMASH! Comic conventions may have originally been an American phenomenon—where fans of a particular subculture gather to celebrate their interests—but since the birth of the Internet, fan hysteria over a hit TV series can now travel across the world at warp speed.

This is a proud tradition that still holds, whether we’re talking about artists or writers working for American comic publishers like Image, Top Cow or IDW (their nationality rarely noted), or independent work printed for a local readership.

Either way, Australian comic creators face the same problems as Australians in all areas of art: a small, fragmented market dominated by countries with more established industries and larger cultural footprints.Whether they’re large scale conventions or smaller events focussed on small press publishers (such as MCA Zine fair, Otherworlds Zine fair, Comic Street, Indie Comic Con, Impact Comics Festival, ZICS, ACAF and many more), each attracts a specific type of audience with particular interests.Other events such as Comic Gong, Goulburn Comic-Con, Manly Zine Fair, Nexus Con, and Comic-Conversation occupy a similar space, though these tend to be community events run by local libraries and councils rather than small press creators. Writers festivals, such as this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival, are beginning to take an interest in comic creators for workshops and talks.According to a 2015 survey (Part 2, Part3) conducted by Julie Ditrich of Comics Mastermind, the average Australian comic creator is a white male (80%), who creates work for both genders aged 16 (55%), and practices his chosen vocation as a hobby that earns less than 00 a year (74%).Interestingly, while 37% of respondents claim to work in ‘all ages’ comics, only 3% and 5% produce work for the 5-12 and 13-16 age ranges respectively.‘Teens have traditionally been a difficult demographic for libraries to attract, and the trends show that inroads are being made.’ For the longest time, the majority of comics sold in this country tended to be foreign.

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