|September 19, 2013||Businesses Prepare for Winter as Tourist Season Draws to a Close||no comments|
|September 17, 2013||Are Comic Books Having a Digital Renaissance?||no comments|
Summer has come to a close, children are back in school, and the tourist season is ending. Just weeks ago, Moab hotels were full of people from all over the world, and businesses were booming in their wake. While Moab enjoys some year-round tourism, most of it comes during the spring and summer months, and as a result many businesses will soon temporarily close, or lay off many employees.
Much like some animals, the citizens and businesses of Moab are getting ready to hibernate for the winter. Many people will have been preparing by saving money before they are laid off, or prepaying rent for the winter months. Businesses, meanwhile, streamline themselves so that they can keep some employees and turn a good profit with the locals and the few tourists that come in the colder months. This also helps them to prepare for the spring, when they will need fresh new faces, and a lot of them, to deal with the influx of tourists.
This is not new, and there are always new attempts to make the years to come more profitable, such as the plans to build a campus here for Utah State University. The campus will be able to host upwards of 3,000 students when completed and will have year-round residency. In theory, this move will increase the economic growth of the town, and in turn provide for more jobs, and more ways for businesses to stay open in the winter. However, construction isn’t likely to begin until 2016, and the campus will be built over a seven-stage period that will take roughly thirty years.
So, in the meantime, Moab, its people and its businesses, will continue to endure, as they always have.
Comic books have been a staple of Americana since their debut in the 1930s. The medium enjoyed spectacular success starting in the post-war 50's era, and national comic sales climbed well into the 1980s. In the mid 90s, however, major publishers like Marvel and DC re-invented many of their main characters story lines. Nihilism, realism, and darkness became popular motifs in superhero franchises, and sales declined.
The industry has since largely rectified its dark reinvention of these characters, but comic book sales in the 2000s remain at an all-time low. One possible explanation is that the public consciousness doesn't respond well to relentlessly negative stimuli, and the types of stories publishers were putting out were simply too depressing for consumers. Another popular theory is that the printed medium underwent a decline in relevance as video game consoles and digital media became popular with 90s youth. The idea gains credibility when one considers the spectacular success of Marvel and DC-branded superhero movies from the past ten years. The Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man trilogies are among the highest grossing films of all time, after all.
It may be that the comic book industry simply needs time to adapt to a new digital environment. While it seems that many of the larger publishers are maintaining relevance by licensing movie rights, technology has also given small, independent comic book artists and writers an unprecedented chance for exposure. The ubiquity of devices like the iPad have already had a measurable effect on digital comic sales, and with so many easy-to-install Wordpress themes available, it's easy for independent publishers to showcase their comics online. No doubt adaptivity is a hallmark of business success, but it will certainly be a dark day when the steady whir of machine shop presses ceases altogether.
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