The Survey: Early Returns

I had a chance to pass out copies of The Survey to attendees at Stumptown Comics Fest last weekend, and the results are somewhat surprising. I was expecting the overwhelming popularity of superhero comics to be reflected in the voting, but actually Superhero ended up in a three-way tie with Pirate and Humor for fourth place in the Genre category, behind Fantasy, Sci-Fi and History. Least-liked genre? Funny Animals.

David Chelsea is watching:
The Descendants
with George Clooney

Pick Hit: Fantasy
Pick Hit: Fantasy
Must To Avoid: Funny Animals
Must To Avoid: Funny Animals

Other results were more expected. Round or scalloped dialogue balloons stomped rectangular balloons as well as captions outside the panel (Sorry, Prince Valiant), and handwritten lettering beat out typeset in a standard font. A linear and stylized drawing style was favored over realistic, cartoony and silhouetted, with manga-style getting the most negative votes. Here are the full results:

Thumbs Up: Linear And Stylized
Thumbs Up: Linear And Stylized

Most-liked Comic
Length:50+ pages (graphic novel)
Type of story: Dark and gritty
Storytelling method: Mix of captions and dialogue
Protagonist: Multiple protagonists
Conflict between: Strangers
Conflict concerning: Philosophy
Ending: Ambiguous/Bittersweet (tie)
Artwork: Black and white line with single second color/Black and white line with flat color (tie)
Panels: Wide variety of shapes with line borders
Balloons: Rounded or scalloped
Drawing style: Linear and stylized
Lettering: Handwritten
Layout: No definite number of panels
Format: Standard comics size (7 by 10 inches)

No Thanks: Manga
No Thanks: Manga

Least-liked Comic
Genre: Funny Animals
Length: 2-4 pages
Type of story: Slow and meditative
Storytelling method: Captions only
Protagonist: Straight male
Conflict between: Family members
Conflict concerning: Religion
Ending: Cliffhanger
Artwork: Flat gray tones only
Panels: Indefinite form with no line borders
No Balloons: Dialogue in captions
Drawing style: Manga
Lettering: Typeset in standard font
Layout: More than twelve panels on a page.
Format: Oversized (varies, but RAW magazine is typical- 10.5 by 14 inches)

That conflict over philosophy may be a hard sell, but otherwise the Most-liked example seems like a proposal I could sell to a major publisher tomorrow. The Least-liked alternative, with its slow and meditative story, conflict over religion and cliffhanger ending, may have to end up as a Kickstarter project. But don’t expect these results to be set in stone.

The crowd at Stumptown may not be typical of the comics market as a whole- the Con does have a reputation as more indie oriented than the San Diego Comics Convention or Wizard Con, and the larger publishers like Marvel and DC stay away. I expect to get more results more in line with mass taste as data comes in from the online version of The Survey, which you can take here from now until voting ends a month from now on June 3rd (US readers only, please- I’m hoping to eventually do versions for other countries as well).

Many thanks to Jason Renaud for getting The Survey online.