Finance and Comics:

Why the World of Trades, Stocks, and Financial Analysis can be a Suitable Genre in Comics

The realm of comics is filled with many genres, with the notables ranging from the traditional superhero, to the macabre-based horror, hard-boiled crime, sensational mysteries, classic sci-fi, fantasy, and the occasional emergence of erotica and romance. However, of all the books on all the shelves there is but one section that is left empty, and that is the genre that discusses the world by which all industry is sustained: the world of fast-paced trading and selling of stocks, the world of finance.

The nature of the capitalism has had a tremendous impact on the media and has grown exponentially with writers like Michael Lewis who have written books on situations that have occurred within the financial sector. The Big Short and Liar’s Poker both examine the implications of Wall Street trading, the day-to-day operations of brokers and CEOs, as well as how such practices function and influence the world of today. Now, these books, although slightly inaccessible to the average reader, have still sold many copies and therefore, make them as intricate to the process of reading as the books that come from other genres, and if they do indeed play a vital role in literature, then it deserves a place in the world of comics. Thus, the question that arises is whether or not the stories about financial industry provide enough incentive for editors and publishers in comics to release books that essentially include the same material that is featured in books like The Big Short or in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street or what was captured in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the best selling biography, The Wolf of Wall Street.

In essence, when are we going to see finance-themed comic books?

Now, perhaps the vast majority of comic readers would likely not be interested in purchasing a book that discusses the financial practices of Wall Street traders and brokers. However, the inclusion of these stories that could break away from the stigma that states that the genre is not appropriate from the medium, and the first way of accomplishing this task would be to see the difference between what readers want and what readers need. Readers might not want to read a comic that includes financial ideas but if it is a relevant topic than it is as important as something like what Greg Rucka and Michael Lark were discussing in their own book, Lazarus, in which they introduced topics that discussed people of immense wealth controlling most of the world’s resources. And if a plot like the one that is explored in Lazarus is capable of peaking readers’ interests then comic readers should also be interested in the finance genre because it can give them the information they require in order to know precisely what is happening in an industry that has immense influence in the world.

But who exactly can create such finance-based comic books?

After all the industry is brimming with people whose knowledge of storytelling originates traditionally from genre, media, mythology, and literature, so it would be quite difficult to find an appropriate writer and artist who could execute the nature of finance in a manner that rivals the level of knowledge demonstrated by other people who are attempting to break into the comic industry. Yet, despite not knowing who could be hired to work on such books the talent still, nonetheless, exists and there is someone who acquires the skills to necessary to execute stories of this type (and seeing as how DC and Marvel are both headed in New York City the creators can literally be found right around the corner). Of course it is optimistic to assume that such people will simply come and write and draw comics on the auspices that their knowledge can translate well into the comic medium, the prospect remains relevant, as does the impact it can have on the entire industry.

There is far more to be gained from bringing finance into comics because if there is one thing that the medium has taught us thus far it’s that sometimes talent is hidden in the most unlikely of places, with various writers and artists originating from backgrounds that are different from the more conventional paths that lead to creativity. Gail Simone was a hairdresser before beginning her career, Gene Luen Yang was a computer engineer, and even the greats like Neil Gaiman and J. Michael Stracysnki were once involved in things that allowed them to explore ideas that leaned slightly away from the broader, more accepted forms of storytelling. By doing this, however, publishers and editors are able to find talent that can incorporate innovative stories into the medium and take the industry in bolder, more exciting directions, and this is something to be celebrated, not feared, something to be found, and not lost, because in the end, there are many new and fresh ideas that people who adore comics want to be told. They want to see the characters they have grown up loving continuing to stay relevant and inspiring people in the same way that they have been doing since the day they were created. They want talented, intelligent, and respectable people pursuing their passions and telling stories that favor their skillsets as well as their knowledge, but above all else they want people to see and enjoy them as much as they do. Comics are an ever changing and ever evolving industry and with each day that passes by a new idea is introduced and another door is opened that can give readers glimpse into the future.

Finance in comics, although small in comparison to other genres, is still an idea that possesses the potential to grow and change. It can include important concepts and can have an influence and anything that even acquires the slightest chance of accomplishing this, whether it is from genres that are familiar or unfamiliar, deserves a place within the world of comics, because if comics can take financial ideas and events that have occurred and incorporate them into fictional and non-fictional books then it is more than possible for it to be included on the shelves in comic stores. It can inspire new groups of people to become apart of a new world, a world they could very well have never experienced before.

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Jarrett Mazza is a writer and teacher living in Canada. He attended Wilfrid Laurier University and received an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in English and Contemporary Studies as well as a Bachelor of Education from the prestigious Schulich School of Education. He is now in the process of earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. He has been fascinated by superheroes and stories for as long as he can remember and studied comic book writing and sequential storytelling from industry professionals Ty Templeton and Andy Schmidt. When he is not self-publishing his own comic books, he is working on his thesis novel, submitting short stories to publishers, obsessing about geek fandom, and looking for new things to read and write.

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