Two links to chew on:
Over at the Comics Reporter, Surgin' Tom Spurgeon (have I done that joke before?) gives us his state of the comics union address, trying to step back and see the looming cloud formation that is this thing we call "comics" in full.
If you had $125 to spend on comics in 1975, I think it's safe to say you could buy every new comic book on the best newsstand going and have a substantial amount of money left over. If you had $125 to spend on comics right now, you could spend that entire amount and not get one week's worth of Marvel and DC comic books -- two companies not even operating at maximum per-item output right now....Sometimes I think that a lot of comics readers, particularly lifelong comics readers, including industry folk and creators and those of us lucky enough to have some platform with which to grapple with the art form on a regular basis, have yet to come to terms with the enormity of what has sprung up around us.
Skipping over to The Hurting, Fo'-Real Tim O'Neil's excellent essay on the overall quality of the industry seems to build from Spurgeon's piece. He digs up the industry's medical records and takes a macro-sized view of where the medium stands. While comics have seemingly permeated the culture once more and attained relevance and legitimacy that they had lost, O'Neil argues that the water level of quality hasn't really risen above where it was even in the worst of the 90s glut.
Whether it was solely comics or larger comics culture, the subterranean movement that had been building for a long time finally broke aboveground - if Corrigan was the last "dancing bear," every subsequent serious comics work that would reach significant accolades was accepted that much moreso on its own terms....Comics is no longer "a thing," it's now become multiple things, a whole universe of worlds - far more than any one person can realistically hold within his or her grasp. It means so many different things now that it really has to struggle to mean anything at all. There's no point in being a fan of "comics," because there is no centralized notion of "comics," not anymore.
But then, in the comics, The Spurge rebuts! And, well, you can follow the rest.
The more you know.