This will be interesting to watch as time passes. I think the direct market is on its last legs. I see greater diversity of purchasers for comics around the manga section of Barnes & Noble than I do at any comics shop. Once someone figures out how to make money from web-comics any opportunity to grab younger readers will vanish for the comics shops.
Just last week Comics Alliance posted a question to some non-super-hero creators about the future of non-super-hero comics. The response by Kevin Church, at the bottom, dove-tails nicely with this post of yours. You can read the article here: