Here's a thought. The consumers would have more money in their pockets if they weren't force-fed the yearly Marvel Event. Thus, if good comics with good character development and thougthful stories (a la Alpha Flight Volume 4) can be found out there, the consumer might spend that money on these comics.Yet Fear Itself #4 sold 93,435 compared to AF #2's 26,862.
The actual comic market has shrunk for varying factors, but the events are still the only thing selling near decent numbers.
To me, its a gimmick. They encourage you to buy an Event with its tie-ins to get your money (even though lots of people will have to drop another title to get the Event); instead, they should work harder at putting out good products in the titles they already produce, so that the consumer will WANT to purchase these comics.
As we have already seen with AF, marketing is everything. Why not market other titles the same way they do their events? And why not demand the very best from their writers, colourists, and artists?
I'm not saying everything they put out is crap...but I am saying that the vast majority of what they put out, doesn;t sell well, because it doesn't deserve to. People know an inferior product when they see it.
A lot of people clearly like event comics.
As is toys with cereals, cd's with magazines, etc. etc.To me, its a gimmick.
Marvel aren't to blame for the invention of sales gimmicks.
I'm not talking about the tie-ins though. I'm talking pure numbers for the main mini-series.They encourage you to buy an Event with its tie-ins to get your money
If they had done that then the first comic ever produced would be the only comic ever produced and we'd never have had AF.they should work harder at putting out good products in the titles they already produce, so that the consumer will WANT to purchase these comics.
Why put out an AF comic when they can just keep Byrne on X-Men?
Why create the X-Men when you can write the best possible stories for FF?
Small spikes in otherwise dull financial quarters.As we have already seen with AF, marketing is everything. Why not market other titles the same way they do their events?
The event sales will fianance an attempt at a smaller title in the following quarter.
That should be the basis of every decision, I agree.And why not demand the very best from their writers, colourists, and artists?
Hard to say... it's more a case of the change in the readership.I'm not saying everything they put out is crap...but I am saying that the vast majority of what they put out, doesn;t sell well, because it doesn't deserve to. People know an inferior product when they see it.
The majority of people who read buy comics now, picked them up as a kid.
Comics is a very very strange media in that it's legacy and nostalgia continues while it's characters stay constant/stagnant.
The majority of cartoon/tv shows I watched as a child no longer exist. They haven't carried on for 70 years. But would I still sit down cross-legged in front of my TV every saturday morning and watch them as a 30 year old if they did?
Comics are being written by and for the generation of adults that read them as kids.
That combined with the financial status of the world has hiked the prices up massively, from wages for the people creating them, to print costs, to distribution; all of which takes it's toll on the cover price for us the consumer. (Also, Event/Shock comics generate free advertising) Which we have to offset against our adult lives, and buy less.
Even if the greatest comic in the world existed for only $2.99 if it came down to paying my rent/feeding my family or getting the comic, I'd have to do the latter. And that rules out the inferior product.
I do agree with you, and pretty much everyone else within this thread, but it's not Marvel's sole fault. They're not evil or against the readers etc... (Not saying any of you have said that, either btw) We just need to think from their way occasionally.
It's a very tricky subject with no immediate solution.
I live in Oz.
No, not that OZ!
No, not that one, either! What is wrong with you?
Yeah, that one!
The first? Because a lot of readers of X-Men asked for it.
The question I ask that prompted your answer (which, I know, wasn't clear in my post) is 'Why create three X-Men titles and I don't know how many general X titles when Uncanny, the flagship, isn't being done to the best of your ability, and hasn't had the magic since the 200s or so?'
By all means, try new titles - but don't print 52 per month. And if you must print 52 a month, try to make them 52 different ones, 'kay? Not 52 comics about four characters / teams.
I think there's a problem in the industry overall.
The problem isn't the comic itself; it's when you're reading along, trying to have fun in your own series, but you can only get two or three issues before being tripped up by the latest event. And if you don't read the event, you don't know why your chirpy, happy character is suddenly wearing black leather with spikes - on the inside. (When I started that sentence it wasn't a real example...)
And you're expected to not only read the main event, four-to-twelve issue mini, you're expected to read the prologues, the side-books, the front lines, the minis about the series for each and every comic the company is producing, etc...
And when companies do one per year, regardless of quality, it gets into event fatigue.
Or somehow got a porno in my comics collection...
Comics take themselves far too seriously these days - and I'm just not seeing comics that appeal to me anymore. They seem to think that comics have to be adult-oriented to be read by adults, instead of aimed at kids but readable by adults. Y'know, like the ones that I got me into the hobby in the first place?
And yes, like the stereotyped fanboy, I whinge a lot about comics back in my day. But I can't help noticing that comics from the period I advocate - 70s and 80s - sold far better than comics today.
Hey, how does that work?
It doesn't, it just goes to prove how great I am!
Okay, serious answer?
This is why I've been thinking so hard about it lately. I'm seriously considering dropping most of my titles.
Caveat: I never said I loathe any of them. It's just lost the magic for me, and comics I used to love now leave me flat.
1. Misguided loyalty.
I've got, um, 'addicted' to Alpha Flight, and feel the need to collect every appearance they have, including the current run of X-Men. I keep reading the Appearances threads and thinking 'I'd have that issue if I hadn't dropped X-Men in the 90s!'! When I think about dropping the X, I remember that and go 'no, not again!'
I'm seriously considering dropping X-Men with the reboot, though.
2. No back issues.
I don't want to ditch comics altogether, but as mentioned above, there's nothing much being produced that appeals to me. Could they at least send their colourists outside on a sunny day once in a while?
The more comics of today I read, the more 70s and 80s comics I want to read - but the two stores in Canberra both have mostly-naughties collections. The nearest place I can buy 70s-80s (that I know of) is in Sydney, 3 hours away. And being in that shop is like being served at Black Books.
It's one reason I like the Marvel Premiere Classics so much; they're reprinting a lot of comics from 'my' era, so I'm getting the good stuff. And sometimes the bad. But mostly the good.
Oh, there are a couple of good things nowadays; Buffy is good when it's not preaching 'sex über alles'. I'm really enjoying Batgirl and Superboy, and hope to keep reading them for a long ti-
- Le Messor
"Sometimes you have to march in and demand your rights! Even if you don't know what your rights are, or who it is you're talking to. And, on the way out, slam the door."
~ Jack Handey
Last edited by Le Messor; 08-26-2011 at 08:16 AM.
Hands up, everyone who felt the need to Google the word "whinge".
No, just me?
It's a perfectly cromulent word!
(And, wow! was that a long post!)
DC's explanation of why they are doing what they are doing. Also says a lot about what they beleive the fate of comic book stores to be.
Wow, lots of well thought out points and discussion going on here (who woulda thunk it? I kid, I kid...)
I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents (not sure what the exchange rate is for you Canadians and Australians in the bunch...
For what I think (in my "pull some ideas out of my hat" way) the industry could do to bolster decreasing sales.
1. Diversify pricing and modality. Many titles (like AF) I would buy at the time of release for say, $2.99. Other titles that I am not enjoying as much or wish to try out I would buy for perhaps $1.99 if they were re-released a few months later with a cheaper paper stock or somesuch. Same idea for digital copies. However, day and date releases should be no more than 2/3 of print price and after 8 weeks should be no more than .99.
2. Have every title stick to a regular schedule. As a kid, I could tell you what week every title that I collected came out in, and it really helped me stay interested in the medium. "Hey, it's 3rd week...Avengers comes out! Cool!" Now I almost have no idea what comes out at any given time because schedules are so erratic. I don't care if it's monthly, bi-monthly, bi-weekly, every six weeks or once a quarter...just find a schedule and stick to it! Which leads into...
3. Hold creators accountable for lateness. I understand that creators are paid more these days than they did in days past, and that is good. A living wage is good. What isn't good is creators who are paid more today for their work then...don't work. Just like in construction, if you don't finish a job by "X" date, then you start getting penalized the later the job is done.
4. Aim for kids, but don't talk down to them. Like Mik (may I call you that? I could be presuming too much, Mister Le Messor) said, when I started reading in January '83 at age 9, I had no problem understanding the complex plots and ongoing themes...or I didn't care because they were fun and exciting! And today, almost 30 years later, those stories are still great, perhaps not for exactly the same reasons. I now get more subtexts and nuances that I missed before. You can aim a concept at kids and still make it accessible to adults in today's world...Harry Potter has proven that.
5. Put 'em where the kids are! I think this one is pretty universally agreed upon. While comic shops are nice, people don't happen to just wander into them looking for comics. I think most people picked them up initially like adults pick up tabloids and magazines...as impulse items at grocery and convenience stores. But that's not the only place. If I were to own a local comic shop, I would do my damndest to make a deal with any local theatres showing these superhero movies to have a rack of comics in the lobbies of the theatres! Or the big 2 could do a direct contract with the theatres to sell their comics. (For those of you with kids...how many times after going to a store after seeing a superhero movie has your child seen some kind of product with that superhero on it and bug you incessantly to buy it and NOT RIGHT NOW TOMMY I AM TRYING TO GET DINNER FOR YOU AND YOUR SISTER BECAUSE YOUR MOTHER HAS TO WORK LATE TONIGHT FINE WE'LL GET IT JUST BEHAVE NOW!!) Wow...not too sure where that came from since I don't even have kids...
6. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on the croissant dough, place the hot dog in the middle and roll the dog up. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes or until golden brown....dang ADD...
6.2 Trim selection. Too many titles with too few characters dilutes both the talent pool and increases supply cost. Trim the number of titles your company produces in order to maximize a smaller, (hopefully) better talent pool while cutting printing costs.
Again, there is no scientific basis for any of these things (except for the weiner wrap recipe...mmm mmm), and I have more, but this will do for now.
Marvel execs, mulling this one over..."Hm...he's got a point there. Let's team Wolverine up with Spidey and Deadpool in a few more titles, and then trim off the other stuff. Let's start by axing this 'Alpha Flight' thing, whatever that is..."6.2 Trim selection. Too many titles with too few characters dilutes both the talent pool and increases supply cost. Trim the number of titles your company produces in order to maximize a smaller, (hopefully) better talent pool while cutting printing costs.
... hmm... I do have a recipe for it, though...
- Le Mik
"The longer I live the more I see I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time."
~ George Bernard Shaw