Does it feel like Marvel is kinda, I don't know, totally sabotaging themselves in what is currently a horrible economy? Over the past 3 weeks, it has become very obvious that both major companies are bumping up titles to $3.99.
However, DC seems to be spreading it a little bit more across their entire catalog. Just today, I rang up a large amount of customers that were all DC and a roughly equal amount who are all Marvel. And of the customers who had an equal sized pile, lets say a dozen books or so, the DC fans spent much less cash.
On the shipping list for this week, only 3 titles were $3.99 from DC:
And really, who the hell is buying Mirrors Edge, so I'm just gonna count that as 2.
On the Marvel side, you had:
-Adam Legend of the Blue Marvel
-Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes
-Big Hero 6
-Punisher War Zone
-Secret invasion Dark Reign
-Wolverine 1-shot o'crap
-Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Now granted, that's an eclectic batch from Marvel and not all Marvel fans are getting all of that.
And yes, DC just shoved a crapload of $3.99 specials down our throats with all the JSA 1-shots. But, after looking at the invoices, it's definitely Marvel showing this trend at it's strongest.
Long term, this has the stink of Marvel trying to destroy the single issue monthly business. And granted, that piece of the pie chart is shrinking and GNs & TPBs are a strong and always growing market. Not to mention the online stuff, which is honestly a smart move and new creative ground to move into.
There will always be people who want single issue comics, on a monthly basis. It is what the industry grew from, and it is hardwired into peoples heads. To ignore and abuse the potential for sales is just friggin' stupid. But, this is the comic book industry we are talking about. Fuckin' lobotomized sloths could do a better job at the Diamond shipping warehouses. ROB LIEFELD CONTINUES TO GET WORK. So obviously, shit ain't gonna be working at full speed and probably never will.
The thing is, if DC marketing plays its cards right, they have the potential to pick up a lot of those monthly sales. And Dark Horse and Image have a huuuuuuge opportunity here for new readership. And it's not gonna be for whatever reason Kirkman thinks about creative blah blah blah. That sounds all neat and promising, but honestly it comes down to how much money is going to be saved during a time of economic crisis. Even if I just follow the trends at our store and not assume it's playing the same way nationwide, Marvel is going to take a huge sales hit. At least 5 customers of ours have made a dramatic switch into just DC comics. If I offer them new alternatives at a basic $2.99 price point, they may even try the new Atomic Robo or the Boys. And hey, THEY DID.
Maybe I'm not reading any marketing/industry blogs. Maybe I'm too godamned busy running the store. But it feels like none of this stuff is really popping up in a real discussion, or at least not in a forum where people can actually see it. And if they are, cool, I'll shut up completely and read what you send me. But in the meantime, here are two more points of interest:
-Why does every damn book have to be on glossy paper? Would it not cut costs to drop down to newsprint? This would do 2 things as I see it. First, it would ideally cut down production costs that could be passed down to the readers. Second, it has the potential to bump up the secondary market value of modern comics. Because all those glossy stock books are gonna be easier to find down the road here, and none of them are really going to go up in value if everyone has clean copies of them. And if people want clean copies of the books, they could spend that on nice collected reproductions. Heeeeeeey there's that GN/TPB money you assholes wanted!
-Reinstate the single GN style releases for over hyped yet apparently demanded creative teams, therefore restoring the regular monthly schedule of books. You want a Mark Millar/Jim Lee/Steve McNiven/Frank Millar/Steve Skroce/Geof Darrow/Bryan Hitch/Kubert Bros/WHOEVER THE HELL book that will never be on time? Release it as an original GN and get all the hype you want ready for the book stores and mass market.
The supplementary plan I have for that one is WHY DON'T YOU STOP PAYING THE ASSHOLES WHO DON'T DESERVE A LUCRATIVE CONTRACT? Divide that money up to pay the GOOD talent (MARCOS MARTIN, PEOPLE) and pass the savings down to readers. Implement a punishment system. You can't meet a reasonable deadline or schedule? THEN WE WON'T HIRE YOU. This will support the monthly structure AND motivate the release of original GNs so these twits can be paid even though they need to learn something about work ethics.
And I don't care if that seems ranty or unfair. Fantastic Four and Wolverine, TWO OF MARVEL'S FLAGSHIP TITLES, are both horribly late and look at who's at the helm there. I have little sympathy for a man who wrote a story where a man named Shaft (Who I just propose we change his name to Dildo and be done with it) fought the reanimated corpses of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.
GAWDAMMIT I HATE MARK MILLAR.
So yes. Rant is done. Ideas? Comments? Death threats?
Found some good links and actual discussion. Still, I want to see more.
The way I see it, we shouldn't have to take the stance that maybe some books shouldn't exist simply because we can't afford them. They shouldn't exist because they are CRAP, but I'm not prepared to trust anyone in marketing or editing to decide such a thing. It's a decision based on sales, sadly. So to be fair, I still believe we need to even the playing field by dropping the production costs with only a few possible exceptions.
And another random thought. You notice how some art, such as Kirby, just looks fantastic on newsprint? John Severin? Steve Ditko? This would be an interesting test for modern artists, I think.
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