I don't really buy into all the doom and gloom, there's never been a better time to be a comic book fan.
So Marvel and DC sales are plummeting? Good.
I haven't enjoyed the vast majority of their stuff in a very long time. I only buy Vertigo, Dark Horse, Image and other independents, of which there is more than ever. I browse and I love picking up good art.
I love comic books and there has never been more variety or choice for the reader.
There has never been a better time to make your mark.
The industry will get by. Marvel and DC won't, but that's ok.
OMT, notice how XML has basically the same premise as Claremont's underwhelming Genoshian EXCALIBUR series from several years ago (and we all know how that all turned out).
Regarding the TPBs and Hardcovers that apparently don't sell - I suspect a lot of people get them online from amazon etc, given the (large?) price difference.
I certainly do that as the price for especially the more expensive items e.g. The large marvel HCs is up to 30% lower on amazon.
I'm sorry to say so but the difference is just too big to ignore - for a long time I bought all my trades from my local comic shop but the cost was significantly higher and eventually I switched to online.
Also TPB buyers are likely to be older and busier making it near impossible for us to go to a comic shop. Sometimes on a boring Sunday I go my local shop but usually, I just have zero time for comics shopping - getting them online takes 15 mins off a busy day once a month, so I can easily manage.
I wonder if we might find the trades do well via this channel - that would make them a sensible alternative for publishers since the DM simply does not address my segment's needs. Even if I had the time to walk into a store I certainly don't have the time to figure out what one shot I need to buy to follow the latest x-over or what new mini series ties in to my regular series.
Of course I agree with the premise that a smaller simpler publishing schedule would be better for all. Even me since I'd know what trades to order without wondering for example, if I need "war of kings" to follow Nova...
Hi Brian - I've been getting the feeling that the direct market has become a stagnant pond for some time now... I am buying less mainstream comics off the shelf than I ever have before (since I first started buying comics long ago as a wee lad). A couple months ago, Amazing Spider-Man (Big Time) was the only Marvel comic I was purchasing, and that stopped after the FF crossover which didn't interest me in the slightest (we'll see if Spider Island gets me back). So that means Savage Dragon is the only other superhero book on my "pull list".
Part of the problem I face is that my local shop just doesn't have the wide selection of alternative and indie comics that I find exciting. It takes a trip to The Beguiling or shopping online to find the exciting stuff that interests me (and there's a LOT of exciting stuff out there I'm spending money on).
Which brings me to my question for you: Given that it's hard for a store to make money ordering low numbers on books, what sorts of suggestions could there be for small publishers and self-publishers to accomodate the comic store's needs? How can a comic store owner order a wide selection with minimal financial risk? What can an indie comic creator do to make it easy for a comic book store to put that comic on their shelf?
Because as a comic book shopper, I crave that large eclectic selection and as a comic book creator, I obviously want to get my comic up on the shelf and make the comic book store owner some money.
How do the little guys beat the stagnant pond and start breathing life and vitality back into the direct market?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
There's very little comics material being published that doesn't require the stable base of the DM in order to be published AT ALL.
Brian: Okay, I agree agree agree with most of this -- nicely said. A few nitpicks:
• Aren't you cherrypicking your figures a little by quoting 2008 vs. 2011? I haven't counted, but it looks to me as though there are fewer individual titles offered this summer than there were last year. I think Marvel IS responding to this glut, just not as strongly as you'd like, or as maybe they should. Or am I wrong here?
• "Can you imagine a TV show succeeding with the kind of stop-and-start, constant change-in-scheduling kind of production that we have in comics?" Actually, that happens all the time, especially around the holidays. Thought I'm not sure it does those shows any favors, either. It seems to me FRINGE had a particularly scattered schedule this year, and a bit of a ratings drop too.
If significant numbers of consumers were "switching markets", you'd see that drop in the TOP of the charts, and you flatly don't.
I also thought of Every Science Fiction Show On Fox, Ever.
Creators should only create exceptional material.
Publishers should show restraint in what they bring to market.
Retailers should properly curate their racks and support with dollars things that the consumers want, and shun the rest.
But at the end of the day it comes down entirely to the work, and whether it provides the "right" amount of entertainment value for the cost asked.
The elephant in the room is the business model. Comic shops are run exactly..and I mean exactly like they were 30 years ago. Times have changed and they never did. Like Automobile manufacturers still selling gigantic gas hogs.
Book stores are closing due to exchange and sell book stores. they allow exchanges of gently read books in exchange for store credit. They also sale books online through Amazon.
These stores are flourishing..ok maybe not that strong of a word, but they are doing solid business.
Comics are being strangled by niche thinking and catering. No discount cards for loyal patrons..maybe knocking off 10 to 20 percent on purchases.
What Am I saying?? this. The Comic Industry is being ran into the ground. The Good news is..this forces everyone involved to innovate. The old way will not work anymore.