Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    28,993

    Default When Words Collide - May 29, 2012

    Tim uses his experiences with the public playtest of the new Dungeons & Dragons rules as a springboard to ponder about Marvel and DC comics and "The Myth of the Rational Reader."


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member glennsim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Madison, MS
    Posts
    6,378

    Default

    I don't dispute DC or Marvel's need to produce more of what sells. Sorry, it's a business.

    However, I don't think they know enough about why it is that people are buying it. If people are buying lots of Geoff Johns Green Lantern, are they buying it because of his writing? The character? The current situation? For people who are buying other super-hero books, why aren't they buying Green Lantern? All of this qualitative data could lead to better management of writers, artists, concepts, etc. Sure, David Finch specifically wanted to do a Batman book (and people tend to forget that a lot of that sort of thing goes on - DC doesn't just assign books to big stars, those big stars get a say in what they do). But now that that ship has sailed, if we knew that 75% of the folks who were buying The Dark Knight were doing so because of Finch, then put Finch on, I dunno, Omac or something that needs higher sales.

    I'm definitely not sure I agree with putting the hottest creators on the hottest properties if they can avoid it. Balancing character popularity and creator popularity would seem to be something to consider.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    138

    Default

    A rational reader would walk away for a while, right?
    I have. At least from current Marvel and DC comics. There are still plenty of Image, Dark Horse, Eurocomics, manga, reprints, etc to keep me plenty interested in comics without those two.
    20th Century Boys 7 Billion Needles Akira Battle Angel Alita Fullmetal Alchemist GANTZ Negima Oh My Goddess Ooku, Yotsuba&!
    Amazing Spider-Man Batman Inc BPRD DMZ Fables Hellboy Orc Stain

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I know I am in a comic book forum, however not being a big fan myself I just want point out a few points.

    1) The comic books that we really all love (even me) are the weird ones, Alan Moore, the Dark Knight returns, Fable . . . Not the mainstream stuff. Actually some of those even had some troubles before being published.

    2) The point that Tim makes is also valid for a lot of other artforms mainly : movies, music, fantasy books to a certain extent. I would go as far as to tell that it extend to what was our beloved geek world. Stuff we thought were good, that we cherished before some folks thought they could make money on them again and again.

    3) As for RPG, this is the latest addition to this trend. Most of these companies were started by gamers who only wanted to make a leaving out of their passion which is perfect. Unfortunately to make a leaving you have to continue to sell new stuff all the time. However my begest regret here is that rather than publishing new creative material like new worlds, new adventures, well they concentrate on selling you the same stuff++ all over again.

    In the end it's like software, you have to buy every version to do the same thing (only slower).

  5. #5
    Ladies Man CSPDX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Portlandia
    Posts
    1,077

    Default

    This is just me, but I only buy the comics I like. Some of those are comics I know others actively dislike. Still, I like to think "I'm Not The Problem, It's Everybody Else" (c).

  6. #6
    Language game linesman Jude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    105

    Default

    "My comic book reading came out of my interest in role-playing games as an elementary school student, and now, thirty years later, I find myself more interested in world-building and game-playing and far less interest in passive consumption of product...."

    Maybe early middle age is hitting. Maybe Tim is growing up. Maybe he's outgrowing funny books.

  7. #7
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3,916

    Default

    Maybe he just needs to read better ones. I mean, one could say the same thing about sitting back and reading a novel, even a great literary work--that it's "passive consumption of product."

    Personally, I've walked away, not from comics, or from one company or the other, but from comics I don't enjoy reading. While I think DC's made a terrible mistake with their post-Flashpoint universe on a lot of levels (they've lost the momentum they had from the characters' long-running stories for one batch of readers, but they haven't really made their new universe friendly or accessible to new, especially younger, readers who might be interested based on, say, the Young Justice TV series, and the whole thing seems to be aimed at a narrower section of the comics-reading public than they already had), I think there are some gems in it (Morrison, Robinson, Levitz especially) and over at Marvel, some writers like Jason Aaron are doing very well. (Generally speaking, I've come to follow good writers more than characters--oddly, it's partly because I do love the characters, which is precisely why I want to pay my money to see them done well, rather than pay money to see them done badly so I can say that I have all issues of a series, or such. The people who complain about how awful a series is and keep buying it don't seem to realize that they're voting with their wallets for exactly the stories they hate; for that matter, the people who protest stories they hate by dropping all books a company puts out are not voting for the kinds of stories they like.)

  8. #8
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,611

    Default

    Tim's argument misses one key point about the Dungeons & Dragons experience: competition. Competition for the gaming dollar has changed dramatically since the evolution of Dungeons & Dragons to its more popular — and more concretely open — Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The d20 system — for all its necessary trimming and evolution — had to compete against the more popular Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon card games in the gaming stores and, when it failed to maintain sales, Wizards Of The Coast use the card game theory of retooling the rules slightly to get us to buy it over and over and over again.

    Nowadays, Dungeons & Dragons has to compete against a video game phenomenon that simplifies the process for you, allows for play anytime against multiple players (no need to wait for everyone to get together), and in many cases is far more portable than the books and dice.

    Comicbooks don't have that problem. Yes, they battle for attention against video games, but video games do not replicate the story process. Movies and TV do, but movies and TV present their superheroes as clearly connected to the comics to encourage further exploration in print (not to mention making it clear that comic readers have an advantage in movies and TV). Comicbooks also don't have to retrench the rules because the rules are evolving all the time.

    That said, I do agree with the problem that DC and Marvel face the same problem as Wizards Of The Coast in asking the already hooked audience the way to make the product better. The key to attracting new audiences is to find out what those audiences want, rather than what the existing audience wants — and, more importantly, recognize the mechanics of why that product is wanted, something they didn't do when seeing the manga phenomenon. Marvel and DC took stabs at the manga market in its heyday, but couldn't break in because they never understood the fundamentals of manga; they just created a product that looked similar.

    [And, sadly, I don't think Marvel's learning the lessons from the movies as it becomes ever more incestuous with their titles.]

    Sadly, this is not a new problem and it won't be solved quickly. But it's nice to have it pointed out.

    PS: There's a spelling error in the original article. It's "existEnt," not "existAnt." If one of the editors is seeing this, could they please make the correction and delete this postscript? :-)

  9. #9
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,611

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    While I think DC's made a terrible mistake with their post-Flashpoint universe on a lot of levels (they've lost the momentum they had from the characters' long-running stories for one batch of readers, but they haven't really made their new universe friendly or accessible to new, especially younger, readers who might be interested based on, say, the Young Justice TV series, and the whole thing seems to be aimed at a narrower section of the comics-reading public than they already had)
    I disagree. DC has made missteps, but:
    a) Young Justice has (or will have) a comic in its younger readers division,
    b) Young Justice is meant to interest you in a wide variety of titles, and the Teen Titans/Superboy books are close enough to start with #1,
    c) Young Justice also lost its momentum with the two large pauses between episodes,
    and
    d) Young Justice is already cancelled at the end of season two, to be replaced with a CGI Batman. [Unless Green Lantern's cancelled instead.]

    A number of books were smart enough for new readers, like: Action Comics, All-Star Western, Batgirl, Nightwing, Batwing, The Flash, Superboy, Supergirl, Demon Knights and Teen Titans. The only books I found really hard to get into were the Legion Of Super-Heroes and some of the Green Lantern books, which didn't bother giving us a set up story to begin with.

  10. #10
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3,916

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    I disagree. DC has made missteps, but:
    a) Young Justice has (or will have) a comic in its younger readers division,
    ... which is a "kids' comic" and not the mainstream continuity. If they'd started a mainstream continuity rooted in the YJ universe, that would have been far better than the new DCU.

    b) Young Justice is meant to interest you in a wide variety of titles, and the Teen Titans/Superboy books are close enough to start with #1,
    ... but the world is not the same. The current DCU is relentlessly, needlessly grim. (Side note: I've started a new thread on my feelings about the new DCU overall.) Most books are not younger-reader-accessible and quite a few are, frankly, off-putting to some older readers like myself. We never see a scene in the YJ series like the ones at the ends of, say, Detective #1 or Catwoman #1.

    c) Young Justice also lost its momentum with the two large pauses between episodes,
    ... but the characters are still the same people. There's a difference between picking up several years later in the same universe, and rebooting and losing decades and decades of stories, or even losing entire characters. (Wally West being the poster child for both.)

    d) Young Justice is already cancelled at the end of season two, to be replaced with a CGI Batman. [Unless Green Lantern's cancelled instead.]
    Lord, I hope not. While I welcome the new Batman series (which I thought was replacing Brave and the Bold), right now the only place I'm currently getting classic-style DC comics are in the YJ and GL TV series. Heck, Superman's even in the "real" costume in YJ. ;)

    A number of books were smart enough for new readers, like: Action Comics, All-Star Western, Batgirl, Nightwing, Batwing, The Flash, Superboy, Supergirl, Demon Knights and Teen Titans. The only books I found really hard to get into were the Legion Of Super-Heroes and some of the Green Lantern books, which didn't bother giving us a set up story to begin with.
    Oddly, I still love the Legion, but since it picks up from the previous continuity (which itself restored the continuity which was lost after Crisis/Zero Hour), it's one of the few remnants left of the older stuff. Some of my other thoughts about the problems I perceive in the new DCU are in their own thread, though, and I don't want to derail this one more than I inadvertently have...

  11. #11
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
    Posts
    32

    Default

    I walked away, sort of. No Marvel and far less DC than pre-Flashpoint. However, I am buying more Image than ever before, stuff from SLG for the first time, some IDW, a bit of Dark Horse and some Vertigo (yes, I know it is a DC imprint). And guess what? I am enjoying comics more than I have in years.

    To the articles point about D&D, it is mentioned it feels like a different game. Different than 4th edition? I just ask because I jumped ship for Pathfinder. I have no idea how good 4th Ed. is because of that. Now that Pathfinder outsells D&D, WotC has a lot of work to do.

  12. #12
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mmurphy1968 View Post
    I walked away, sort of. No Marvel and far less DC than pre-Flashpoint. However, I am buying more Image than ever before, stuff from SLG for the first time, some IDW, a bit of Dark Horse and some Vertigo (yes, I know it is a DC imprint). And guess what? I am enjoying comics more than I have in years.
    I agree. There are plenty of good comic books out there if you`re willing to break your Marvel/ DC/ superhero habits. I`m buying more Image and Dark Horse books than ever before, but wouldn`t be interested in reading editorially mandated, uninspired dreck like AvX if I were paid to. And I say that as someone who`s been big on Marvel for a very long time.

    You want to gain a good impression of what comic book readers are passionate about? I recommend checking out goodreads.com, where lower-selling, though critically acclaimed titles usually manage to amass a far larger number of reviews than their more commercially successful, but less critically-lauded counterparts. Thankfully, it doesn`t mirror the Diamond sales charts in any way...

  13. #13
    comic fan from Slovakia Hromovlad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,599

    Default

    To me personally, the New 52 was the best thing that could happen
    I had previously dropped numerous titles due to bad writing, and found it hard to jump back on afterwards
    Before the re-launch, the only DC titles I followed (not counting Vertigo) were Power Girl and Secret Six
    My pull list grew exponentially after the re-launch, and even tho it shrank down after a time, I'm still following 17 titles, that I look forward to every month
    (Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, All-Star Western, Action Comics, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Aquaman, New Guardians, Justice League Dark, Stormwatch, Red Lanterns, Suicide Squad, Red Hood and The Outlaws, I Vampire)
    Not to mention that thanks to the smaller number of ongoing titles, it is MUCH easier to keep track of things
    (meanwhile, I'm no longer reading anything Marvel related anymore, because they completely turned me off in the past, and now I'm unable to catch-up to what went down while I was gone)

    but back on the subject
    I really do agree on the argument that the best solution is simply to quit reading the stuff you dislike, and read the stuff you like
    By continuing to follow a title you do not enjoy, you are just giving it more approval, making them continue doing the same mistakes
    By boycotting the entire company, you just remove yourself from the equation, and they'll never know what they did wrong
    I'm from middle-Europe.
    This is where I get my comics from.
    My experiences with comics are different than yours.
    Live with it!

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    312

    Default

    But if you buy comics and never read them you still bought them. They made their money.

    DC and Marvel have stopped making comics I like. I stopped buying. I think part of it is that I've been collecting so long that the stories are repeating themselves. The Avengers used to be my key Marvel comics, but I hate what it has become. I remember getting 15 to 20 comics a week. Now I go monthly and really have to search to find a handful of comics I'm willing to buy. I had high hopes for the return of Earth 2, but what I've seen so far has been disappointing. I know it's early and it could turn around.

    And honestly I don't think I expect that much out of comic books. It seems like Marvel and DC are purposely trying to make these comics bad.

  15. #15
    comic fan from Slovakia Hromovlad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,599

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Manta View Post
    But if you buy comics and never read them you still bought them. They made their money.
    by "not reading" I of course also meant not buying
    simple as that
    I'm from middle-Europe.
    This is where I get my comics from.
    My experiences with comics are different than yours.
    Live with it!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •