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  1. #16
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mundungus View Post
    And I do not care about having a free digital copy of a book I already own. Does anyone?
    Storage & longevity. I've got 15k+ physical comics. Let me tell you something. Storing that many is NOT a pretty proposition, even under the best of circumstances. Stuffing them onto a 2.5" hard drive is a whole lot easier than having a whole room devoted to them. After a while, you start to look like one of those TV hoarders. Additionally, regardless of how careful you are, physical comics experience the effects of time. You can store them in their UV deflecting bags, control the temperature, stick boards in them boards to keep them crisp, but they all eventually get old. A physical comic bought today probably won't survived for your grandkids or their kids. A digital file? As good as the day you got it. You might have to change storage formats over the years, but it'll last. Your only concern is backing things up, something which you can't do with print copies. The way I see it, providing a digital copy with the print is ensuring that comics history is preserved for all time. There are sill people who actively seek to preserve the history of games. Not warezers, mind you, but actual people backing up their old games because they know that the cartridges won't last forever. You can burn a comic, but getting rid of a digital copy isn't so easy. Once it's out there in the ether, as these things eventually tend to do, it's out there practically forever. Like our posts here. Paper crumbles. Digital never forgets.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    This article is basically saying what I wrote here on CBR last month. Marvel's comic business is in trouble. Events & one-off issues aside, a couple of spikes aside, their sales are essentially in free fall. Here's the Uncanny X-Men chart I made last month again:



    That's not guesswork. That's just Excel at work, using the real stats.

    Even with Y2K Morrison/Casey era revamp, #500, and the recent reboot, it's pretty grim. If Uncanny X-Men represent their peak, just imagine how their average or lower selling books are doing. Their threshold for cancellation has gotten pretty low, with 20k sellers like Journey Into Mystery just now getting cancelled. Marvel really does need to do something about changing their business model and soon. The Marvel NOW initiative can only so so much, as it is (afaik) not a nu52-style whole cloth reboot. Otherwise, they're well screwed. The comics end may one day disappear and Marvel will solely produce these characters for film, animation, & games.

    How can they improve sales? Well, I don't really know. I can only speculate and (likely) be wrong. However...

    1. Wider digital distribution. Comixology is all well and fine, but it's just the digital version of a direct market LCS. Marvel needs to reach the digital equivalent of the book store & 7-11 crowd. Marvel had success with bringing comics and trades to the likes of Barnes & Noble's brick & mortar shops. Go digital with that thinking. Movies & music get direct sales & promotion in iTunes these days. Get moving on that. Put comics in the same hands as that massive global audience. Move past Comixology and into the hands of the Amazon & BN.com crowd. Marvel needs to stop thinking so small when it comes to digital.

    2. Incentivize digital. I understand that there are a good number of reasons why comics cost $4 these days. I do. Talent doesn't come cheap. However, there are certain expenses that simply don't exist in the digital world, certain costs that can't be passed down to Marvel from its partners and then back to the consumers on Marvel's part. There are ways to cut cover prices without killing the profit margin. If Marvel's not willing to do that... Give readers free access to select back issues with their purchase of new material. Those old comics aren't costing Marvel anything to print or produce anymore. At most, it's the cost of data storage & bandwidth. Give us that as value added content. Imagine having a new comic that refers to the old Fall of the Mutants story and being able to freely access a comic in that story at no additional cost. Marvel is greedy when it comes to these things. I know. They love to sell their back issues at outrageous prices. However, they might well have to give something to gain something bigger.

    3. Be willing to take a financial hit. Look. I know that games and comics are different businesses. However, I do think that Marvel can stand to learn from the likes of Sony or Microsoft. Those two often end up selling their consoles at a loss because they know that, in the long run, they'll have attracted so many more customers than if they had stayed firm at an even higher price. Marvel needs to take the hit. Bad business in the short term could turn into massive business a year later. Doesn't work? Go back to the old way. In this down economy, they won't know unless they try. People are always saying, "Comics cost too much. I remember when they cost $x.xx." Give them something new to talk about.

    4. Like I said, give them something new to talk about. Marvel NOW, as we've been told, is not a whole cloth relaunch. In a sense, that's a great thing. All of our old stories happened. Characters keep growing. We keep continuity moving forward. All is great... except for sales, maybe. I hate OMD with a passion. I really, really do. However, it's hard to deny what that incalculably evil deus ex machina did to revive the franchise. Pete & MJ may (sadly) no longer be an item, but the comic feels fresh again. Readers are talking. If Marvel has to take a step back to take two forward then that's what has to be done.

    There are only so many band-aids you can put on a gunshot victim before he bleeds to death. These revamps & new #1s can only do so much to help along characters that are being crushed under the weight of 50 years of continuity. I love continuity as much as the next guy, perhaps even more. However, I also know that it can get to a point where it becomes needlessly cumbersome. Franklin Richards has been around for 44 years. Think about that for second. 44 years. How old is he now? 7? 8? There's only so long Marvel can mess with its sliding time scale before it all just seems ludicrous. I have a hard time imagining 50 years worth of stories happening to Spider-Man or the X-Men in less than a 10 year period. It also gets to a point where, to refer to the origin, you have to constantly revamp it to put those previous 10 years into the recent past. No longer did the X-Men get formed in the 60s. No. Now, they were formed at the dawn of the 00s. Hard to swallow.

    5. Stop it with the movie tie-in changes. Marcus Johnson, at the core, isn't a bad character. I enjoyed Battle Scars right up until the last few pages. What ruined it? Turning him into Nick Fury Jr. --- AKA The Sam Jackson inspired Ultimate Fury who appeared in the movies. That killed it for me. I wouldn't mind it so much if this was real change. It's not. As with the X-Men leather costumes & Spidey's organic webs, this too will disappear and be forgotten. Marvel execs, I can imagine, keep tossing the word "synergy" about. That buzzword is evil, ultimately meaning the loss of creator control and the gain of more editorial mandate.

    6. Give the creators some more control. I know that Marvel needs to preserve these characters for the next 50 years. I do. However, not allowing these creators to go totally apesh** and do wildly new things with the properties also leads to stagnation. Chris Claremont, because he just went out on the limb time and again, took X-Men from being a failure comic to the #1 seller. Fans never knew what to expect or who was going to die. Marvel needs to allow the writers to do the unpredictable again. Joss Whedon once said, of Buffy, that one of his keys to good drama was not being afraid to hurt or break his characters. In fact, sometimes, he had to kill off the ones he loved the most. Marvel needs some of that gung-ho mentality again. I read Invincible and wonder if Marvel can ever be that willing to risk it all ever again.

    7. Stop swapping creative teams so often. It's way too easy to blame a current team for a book's problems. Marvel needs to have more faith. Instead of swapping in new teams, give the current one some space to work. Claremont used to have stories building and bubbling for years. When it all came together, it was magnificent. Bendis and maybe Hickman aside, few writers are afforded that luxury. If their message doesn't come across in 12-18 issues, they're done & replaced. And the new writer? Yeah. He'll just conveniently ignore what the last writer had in mind so that he could make his mark in his allotted 12-18 months. Is it any wonder why continuity is such a jumble these days? Don't even get me started on the revolving door that has become the role of penciler. In one issue. Out the next. You can't build fan loyalty if you're screwing them over at every turn.

    I could make a lot of suggestions, reasonable or otherwise. However, it doesn't change the fact that, when you look at graphs like that, Marvel's future doesn't look so bright. When their top selling book has been in a nosedive for 15 years, it's time to do something radically different. As Einstein would've said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. Marvel NOW, if it indeed a refreshing, might not be new enough. "Wait & see." I'll repeat it like a mantra and hope that Marvel knows what they're doing. Right now, it looks like the execs are starting to take creative control.
    I am sure if you did a graph of every single other comic book except "The Walking Dead" you would have a graph that looks like that or worse. DC is just hitting their own blip with their new titles. Sales will start crashing downwards soon enough if they haven't already and at that point what else can they do?

    Not to mention the fact that creative teams on Marvel look Claremontian compared to DC at the moment. Creative teams are being changed every couple of months.
    Pull List
    Justice League, Action, Superman, Detective, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, GL, WW
    Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Superior Spider-Man, Thor, Uncanny X-Men

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    Storage & longevity. I've got 15k+ physical comics. Let me tell you something. Storing that many is NOT a pretty proposition, even under the best of circumstances. Stuffing them onto a 2.5" hard drive is a whole lot easier than having a whole room devoted to them. After a while, you start to look like one of those TV hoarders. Additionally, regardless of how careful you are, physical comics experience the effects of time. You can store them in their UV deflecting bags, control the temperature, stick boards in them boards to keep them crisp, but they all eventually get old. A physical comic bought today probably won't survived for your grandkids or their kids. A digital file? As good as the day you got it. You might have to change storage formats over the years, but it'll last. Your only concern is backing things up, something which you can't do with print copies. The way I see it, providing a digital copy with the print is ensuring that comics history is preserved for all time. There are sill people who actively seek to preserve the history of games. Not warezers, mind you, but actual people backing up their old games because they know that the cartridges won't last forever. You can burn a comic, but getting rid of a digital copy isn't so easy. Once it's out there in the ether, as these things eventually tend to do, it's out there practically forever. Like our posts here. Paper crumbles. Digital never forgets.
    What happens when we run out of oil and cheap electricity? Every single digital comic book file will be lost to the ether, and if some survive they would only be readable in small pockets around the world, if electricity is scarce, why waste it on a digital comic book? Physical comic books will remain because they are real.
    Pull List
    Justice League, Action, Superman, Detective, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, GL, WW
    Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Superior Spider-Man, Thor, Uncanny X-Men

  4. #19
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Doesn't change the fact that they're in need of major help. Maybe comics are supposed to die out. I don't know. However, I'd marvel wants their comic business to thrive for another 5o years, they can't continue with doing the same old things. For DC, the same old includes such big reboots, which is why it is only a blip for them. Not saying that this is what marvel should do. It might be. However, what they ARE doing just isn't working. Marvel NOW, IMO, represents their usual modus operandi. I hope that I'm wrong though.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombies8MyDingo View Post
    Do the drop in sales take digital into account?
    In the national market.... there's no way of knowing, because no one (including Marvel) reports digital sales figures. The belief of most industry commentators is that is because digital sales figures aren't anything significant to report, but there's really no way to be certain.

    In my individual local market.... there's no way of knowing, because, of course, no one walks into the comic book store and says "I will no longer be shopping here!" But, I can say, anecdotally, that customer counts are up SUBSTANTIALLY in the last year, my DC sales have nearly doubled, and I'm selling tons and tons of "small press" books as well. The only thing I'm NOT selling is Marvel comics (except for AvX)

    -B

  6. #21
    A helluva guy supamike's Avatar
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    Good article. Although im not sure if its supposed to be about a comic stores profit margin or about how Marvel needs to step its game up and them missing out on sales.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tomassi View Post
    These constant "First Issue Launches" aren't really aimed at readers, lapsed it otherwise; they're aimed at the retailers ordering the books. Retailers will automatically order higher numbers of a first issue of Captain America....Because they're looking at the decades worth of irrefutable data that says the second issue sells less than the first issue, the third issue sells less than the second, the fourth issue--etc, etc.
    FWIW, retailers behave this way because this is, in fact, how consumers act.

    The PROBLEM with Marvel's never-ending relaunch strategy is that each time it happens the "new base" ends up lower than the last time -- UNCANNY X-MEN is at a historical low point in sales despite just being renumbered in the last year.

    The only way this strategy makes sense is if you're purely looking at each sales quarter, rather than the long-term health of your business.

    -B

  8. #23
    A helluva guy supamike's Avatar
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    I will say that i had little to no interest in Marvel prior to AvsX.But with that storyline and the announcement of the creative changes coming with Marvel NOW im all about Marvel.Im really looking forward to it. New books,new creative teams in different places.Ive said before and ill say it again the last 10 years of comics has really been great. Good time to be a comics fan.IMO.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomengine View Post
    It is a team of Avengers AND X-Men. THAT's the hook! It isn't hard to sell and it hasn't been done before to this degree.
    That's not a "hook", not when Wolverine, Storm, Beast and countless others have been Avengers for years.

    Further, a merger of the teams simply reduces what is special and individual about each to nothing.

    I especially like your contention that is "is like a JLA for Marvel". We already have that comic book: it is called "Avengers".

    -B

  10. #25
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomengine View Post
    What happens when we run out of oil and cheap electricity?
    We're in a transition phase when it comes to energy. Our dependence on fossil fuels can't and likely won't last forever. Alternatives are on the horizon. Ease of adoption is a different story. We'll adapt.

    Every single digital comic book file will be lost to the ether, and if some survive they would only be readable in small pockets around the world, if electricity is scarce, why waste it on a digital comic book?
    Seems unlikely. Every backup would have to destroyed. Every server would have to go down. Everybod's tablet or computer would have to die. Look at the music world. Are you telling me that old cassette tapes will outlast digital? Again, unlikely considering that a digital copy can go viral and be in the hands of millions of people. You'd have to eliminate all of those sources to rid the world of that album. Even then... Short of global thermonuclear war wiping out all data on the planet, digital files will always find a way to survive. Paper? Far more fragile, especially when production costs are cutting into paper stock or stage costs prevent people from safely securing their copies.

    [quote]Physical comic books will remain because they are real.[/QUOTE
    As a professional digital artist, I'm a bit offended. Is my are no less real because it's not on a canvas or made of clay? Physical things grow old and wither. Period. Your good looks... Don't count on them being there forever. They too will fade. That polaroid photo of you and your dad when you were a kid... That'll fade too. If you can touch it, it can die or age. We have to be more vigilant about preserving our digital data. However, assuming that we can, digital has a relatively greater degree of permanence and relevance in this world.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    A physical comic bought today probably won't survived for your grandkids or their kids. A digital file? As good as the day you got it.
    There is no legal Marvel digital comic book that you can "pass on to your grandchildren" -- your account is purely tied to you as an individual.

    -B

  12. #27
    Addicted To Comics daningotham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supamike View Post
    I will say that i had little to no interest in Marvel prior to AvsX.But with that storyline and the announcement of the creative changes coming with Marvel NOW im all about Marvel.Im really looking forward to it. New books,new creative teams in different places.Ive said before and ill say it again the last 10 years of comics has really been great. Good time to be a comics fan.IMO.
    I am a long time DC reader and was FURIOUS when they did the reboot last year. But....as time went on I got over it. I realized that what I liked best was just good stories. Good story arcs etc. De-aging a lot of the characters was smart because they need to be immortal. They need to live forever. I really wish Marvel was just do a full reboot like this. I am excited for Marvel Now though. I have been looking for a reason to jump on the X Books but they just have so much history and continuity etc I would be so confused. I am going to try the All New X Men when that starts and go from there. Hopefully the fresh start after all this AvX War stuff is over will be an easier jumping on point.

  13. #28
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hibbs View Post
    There is no legal Marvel digital comic book that you can "pass on to your grandchildren" -- your account is purely tied to you as an individual.
    The law is the law. I know. However, we live in a real world. In the real world, you're not supposed to copy your games or backup your old SNES games. People do though. That's how these things get preserved. You're not supposed to copy your movies. I rip every single one of mine to a hard drive because I have no faith in the DVD storage medium and would like to enjoy them for years to come. Where there's a will there's a way. Marvel, eventually, will make it so that people can store their purchases offline and DRM free. They're screwing over the collectors if they don't. Not allowing offline, DRM-free backup as part of their EULA makes it so that we're not actually buying comics, at least not completely. If Marvel wants to make a real transition over to digital, they have to give us a true digital equivalent. DRM is bad for the industry. Heck, it's bad for every industry. Just look at the clusterf*** called the cloud. That's just bad news for everybody. Software? You won't buy it. You won't even buy a perpetual license to use it. Virtual and subscription-based. If we, as readers, don't speak up.... that'll be comics' future. It won't even exist on your ipad. It'll be on some server farm in the desert and you'll stream it to RAM every time you want to read it. Wanna destroy comics? That'll do it.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 07-27-2012 at 08:38 AM.

  14. #29
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    I’d be very interested to see the numbers with digital included as well. As well as a break down on physical vs digital. I keep wondering if digital is the promised land or if comics in general are dying. Personally I’m just dabbling with the digital as I have a tablet, and some books are fine on it. The books I care about I get the physicals, but stories that I’d normally pass on get a shot at the digital. That’s mostly due to space, as 11k+ books are slowly taking over my house. The people I’ve known have dropped marvel because of the cost in collecting a double shipping book. Personally I think Marvel needs to go back to a better price point where kids could afford to collect. Seems to me we’ve priced the books out of most kids, and if you’re not creating new readers than you’re going to see the sales we’re seeing here.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hibbs View Post
    There is no legal Marvel digital comic book that you can "pass on to your grandchildren" -- your account is purely tied to you as an individual.

    -B
    Can't I will my account to someone?

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