Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 81
  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    28,871

    Default Tilting at Windmills - Nov 15, 2012

    Brian Hibbs returns with a look at Marvel and DC Comics' lower-selling titles, weighing the likelihood of them losing money on a monthly basis rather than earning and asking why they continue to exist.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    226

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CBR News View Post
    Brian Hibbs returns with a look at Marvel and DC Comics' lower-selling titles, weighing the likelihood of them losing money on a monthly basis rather than earning and asking why they continue to exist.


    Full article here.
    so Brian, if we are going to use your criteria, you're saying that Marvel should not have been producing the critical darlings Journey Into Mystery, X-Factor, Brian Wood's Ultimate Comics X-Men, and Greg Rucka's Punisher War Zone? Or are you saying that Marvel should not be producing titles that are both below 30K and not critical successes so that these low-selling but outstanding titles would have a better chance in the market?

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    As always very insightful column. Brian.

    The numbers of lower selling titles per store get even more dramatic considering that the per store number is inflated through mail order services and comic book chains with Diamond accounts. So the typically owner run comic book store will have much lower numbers on those titles.

    I wonder how you see the cancellation of Hellblazer? It clearly did not fulfill the number requirements you named. On the other hand it might have been a good book for your store concept due its supposed strong tpb sales and the "broadening the market" aspect (meaning most of its readers wont spend the money on a DC universe title).


    Christian

  4. #4
    THE SUPERIOR MEMBER! USERNAME TAKEN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    5,543

    Default

    Hi Brian. Interesting article.

    How have the Marvel NOW titles moved in your store thus far?

    Titles like Iron Man and Thor were very much in the 30k selling range and I'm curious to see how the promotion has affected their sales.
    Adults struggle desperately with fiction, demanding constantly that it conform to the rules of everyday life when the answer is obvious to the smallest child: because it's not real. - Grant Morrison

  5. #5
    Member 35293 nikbackm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    2,545

    Default

    There's no doubt that fewer comics selling more is better than many comics selling less. At least for publishers, distributors and retailers.

    (Maybe readers would disagree as such a scenario would almost certainly mean that some books they think fit them perfectly right now will have to go away)

    The question is, how to accomplish such a transformation in practice? Just cancelling the lower selling half will probably not make those who read them flock to the half that remains. Not enough of them at least. And since many stores already operate close to the limit, couldn't such a move then potentially kill off the direct market on the spot?

  6. #6
    Elder Member Libaax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    10,636

    Default

    Hm interesting seeing lower selling comics must die according to the writer of that article. From readers POV i rather lose comic stores than good low selling comics. Direkt Market,comics stores market dominated by the biggest superhero is useless to many readers that enjoy the other comics that dont sell 30k.

    For the readers there are many comics stores to choose from offline and online.
    Pull List:
    The Walking Dead,Fatale,Near Death,Storm Dogs,Happy,BPRD,XO-Manowar
    American Vampire,Animal Man,Swamp Thing
    Daredevil, Winter Soldier,Indestructible Hulk

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Would things be any different if comics were still sold at places other than book store and comic book stores?

    I think part of the problem is the idea of francising the titles. You only need one Justice League. You only need one group of Avengers. Same with the X-books. They take what was good about these comics and dilute them until it becomes a random group of characters.

  8. #8
    Elder Member BrotherUnitNo_4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    MARYLAND
    Posts
    13,145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Manta View Post
    Would things be any different if comics were still sold at places other than book store and comic book stores?

    I think part of the problem is the idea of francising the titles. You only need one Justice League. You only need one group of Avengers. Same with the X-books. They take what was good about these comics and dilute them until it becomes a random group of characters.
    Honestly, it's just a name at the end of the day. Changing New Avengers to Illuminati or Secret Avengers to SHIELD wouldn't affect the bottom-line on any of those books. The bigger issue is probably that of pricing and publishing schedules which have affected some readers' ability to purchase titles. The name is probably the last thing most readers are concerned with.
    Currently reading She-Hulk, Deadpool, Swamp Thing, Ms. Marvel

    Probation: Ghost Rider, Loki: LoA, Secret Avengers

    Looking forward to All-New Ultimates, Flash Gordon and Doctor Mirage.

  9. #9
    Elder Member BrotherUnitNo_4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    MARYLAND
    Posts
    13,145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nikbackm View Post
    The question is, how to accomplish such a transformation in practice? Just cancelling the lower selling half will probably not make those who read them flock to the half that remains. Not enough of them at least. And since many stores already operate close to the limit, couldn't such a move then potentially kill off the direct market on the spot?
    Exactly. Marvel and DC both would lose about half of their respective publishing lines, and that includes smaller books, which aren't just the Avengers or Justice League brawling with cosmic baddies or Batman punching Joker in the face for the two millionth time.
    Last edited by BrotherUnitNo_4; 11-16-2012 at 06:30 AM.
    Currently reading She-Hulk, Deadpool, Swamp Thing, Ms. Marvel

    Probation: Ghost Rider, Loki: LoA, Secret Avengers

    Looking forward to All-New Ultimates, Flash Gordon and Doctor Mirage.

  10. #10

    Default

    While I do agree that fewer titles would bring sales up on the books that remain (if there were 2 X-Men titles instead of 8, those two would see a definite increase), I disagree that there's no profit to be had in lower selling titles.

    Now of course we have to assume that more often than not you're selling through on these "5 copies" titles. For the most part. Now while looking individually at these books individually they don't seem to produce much, you have to account for that things add up.

    If your store is anything like my store you're probably carrying at LEAST 20 books a month at give-or-take (no doubt that number skyrockets if bringing indies into the picture). Again, assuming you're selling through, that's a 100 comic sell through you just made, and that's money. Just like you point out shipping 3 comics costs diamond the same as 30, 100 book sell through costs you the same whether its 1 title or 20. If you simply got rid of those titles, you'd make some of that back in increased sales of other titles, but probably not everything.

  11. #11
    In the Evil Force of Evil Chiasm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    13,393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Libaax View Post
    For the readers there are many comics stores to choose from offline and online.
    There is exactly one comic book shop within 200 miles of where I live. So not that many for some of us. As to online, thats great for comics you know you want but not so great for discovering new comics. Not to mention once you go down the online road its a small step to just torrenting them.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiasm View Post
    Not to mention once you go down the online road its a small step to just torrenting them.
    That's the most insanely stupid thing I've ever heard.

  13. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Manta View Post
    I think part of the problem is the idea of francising the titles. You only need one Justice League. You only need one group of Avengers. Same with the X-books. They take what was good about these comics and dilute them until it becomes a random group of characters.
    YES. YES. The publisher impulse to franchise EVERY successful character or concept is one of the most destructive and erosive forces I've seen. It dilutes what makes the character special, and floods the market with far more titles than the readers want or the market can support.

    When there are four Wolverine titles, it's far too easy for the readers to get fed up and walk away from one, then the other, then all of them. Then the X-Men titles. Then superhero titles. And then comics.

    Back in the day, Chris Claremont resisted the higher-ups' desire for a new X-Men title because he didn't want to dilute what made it a success. So he created The New Mutants: Rooted in the original concept, yet conceptually distinct from Uncanny.

    Look where we are today. What's the "mission statement" of Astonishing X-Men? How is (adjectiveless) X-Men different from Uncanny X-Men? Did the market really demand 2-3 Hulk books at a given time?

    Just a couple of years ago, Marvel flipped over the rising success of Deadpool, and put out FOUR Deadpool titles at once. All but the main series died, and that rising success was aborted.

    For over four decades, the Hulk was a simple-to-understand concept, with an archetypal supporting cast: The love interest, the sidekick, the hounding antagonist. Today: Rick Jones is a Hulk. Betty Ross is a Hulk. General Ross is a Hulk - and on the Avengers!

    When EVERY character is made "special" ... NO character is special.

    And readers wise up, and they just walk away.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DaronK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,236

    Default

    I don't think Brian was calling for the end of ALL lowering selling titles at Marvel & DC (especially the critical darlings, which could be likened to "indie" titles), but rather the sheer mass of lowering selling titles that continue to flounder in every way imaginable.

    This is on top of continuing to release books that are destined to fail. Vibe was a good example, and I honestly think everything in the fourth wave besides JLA & possibly Constantine are in this camp. And that's not to say that they won't be good, but statistically speaking they probably won't sell as well as they should/need to.

  15. #15
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Libaax View Post
    Hm interesting seeing lower selling comics must die according to the writer of that article.
    It's interesting until you realize that his primary complaint for the lower selling titles is that they offer little incentive to the retailer to carry and push such books when they know, in the end, they will likely be cancelled sooner than later.

    What Mr. Hibbs continuously forgets is that, no matter how much he defends the validity of the brick and mortar retailer in the comics process, its time of relevancy has now passed.

    DC notably raised their monthly customer base through online. Even if you consider the numbers inflated, we cannot ignore that new readers are coming in through digital platforms rather than comic stores — and that number is bound to grow over the next few years as e-readers and tablets expand into more markets and become standard accessories like the MP3 player and cell phone has. (Heck, the comics are now available beyond the app because they see the demand!)

    More importantly, the digital comics apps have a much, much, much larger reach geographically than those rare "good" comic stores. (I live in a city with 9 comic stores, but only 4 of them are interested in making it a pleasurable buying experience for their customers… and all 4 are a slog to get to unless you're nearby.) So if one store is only selling 5, the digital app may be selling 25 with a lot less overhead to worry about — and therefore greater survival chances.

    And with that digital audience comes a need for digital content. More content equals more profit, especially now in the digital realm because the product doesn't vanish from shelves like they did at the comic store. They're ALWAYS accessible.

    More importantly, those smaller-selling titles tend to be those with supporting characters that don't get wide attention through film and television, but are essential to the foundation of the overall brand. I don't care how many people claim a Vibe book would weaken the DC brand: having a Vibe book not only permits writers to define those characters more, it also offers the potential for a large fanbase IF the book gains enough attention.

    And I focus on DC because DC's strategy is sound: despite all the cancellations, those characters are not going anywhere. They have to remain in the DCU somehow beyond their books, even if it's regular guest appearances. OMAC went to Justice League International, Frankenstein is going to JL Dark, Voodoo to Grifter and then both to Threshold, etc.

    In other words, these smaller selling tier books are setting the expansion beyond the big seven or so, so that IF the main books falter, they will have other characters to support. One has only to look at Marvel Knights as a way of reboosting interest in characters that would, on the surface, be unsellable.

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
  •