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  1. #16
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaronK View Post
    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.
    Disagree.

    Few books are "destined" to fail. Many books in the past have surprised readers, publishers and consumers alike as to how they are received. Even Vibe may surprise people: if done right, he may reach a large audience — especially when there's so much material to mine there.

    DC's track record with New 52 is a fine example: excellent books have failed to get readers, poor books have sustained themselves longer than expected… it's all a shot in the dark because there's no definitive formula to success.

    If there was, we wouldn't be seeing so much excrement oozing out of Hollywood these days.

  2. #17
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    I walked away from every Avenger and X-title. Sold EVERYTHING and from that money i tried different creator owned comics. Than i had a chunk of money to try something totally different and that resulted in books like Saga, TWD, Usagi Yojimbo, TMNT, Glory, Prophet and Supreme. Lill depressed boy and so on. So no loss for the comic store, but another example of exhausting a customer and drowning him in useless paper. You could say, dont read the other Avengers titles, just the main one, but a) there is no main title anymore and B) the quality and the speciality of these titles are very low right now.

  3. #18
    Elder Member BrotherUnitNo_4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonicx1977 View Post
    I walked away from every Avenger and X-title. Sold EVERYTHING and from that money i tried different creator owned comics. Than i had a chunk of money to try something totally different and that resulted in books like Saga, TWD, Usagi Yojimbo, TMNT, Glory, Prophet and Supreme. Lill depressed boy and so on. So no loss for the comic store, but another example of exhausting a customer and drowning him in useless paper. You could say, dont read the other Avengers titles, just the main one, but a) there is no main title anymore and B) the quality and the speciality of these titles are very low right now.
    As far as the Avengers, give it about 3 months then re-evaluate if that's something you care to do. Hickman's books at least sound like they'll be fairly different to what came before and what's happening with Uncanny Avengers under Remender. That book on the other hand, I'm not sure what it's supposed to accomplish that couldn't be handled under Hickman's Avengers. Assembled is another odd duck but the latest issue seems well-liked on the Marvel boards. I guess you could argue that it's the opposite of Hickman's epic with a greater focus on character interaction and intimacy.

    Secret Avengers is basically a SHIELD book.

    YA and Arena are teen books with vastly different premises.

    On paper, the quality is up overall.
    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.

  4. #19

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    While I largely agree with what Brian is saying here, I think there's an important point missing: Marvel and DC don't care about you, the retailers, any more than they care about us, the customers. As wholly-owned subsidiaries of major entertainment conglomerates, Marvel and DC are nothing more than IP farms these days, comics existing only as a way to sell properties to Hollywood. In a day and age when Guardians of the Galaxy - the very definition of "obscure
    - can be picked up as a major tentpole film, is it any wonder that both companies nurture their D-list in hopes of bringing something like Demon Knights orSuicide Squad to the big screen?

    Look, Vibe is a perfect example. A loser character who has virtually no fanbase and who, in fact, became a running joke almost as soon as he was introduced, I - were I in such a position - would look at him as an Hispanic character that could appeal to an Hispanic movie-going population. It's not like there are a dearth of Hispanic characters in comics, after all. DC gave a big push to Jaime "Blue Beetle" Reyes, but that never seemed to catch on, so now they're combing through their limited catalog of Hispanic characters, hoping that one will strike the fancy of some bigshot producer or director in Hollywood. I'd suggest that this is the same thinking that results in so many Avengers/X-Men/Batman books, etc.: they're all trying to hit "the next big thing."

    So, at the end of the day, sales numbers are largely irrelevant. Marvel is such a small part of Disney, for example, that their entire publishing operation can easily be written off as the cost of IP development. In the meantime, Disney has a great catalog of characters to license and merchandise, which is where the real money is. If the publishing arm makes a little money, great, all the better. But if not, who cares? They'll make money on exploiting the characters in their theme parks, selling crappy toys to the easily-pleased public, and churning out more big-budget films. If the publishing arm were to disappear tomorrow, I don't think anyone at Disney would lose one wink of sleep.

    So, in the end, it's not about the stores and it's not about the readers. It's about leveraging new and existing properties to make money in other ways.

  5. #20
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenstone View Post
    Look, Vibe is a perfect example, […snip…] I - were I in such a position - would look at him as an Hispanic character that could appeal to an Hispanic movie-going population.
    For me, the attraction to Vibe isn't just that he is hispanic. Vibe entered as part of the Detroit era of JLA, and is now being associated once more in a time of darkness. Tie that in with the economic reality of America's industrial heartland — so many jobs lost — and his character becomes a lot more poignant… especially when you add in the dance factor a la Eminem with rap.

    And that's the thing about comics: every so often, a writer comes by and sees a new facet to a character that can respond to readers today. It all depends on what angle you choose and how to follow it, but I see Vibe as a character with a lot of potential that doesn't have to be dismissed immediately.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenstone View Post
    While I largely agree with what Brian is saying here, I think there's an important point missing: Marvel and DC don't care about you, the retailers, any more than they care about us, the customers. As wholly-owned subsidiaries of major entertainment conglomerates, Marvel and DC are nothing more than IP farms these days, comics existing only as a way to sell properties to Hollywood. In a day and age when Guardians of the Galaxy - the very definition of "obscure
    - can be picked up as a major tentpole film, is it any wonder that both companies nurture their D-list in hopes of bringing something like Demon Knights orSuicide Squad to the big screen?

    Look, Vibe is a perfect example. A loser character who has virtually no fanbase and who, in fact, became a running joke almost as soon as he was introduced, I - were I in such a position - would look at him as an Hispanic character that could appeal to an Hispanic movie-going population. It's not like there are a dearth of Hispanic characters in comics, after all. DC gave a big push to Jaime "Blue Beetle" Reyes, but that never seemed to catch on, so now they're combing through their limited catalog of Hispanic characters, hoping that one will strike the fancy of some bigshot producer or director in Hollywood. I'd suggest that this is the same thinking that results in so many Avengers/X-Men/Batman books, etc.: they're all trying to hit "the next big thing."

    So, at the end of the day, sales numbers are largely irrelevant. Marvel is such a small part of Disney, for example, that their entire publishing operation can easily be written off as the cost of IP development. In the meantime, Disney has a great catalog of characters to license and merchandise, which is where the real money is. If the publishing arm makes a little money, great, all the better. But if not, who cares? They'll make money on exploiting the characters in their theme parks, selling crappy toys to the easily-pleased public, and churning out more big-budget films. If the publishing arm were to disappear tomorrow, I don't think anyone at Disney would lose one wink of sleep.

    So, in the end, it's not about the stores and it's not about the readers. It's about leveraging new and existing properties to make money in other ways.
    Oh, I think Marvel and DC do care about retailers, but only in terms of maintaining the direct market as long as it proves useful.

    I suspect that one or both of the companies have already commissioned studies into the projected life expectancy of the direct market, and that the findings will prove reasonably accurate – if only because Marvel and DC likely are now working to ensure that when the direct market finally dies, it dies according to a timetable that is useful to their purposes.

    That may mean they are hastening it’s demise, or it may mean they are prolonging it’s life.

    Either way the DM is important to them, but only as a tool in whatever their plans are.

    It’s funny, but no one ever seems to realize that one of the reasons that 52 is a brilliant strategy for DC (though I can’t stand much of what I have read – but that’s not the point) is that 52 clearly isn’t just about publishing comics, it’s a system that I am sure they also devised to renew/maintain their publication trademarks. This is made clear by replacing Men of War, not with a ‘new’ creative team, but instead replacing it with G.I. Combat. Of course, they want every publication to succeed beyond a mere 12 issues, but in this scenario, even if a title doesn’t they’ve renewed their trademark as well as having created a few more.

    I think Hibbs is talking sense, but those that have criticized his thinking do point out a flaw in his stated idea – some of the low selling titles are the better, if not best DC and Marvel have to offer. In my case, if Marvel cancels those titles, they’re unlikely to get me sticking around – not out of spite, but simply because those are the titles I buy.

    Ironically, and this would take more balls than either company has, I think DC and Marvel need to look at what they are publishing and be critical at their creative output, and cancel the dreck that they are publishing in the 20K to 40K zone, and cancel those titles.

    I think, as others have noted, that getting rid of all but one Justice League, and all but one Avengers and X-Men title would be a good start.

    In the case of Avengers, as with FF/Fantastic Four it does seem to me like the titles end up simply being a means of double shipping without literally double-shipping.

    I have to applaud Hickman though, because he did a bang up job of having just the right balance of overlap between the two so that you knew what was going on in the title you might not be reading, but also wrote a strong enough story that it stood on it’s own (if you were just buying one title).

  7. #22
    Fur Bearing Indy Fan
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    Not that it matters , but universe in this sense is statistical terminology, rather than weird phrasing,

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    For me, the attraction to Vibe isn't just that he is hispanic. Vibe entered as part of the Detroit era of JLA, and is now being associated once more in a time of darkness. Tie that in with the economic reality of America's industrial heartland — so many jobs lost — and his character becomes a lot more poignant… especially when you add in the dance factor a la Eminem with rap.

    And that's the thing about comics: every so often, a writer comes by and sees a new facet to a character that can respond to readers today. It all depends on what angle you choose and how to follow it, but I see Vibe as a character with a lot of potential that doesn't have to be dismissed immediately.
    But Brian, you're one of the small minority of people who know who Vibe is and understand his history. How many members of the general public even know the character's name, let alone his connection to Detroit, etc.? I've been around since [well before] the Detroit-era League as well, but I have yet to hear a significant - or even insignificant - outpouring of fan sentiment calling for the return of a character whose big character trait was break dancing.

    On the other hand, Hollywood is finally wising up to the fact that America's ever-increasing Hispanic population has money to spend, money that the studios desperately want. Those studios are realizing that it's in their best interests to market films to an Hispanic audience. Therefore, it makes sense for DC, in pursuit of those valuable studio deals, to resurrect Vibe ("Look! We've had a Hispanic character since the 1980s!") in hopes that a studio, like Warner Brothers, will notice.

    While I agree with you that no character is intrinsically worthless (although Vibe comes close), I can't agree that the decision to resurrect him has anything to do with anything other than a potential Hollywood deal.

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenstone View Post
    While I agree with you that no character is intrinsically worthless (although Vibe comes close), I can't agree that the decision to resurrect him has anything to do with anything other than a potential Hollywood deal.
    QFT, couldn't agree more.

  10. #25
    Senior Member Trey's Avatar
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    You don't see 4 Dexter TV shows.

    Hey lets spin off 2 more Walking Dead shows! It happens in consumer products, take cars, aren't there way too many brands out there?

    Everyone knows Marvel is strip mining thier "properties." ANd it definately weakens the "reading experience" and turns off some fans.


    ANd Brian weren't there low selling titles in the 80's 90's that sold 5-10 copies? And are you willing to tell your 10 customers that you won't order JIM, starring the awesome Sif? Go and try this WOlverine book?
    "Calm down, call Batman." - Greg Capullo

  11. #26
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    Something you have to realize is that the publishers do not care about retailer sales levels. To clarify, DC is perfectly happy selling 30,000 books because that's still 30k worth of sales in their pocket. It doesn't bother them in the least if some store sells 9 of its 10 copies or 3 of its 5 copies. DC got paid when the store owners ordered that particular book. To that end I think it's important to note that market forces should rectify a lot of these issues. As stated in this blog there were 4000 stores a few years ago...now there's 3k'ish. As poorly performing stores go under their clientele will gravitate to other stores. We were splitting 30k in comic sales among 4k stores a while ago...now they're split among 3k stores. In a few years it'll probably be split among 2500 stores or less. I'm not afraid of brick and mortar stores failing as a whole...because I think the only ones that will fail are the ones which aren't capable of adapting to the needs of modern retailing. Their failure will strengthen the stores who know how to operate in our current economy.

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  12. #27
    IMPERIUS REX!!! Rheged's Avatar
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    IOW, Brian, you're agreeing that Marvel's double shipping policy is the way to go for retailers?

    Because as a reader, double shipping forces me to choose between buying a 'popular' title twice a month or not buying it all and getting two of those lower / mid-band books. Double shipping is cannibalizing the mid / lower tier list of titles.

  13. #28
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    Also variants should also be addressed as this skews the profitability of certain titles. For example, I sold 580ish of the 600 copies of Walking Dead 100...then sold the three 1:200 variants for 300 each. That extra 900 in profit goes a long way to facilitate shelving a few extra copies of some odds and ends to maintain store stock in defiance of the "you have to sell 80% of your new inventory to be profitable" concept.

    Tony
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by erwinrafael View Post
    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?
    The latter, though every editor is clearly going to say that of course their books are critical darlings!

    Quote Originally Posted by Abrafax View Post
    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).
    Honestly, it's time for HELLBLAZER to end -- we DO do (very) well with the trades, and expect that to continue, but we're down to selling like 8-9 copies a month. We used to sell 60! Realistically, JLDark sells 2x that HELLBLAZER does, so this is a "wise" move. BUT... I suspect CONSTANTINE will end down below 30k tout suite, probably closer to 20k, and then what point is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by USERNAME TAKEN View Post
    How have the Marvel NOW titles moved in your store thus far?
    Reply hazy, ask again later.

    I *may* have a MarvelNOW! column next month, but I'm not sure I'll yet have enough data.... or even "any data" on a lot of potential titles.

    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?
    I think the removal of the risk of those titles will have a net positive impact on profitability, even if gross dollars decline a little.

    Clearly, though, we'll never have, in a real-world situation, have Marvel and DC *both* cut half of their line at the same time.

    -B

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiggyFakeMcCoy View Post
    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.
    If we're talking subs-only titles, then, yes, sure, "easy money", no effort -- but I can say that as a reasonably large metropolitan retailer I always die inside a little every time a book goes subs-only. I like racking comics, not being a catalog store.

    For racked titles, I find there is a terribly wide variability issue-by-issue on a "5 copy book" -- you're as likely to sell 4 as 5, and everytime that happens I feel like I'm losing money (or, at least, opportunity cost)

    -B

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