Even without them dropping much further the entire reboot has only seen DC gain a 3.2% increase in sales.
Is that physical sales or overall sales? Because one of the key talking points at DC during the reboot was that comic stores are a dying breed with hundreds gone over the last decade. The point of New 52 was to sync up digitally before the movies start to roll out, and on that I find it's a success.
And we're completely contrary. As a longtime Marvel reader, I find today's Marvel painful awful — 99% of it. Overextended stories, characters that no longer adhere to their original concept… as an occasional DC reader in the past, I find DC's 52 to be woefully uneven but with some very entertaining stories still there, and some interesting developments of the core concepts that make me want to read the books.
I really like this post and it has consistently addressed concerns that I have had about comics. I used to buy a large portion of Marvel's output but financial constraints have decreased my ability to buy as many. This would be fine, as like many others I would choose creators that I personally enjoy the most and follow their work, as opposed to just following characters. However changes in the shipping schedule place a burden on that as well, so I thought I would switch to trades as I could save my money and buy a cheaper collected version of stories. Perhaps I have missed this topic on this column, but now even Marvel's collected editions have risen stiffly in price as well when calculated by a dollar per issue or dollar per page rate. For example, Wolverine and the X-Men is a title I am interested in and decided at that point of reboots to trade wait, however each trade I see only collects 4-5 issues and charges effectively $5 an issue. I am curious why Marvel has decided to charge more for their trades on a per issue basis than even their monthlies go for.
I have personally felt that the rapid shipping and price increases have decreased my ability to purchase comics on a monthly basis, but couple this with the constant rebooting and increase in price once collected, I have unfortunately lost almost all interest in Marvel given that I have no motivation/ability to keep up with their work.
I think part of what appeals to me about Image and Vertigo is that when a new series comes out, the first trade is almost always at a more affordable price, and then subsequent volumes rise in price to the rate closer to the monthly price. So if I enjoy the first trade, I can justify the slightly higher price for the next one. I believe Marvel could learn a lesson from this; if they are going to constantly reboot their line, give some incentive to jump back in to titles by making the investment less of a risk. Though I do not see this with the DC universe either, I have picked up a couple trades of the New 52 as well because at the highest price the trade is still fairly priced based on the collection of monthly issues contained within (i.e. Action Comics Vol. 1 at 24.99 vs. Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 at 34.99 where Incredible Hulk even has one less issue). I would love to follow Jason Aaron's work at Marvel as I have found him a truly entertaining writer, but as far as Marvel goes I have lost all motivation to follow it.
Sure it is true that they are trying to ride that success, but this is where my shift to following writers has made the decision an easy one for me. I like Hickman's work.
As a cost measure I was going to trade-wait for his Avengers stuff, but after the first issues, I decided that I wanted the individual issues.
Fraction's Hawkeye is great, as is Waid's Daredevil, and so far so good on his Hulk.
I opted not to buy Fraction's FF/Fantastic Four - mainly for two reasons: 1) I find that Fraction doesn't grab me on team books, and (2) I enjoyed Hickman's run so much that I just can't see it being topped right now. Basically, until my palette is cleansed Hickman's run is it for me.
I will say that what I think DC is trying to do, is break the cult-of-the-writer mentality that has built up over the last decade. I'm convinced of this. They are trying to put out a product that becomes less and less tied to a writers name, and take us back in time to a point where we no longer associate a title with a writer - only the character.
It makes sense from their position - because looking only at my spending patterns and taste, I may love a given character - like Deathstroke, but I sure as hell don't love him enough to keep reading him by someone who's writing I can't stand.
I was reading Brubaker's Captain America. I'm not buying the new one (I may get it in trade if I continue to hear good things about it). What I am doing though is following Brubaker over to Image. Likewise, I was reading Rucka's Punisher. When his mini-series is over, I am not likely to read the next series of The Punisher. I am however going to continue to read Stumptown, and will be picking up Lazarus at Image.
That's my way of saying that while I will continue to follow writers over a character, I can appreciate what I think DC is trying to do. I also though think it will ultimately hurt them. This isn't the 1960'2 or 70's or 80's - and more importantly, these things aren't $1 or less - meaning an adult reader is more likely at $3 or $4 to be curious about who's doing the writing on something he enjoyed or disliked.
Your right Hickmans run on Fantastic Four was amazing. I have yet to read Fractions as it does not come with a digital copy and since I am living over seas right now I only buy comics that come with digital copies, but his Avengers did not do the same for me. It was ok but I am waiting until issue 3 to decided which Avenger book (Avengers or Uncanny) I want to keep buying.
I see where you are coming from but I don't see what DC is doing as a bad thing if they make sure every new writer is good. I love the Teen Titans (not the new 52 ones) and when Geoff Johns quit writing it I had to stop during the new guys second story arc because I couldn't stand the book anymore. To me making a book about the character instead of writer just sounds like a better idea because if you find out the writer is leaving you won't be thinking about if the quality is going to change and DC will not have to worry about people maybe dropping the book when a new writer is announced. Also another thing about not making books about their writers is the noticeable change. Take Fantastic Four for example. I loved Mcduffie, Millar, and Hickman's run on the series but every time the book got a major re design which wasn't bad but to me it kind of stops the flow and makes it start up again. It is like "Ok Mcduffie is done and now Millar is taking a go at it so we are starting again".
I do not think one of right and one is wrong and I guess it is matter of preference. Although I can kind of contradict myself because by making a book more about writer over character it gives someone a chance to have some closure and not just stop buying the book out of no where. Someone could be like "Wow I loved Mdcduffie's run on Fantastic Four, but don't really care for Mark Millar so I won't be buying that." At least they would get some closure to the book and some what of an ending if that makes sense.
I liked Brubakers first run on Captain when he started in 2004 but once it got re numbered in 2011 I stopped after a few issues because it wasn't that good and bought about 9 more when comixology had them on sale to see if maybe it got better. While his original run was great I felt like with the 2011 series he gets too preachy about government. It seems like to him anyone who doesn't like government or has problem with politicians is crazy and evil.
With three months worth of data under his belt, Brian Hibbs weighs in on the initial success of the Marvel NOW! initiative, looking at its strengths and potential weaknesses through the prism of DC's New 52 reboot.