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Post By
mjyoung

Subj: 5 Things Low Selling Titles Should Do
Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 at 07:41:36 pm EDT (Viewed 305 times)


There are various titles at Marvel that have low sells, like Ms. Marvel, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, etc, which are always in danger of being canceled due to sales. So I thought it would make for an interesting thread to post ideas on what these books can do to improve their sales performance. I'll try to avoid obvious fixes like putting highly popular creators on the books. Some of these ideas are being done already, and some of them are only being done by certain books. My examples are just used to help illustrate my points, not meant to start an argument. So no crying if I say I think your favorite title made a mistake.

Feel free to add your own or contest my ideas.

1. Shorter story arcs.

It's typical for many titles to use a 6 issue story arc, but it doesn't mean that every title should do it. Readers will be reluctant to try out a series if the cost of a complete story is going to be $18 for 6 issues. If instead there was a 3 issue story for $9, readers would be more interested in sampling the title. So a focus on shorter story arcs, something like 3 or 4 issues at most would have a positive benefit for the title.

Good Example: Deadpool with a 3 issue arc with SI, 2 issues of a zombie story, 2 issues against Tiger Shark, and 2/4 issues crossing over with the Thunderbolts.
Bad Example: Moon Knight with a the Bottom being 6 issues, Midnight Sun at 6 issues, God and Country at 6 issues, The Death of Marc Specter at 5 issues, and Down South at 5 issues.

2. More focused tie ins.

Tie ins to the the big event are fine, but it has to be more limited and more focused. Ghost Rider being a part of World War Hulk isn't necessarily needed. Similarly, we don't need 6 issues of Ms. Marvel's involvement in Secret Invasion. Make sure the story comes first, and it's not just a wasted tie in.

Good Example: Incredible Hercules with tie ins with WWH, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign that made sense.
Bad Example: Ms. Marvel with really an irrelevant tie in to SI, which added nothing to the story. And Dark Reign which replaced the character.

3. More cohesive Marvel U.

Every story shouldn't tie into the rest of Marvel, but some should. Maybe it makes sense for a story arc teaming up Iron Fist and Luke Cage, or the Punisher and Moon Knight, or Young X-Men and the Runaways. Various combinations could work, but make sure they are good stories and not just sales stunts. In the same vein, don't be afraid to use concepts and characters from other titles. Maybe Ghost Rider vs the Hood makes sense, or Moon Knight vs Wendigo, or Captain Britain vs Dracula. Use established characters and ideas. If you need a New York reporter, use an established character from the Daily Bugle. If the option is between using a new character or an established one, go with the established one.

Good Example: Deadpool mixing up with Nick Fury, Norman Osborn, the Thunderbolts, Taskmaster, Bullseye, etc.
Bad Example: Plokta, a Lord of Hell, in Captain Britain, when numerous other villains could have been used.

4. Comics on time.

Late comics are somewhat common, but it does have an effect on sales. And these title can't afford to lose any readers, especially because of a delay in a story. Reducing the story arcs will help, but planning ahead will help even more. Plan it so that a 3 issue arc by one artist is followed up by a 3 issue arc by another. Worse case scenario, plan ahead so that any delays will happen
between stories and not issues.

5. Simplicity in stories.

No complicated and complex stories. No complicated and complex characters. A reader should be able to pick up a story and easily understand what is going on. A reader should easily know who each character is. In a solo series, make sure the supporting cast is limited and easy to understand. Make sure that the status quo of the title is relatively consistent over a period of time.

Good Example: Deadpool, Incredible Herc. Both with a small supporting cast, and have remained relatively consistent in terms of their status quos.
Bad Example: Ms. Marvel with various supporting cast members in her agent, her Kree Boyfriend, Shield Agents, other heroes, ex-boyfriends, etc. Went from being just a solo hero looking to become better, to being in charge of a SHIELD strike force, dieing?, etc. Even her love interests have been a revolving door.


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