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Subj: Re: December Sales, Yikes!
Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 at 06:07:10 pm EST (Viewed 12 times)
Reply Subj: Re: December Sales, Yikes!
Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 at 11:52:51 am EST (Viewed 145 times)

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Anti-heroes are one thing, but every hero now has that moral line blurred. It's muddy, and it's not fun.

Agreed with the turning everything on its head. It seems like if there's not some epic twist or endgame involved, it isn't plugged. That said, when that happens the books spike in sales, so there's incentive to do that.

Origin one shots, minis, and retellings are also things that are selling. The extreme opposite of endgame/twists is bringing you back to familiar ground for the properties. It's all marketing for movies there.

My question about Bendis/Morrison and new characters in the universe proper - are they ALLOWED to do that? I think they save their unique characters for their creator owned works. Marvel/DC don't give good incentive for creating your own characters in the universe proper. They take that incentive away, as a matter of fact.

The one shots, mini series, etc. I don't think they're helping. Whiney fanboys like me get confused. Are these else-worlds? Where do they fit in continuity? Do we need yet another re-telling of Cap's defrosting? So on and so forth. Because these books don't affect the main book, do I care? No not really. Others might, and so if they buy them and get enjoyment, good for them.

But for me, they are a distraction. I am old school. I like cause and effect. I like each story building on the past stories. When you have monthly Cap, plus Cap Hydra and Cap defrosting written by three different writers coming out in the same month (I know this is a Batman page, but with the Cap movie coming up, they're unleashing a lot of Cap right now), the effect, for me anyway, is that we have three different characters called Captain America.

These gimmicks might spike sales, but they haven't reversed let alone stopped the sales decline comics are enduring. Also, if you look at sales, a hit is being redefined downward. Geoff Johns did the Green Lantern wars, etc. An exciting tale well told (for the most part, but overall well told). It ends. All the books that crossed over, go back to their regular stories. But sales then drop.

Look at what they've done with Green Arrow. A character I've always disliked. A loser who lost his fortune, didn't know his ward was a junkie, acted like a self-important jerk to his super allies.

Mike Grell did something with the character in the late 1980s and 1990s, but eventually left. Others came and sales dropped and they killed him off. Brought in a new Green Arrow, as they did with Green Lantern, Flash, (Marvel did it with War Machine, Thunderstrike, Ben Reilly).

The result was brand dilution. Old fans wanted Hal back. (Barry's heroic death was 25 years ago and accepted by fans as a story that made sense, was honorable and well told. People accepted it). Some wanted Ollie back. Most, I suspect didn't care. But various writers brought all three back. So now we have five Green Lanterns dating all the way back to 1940 with the original Green Lantern. We have Hal, John, Kyle, Guy. We have Jay, Barry, Wally, and Bart and Wally's daughter in the Flash world. We now have two Batmans. Two Captain Americas, you get the point.

I do not see this as a success from a marketing point of view or a creative point of view. I see it as a failure. No one is taking charge, so everyone gets a say. The result is a diffusion of brand. When kids watch the Naruto cartoon, and then decide to pick up the manga, they can follow the characters.

When a kid sees the Dark Knight, and decide to pick up a Batman comic book, what did they get? Morrison's, to my mind, non-sensical ravings. (I know I am harsh, but I am one reader. Those who like Morrison, buy them, urge friends to buy them). Is Bruce Batman? No. Who's Damien, who's Jason? The bat world is confusing, and they made no effort to explain it to potentially new readers.

Like The Justice League Cartoons? Great, but are they used to bring new readers to their comics. Mostly no. There was a Justice League book based on the series, but that's about it. They did make John Stewart the Lantern of the comic for a while.

Anyway, my point is that marketing is not a dirty word. These are serial stories. That's their nature. One shot gimmicks, and cross-over stories that drive away readers, divide talent and muddy storties in indivdual books aren't working. Sales are dropping. The spikes don't reach the heights they did a couple of years ago. New readers aren't coming to the books, and old readers are, well, old. We're dying off or just leaving comics. And younger readers aren't replacing us, at least not at a 1 to 1 ratio. That's an unsustainable business model.

Disney and Warner Brothers protect their brands. They write stories for a wider audience. The Batman, Superman and JL cartoons of the Timmverse were well written, well thought out, easy to jump into, and did not paint themselves into a corner. Quality will out and those stories were a success. Can't say the same for DC's comics. There's a reason Steve Englehardt's stories were the most adapted. He never radically broke the toys. He brought back Deadshot, Hugo Strange. Created Silver St. Cloud, Wrote the best Joker story. All in seven issues. His Green Lantern stories were adapted.

Or I could be wrong. But not about sales dropping, fans leaving, etc.

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