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Subj: Re: Which super villains do you think are broken and how would you fix them?
Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 at 10:15:22 am EST (Viewed 224 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Which super villains do you think are broken and how would you fix them?
Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 11:37:47 am EST (Viewed 212 times)
How many team books, like the one you have suggested, over the past ten years have failed within 12-15 issues? Slingers, Marvel Knights (twice), Heroes for Hire (the third time may be a charm, but so far it hasn't gone well), Avengers Academy will go down soon, numerous X-teams, that crappy Nextwave title, Howling Commandos, Skrull Kill Krew, and more. Not saying that they were bad ideas (except Nextwave), but they didn't sell. Now answer the same question for a split book offered by Marvel. The answer is two: Strange Tales, which came at a time when Marvel was going through major bankruptcy proceedings and pared its number of titles to 30, and Amazing Fantasy, which actually surprised Marvel because it was only supposed to be a limited, but sold so well during and after the Arana arc that they kept it going (at least until it got a little weird around #15). Two attempts...that's it. I don't believe that you can say it won't work if it hasn't really been tried. The other attempts, the anthology-style ones, simply had too many characters (4 and sometimes 6 per issue) and did not work because the stories were too short and did not really have any hooks.
Why not try something different, something that has not been done well in Marvel for the past twenty years? It seems to be working okay for DC with some of their mainstream titles. Pair up two heroes who struggle to keep a title on their own, but are similar. The fan bases might have some overlap, but there would be enough fans of character A who may not have been a fan of character B originally, but might be if given the opportunity. The market simply cannot handle the number of titles that are out there right now and you have more failed titles under 20 issues than I can ever remember, even when the bubble burst in the mid-1990s.
The limited series really are the cause of that. First off, who has the money to buy the three monthly Wolverine titles, four Wolverine one-shot/limited series, and then something else. If you are a Wolverine fan, but also want to read something else, you are faced with a tough decision: keep your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder intact and pick up all the Wolverine titles or pick up something different. 9 times out of 10, most will stay with the safe choice and just buy another Wolverine title and not try something that they might like. And if you ask most comic fans, both hardcore and occasional, it is one of their biggest complaints...that they cannot afford what they want to get.
The sales for limited series are so skewed and it is more of a sham than anything else. It seems that when you look at the numeric sales published by Diamond on a limited series, the first issue sells solid, then you see a 50% drop in the second issue, and a 33% drop in the third issue. The first issue is the key in the entire scenario, but most of that is caused by the shop owners and their stock up on #1s, not on the buyers and actual sells. I guess it makes sense from a business standpoint from Marvel's point-of-view because many NEW collectors see a #1 issue and think that it will be worth something someday and so comic shops order more of it...but many buyers are not that dumb and with the amount of information available on the internet, they make more informed choices. As a result, most of those shops are then stuck with a bunch of #1s that they don't sell and end up in the comic bin. I have bought semi-regularly from 5 different shops in the past two years and this is the case in each one.
When Civil War and Secret Invasion came out, the #1 issues took up large amounts of space on the racks for MONTHS and did not seem to dwindle one bit. I didn't have to worry about finding the first issue. However, when I went to buy issues #2 and #3, they were out. I asked the owner why, and he said that he did not sell as much of issue #1 as "expected" and ordered much, much less of subsequent issues. It's even worse for the non-event titles. Where were all those #1s when I went back before Christmas: in the $1 bins. Sorry, but that is really dumb business move and is nothing more than an artificial pumping of the national sales at the idiocy of the comic shops.
The stupidity of expecting #1s to make money in the future is dead. What makes an issue worth something is the story, the character, or the creators involved...not the fact that it was a #1. The ACTUAL numbering of a series has proven to be more important to collectors than Marvel anticipated. If this was not the case, why would Marvel be switching back to old numbering systems...or for that matter, make fun of themselves with Deadpool Team-Up's backward numbering. The number of issues that a character has lasted shows its longevity and importance to the comics industry. To reboot a series simply for the sake of a new #1 is utter stupidity and happens way too often...just ask Moon Knight.
If Wolverine sells, but even his limiteds and one-shots could be doing better if they were included in a split book like Astonishing Tales...starring Wolverine & Gambit (or add any other X-character), with a 12 page split format, then I think that sales would be extremely solid. When needed, change the main or supporting character, but keep the title going.