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Calorie Mate
08-12-2008, 11:27 AM
I've noticed a sentiment a few times around here, but I always forget to ask, so I was wondering: what's wrong with the comics industry? I've heard it described as "a mess" but don't really know anything more than that, so I thought it would be fun to discuss it.

Have at it, guys.

Mr. Sensible
08-12-2008, 11:33 AM
I started dropping by the local comics outlet a few years back. To hear the owner tell it, comics have basically mutated from a mainstream youth media into an incredibly niche-y adult market with little to offer anyone who hasn't kept up with the titles' respective continuities for years.

Personally, I wouldn't know, because I only read good (http://www.amazon.com/Hellboy-Vol-Chained-Coffin-Others/dp/1593070918/ref=pd_bbs_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218565587&sr=8-8) comics (http://www.amazon.com/Fables-Vol-1-Legends-Exile/dp/1563899426/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218565628&sr=8-2).

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 11:38 AM
Cost too much, the most prominent titles are all corporate mascots, a lot of the independent stuff has it's head up it's butt, editorial muckery with the creative process, a pretension of cohesive unified universes that is completely obliterated by creative teams with different interests, etc, etc

It really bothers me how manga seems to continue to be popular and US comics don't really seem to pick up steam :( Not so much because I dislike manga but it feels like there's an irritating deficit of awesome US-made stuff. Yeah there's a lot of superhero books that are actually good as long as you're not some kinda crazy snob who hates fun, but even then, variety! Where is!?

If this was Japan I could go down to the store and pick up a good 120 pages worth of Kate Beaton (http://www.katebeaton.com/) strips and it would be totally awesome and instead I find myself emailing her going "Hey! Make a book! COME ONNNN"

Pombar
08-12-2008, 11:40 AM
Sonic the Comic ended.

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 11:41 AM
p.s. fable sucks

Sonic the Comic ended.

no it didn't
there's a new one coming out this week
or are you talking about the UK thing?

Pombar
08-12-2008, 11:46 AM
I am talking about the UK thing. The one that reads like a comic book and not a soap opera. [/snobbery]
It was also written/drawn by a far better team in this totally biased individual's opinion. People who'd worked on Judge Dredd and other Fleetway publications, mostly.

Mr. Sensible
08-12-2008, 11:46 AM
p.s. fable sucks

no it didn't

Make up your mind!

But seriously, what the hell. Fables is solid gold awesome. Okay, so the art's probably never going to be as good as it was in the first few issues, but still, the writing is top-effing-notch.

Zef
08-12-2008, 11:47 AM
I started dropping by the local comics outlet a few years back. To hear the owner tell it, comics have basically mutated from a mainstream youth media into an incredibly niche-y adult market with little to offer anyone who hasn't kept up with the titles' respective continuities for years.

My thoughts exactly. I was never an avid reader in the first place, but I fell for the "Death of Superman" stunt all the same. Even then, I found that the medium was an inscrutable mess of continuity, and it didn't waste time driving me out again.

I'll still browse through a title or two when I go to the shop --mainly, looking for manga-- and sometimes I see a brief glimmer of hope. Standalone products like Watchmen, Marvels, TDK, and the like. I even tried to follow some of the recent mega-multi-ultra-hyper-crossover events. But turns out, I'm the "movie audience" kind of consumer, who sees the movies and tries to read something along those lines in the actual comic, and run headlong into continuity. Then I go back to manga, reminding myself that at least those are entirely self-contained, and have a definite end.

TheSL
08-12-2008, 11:48 AM
It really bothers me how manga seems to continue to be popular and US comics don't really seem to pick up steam :( Not so much because I dislike manga but it feels like there's an irritating deficit of awesome US-made stuff. Yeah there's a lot of superhero books that are actually good as long as you're not some kinda crazy snob who hates fun, but even then, variety! Where is!?

I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you can go out and buy a 100+ page manga volume for 1/3 (or less!) the price that you can get a similar compilation of US comics.

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 11:53 AM
I am talking about the UK thing.

Didn't they turn Super Sonic into some power crazy Jekyl/Hyde rampaging monster...thing?

Re: Fable--I tried reading the first three or so arcs and I just can't swing with it. There's a lot of promising ideas but I don't like how the execution plays out (THIS IS VERY COMMON PROBLEM I HAVE WITH COMICS FOR SOME REASON) and I can't bring myself to give a hoot about what happens to anybody. Plus the art (from what I've seen) comes off as a less awesome version of Pia Guerra's work in Y

best part about it are the covers

Wolfgang
08-12-2008, 11:55 AM
comics have basically mutated from a mainstream youth media into an incredibly niche-y adult market with little to offer anyone who hasn't kept up with the titles' respective continuities for years.

Ding!!! Why the hell do you think Naruto and DBZ manga are as popular as they are? Regular kids like Shonen Jump that would never pick up, say, Ambush Bug or whatever the hell obscure thing adult collectors go nuts for. I'm not saying the adult collectors should stop, but thank god for mainstream shonen manga getting regular kids interested in comics again.

What's funny is kids don't read American comics any more, yet the monthly books are still full of ads for bubble gum and sugar cereals.

Pombar
08-12-2008, 12:01 PM
Didn't they turn Super Sonic into some power crazy Jekyl/Hyde rampaging monster...thing?
I think it was the lead writer Kitching who decided that that was more interesting to develop than one of those 'super sonic is the solution of the week' deals.

TheSL
08-12-2008, 12:06 PM
So does that mean that the UK Sonic Comic is ultimately to blame for Sonic Unleashed?

Pombar
08-12-2008, 12:10 PM
Until werewolf sonic fires laser beams from his eyes, I remain unconvinced. Besides, werewolf sonic's still bizarrely a good guy.

Sprite
08-12-2008, 12:11 PM
Maybe it's because I don't follow superhero comics, but I don't really think there's anything wrong with comics. Manga is getting the kiddies interested (I'm with Shawn, thank god for manga), amazing graphic novels like Persepolis and Scott Pilgrim are still being made (at a glacial pace, of course, but when have they not been made at a glacial pace), and webcomics are an absolutely amazing way for an amateur or niche artist to get his/her work out there (taking advantage of the various free communities, different ones catering to different artists), which would've been pretty much impossible before.

I mean, there's a successful comic about working at a library on the Internet. If that's not a healthy market I don't know what is.

Reinforcements
08-12-2008, 12:11 PM
Massive continuities and the tendency to never let any change stick are what get in my craw about American superhero comics. If I do read superhero comics these days it's the mostly self-contained stories that avoid referencing every character in the universe, like Hush or Identity Crisis.

But mostly I just read Hellboy.

Mr. Sensible
08-12-2008, 12:12 PM
Re: Fable--I tried reading the first three or so arcs and I just can't swing with it. There's a lot of promising ideas but I don't like how the execution plays out (THIS IS VERY COMMON PROBLEM I HAVE WITH COMICS FOR SOME REASON) and I can't bring myself to give a hoot about what happens to anybody. Plus the art (from what I've seen) comes off as a less awesome version of Pia Guerra's work in Y

best part about it are the covers

The cover artwork does kind of overshadow everything else inside the issue, artistically speaking.

I can kinda see where you're coming from; a lot of the characters are unlikable, immortal assholes. If you keep reading, though, things never get boring and the character's personalities are always being built upon. Try the "Wooden Soldiers/Battle of Fabletown" arc if you want to build some sympathy for the main cast. [Except Prince Charming, of course. He's an asshole forever and ever.]

Really, though, you could argue most of the comic is just literature-reference wankery. And I love it for that.

Excitemike
08-12-2008, 12:20 PM
Gosh, this is a broad topic. But I must be brief!

Why the business of comics sucks: The distribution system that exists for "mainstream" comics is rotted from the inside out. Comics used to be returnable, like any newsstand periodical. But you couldn't go to your local pharmacist and get the new Spider-Man when it came out. Comics were dropped off at the whim of the distributor and the collectors that existed would have to travel all around if they didn't want to miss an issue. In the late seventies these fans would open the first stores that were dedicated to carrying new and back issues. These store owners went to Marvel and DC directly and made them the offer that they would keep all of the issues they ordered in exchange for a bigger discount; this is the beginning of what is know as the "Direct Market".

It all went to hell. When the comics industry crashed in the early nineties, the major distributors began courting the large comics companies (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, etc) for exclusivity arrangements. They went out of business anyway. The result was one distributor (Diamond) that dictates what can and can't be sold in comics shops. As you can imagine, that sucks for anyone not drawing grown men with their underwear on the outside of their pants.

Why the (mainstream) comics themselves suck: Siegel and Shuster sold Superman for like $150. This has recently been coined as comics' original sin, because it set the tone for how the publishers would treat their talent ever since. Really, it continues to this day. Because no one in comics ever discusses how much they make or what their contracts demand, the publishers always have the upper hand and every generation of cartoonists has to learn the lesson all over again. As it applies to Marvel/DC specifically, one of their greatest assets is a shared continuity full of rich characters. Their rosters continued to flesh out until about the mid-seventies, when the creators who worked for them began to wise up. Why would you bring a character you created to a company that will put their stamp on it and never share royalties or revenue from other media with you? Why would you bring them any of your ideas when the consumers are very happy to have the same story told to them over and over again?

Mr. Sensible
08-12-2008, 12:34 PM
Why the business of comics sucks: [...] These store owners went to Marvel and DC directly and made them the offer that they would keep all of the issues they ordered in exchange for a bigger discount; this is the beginning of what is know as the "Direct Market".


Ah, so the comic shop owners started shouldering the burden of unsold stock instead of the publishers. That just by itself explains a lot, actually. The publishers were no longer at risk of going bankrupt from a few shitty issues of a popular title because, hey, it's not like the store won't stock said popular title!

Why the (mainstream) comics themselves suck: Siegel and Shuster sold Superman for like $150. This has recently been coined as comics' original sin, because it set the tone for how the publishers would treat their talent ever since. Really, it continues to this day. Because no one in comics ever discusses how much they make or what their contracts demand

So are the employees kept silent by said contracts, or is it just "faux-pas" to discuss such things in the comics industry? I am actually curious to know how much one could make as a pencil jockey working for the Big Boys.

Wolfgang
08-12-2008, 12:42 PM
What's your guys' takes on Marvel and DC following the Japanese model and putting out big, cheap phonebooks of all their most popular characters' stories? I'd be much more likely to follow obscure stories if there was the promise of Spider-Man or Superman a few pages away. And didn't have to spend upwards of $40-50 a month to keep up with all of them.

Excitemike
08-12-2008, 12:46 PM
So are the employees kept silent by said contracts, or is it just "faux-pas" to discuss such things in the comics industry? I am actually curious to know how much one could make as a pencil jockey working for the Big Boys.

I don't think they were ever specifically barred from discussing it (they probably are now), it was along the lines of "look, kid, we're making you a good deal, but don't tell anyone because we can't give this deal to everyone" type of intimidation. When you work from month to month, you don't have a lot of ground to stand on. As someone who wants to get into the business of publishing comics, I've never been able to find firm numbers on page rates. A top artist can make a few hundred dollars per page (and make a killing at conventions) but that's only like the top 5%.

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 12:48 PM
What's your guys' takes on Marvel and DC following the Japanese model and putting out big, cheap phonebooks of all their most popular characters' stories? I'd be much more likely to follow obscure stories if there was the promise of Spider-Man or Superman a few pages away. And didn't have to spend upwards of $40-50 a month to keep up with all of them.

The problem with anthologies is that usually the 80% of the content within them is total crap. So unless they're dirt dirt cheap they're not worth the effort when the alternative is buying the collected editions and just having to wait a bit.

Not to say that it can't be done, but it'd take a very specific awesome touch to pull it off effectively.

keele864
08-12-2008, 12:51 PM
Massive continuities and the tendency to never let any change stick are what get in my craw about American superhero comics. If I do read superhero comics these days it's the mostly self-contained stories that avoid referencing every character in the universe, like Hush or Identity Crisis.

Hush has quite a few lesser-known characters in it, especially if you try to read it without having read other Batman comics. It's off to Wikipedia to figure out who Huntress is or why Superman has a flying dog...

I don't read many comics, but the only series I generally read are Batman and Manhunter, and those in trade paperback. I do plan on picking up some more stuff this summer though - Bone for one, and maybe From Hell. I'd be more likely to read comics if they were a bit cheaper, but so much stuff is in over-priced hardcover editions that only cover a few editions. That makes me angry.

Sven
08-12-2008, 01:06 PM
Gosh, this is a broad topic. But I must be brief!
Why the (mainstream) comics themselves suck: Siegel and Shuster sold Superman for like $150. This has recently been coined as comics' original sin, because it set the tone for how the publishers would treat their talent ever since.

And as I've said before... so what? DC also bought the rights to a lot of heroes that DIDN'T turn into the biggest thing since sliced bread, and those creators made money off their creation, and did everything in line with the law until copyright law was changed. Listen, I appreciate that creators are the people who drive the industry, but the financial risk ultimately doesn't lie with the creator. If a creator wants to pass off the financial risk, giving the publisher a stake in the rights to the character in exchange for the dilution of that risk is a perfectly acceptable way of doing business.

And although the direct market is indeed evil, it's not because it stifles creator-owned work - it's because it pulled comics out of mainstream stores and into places no sane person would ever want to go. The day that DC and Marvel finally wise up and decide to kill it dead by starting prompt digital delivery of comics (which most people are getting ANYWAY via torrents) is the day things start to change for the better. The majority of creator-owned work just isn't marketable in any way, and frankly is more likely to find the appropriate niche audience via independent publishing. As noted in the other thread, comics do a lot of superhero action stories because those are the stories best suited to comics.

Why would you bring a character you created to a company that will put their stamp on it and never share royalties or revenue from other media with you?

Well, DC, for one, has been good about royalties for creators (I understand that most of the creators behind even obscure characters like Lucius Fox are going to get royalties from Dark Knight), but Marvel's a bunch of bastards when it comes to royalties.

Pheeel
08-12-2008, 01:19 PM
Why the business of comics sucks:

Damn, you've pretty much said exactly what I was going to say. Ah well.

The problem(or one of the problems) with the comic industry is that the big companies are now run by fans, for fans, and have little interest in appealling to anyone outside of that demographic. The amount of people buying actual comics is so insignificant that DC and Marvel prefer to make their money back on the lucrative graphic novel market, which is why new comics are reprinted in book form almost as soon they hit the shelves.

How got into this situation is long and complicated but the short(and very simplified) version is that during the mid-nineties, a series of staggeringly short-sighted decisions resulted in the almost total collapse of the comics business. Comics were no longer sold on newsstands, which up until then was their prime outlet. Subsequently, a once thriving industry has ended up reduced to a tiny specialist market, still clinging desperately to life whilst stuck in a self-regarding cycle of self-destruction. A worm eating it's own tail, if you will[strokes chin].

Plus, there was that whole "Pretending 40 years of Spider-Man never happened" nonsense.

Ample Vigour
08-12-2008, 01:39 PM
I've heard there are rumblings of a new speculator's market rising up in American comics. Any truth to that?

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 01:49 PM
I think at this point complaining about the creative/editorial+publishing conflict is a bit of a moot point. Granted it's generally not that easy for undiscovered talent, but it boils down to

-If you wanna make fancypants superhero comics on a work-for-hire basis on the understanding that you don't really own what you're creating (but get paid royalties based on sales), you can do that

-If you wanna make an independent thing that you retain the publishing rights to, you can do that too (if you can find a publisher)

You'd have to be some kind of super naive nincompoop to not know what you're getting into at this point. I feel kind of bad for Dikto and other old timey guys who didn't really know what the deal was because there really WASN'T a deal at that point, but the statute of limitations for that sort of thing has expired. To be honest I think that working under these kind of hired-gun conditions probably produces a lot fo great material we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I generally get the feeling that, left to his own devices, Garth Ennis would probably only ever tell stories about war, crime, making fun of superheroes or possibly war criminals who amke fun of superheroes. Would we have ever gotten something as awesome as Hitman (which I still consider his best work) if not forced to stretch his creative muscles while scaling the wall of editorial interference? It's kind of the same argument I would make against taking publishers COMPLETELY out of the equation and letting developers call all the shots in regards to game design. That'd probably result in a lot of awesome games, yes, but a lot of stuff would probably be lost too (chief among which would be production values)

It's not like working for the Big Two (TM) is completely devoid of positives

mrbuu82
08-12-2008, 02:22 PM
As a former comic reader who has been looking on the outside looking in for a little while, I cannot add much to the discussion about current comics.

I do want to make some comments about distribution though. When manga first started to catch on in the U.S., it was distributed in comic book form. Dark Horse in particular took up this mantle and would publish issues with two manga chapters in each followed by a mailbag portion at the end. They would occaisionally separate thirteen or fourteen issues into "parts" and sell a part as a trade paperback. This style was utilized for Ranma 1/2, Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Gunsmith Cats, etc. It never truly captured people's attention though.

It was not until Shonen Jump brought its distribution method to the U.S. that manga really took off here. The Shonen Jump issues offered people a chance to read the most recent issues of their favorite series and pick up stories about other series they might not have read about. Furthermore, the trade paperbacks, as others have mentioned, were much cheaper than their comic book counterparts. The fact that the continuity of several of these series could be viewed on television/the Internet via anime was also a perk.

The cheap, phonebook-style comic compilations that have appeared more recently will only appeal to people like me who look fondly upon the hijinks of the Silver Age. I don't think any kid is going to mistake a Marvel Essentials Dazzler compilation for a Naruto paperback, even if both are largely in black and white.

it would be nice to see a comic book TV series that could somehow depict comic continuity in a reasonable way. The Batman and Justice League animated series were wonderful, but I do not think they drove people to comics the way anime has for manga. If a canonical TV show were to made that could coherently work into the current comic continuity, I think the comic business would see a lot more new blood in it.

Digital distribution would be pretty boss too.

Wolfgang
08-12-2008, 02:42 PM
The cheap, phonebook-style comic compilations that have appeared more recently will only appeal to people like me who look fondly upon the hijinks of the Silver Age. I don't think any kid is going to mistake a Marvel Essentials Dazzler compilation for a Naruto paperback, even if both are largely in black and white.

When I talk about those, I mean going forward, not collecting old stuff. Have DC's current lineup of their most popular books - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, JLU, whatever (I don't care what their most popular books are, that's an example) - in one big volume with a 32-page story each month. OR, maybe collect all the Bat-family, Super-family, Spider-family books into one volume or something.

Pheeel
08-12-2008, 02:46 PM
I've heard there are rumblings of a new speculator's market rising up in American comics. Any truth to that?

God, I hope not. Isn't that would caused all the problems last time?

Sorry to go off on a bit of a tangent here, but something I've only really discovered recently is that Bob Kane was a shit. An unbelievable shit. I'd heard his claim to be the sole creator of Batman was dubious, but I'd never known the extent of his shitness until now. I mean, Jesus, not only did he keep the writers and artists who actually drew the Batman comics he stuck his name on for something like twenty-five years from being credited, he was also a shameless plagiarist - there's a very interesting blog somewhere detailing how his first Batman strip is full of tracings and direct steals from children's book illustrations. He would also attempt to convince anyone that was around that drawings by other Batman artists were by him, even once claiming that Neal Adams was his "ghost" - and this was in the seventies, years since he'd even touched a comic. The guy was incredible, an utter sham.

Tomm Guycot
08-12-2008, 02:54 PM
If a canonical TV show were to made that could coherently work into the current comic continuity, I think the comic business would see a lot more new blood in it.

...except that even anime/manga doesn't work this way. Often the anime is telling years-old stories from the manga. Just as often, the anime is an "alternate universe" where entirely different arcs take place.

mrbuu82
08-12-2008, 02:56 PM
When I talk about those, I mean going forward, not collecting old stuff. Have DC's current lineup of their most popular books - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, JLU, whatever (I don't care what their most popular books are, that's an example) - in one big volume with a 32-page story each month. OR, maybe collect all the Bat-family, Super-family, Spider-family books into one volume or something.

I think those current paperbacks are the only method way that I would ever try to pick up comic books again. I really like the idea of sticking a number of different books from similar backgrounds together for some sort of uber-volume, but I doubt the big companies would buy into the idea. Even if they did, I don't think they would attempt to price it competatively with manga volumes.

I guess that's a whole other can of worms though. Is there a general belief that manga has undermined comic books?

Sheana
08-12-2008, 03:00 PM
What's wrong with comics?

Dan DiDio, Joe Quesada and Brian Michael Bendis.

Thankyewverymuch.

Tomm Guycot
08-12-2008, 03:00 PM
I think Manga has killed Comics (yes manga are just Japanese Comics, but for the sake of this concept they're separate).

Comics are now an "adult market" or whatever, which is a problem - but there's just as much manga that appeals to adults without requiring the huge amount of history w/ the license.

Also, manga appeals to kids. Kids are impatient. I'd much rather buy 6 issues of Naruto every two months (re: one volume) than 1 issue of whatever per month. Then there's the fact that comic deadlines are a joke and it'd be more like 1 issue every 6 weeks.

Manga is also constantly changing. If it doesn't end, something major switches up to keep it interesting year after year. But in American comics, after Batman solves "arc '08" I have completely confidence he'll go back to being normal Batman for "arc 09".

JdG
08-12-2008, 03:03 PM
I think you should all read this (http://www.suck.com/daily/99/07/26/) as it explains everything.

Pombar
08-12-2008, 03:03 PM
So essentially manga is thriving because it's not a company trying to keep X numbers of established characters doing things ad infinitum, it's companies just paying for separate comic series not book series that aren't written by Terry Brooks - so even the long running ones do develop, because they're still aiming for an eventual ending and aren't expected to last forever.
Pretty sure I could've said that with more clarity and in half as many words, but I'm tired.

Wolfgang
08-12-2008, 03:52 PM
I really like the idea of sticking a number of different books from similar backgrounds together for some sort of uber-volume, but I doubt the big companies would buy into the idea. Even if they did, I don't think they would attempt to price it competatively with manga volumes.

Which is why the big companies are ridiculous, and Shonen Jump U.S. is the most popular comic book in America. It also costs roughly twice what an individual book from Marvel or DC costs, but sells much, much more per month.

Manga is also constantly changing. If it doesn't end, something major switches up to keep it interesting year after year. But in American comics, after Batman solves "arc '08" I have completely confidence he'll go back to being normal Batman for "arc 09".

That's just a stylistic choice, though. There's no reason an ongoing Batman series couldn't be in the same book every month as a Superman one.

onimaruxlr
08-12-2008, 04:12 PM
What's wrong with comics?

Brian Michael Bendis.

i will fight you
seriously
this is what i am saying
i will fight you in some kind of
cage fight
with you

Tomm Guycot
08-12-2008, 05:31 PM
That's just a stylistic choice, though. There's no reason an ongoing Batman series couldn't be in the same book every month as a Superman one.

Not only is this not at all what that statement was saying (at all), but I don't disagree with what you're saying.

RAC
08-12-2008, 05:32 PM
What's wrong with comics?

Brian Michael Bendis.

You forgot Mark Millar.

I actually cannot articulate everything I think that's wrong with superhero comics quickly or easily, so I won't. But for me a big part of it is that a lot of people writing them today seem actively embarrassed by the sillier, kiddier aspects of their legacy characters. Read some really old Marvel comics, then read Civil War, and see if you don't think of this guy. (http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20050606.html)

Mr. Sensible
08-12-2008, 05:43 PM
I totally forgot about this, but I've got the first two volumes of Tom Strong. I think it toes the line well between funnybook fantasy and edgy writing. Um, don't let the fact that Alan Moore writes it scare you away! The script is almost mainstream by his standards.

Wolfgang
08-12-2008, 05:46 PM
Not only is meh muh mleh, but bleh buh mleh meh moo.

It's cool. The way you wrote it read (to me) like you were using it as a point why American comics cannot follow a manga distribution formula.

Sven
08-12-2008, 06:05 PM
You forgot Mark Millar. .[/url]

Millar's worse than Bendis, though - Bendis does seem to have affection for the characters he writes, it's just that he's got no idea how to pace a comic (and, as shown in his Daredevil run, doesn't have the inclination to do the most rudimentary of research into what he's writing). Millar honestly doesn't like a single hero other than Superman.

And regarding the magna thing... realistically, DC and Marvel can't compete on price when the only overhead the competitors are dealing with are licensing and printing costs. North American comics are more of an upmarket good, which is why it's harder to get them into the hands of kids.

That said, DC's all-ages line (Tiny Titans et al, even with the stupidity that was the cancellation of JLU) is a good first step if they keep it going. It's going to be seven to ten years before they start seeing that pay off, however. God knows they're better reads for kids than a random Naruto volume or whatever.

KCar
08-12-2008, 06:27 PM
Hey now, everybody. I'd like to point out that a lot of the Ultimates line is actually solving what's been wrong with comics for years. Maybe not Ultimate X-Men or anything, but the renewed focus on the six issue story arc and the re-invention/invigoration of classic characters that aren't bogged down by thousands of back issues worth of continuity [SEE # 251 - ED.] is actually a very, very good thing. I can't vouch for the mainstream continuity, but Millar and Bendis did some good things (and, yes, some bad things) in the reboot.

Speaking of reboots, I want Ellis to return to New Universal. Seeing that idea take off after all these years would give me a thrill. Can you imagine a successful Kickers Inc?

No, neither can I.

teekun
08-12-2008, 06:44 PM
Comics which are written by committee not by a single author are whats wrong with comics. I mean, sure a certain arc may have one writer behind it, but that writer still has to abide by the laws set in place by the numerous authors before him. Some people can pull it off, Ed Brubaker's Captain America is a great example, but for the most part I don't think it really works.

That said, I find myself enjoying creator owned and written titles most of all. Y the Last Man, Ex Machina, Invincible, The Walking Dead. All titles that have had one specific creative team for most, if not all, of their entire run. I want to see more titles that have one writer with a vision than further interpretations of the same old superheroes.

Kishi
08-12-2008, 06:53 PM
The plots are fruitless soap operas where nothing ever really changes (see Tomm's post) and you have to have been reading for twenty years or have some kind of encyclopedia on hand to follow what's going on with the twenty thousand costumed dunderheads running around.

Too many costumed dunderheads in general, really. It's fine when each one gets his own universe (like Batman, when they'll give it to him), but when they all get together and forms teams and crap, it just looks stupid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:KingdomCome.jpg).

Sven
08-12-2008, 07:00 PM
but the renewed focus on the six issue story arc... is actually a very, very good thing.

Okay, this I GOTTA hear. Bendis may not be single-handedly responsible for that aberration (it was a Jemas thing), but now it's gotten to the point where people take an idea that might fill two issues and stretch it to six because that's what made Bendis so successful.

It got to the point where Marvel actually ordered Geoff Johns of all people to re-write his first Avengers arc because it was only five issues long (and because of Marvel's still-persistent "emphathise with the average person on the street" stupidity, that culminated with that reporter in Frontline telling Captain America that he was irrelevant because he didn't know what Myspace was).

Excitemike
08-13-2008, 08:55 AM
I think Manga has killed Comics

The word you are looking for is "euthanized"

Reinforcements
08-13-2008, 09:03 AM
The plots are fruitless soap operas where nothing ever really changes (see Tomm's post) and you have to have been reading for twenty years or have some kind of encyclopedia on hand to follow what's going on with the twenty thousand costumed dunderheads running around.

Too many costumed dunderheads in general, really. It's fine when each one gets his own universe (like Batman, when they'll give it to him), but when they all get together and forms teams and crap, it just looks stupid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:KingdomCome.jpg).
Aww, Kingdom Come is actually good. It's in the future! And Bruce Wayne is a grizzled old man with an army of robot Batmen! And Alex Ross! ALEX ROSS, man!

wahoninja
08-13-2008, 09:32 AM
I love me some comic books. Western or Japanese. I'm old, too.

Nicholai
08-13-2008, 10:36 AM
The death of the comics industry really isn't all that complicated. Just like anything though there are several reasons.

-The Direct Market. Not being able to buy comics at more varied locations than some hobby shop is a huge piece of the puzzle. Even if someone were interested in reading about Spider-Man they may well not want to wonder into the world of a hobby shop. When my dad first started buying me comics he got them usually from a newstand. Of course there were hobby shops then too, but they weren't the only means of distribution.

-Also, while it hasn't been discussed much in this thread there is simply much more for the audience to do than there was when the market was much more healthy. Kids/teens and even twenty-somethings have more entertainment options than they did both in my dad's generation (he read X-Men and F4 as they launched) and even when I was much younger.

One note about Manga too: while there are certainly a number of huge selling series, manga sales have begun to cool and collapse in many cases. If you go to your local book store or hobby shop and look at the volumes available a huge number of them have been canceled through their run and won't finish. Tokyo Pop is restructuring and other publishers have gone out of business.

locit
08-13-2008, 11:16 AM
Yeah, I was at ye olde comics shoppe today to pick up Hellboy vol. 6, and I turned around to see a rack (oy) of Red Sonja comics with her sitting seductively atop a pile of human skulls on one of the covers (among other, equally ludicrous poses). So yeah, that made me feel pretty awesome about being in said shop. I can see why people might not want to brave the more skeezy elements to find the good stuff, like Nicholai said.

KCar
08-13-2008, 11:51 AM
Okay, this I GOTTA hear. Bendis may not be single-handedly responsible for that aberration (it was a Jemas thing), but now it's gotten to the point where people take an idea that might fill two issues and stretch it to six because that's what made Bendis so successful.

Okay - admittedly I'm not that into mainstream comics, but I thought that the move towards story arcs that actually end was a good one. My last major foray into comics was in the 90s (shudder) and discrete stories WERE NOT the order of the day. I agree that it's not a good idea to stretch a story to fit the six issue format, but I think that the six issue format is not a bad one for telling an interesting story that doesn't ramble forever, or simply become a non-entity. Maybe six shouldn't be the standard, but I think the "1 of x" treatment of story arcs is a great one and should be continued - I see it as the solution to Civil War and 52 style bullshit.

onimaruxlr
08-13-2008, 01:02 PM
I believe the sentiment against the "writing for trades" approach is that it often bloats a story more than it needs to be. Which is stupid, if you ask me. What's wrong with a TPB containing 5 issues and one shot, or 4 issues and two one shots, or 4 contiguous issues and a 2 part story, or two 3 part arcs, or....

I really wonder how the Marvel Adventures books (that is to say Marvel's younger readers line) sells. They're in the smaller manga-looking format at a reduced price and some of them are genuinely awesome (there was one where the Avengers--whichincluded Storm for some reason--went to a psychiatrist). They certainly continue to pump them out so they gotta be making money, but I'm curious as to how much.

Ample Vigour
08-13-2008, 01:03 PM
My last major foray into comics was in the 90s (shudder) and discrete stories WERE NOT the order of the day.

Do I detect the dulcet tones of the X-Cutioner's Song?

Wolfgang
08-13-2008, 01:09 PM
I really wonder how the Marvel Adventures books (that is to say Marvel's younger readers line) sells. They're in the smaller manga-looking format at a reduced price and some of them are genuinely awesome (there was one where the Avengers--whichincluded Storm for some reason--went to a psychiatrist). They certainly continue to pump them out so they gotta be making money, but I'm curious as to how much.

That's the thing Marvel's doing right.

Nicholai
08-13-2008, 01:15 PM
I really wonder how the Marvel Adventures books (that is to say Marvel's younger readers line) sells. They're in the smaller manga-looking format at a reduced price and some of them are genuinely awesome (there was one where the Avengers--whichincluded Storm for some reason--went to a psychiatrist). They certainly continue to pump them out so they gotta be making money, but I'm curious as to how much.

To a degree both Marvel and DC would be willing to accept lower sales on these books in the hopes that they either catch on or at the very least get the youngins reading them to move onto other titles. Some of them are genuinely pretty good though in an all-ages sort of way both on the Marvel and DC side. If I knew a young kid who was somewhat interested in comics Marvel Adventures or Tiny Titans, Superfriends, or Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam would be a good buy for them. (Tiny Titans, while I haven't bought it, has genuinely funny moments from the pages I've seen).

tungwene
08-13-2008, 01:54 PM
I'd love to get into Western comics more but as some one who's not already a fan that's not an easy thing to do. I don't care about super hero comics for the same reason I don't care about shonen jump. I've read most of the must-read works like Sandman, Jimmy Corrigan, Y: The Last Man, Ghost World, Alan Moore etc. The graphic novel section of the bookstore is 1/6 the size of the manga section and it's an unorganized mess. I'm not sure how the books are arranged. I think it's by publishers but sometimes it's by author or title. It's like three different people each following a different organization scheme put the section together. The text is hard to read on the nearly identical thin black spines. Basically even if I do have a title in mind I want there's no guarantee I even know how to find it. This in comparison to the manga section with their clearly readable titles printed on their spines in alphabetical order and is it any wonder which side of the store gets my business 9 times out of 10.

One note about Manga too: while there are certainly a number of huge selling series, manga sales have begun to cool and collapse in many cases. If you go to your local book store or hobby shop and look at the volumes available a huge number of them have been canceled through their run and won't finish. Tokyo Pop is restructuring and other publishers have gone out of business.Tokyopop's financial woes were written on the wall long before now. Their problems are unique within the industry and are having little to no effect on other companies' business. The only publisher of note that has gone out of business lately is Iris Print which publishes purely yaoi, which is already an overcrowded niche market so it's not surprising they got axed. A lot of the current financial troubles of the manga industry as a whole is due to Borders being one step away from bankruptcy. The economy just plain sucks at the moment and people just aren't willing to shell out their bucks for entertainment.

Evil Dead Junkie
08-13-2008, 02:07 PM
As a newcomer to comics I think the problem is the reverence that these companies have for these cash cows, I mean characters.

Now I know he's not the most popular guy around these parts, but look at Frank Miller and All Star Batman And Robin.

Silly? Yeah. Stupid? Yeah. Sloppy? Well kind of.

But you know what? It's fucking fun. Miller isn't afraid of these icons, the way most every single writer seems to be. He gets in down and dirty and mud wrassles them. Potraying them as impotent idiots, insane, and incompetent. Makes you question why they're icons. And the book is alive with a real artistic drive behind it. It's not micromanaged to tie into a movie (must get Spidey back in Black Suit) nor is it micromanaged to tie into retarded editorial decisions (must get Spidey to sell his soul to Satan).

People need to have fun with these characters, experiment with them. Go ahead they can take it. They've been around for seventy years some of them. You're telling me they can't handle a little shove? I'd rather read something like All Star Batman and Robin, then something "respectable" like Final Crisis any day of the week.

Which brings me to my next issue which is trickier because it's more tied in to what comics are.

Namely continuity.

On the surface continuity is one of the most appealing things about Comics. It's bracing to be able to tell stories over decades rather then the two hours of a film, or even a couple seasons of TV show. But the problem is that Continuity has been too firmly embraced to the point where, (and take my word on this one) a new fan has no idea where to start or where things fit in.

So Batman's wandering the streets strung out on Crystal Meth. OK but is he also locked in some cyborg/greenlantern's/god things evil pod? Is that the same Batman? Where do they fit together?

This shit is maddening, and the main reason that someone like me who IS ACTIVELY LOOKING TO READ SUPERHERO COMICS doesn't.

I read Ultimate Spiderman, Runaways, All Star, and the occasional Long Halloween type trade specifically because all those titles keep me far far away from the clusterfucked universe. And every attempt to simplify it just makes it more fucked up. Just another thing you need to know before you can read a twenty something page story somewhat coherently.

Which brings me to the last thing that fucks up mainstream comics, namely the fact that nothing is ever going to change. It used to be that Only Jason Todd and Bucky stayed dead, now we don't even have that.

Take Batman RIP a book I'm not reading despite the fact that I really want to explore the author more, and like everyone after Dark Knight I've got a hankering for some Batman.

I'm not reading it because I know it's going to be a waste of fucking time. Because really do you think DC is going to let Bruce Wayne stop being Batman. I mean even if that happens how long do you think it'll last. A year? Tops. I mean maybe.

He'll become Batman again because to the public Bruce Wayne=Batman. Do you see Warner Brother's spending 180 million on a Batman the public is not aware of?

Fuck no. Even if DC did want to go through with the changes (which I can bet you they fucking don't) They're Parent company would slap a mandate on them toot sweet. In short I specifically know that any money I spend on Batman RIP will be wasted. Because the story doesn't mean shit.

Just like all of main stream comics until they get all the Crisis's and Civil War's out of their system and get back to the business of telling stories that can be understood by people other then the one's who have devoted their lives to this shit.

KCar
08-13-2008, 04:16 PM
Do I detect the dulcet tones of the X-Cutioner's Song?

You do, you do, OH GOD YOU DO. And not only the X-Cutioner's Song - even little shit, like the Muir Island Saga (remember that? No? Probably for the best).

Paul le Fou
08-13-2008, 04:45 PM
For as much I despise the intractable mess that is superhero comics, with all their crossovers and self-references and fucked-up continuity, I can't help but love Age of Apocalypse.

Aquadeo
08-13-2008, 05:19 PM
Age of Apocalypse works for the same reason that David Sirlin calls Marvel vs. Capcom 2 balanced: There's so much going on that everything is equally broken.

Come to think of it, Evil Dead Junkie's point about not being afraid to push around the title characters also applies here.

Ample Vigour
08-13-2008, 11:40 PM
Age of Apocalypse works for the same reason that David Sirlin calls Marvel vs. Capcom 2 balanced: There's so much going on that everything is equally broken.

That is fucking brilliant. AoA was the last thing I ever thought I would enjoy from Marvel until I ran into Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.

Reinforcements
08-14-2008, 05:14 AM
As a newcomer to comics I think the problem is the reverence that these companies have for these cash cows, I mean characters.

Now I know he's not the most popular guy around these parts, but look at Frank Miller and All Star Batman And Robin.

Silly? Yeah. Stupid? Yeah. Sloppy? Well kind of.

But you know what? It's fucking fun. Miller isn't afraid of these icons, the way most every single writer seems to be. He gets in down and dirty and mud wrassles them. Potraying them as impotent idiots, insane, and incompetent. Makes you question why they're icons. And the book is alive with a real artistic drive behind it. It's not micromanaged to tie into a movie (must get Spidey back in Black Suit) nor is it micromanaged to tie into retarded editorial decisions (must get Spidey to sell his soul to Satan).

People need to have fun with these characters, experiment with them. Go ahead they can take it. They've been around for seventy years some of them. You're telling me they can't handle a little shove? I'd rather read something like All Star Batman and Robin, then something "respectable" like Final Crisis any day of the week.
Interesting. I love All-Star Batman and Robin (and hate Final Crisis bullshit), but I love it on a hilariously-bad-Frank-Miller-is-a-crazy-idiot level. If I gave him as much benefit of the doubt as I could, I'd still just see it as a big "fuck you" to fans of Batman (or any character that appears in the comic), which just makes him an asshole.

So yeah. ASBaR is great, but I can't see defending it as a work of art.

Pheeel
08-14-2008, 05:17 AM
Take Batman RIP a book I'm not reading despite the fact that I really want to explore the author more, and like everyone after Dark Knight I've got a hankering for some Batman.

I'm not reading it because I know it's going to be a waste of fucking time. Because really do you think DC is going to let Bruce Wayne stop being Batman. I mean even if that happens how long do you think it'll last. A year? Tops. I mean maybe.

He'll become Batman again because to the public Bruce Wayne=Batman. Do you see Warner Brother's spending 180 million on a Batman the public is not aware of?

Fuck no. Even if DC did want to go through with the changes (which I can bet you they fucking don't) They're Parent company would slap a mandate on them toot sweet. In short I specifically know that any money I spend on Batman RIP will be wasted. Because the story doesn't mean shit.


Yes, exactly this. Batman is surely DC's(and by extension Time-Warners) biggest property right now. There's no way they are going mess with that, not when there are so many movies, games, cartoons, toys etc etc tied into this version of the character.

Like Stan Lee probably said, these big events are all about "the illusion of change". No matter how many times you upset the game board, in the end you're just going to have to put the pieces back exactly as they were.

Nicholai
08-14-2008, 06:28 AM
Namely continuity.

On the surface continuity is one of the most appealing things about Comics. It's bracing to be able to tell stories over decades rather then the two hours of a film, or even a couple seasons of TV show. But the problem is that Continuity has been too firmly embraced to the point where, (and take my word on this one) a new fan has no idea where to start or where things fit in.

So Batman's wandering the streets strung out on Crystal Meth. OK but is he also locked in some cyborg/greenlantern's/god things evil pod? Is that the same Batman? Where do they fit together?

This shit is maddening, and the main reason that someone like me who IS ACTIVELY LOOKING TO READ SUPERHERO COMICS doesn't.

I read Ultimate Spiderman, Runaways, All Star, and the occasional Long Halloween type trade specifically because all those titles keep me far far away from the clusterfucked universe. And every attempt to simplify it just makes it more fucked up. Just another thing you need to know before you can read a twenty something page story somewhat coherently.

Which brings me to the last thing that fucks up mainstream comics, namely the fact that nothing is ever going to change. It used to be that Only Jason Todd and Bucky stayed dead, now we don't even have that.

Take Batman RIP a book I'm not reading despite the fact that I really want to explore the author more, and like everyone after Dark Knight I've got a hankering for some Batman.

I'm not reading it because I know it's going to be a waste of fucking time. Because really do you think DC is going to let Bruce Wayne stop being Batman. I mean even if that happens how long do you think it'll last. A year? Tops. I mean maybe.

He'll become Batman again because to the public Bruce Wayne=Batman. Do you see Warner Brother's spending 180 million on a Batman the public is not aware of?

Fuck no. Even if DC did want to go through with the changes (which I can bet you they fucking don't) They're Parent company would slap a mandate on them toot sweet. In short I specifically know that any money I spend on Batman RIP will be wasted. Because the story doesn't mean shit.

Just like all of main stream comics until they get all the Crisis's and Civil War's out of their system and get back to the business of telling stories that can be understood by people other then the one's who have devoted their lives to this shit.

These sorts of complaints aren't new. This isn't new to comics. If you don't want to read a Batman story because you know he won't die or you know he'll eventually resume being Batman you should just step away from reading comics forever.

The whole point is you don't NEED to read Final Crisis to enjoy Batman RIP. There is continuity up to a point but they simply cannot have every instance of a character in every book written by so many people reflect the exact moments of Batman from his main book. The idea that "The story doesn't mean shit" is ridiculous because if you're only looking for them to have greater long term effects than none of them ever mean shit. You enjoy the story because it is a good story. Just because he is still Batman and his back is healed doesn't mean that Knightfall wasn't a pretty good arc (for the early '90s). You can read any number of great stories from the past seventy years and enjoy them for the stories they contain even though they may not effect the status quo now.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a certain level of continuity. If Batman is replaced by Dick Grayson at the end of RIP for any length of time it will be reflected in other current books like JLA, but you simply cannot have every book tie in immediately with everything else going on. Superman is fighting Brainiac in the current (fantastic) arc of Action Comics and you don't have to sit and get angry thinking "does this happen before or after Final Crisis?" to enjoy the story.

This is how continuity is now for both Marvel and DC. All the titles are connected and can reflect changes in other titles, but they don't constantly refer back to what is going on in other books. If you can't get behind the idea of Batman having stuff going on in his book and still being in JLA and Final Crisis then it is never going to work for you. Marvel is no different. If you are needlessly tied up into the idea of "what's going on in Fantastic Four and Thor? Does it happen during Secret Invasion?" you'll never enjoy anything.

Once again: this is not new. When I started reading comics in the late '80s/early '90s I didn't know who half the X-Men were and who were some of the other side characters and team members of the Avengers. If you're interested enough you'll figure it out (which is so much easier now with wikipedia than it was when I was young) but, now, it isn't even as much of a problem as before. Don't know the history of the New Gods? So what. You don't need it to read Final Crisis. All you need to know is that Darkseid is a big evil "god" and he's angry. You know more? Great, but not necessary.

Paul le Fou
08-14-2008, 08:17 AM
Also, for a non-comics history perspective, if you're that worried about knowing that the main character will most definitely not die or leave because he's the main character, there are serials of any sort to worry about. Any series of books or movies - Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, etc. If anything, the problem there isn't with Batman comics in general, the problem is with the Batman RIP one-off; they're trying to sell a death (is it actually death? the point is the same regardless) story in a story where the hero can't die. The only possible reason to do this is to generate controversy/publicity, and is destined to ring false from its very inception. Death of Superman anybody? They (not to mention, we) should honestly know better.

It might be interesting to take it off into its own little sub/side-universe and tell it, and that can be as much fun as anything - Superman: Red Son, the Dark Knight Returns, etc.

The thing about superhero stories is, as people have mentioned, they're not actually characters, they're concepts. There are as many Batmans as Batman writers. When you string all these different Batmans together over decades, you end up with a horrible mess of the story, and characterization has been shot to shit a hundred times over, but you've still got the concept of Batman underneath for someone to do with as they wish. The different movies or side-comics are perfect examples.

Honestly, I wish superhero comics would slide more towards this kind of framework than the bloated serial format. It's far easier for someone who likes Batman to pick up and read a one-off like The Dark Knight Returns or Red Son or even a self-contained story like Long Halloween without having to worry about what comes before or after. I have absolutely no interest in picking up Batman, but I'd love to see more Batman (etc.) stories that are actually accessible to, y'know, the average person.

Nicholai
08-14-2008, 08:32 AM
Also, for a non-comics history perspective, if you're that worried about knowing that the main character will most definitely not die or leave because he's the main character, there are serials of any sort to worry about. Any series of books or movies - Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, etc. If anything, the problem there isn't with Batman comics in general, the problem is with the Batman RIP one-off; they're trying to sell a death (is it actually death? the point is the same regardless) story in a story where the hero can't die. The only possible reason to do this is to generate controversy/publicity, and is destined to ring false from its very inception. Death of Superman anybody? They (not to mention, we) should honestly know better.

It might be interesting to take it off into its own little sub/side-universe and tell it, and that can be as much fun as anything - Superman: Red Son, the Dark Knight Returns, etc.

The thing about superhero stories is, as people have mentioned, they're not actually characters, they're concepts. There are as many Batmans as Batman writers. When you string all these different Batmans together over decades, you end up with a horrible mess of the story, and characterization has been shot to shit a hundred times over, but you've still got the concept of Batman underneath for someone to do with as they wish. The different movies or side-comics are perfect examples.

Honestly, I wish superhero comics would slide more towards this kind of framework than the bloated serial format. It's far easier for someone who likes Batman to pick up and read a one-off like The Dark Knight Returns or Red Son or even a self-contained story like Long Halloween without having to worry about what comes before or after. I have absolutely no interest in picking up Batman, but I'd love to see more Batman (etc.) stories that are actually accessible to, y'know, the average person.

While it is titled Batman RIP most people have been saying for some time that it is more about the someone replacing Batman rather than him dying. They aren't actually trying to sell a "death" they are trying to sell a change in Batman. The ads don't say "watch Batman die" or anything of that sort. As you say everyone knows the character won't die, and that if he does "die" he won't stay dead. The point, especially for someone like Grant Morrison is to tell a good story, and it was the same for when Superman died. Whether you think it was a good story or not depends on personal taste, but the writers were just trying to tell an interesting story. Was it also a sales ploy and meant to drum up interest? Of course, it is a business after all. But if you read or watch interviews with the people behind the Death of Superman you'll find that they had no idea that it would be a huge as it became.

The level of continuity right now is at sort of a mid-range level. Stories and books connect, but not in the tight way they did in the '80s and '90s, but for most it is better than simply a series of books that are all unrelated to one another. The structure as it stands is supposed to lend you the ability to read these collected stories without too many problems in a trade later on. Just as the Long Halloween was once a piece of "continuity" for Batman so will Batman RIP be in the future. You can read last year's Sinestro Corps War trades and not care that it is part of the continuity of Green Lantern. Many of the great trades that people talk about for certain teams or characters were at one point in or still are in continuity. Most arcs now are "self contained stories" that while they may draw on a bit of what happened before and effect future stories can still be enjoyed on their own.

RAC
08-14-2008, 10:22 AM
I was thinking about comics in paperback when I woke up this morning, and I remembered something:

Besides the price, the other reason manga paperbacks kick the sales asses of superhero comics? Numbered Spines.

You know where to start reading most manga because of the big damn 1 on the spine! There are at most two, maybe three versions of any given franchise, and if you get the first book in a sequence you're fine. Which Batman book should you start with to get into the character? Which Spider-Man? I've seen that question asked more places and more times than I can count. You can start reading manga without having to have help.

I remembered this because I happened upon one of my mother's X/1999 books and remembered how damn annoying it was to discern the proper order of the things. As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that, pre-Jump and Tokyopop, Ranma 1/2 was one of the only manga that was numbered, and it was also one of the most popular. Manga got popular when it stopped trying to be like US graphic novels.

Evil Dead Junkie
08-14-2008, 05:09 PM
Just as the Long Halloween was once a piece of "continuity" for Batman so will Batman RIP be in the future.


There in lies the problem, it's incredibly annoying to me to read stories that ultimately have no bearing on who the character is. I'm funny that way.

Knowing that more or less EVERYTHING can be retroactively rewritten simply annoys me to no end.

Also, for a non-comics history perspective, if you're that worried about knowing that the main character will most definitely not die or leave because he's the main character, there are serials of any sort to worry about. Any series of books or movies - Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, etc.

And I would argue that those stories suffer for it. Doyle started writing Sherlock again to get people to stop yelling at him on the street. Not out of any great need to write the character again and it shows.

And once Ian Fleming resurrected Bond at the end of From Russia With Love, the books became entirely formula.

Once an author or authors stop playing by the rules they have set, the reader has very little reason to invest in them either.

If Batman is replaced by Dick Grayson at the end of RIP for any length of time it will be reflected in other current books like JLA, but you simply cannot have every book tie in immediately with everything else going on. Superman is fighting Brainiac in the current (fantastic) arc of Action Comics and you don't have to sit and get angry thinking "does this happen before or after Final Crisis?" to enjoy the story.

Yeah I like character development I can follow and a consistent universe. I'm funny that way.

Don't know the history of the New Gods? So what. You don't need it to read Final Crisis. All you need to know is that Darkseid is a big evil "god" and he's angry. You know more? Great, but not necessary.

Once again you're really underestimating how complicated Final Crisis appears to the average reader.

Merus
08-14-2008, 06:41 PM
I think most everyone has said what I would have said: I don't read (superhero) comics because I want a good story with some character development. Almost any other kind of comic product (manga, webcomics, graphic novels) delivers this. Superhero comics do not.

Also, what everyone else said.

Nicholai
08-14-2008, 08:33 PM
Yeah I like character development I can follow and a consistent universe. I'm funny that way.

If you want consistent universe where you know when every instance of every character is happening you are in a minority. That was the nightmare of continuity in both Marvel and DC in the late 80s and early 90s in which every issue had a dozen or more footnotes directing you to events in another issue.

Once again you're really underestimating how complicated Final Crisis appears to the average reader.

Actually I think you're looking too deep. It isn't that complicated. I'm not saying that from my own experience as I admittedly have in depth DC knowledge, but from a friend who has always been a Marvel buying guy who has been buying it and enjoying it immensely. His few questions have been easily answered. Sven already went over many of the questions. You may be seeing someone like Darkseid and for some reason believe you need to know his entire history and that of the New Gods to understand what is going on. My friend doesn't know much more than he is an evil "god" who is taking over the Earth. Many of my friend's questions about Final Crisis are one's that I don't have any answers to because they are the central questions that are the mystery that Grant Morrison is creating.

There in lies the problem, it's incredibly annoying to me to read stories that ultimately have no bearing on who the character is. I'm funny that way.

Knowing that more or less EVERYTHING can be retroactively rewritten simply annoys me to no end.

As someone who is new to comics if this is what you want you should simply forget it as this isn't the superhero comics world. Why you care if some story arc from a dozen years ago is disregarded makes no sense to me. As Paul said earlier in this thread a character like Batman isn't a complete "character" from the 1930s until today. He is a concept; a framework of a character. He only becomes a character in the hands of a writer. Just because The Long Halloween might not directly effect current continuity doesn't make it any less interesting of a story. If you don't want to read (a good story) something though because it may have disregarded some story you probably never read or may become disregarded in the future than just give up on all superhero comics from both Marvel and DC.

Merus
08-14-2008, 08:49 PM
If you want consistent universe where you know when every instance of every character is happening you are in a minority.

No, I think the solution that Marvel and DC took - to do the same one-universe multiple-stories bullshit - was the problem, not the desire for a consistent universe.

As someone who is new to comics if this is what you want you should simply forget it as this isn't the superhero comics world.

And every other kind of comic that doesn't make big sprawling epics that require you to follow stories you don't care about to get the 'full' picture are getting all the readers. People are voting with their feet here.

Nicholai
08-14-2008, 08:58 PM
No, I think the solution that Marvel and DC took - to do the same one-universe multiple-stories bullshit - was the problem, not the desire for a consistent universe.

I don't disagree with the idea that one giant event after another is a problem, but I do feel and it is often remarked by comic industry people that the days of the 80s and 90s in which you couldn't just read Uncanny because it tied directly in continuity and with copious footnotes to a half dozen other X-books (and not once in a while like they do now, but every month) were bad days for comics and especially attracting new readers.

And every other kind of comic that doesn't make big sprawling epics that require you to follow stories you don't care about to get the 'full' picture are getting all the readers. People are voting with their feet here.

I have only been talking about superhero comics. And as I first said in this thread I believe the creation of the direct market and the fracturing of interests for new readers are a bigger issue for attracting new readers than continuity. If continuity was the main problem readers would have abandoned comics in droves long before the industry collapsed. People can read manga, indie, or online comics too. I don't have any problem with that.

keele864
08-14-2008, 09:14 PM
And I would argue that those stories suffer for it. Doyle started writing Sherlock again to get people to stop yelling at him on the street. Not out of any great need to write the character again and it shows.

And once Ian Fleming resurrected Bond at the end of From Russia With Love, the books became entirely formula.

Re: Doyle and Holmes: Doyle wrote Holmes stories after he wrote "The Final Problem" but before he wrote "The Empty House." The Hound of the Baskervilles was one of these stories. In my opinion, some of Doyle's best Holmes work was written after "The Final Problem." I also think Holmes' revival is great in part because it's much more logical than most miraculous resurrections - Doyle never left a body at Reichenbach Falls.

Re: Bond - Fleming tried to get out of the formula with The Spy Who Loved Me. Of course, he thought the book was a failure and thereafter stuck to his formula. But the post-FRWL include some of the better ones. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is supposedly tremendous, and I think Dr. No is pretty damn good as well. Goldfinger is nice, even though it doesn't have the "I expect you to die" line, though its literary stand-in is pretty funny:

Bond: ---- yourself. (---- in original text)
Goldfinger: Even I cannot do that, Mr. Bond

I thought it was funny, if only because the cursing is so very much the opposite of what we expect from 007. (/digression)

So to tie this in to comics: Sometimes character resurrection works. Sometimes.

teekun
08-15-2008, 12:06 AM
I think most everyone has said what I would have said: I don't read (superhero) comics because I want a good story with some character development. Almost any other kind of comic product (manga, webcomics, graphic novels) delivers this. Superhero comics do not.

Also, what everyone else said.

Why are you speaking in absolutes like that? There are heaps of manga, webcomics, graphic novels that are absolute shit with throwaway characters and horrible stories, just like there are in superhero comics. That said, there are also superhero comics that have all of what you're looking for. You just need to know what to read.

teg
08-16-2008, 12:53 PM
What's wrong with the American comics market?
- not really that much in terms of quality and diversity, but plenty in terms of public image after that whole "seduction of the innocent" thing (for a recent example, see Castillo vs. Texas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_v._Texas)), which just opens up a whole new world of problems.
What's wrong with Marvel and DC?
- lots.
What's wrong with comic retailers?
- if a video store only sold westerns distributed by MGM, would you be interested? Too bad; they're the only video store in town.

Merus
08-16-2008, 09:54 PM
Why are you speaking in absolutes like that? There are heaps of manga, webcomics, graphic novels that are absolute shit with throwaway characters and horrible stories, just like there are in superhero comics. That said, there are also superhero comics that have all of what you're looking for. You just need to know what to read.

I'm referring here to superhero comics in the main continuities. If they're off-canon, then maybe I'll read them, because they're likely to have a proper ending.

Part of the problem is that, for the most part, I'm not particularly interested in stories about guys who dress up in spandex and fight epic battles against eternal foes which are neither particularly epic or particularly eternal.

teekun
08-17-2008, 05:41 PM
I'm referring here to superhero comics in the main continuities. If they're off-canon, then maybe I'll read them, because they're likely to have a proper ending.

Part of the problem is that, for the most part, I'm not particularly interested in stories about guys who dress up in spandex and fight epic battles against eternal foes which are neither particularly epic or particularly eternal.

Yeah, but I guess I'm saying that even within continuity comics, there are some really amazing stories that stand alone really well. A great example of this is the current run of Captain America. Sure, it links in a few things here and there from Marvel canon, but on the whole, it's just a brilliant political espionage/action story that happens to involve superheroes.

Dizzy
08-17-2008, 07:07 PM
Excellent article by David Bordwell on superhero movies and their popularity (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=2713) today. A warning for all you The Dark Knight fans, he takes some swipes at the movie.

For nearly every year since 2000, at least one title has made it into the list of top twenty worldwide grossers. For most years two titles have cracked this list, and in 2007 there were three. This year three films have already arrived in the global top twenty: The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk (four, if you count Wanted as a superhero movie).

JDS
08-17-2008, 08:05 PM
I've gotta agree with narrative inertia and the wishy/washy attitudes toward continuity being the largest problems with mainstream comics. I was explaining to a friend the other day why superhero comic fandom was especially unrewarding -- the events depicted within are basically build-up for plots that can never be resolved, in effect turning every series into a shaggy dog story, recycling tropes into eternity. The people still reading comics are ultimately okay with this, and the market has evolved to the point that those people are all that is necessary to justify the creation of more superhero comics.

Interesting premises are ignored or abandoned to appease the traditionalist die-hards that comprise 95% of the market. I'm only given brief glimpses of a world where teenagers develop bizarre powers before someone hits the reset button or decides that supermen playing cowboys and indians in silly costumes is more compelling. The fanbase, for all it's complaining, is at heart the most undiscriminating bunch around; people were willing to give insulting stunts like No More Mutants and Brand New Day a shot despite the fact that the whole deal was spit in the consumer's eye by way of editorial fiat. Continuity as it exists is a big fat McGuffin that delivers on none of its promise and exists primarily to hinder storytelling.

The community pays lip service to wanting to be treated like adults, but the desire just isn't there. As long as the Big Two can count on the hardcores and movie licensing, nothing's changing.

Edit: the fact that Chuck Austen and Greg Land can find work on high-profile books doesn't speak well of the industry either.

Sven
08-17-2008, 09:10 PM
I think there's an interesting contrast here: in the X-Files movie thread, pretty much everyone agreed that the best stories were the ones with Mulder and Scully just investigating weird shit, with no ties to the larger plotline. But then people also turn around and decry comics for setting up that exact same situation. The general public doesn't hate this type of thing - if they did, Law and Order, WWE Raw and ER would be off the air by now, and why Next Generation was ten times more popular than either Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5 or Buffy or Firefly. It's why people hounded Conan Doyle after he killed Holmes*; (almost) no one WANTS a "final" story with an iconic character.

(Look at how the DCAU ended; not with Superman dead, but with the JLA running off to fight the next battle. Or the ending of ST:TNG, with the crew playing cards and about to go off on their next adventure. That's how the majority of people want to think of the characters; ultimately, people want to be comforted rather than confronted)

Serial storytelling is always going to be a part of comics. The presence of that form of storytelling never effected the audience until the comics industry made the conscious decision to isolate itself from the mainstream by beginning direct market distribution. There's always going to be people who think superhero comics aren't for them; that's fine, I'd sooner eat my own spleen than read a Dragonball story. But it's that group in the middle - the great mass whose ears perked up when, on a slow news day in 1992, CNN ran the story that DC had killed Superman as their lead story and turned it into the biggest success story in comics history, that flocked to Dark Knight, that made Spidey into the second-biggest franchise in movie history - that the comics industry cut out of the picture in the last 20 years. None of those people want to see Batman actually win his war against crime - they want, as Nolan cleverly wrote, Batman and the Joker to be at each other's throats for a long time to come.

Just like movies and games, I don't have any desire for comics to be "serious literature" to be subject to academic critiques (I find most of such critiques to be laugh-out-loud funny, like as that above-linked aritcle). I don't desire a self-contained story structure; frankly, I don't see the point. Entertain me, I'll support the product. Don't, and I won't. No commitment needed either way, and frankly if you're thinking about them more than that you've got too much free time on your hands. It's like I was telling one of our articling students when giving feedback on a memo: academic critiques are for people who aren't billing their clients per hour.

Do I insult those that take comics seriously as an art form, who have been toiling away on their self-published project for a year? Probably.

Do I care? Not one bit.

* - Speaking of which, I think The Empty House WAS a clever bit of retconning (OH NOES) the death, but Doyle still had to jump through some pretty significant hoops. Watson is made to look pretty unthorough when searching for the body, for instance.

Merus
08-17-2008, 10:03 PM
The problem is not serial storytelling, it's that someone tried to assemble it into a coherent narrative that rapidly spiralled out of control. This is usually the problem when someone takes something that's supposed to be reasonably stand-alone and independent and turns it into something with an overarching plot - either start there, as Watchmen did, or don't do it at all.

Dizzy
08-18-2008, 05:07 AM
(I find most of such critiques to be laugh-out-loud funny, like as that above-linked aritcle).

Awww. :(

keele864
08-18-2008, 09:04 AM
* - Speaking of which, I think The Empty House WAS a clever bit of retconning (OH NOES) the death, but Doyle still had to jump through some pretty significant hoops. Watson is made to look pretty unthorough when searching for the body, for instance.

Well, "The Final Problem" states that the bottom of the waterfall was such that a proper search was impossible - not only do they not find Holmes, he being still alive, they don't find Moriarty, who actually died. "The Empty House" just reiterates what Watson had said earlier.

Excitemike
08-18-2008, 09:10 AM
Just like movies and games, I don't have any desire for comics to be "serious literature" to be subject to academic critiques.

Congratulations! You've found what was wrong with comics!

Pombar
08-18-2008, 09:16 AM
I always thought what was wrong with comics was that too many comics are trying to "tell a story forever" instead of trying to "tell a story".

teekun
08-18-2008, 05:14 PM
I always thought what was wrong with comics was that too many comics are trying to "tell a story forever" instead of trying to "tell a story".

That is definitely the problem with many of them. Although, to be fair, there are some writers who can definitely pull it off. Robert Kirkman has been working wonders with Invincible and Walking Dead for years now, and he has no end in sight, just a lot of good ideas to keep both stories going.

JDS
08-18-2008, 08:43 PM
I always thought what was wrong with comics was that too many comics are trying to "tell a story forever" instead of trying to "tell a story".

What's wrong with comics is that the events of the Dark Phoenix Saga are actually a deception carried out by a vague cosmic entity (only maybe not???) Jean Grey in fact didn't die until years later at the hands of Magneto (oops, I mean a Chinese mutant cosplaying as Magneto) and there's no way to explain this to your friends in a way that makes it seem like comics are a good thing they wanna be involved in.

KCar
08-18-2008, 08:51 PM
http://images.somethingawful.com/mjolnir/images/cg12212004/Cecotroph.jpg

teekun
08-18-2008, 08:53 PM
http://images.somethingawful.com/mjolnir/images/cg12212004/Cecotroph.jpg

now now. Rob Liefeld is what WAS wrong with comics. He's made his billions and bowed out, for the most part.

liquid
08-18-2008, 08:55 PM
The problem with comics is that they are being written by a bunch of goddamn nerds.

KCar
08-18-2008, 08:55 PM
now now. Rob Liefeld is what WAS wrong with comics.

Oh, I know. I just posted that "Lest we forget."

teg
08-19-2008, 02:25 AM
I*definitely a Troper*Hiya, fellow Troper!Just like movies and games, I don't have any desire for comics to be "serious literature" to be subject to academic critiques (I find most of such critiques to be laugh-out-loud funny, like as that above-linked aritcle)I rarely if ever read critiques, but I don't see anything wrong with wanting to read or write them.
Also, while I agree that serialization is always going to be a part of comics, I don't think that there's any reason that it has to be*, in superhero comics or otherwise.



In terms of professional (non-essay) critiques or reviews, I think that it's weird that most comics reviewers cover floppies and trade paperbacks at the same time. It's like if a movie critic decided to throw a review of a single episode of a TV show into their mix for no good reason.


*Outside of companies liking good old reliable cash cows and creators being drawn to Marvel and DC because they want to try using the company's mascot characters more than any they may have made on their own.

Zef
08-21-2008, 10:35 PM
I figured out what's wrong with comics.

They're serious and bleak, where they should all be just like this (http://community.livejournal.com/scans_daily/6082545.html).

onimaruxlr
08-21-2008, 10:50 PM
I figured out what's wrong with comics.

They're serious and bleak, where they should all be just like this (http://community.livejournal.com/scans_daily/6082545.html).

No no no they should all be like Mini Marvels or Tiny Titans what's wrong with you quit being so gender biased

KCar
08-22-2008, 07:38 AM
Next Wave saved comics, for those who stopped to notice.

Human
08-23-2008, 04:35 AM
There's no problem with comics that Grant Morrison and a trip to the pharmacy can't fix.

Balrog
08-23-2008, 07:17 AM
http://images.somethingawful.com/mjolnir/images/cg12212004/Cecotroph.jpg

I like how he is built like Queen Latifah.

Kirin
01-15-2009, 07:44 AM
I don't know if I really want to resurrect this discussion, but I have a related anecdote that I felt a need to vent about, so here you go:

So I pick up this free comic from Marvel at the local comic shop's checkout counter. It turns out it's actually about 20 pages of dense narrative summary. Being interminably curious, I read the whole thing anyway. It turns out to be a condensation of (judging from the notes in the back) around 100 volumes spread over a dozen different Marvel titles which, taken together, form the necessary background for a new storyline they're launching.

Seriously, Marvel? I'm the kind of guy who can get into a good complex fantasy world, but even I find this completely ludicrous. If you think giving this away free is going to draw in new readers as opposed to making them run screaming, I'm afraid you're going to be once again disappointed.

(For the curious, this was the setup for the "War of Kings" which appears to be the culmination of a bunch of "Cosmic" storylines. You've got some galactic empire run by Cyclops' brother, and the civilization of superbeings that's been living on the moon, plus of course the Skrulls and a handful of other expansionist civilizations that I've already forgotten all the details of in some big galactic brawl coming up. Or something.)

Zodar
01-15-2009, 07:46 AM
four months later, and the answer is still superheroes

Zef
01-15-2009, 08:05 AM
Speaking of, the latest Final Crisis apparently (SPOILER) killed Batman.

I gave up on mainline DC partway through Infinite Crisis, but that little tidbit has been making the rounds among other friends. I'm sure it relates to "what's wrong with comics" one way or another.

Sven
01-15-2009, 08:35 AM
Speaking of, the latest Final Crisis apparently (SPOILER) killed Batman.

As noted in the other thread... no, it didn't.

Wolfgang
01-15-2009, 11:21 AM
As noted in the other thread... no, it didn't.

And there's your problem. Please, please, please kill Batman.

Brickroad
01-15-2009, 11:30 AM
And there's your problem. Please, please, please kill Batman.

What the fuck?

No.

Fuck you.

Fuck this guy.

I don't read comics!

Wolfgang
01-15-2009, 11:34 AM
I don't read comics!

Neither do I! Not superhero ones, anyway.

Srsly, kill Batman. Kill him dead.

Brickroad
01-15-2009, 11:36 AM
An exhaustive list of reasons you cannot kill Batman:

1) He is Batman.
2) Batman is awesome.

Tomm Guycot
01-15-2009, 11:40 AM
I don't follow comics anymore but I was reading Wizard or somethign the other day and it had Cable, and I was like oh man Cable, so I read the article and it said something about how Cable was involved in the "messiah war" which followed the "messiah complex" storyline from 2008 and how mutants were fighting over a baby and I got really really angry and remembered why I hate reading comics now and I put down Wizard in disgust.

Wolfgang
01-15-2009, 11:40 AM
An exhaustive list of reasons you cannot kill Batman:

1) He is Batman.
2) Batman is awesome.

Spider-Man is cooler, and could kick his butt. Him and his long underwear!

Brickroad
01-15-2009, 11:42 AM
Spider-Man is cooler, and could kick his butt. Him and his long underwear!

Here is a list of reasons Spider-man could not kick Batman's butt:

1) Batman is Batman.
2) Batman is awesome.

I could do this all day!

Also, what Tomm said.

Jeanie
01-15-2009, 11:45 AM
and I put down Wizard in disgust.

See, this was the right thing when you started.

Sven
01-15-2009, 11:51 AM
Trying to follow an X-Men storyline was the first mistake, Wizard was the second... and, yeah, it all kind of piles up after a while.

While I do like the infodumps Marvel puts out (OHTMU is my favourite thing in the world for the sheer volume of geeky detail you get for the price), they don't do a good job of drawing people into stories unless they have some familiarity with the characters going in. But a big part of it is giving backstory that isn't necessary to understand the main story.

1) Batman is Batman.
2) Batman is awesome.

You don't need the second point. "Batman" should just be accepted by society as a synonym for awesomeness.

That car? Very Batman.

That girl's legs? Batman.

Nicholai
01-15-2009, 12:00 PM
Trying to follow an X-Men storyline was the first mistake, Wizard was the second... and, yeah, it all kind of piles up after a while.

While I do like the infodumps Marvel puts out (OHTMU is my favourite thing in the world for the sheer volume of geeky detail you get for the price), they don't do a good job of drawing people into stories unless they have some familiarity with the characters going in. But a big part of it is giving backstory that isn't necessary to understand the main story.


You don't need the second point. "Batman" should just be accepted by society as a synonym for awesomeness.

That car? Very Batman.

That girl's legs? Batman.

It also hurts that the X-Men are perhaps the worst offenders. I remember getting into the X-Men in the late 80s - early 90s and even then I had no idea who a ton of people were and was completely lost in the complication of it all. Of course, Claremont loved to reference his own multi-year stories and while they can be fun to read for their epic nature they are very dense for new readers, which is a trait the X-books still carry.

liquidben
01-15-2009, 01:05 PM
First off, fans of the OHotMU, should like www.marvunapp.com

Secondly, this is what's wrong with comics today (http://www.the-isb.com/?p=980#more-980). I apologize if the site's not up for you, but really, it's better if you never find out, really.

Octopus Prime
01-15-2009, 01:30 PM
It also hurts that the X-Men are perhaps the worst offenders. I remember getting into the X-Men in the late 80s - early 90s and even then I had no idea who a ton of people were and was completely lost in the complication of it all. Of course, Claremont loved to reference his own multi-year stories and while they can be fun to read for their epic nature they are very dense for new readers, which is a trait the X-books still carry.

WHat's really great is when you go back and read those same storylines from the very beginning, and many of them were either totally removed after being started, or ignored for years before being even commented on again.

Oh Wolverine, you're still a highly-evolved actual wolverine to me.

Wolfgang
01-15-2009, 01:39 PM
First off, fans of the OHotMU, should like www.marvunapp.com

Secondly, this is what's wrong with comics today (http://www.the-isb.com/?p=980#more-980). I apologize if the site's not up for you, but really, it's better if you never find out, really.

At least I discovered the solution to the Mystery of the Haunted Vagina.

liquidben
01-15-2009, 01:54 PM
At least I discovered the solution to the Mystery of the Haunted Vagina.

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

dwolfe
01-15-2009, 04:35 PM
That girl's legs? Batman.

This is just disturbing on many levels. Bravo, Sven!

Sven
01-15-2009, 04:36 PM
This is just disturbing on many levels. Bravo, Sven!

After the Haunted Vagina, I figure I needed to raise the bar.

(That is SOOOO the next big meme.)

Merus
01-15-2009, 05:05 PM
I don't follow comics anymore but I was reading Wizard or somethign the other day and it had Cable, and I was like oh man Cable, so I read the article and it said something about how Cable was involved in the "messiah war" which followed the "messiah complex" storyline from 2008 and how mutants were fighting over a baby and I got really really angry and remembered why I hate reading comics now and I put down Wizard in disgust.
This sounds about my problem with comics.

At least we'll still have Scott Pilgrim.

Excitemike
01-16-2009, 07:15 AM
Here's something wrong with comics:

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583
Written by MARK WAID
Pencils by BARRY KITSON
Cover by JOHN ROMITA SR.
YOU ASKED FOR IT, YOU GOT IT! PETER PARKER ON A DATE!
After the revelations of “Mind on Fire”, love is in the air for more than one member of the cast and Pete finally gets some time out with the ladies. (and who better to bring it to you than two men who both had dates as recently as 1987!) Amidst the romance though, forces are gathering that will spell trouble for Peter in the months to come.

32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99


This is the solicitation for the issue with Obama. If you were ordering comics for your store you wouldn't know it, though. I've been indifferent towards the appearance because it's simultaneously campy and opportunistic. But after reading about this morning (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19580) I was surprised to find out it's only a five page back-up story. The cover with Obama's face is a limited variant edition, available if a retailer orders above a certain number of issues. But why would they order extra copies if they never knew about the cameo? The demand was high and they could have sold a lot more copies. The non-Obama cover?

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d25/eye_robot/comics/asm_583_standardcover.jpg

Way to put your best foot forward, guys. It was good to see Joe Quesada dropped all that weight, at least...

Sven
01-16-2009, 08:53 AM
Yeah, in spite of people thinking this is a good thing... I've got the proverbial bad feeling about this. You can just see the speculator's market cranking up again... and while DC wound up dealing with the aftermath of that mess rather well (the post-crash DC in the mid / late 90s was my favourite comic company period ever), let's not forget that the last time they got this much mainstream attention, Marvel wound up going bankrupt.

Although to their credit, Marvel's been reprinting Obama-only runs of the book continuously since the first one sold out. Of course, since many of the people buying it are looking for a quick eBay flip, they're going to be awful upset when the "rare" book they're trying to sell turns out to be worth a buck.

And I understand that Erik Larsen is hopping mad over this, although that's more funny than anything wrong.

Excitemike
01-19-2009, 08:39 AM
Diamond (distributor to comic book shops) has a policy where small publishers who sell their titles through them must meet a minimum of $1500 in sales in order to be listed. The minimum has now risen to $2500, which means that small pubs are not only expected to raise sales in a tough economic environment but to do so in a sales channel that is largely indifferent or hostile to anything not published by Marvel or DC.

Kirin
01-20-2009, 06:09 AM
It seems like every time I hear anything about Diamond lately, it's annoying. Someone remind me why we still need monopolistic distributors in the internet age?

Excitemike
01-20-2009, 06:19 AM
It seems like every time I hear anything about Diamond lately, it's annoying. Someone remind me why we still need monopolistic distributors in the internet age?

Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Image all have exclusive contracts with them. Anyone running a comic store needs books from those publishers. There are other distributors but it's easier for most stores to order from just one. And since they have to order from Diamond to get their Marvel/DC/etc they just stick with them for everything. So the answer to your question: lazy, myopic shop owners.

I thought those exclusivity contracts would have expired by now...

Sven
01-20-2009, 06:28 AM
I thought those exclusivity contracts would have expired by now...

My guess is that the actions are inter-related: Diamond has to keep Marvel and DC (especially, as they've repeatedly tried to buy Diamond outright; Marvel was sufficiently chastened by their purchase of a distributor leading them into Chapter 11 that they're done with thoughts of vertical integration) happy, so they keep cutting them sweetheart exclusivity deals. They have to make up the money elsewhere, hence the squeezing of everyone else.

Kirin
01-20-2009, 07:04 AM
So, your standard monopolistic bastardry from a combination of Diamond and the big publishers. Not surprising.

Hmm. Maybe what the industry needs is some sort of centralized web site where independent publishers could market, sell, and ship direct to local comic shops. Anything along those lines exist? If not, someone should build it. Chop chop.

Sven
01-20-2009, 07:06 AM
Hmm. Maybe what the industry needs is some sort of centralized web site where independent publishers could market, sell, and ship direct to local comic shops.

You'd get killed on shipping costs. Killed dead. Diamond's economies of scale are the only things which make it viable for independents to ship nationally - EG, if you're shipping a couple hundred comics a week from the big two to store (x), it's no big deal to toss in a couple of indies.

Excitemike
01-20-2009, 07:39 AM
So, your standard monopolistic bastardry from a combination of Diamond and the big publishers. Not surprising.

Hmm. Maybe what the industry needs is some sort of centralized web site where independent publishers could market, sell, and ship direct to local comic shops. Anything along those lines exist? If not, someone should build it. Chop chop.

You'd have to get all the creators to agree on the terms, format, prices, etc. It's not a bad idea, though*. Image functions like that but minus the web. They act as a clearinghouse; you keep all rights and pay them a percentage based on your print run to cover administration costs. And in return you get a good spot in the catalog. I think you can even choose your printer. I love the idea, even if I can't think of an Image comic I've bought in the current century.

*Certainly better than the current business model of webcomics which is "give it all away for free and hope you make enough in t-shirt sales to cover your rent."

Diamond's economies of scale are the only things which make it viable for independents to ship nationally -

This is extra sad when you consider how small that scale is. If this new minimum order policy was in place a few years ago Scott Pilgrim wouldn't have made the cut.

Egarwaen
01-20-2009, 08:47 AM
This is extra sad when you consider how small that scale is. If this new minimum order policy was in place a few years ago Scott Pilgrim wouldn't have made the cut.

Isn't it per publisher, not per title? I'm pretty sure Oni was doing more than $2500 a month even pre-Pilgrim. What this is going to hurt is any new publisher trying to start operations.

Hmm. Maybe what the industry needs is some sort of centralized web site where independent publishers could market, sell, and ship direct to local comic shops. Anything along those lines exist? If not, someone should build it. Chop chop.

Amazon for trades and digital distribution of PDFs for regular issues would work. Slightly less satisfying, but hey... Regular issues are a pain in the ass to store anyway, right?

Sven
01-20-2009, 08:56 AM
I've been saying all along that Marvel and DC need to get together and just create the iTunes of Comics - sell single issues online for a buck each. Once they eat the infrastructure costs (which could be substantial and I suspect are), they can allow in indie publishers for a fee and things work out neatly for everyone. There was a movement under the radar to do exactly that by hiring the people who scan comic books, but apparently that fell apart - Lying in the Gutters got bits and pieces of the story, but the whole thing hasn't really come to light.

But the only way it works is if the big two pull it off. There's not enough money in the indy world to justify a move without the big two.

Nicholai
01-20-2009, 10:15 AM
I've been saying all along that Marvel and DC need to get together and just create the iTunes of Comics - sell single issues online for a buck each. Once they eat the infrastructure costs (which could be substantial and I suspect are), they can allow in indie publishers for a fee and things work out neatly for everyone. There was a movement under the radar to do exactly that by hiring the people who scan comic books, but apparently that fell apart - Lying in the Gutters got bits and pieces of the story, but the whole thing hasn't really come to light.

But the only way it works is if the big two pull it off. There's not enough money in the indy world to justify a move without the big two.

This would be a great idea. Certain comics I would totally buy this way while a few of my favorites I'd still buy the physical copy. Would be nice though. I like the baby steps Marvel has taken with some old stuff online for a subscription service and I wish DC would get in on that. I know both publishers are scared though that putting up a ton of stuff online would kill their trade business (why by an Essential or Showcase when you can read the stuff online?). I think piracy isn't talked about as much as it should be though when it comes to comics. I know several people who read dozens of comics a month, but pirate all of it online and don't pay for any of it.

Excitemike
01-20-2009, 10:17 AM
Isn't it per publisher, not per title?

It's per title. Trades stand a better chance because of their higher price point but it's bad news for single issues.

I've been saying all along that Marvel and DC need to get together and just create the iTunes of Comics - sell single issues online for a buck each.

I am all for an "iComics" but no way, no how will Marvel and DC be involved. They are only big fish in their small pond. An online distribution service would give all publishers a level playing field. That would not be in their (shortsighted) interests.

I know several people who read dozens of comics a month, but pirate all of it online and don't pay for any of it.

I used to be one of these people. I stopped doing it because I just lost interest in what was coming out. You might not have to pay me to read World War Hulk but I sure wasn't going to do it for free.

Sven
01-20-2009, 12:08 PM
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19613

Someone beat me to the idea.

I am all for an "iComics" but no way, no how will Marvel and DC be involved. They are only big fish in their small pond. An online distribution service would give all publishers a level playing field. That would not be in their (shortsighted) interests.

DC and Marvel will never be on a level playing field due to name recognition, and if they could (a) cut Diamond out of the deal and (b) make money off independent publishers signing on to their service, they'd do it (it's why the record companies are so bitter towards iTunes - they wanted to be the ones controlling distribution and making people pay to use the service). The hardest part would be, thanks to the millitant attitude of Marvel that took over in the Jemas era, getting the two companies to work together.

Hughtron
01-20-2009, 04:53 PM
I love the idea, even if I can't think of an Image comic I've bought in the current century.

BUY CASANOVA

Egarwaen
01-20-2009, 05:56 PM
It's per title. Trades stand a better chance because of their higher price point but it's bad news for single issues.

... Then how do they even calculate it when someone like Oni goes "we want to release a new title"? I mean, it hasn't had any sales yet...

Excitemike
01-21-2009, 06:11 AM
DC and Marvel will never be on a level playing field due to name recognition, and if they could (a) cut Diamond out of the deal and (b) make money off independent publishers signing on to their service, they'd do it (it's why the record companies are so bitter towards iTunes - they wanted to be the ones controlling distribution and making people pay to use the service). The hardest part would be, thanks to the millitant attitude of Marvel that took over in the Jemas era, getting the two companies to work together.

The draw of digital distribution is reaching an audience that would normally never set foot in a comic shop. Marvel and DC have name recognition but (generally) they're not making books that a mainstream audience would want to read. And neither company has an impetus to move online because they are the ones benefiting from the current system. The smart move would be for Diamond to set up their own webstore since they already have the business relationships with the comic pubs and an infrastructure in place. Not very likely, though.

... Then how do they even calculate it when someone like Oni goes "we want to release a new title"? I mean, it hasn't had any sales yet...

All comic orders are placed three months in advance. In the past, if orders for a first issue were below a certain amount they would just be dropped. All new series have to submitted to Diamond for review and can be declined at their discretion. That hill has been in place for years but now if you get over it you find a mountain in your way.

Sven
01-21-2009, 06:33 AM
Marvel and DC have name recognition but (generally) they're not making books that a mainstream audience would want to read.

That's where we differ - I think the mainstream audience would be just fine with a lot of the product (certain stuff is made specifically for the hardcore fans, obviously), it's just that no one wants to go into a comics store* to actually seek that product out. Comics fans complain endlessly about Batman stories like Hush (too obsessed with history / too many characters / whatever), but it's been a consistently good seller in the TPB market. It's not hard to figure out why: mainstream audiences are fine with picking up a continuity-heavy story like that if the art's appealing and the story's good. Comics fans bitch that all Jeph Loeb does is toss in every bad guy he can think of and then write a mystery around them, but that's what works for the mainstream audience.

By and large, the quality level and accessibility issues with comics haven't changed since the dawn of the direct market. Visibility, however, has decreased (or at least moved into other media - we've got, what, four weekly cartoons starring DC or Marvel characters now?) DC and Marvel benefit from the current situation, but they both know they should be doing better. And since cutting Diamond (and in Marvel's case, the direct market itself) out of the loop has been something they've been wanting to do for a long time, this provides that avenue.

Sucks for comics stores, but I won't miss 'em.

* - Yes, I view stores as more of a necessary evil than anything else.

Nicholai
01-21-2009, 06:59 AM
That's where we differ - I think the mainstream audience would be just fine with a lot of the product (certain stuff is made specifically for the hardcore fans, obviously), it's just that no one wants to go into a comics store* to actually seek that product out. Comics fans complain endlessly about Batman stories like Hush (too obsessed with history / too many characters / whatever), but it's been a consistently good seller in the TPB market. It's not hard to figure out why: mainstream audiences are fine with picking up a continuity-heavy story like that if the art's appealing and the story's good. Comics fans bitch that all Jeph Loeb does is toss in every bad guy he can think of and then write a mystery around them, but that's what works for the mainstream audience.

By and large, the quality level and accessibility issues with comics haven't changed since the dawn of the direct market. Visibility, however, has decreased (or at least moved into other media - we've got, what, four weekly cartoons starring DC or Marvel characters now?) DC and Marvel benefit from the current situation, but they both know they should be doing better. And since cutting Diamond (and in Marvel's case, the direct market itself) out of the loop has been something they've been wanting to do for a long time, this provides that avenue.

Sucks for comics stores, but I won't miss 'em.

* - Yes, I view stores as more of a necessary evil than anything else.

I agree that for the average person that a comic book store just isn't a place they want to go into. I think the quality of the stores varies greatly though. A new distribution method that reaches more people would be great and I'd think it'd probably hurt quite a few stores, but there are certainly stores that could survive because they're more diversified. There are many comic shops in the Twin Cities and while a number of them only do comics, the shops I tend to like have diversity of genre product that could possibly sustain them even if a new comic distribution method was done. I know I'd still go to my local shop because there is so much more than just comics there.

Excitemike
01-21-2009, 07:03 AM
Sucks for comics stores, but I won't miss 'em.

I'll miss digging through quarter bins :(

A new distribution method that reaches more people would be great and I'd think it'd probably hurt quite a few stores, but there are certainly stores that could survive because they're more diversified.

As a fan, I'm not too worried because the shops I like are already very diversified and will likely not be affected.

Kirin
01-21-2009, 08:28 AM
Man you guys and your Comic Store hate. I'm sorry if the places near you suck, but the store I go to is awesome and is staffed and owned by competant people with actual social skills. All this online distribution talk is great, but I'd hate to see that store die.

Then again, it *does* do a reasonable job of catering to the public beyond the hardcore comics nerd set, so maybe it'll be ok anyway.

Sven
01-21-2009, 08:31 AM
I'm sorry if the places near you suck, but the store I go to is awesome and is staffed and owned by competant people with actual social skills.

It's more the perception that you have to go to a specialty retailer to obtain a product that, for most of its existence, was as ubiquitous as chewing gum. That's a serious, serious problem (... fucking Dazzler...).

Evil Dead Junkie
01-21-2009, 12:07 PM
Man you guys and your Comic Store hate. I'm sorry if the places near you suck, but the store I go to is awesome and is staffed and owned by competant people with actual social skills.


Holla.

Though in all fairness there are some truly dreadful ones in the area too.

teg
01-23-2009, 03:24 AM
So, after poring over this page for a little while.

What's wrong with comics is that everybody seems to think that a niche-within-a-niche is the norm for "mainstream" in comics.

This is a fucking ridiculous idea.

When you think of "mainstream" in any other medium, you get pretty bold generalizations.
In a "mainstream" movie, you'll probably get big action scenes, or a comedic plot, or a romance between characters.
In "mainstream" music, you may get anything varying from teary ballads to bubblegum pop to rap, with topics ranging from life to sex.
In "mainstream" television, you can expect a tremendous variety, from medical dramas to vastly-intertwined drama pieces to comedies to science fiction serials and beyond.
In "mainstream" comics you get ALL SUPERHEROES ALL THE TIME.

That's like if all movies were westerns.
That's like if all music was folk music about sailing.
That's like if every television show had the exact same premise.
It would be ridiculous.

What's worse is that this idea seems to be promoted by self-appointed supporters of the medium. The idea of a niche genre being the norm is totally absurd, but people think it's true for the medium. When that medium's fanbase is actively acting as mouthpieces to confirm it, it's made even worse.

There are two things that every superhero fan should know right now:

1) There is immense interest in "Watchmen" right now because of the hype of the upcoming movie. It is experiencing an all-time rise in sales that it will likely never see again.
2) As of this writing, it is still behind the newest volume of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" on Amazon's list of the top sellers in graphic novels.

On the Canadian list, it's actually behind Bone, which is behind DoaWK. On both lists, it's sharing room with more "indie" comics than it is "mainstream" ones, including "Persepolis," "Fun Home," and "Maus." People who read comics are not just reading superhero comics. In fact, some of the biggest markets aren't reading superhero comics at all. Of course, I'm not taking into account the sales of floppies or comic shops here, but why would I? Comic shops, for the largest part, have been a monoculture. Only one type of product is carried, or even gets a chance to be carried, and the only people who enter the store are looking exclusively for said product. If you can only buy one type of story, guess what type of story is going to sell the best?

(Seriously guys, although you could argue that it's the pricing, the aesthetic, or the culture that surrounds them; the real reason why all the kids love manga these days is because it's got more than one audience, more than one genre, and more than one type of subject matter. Before manga came stateside, how common was it for girls to read comics?)



In conclusion, there's nothing wrong with superheroes, but variety is a necessity for any medium. Superhero comics really can't continue to be depicted as dominating the medium. I'm not sure what that image is supposed to accomplish, given that it's both false and drives off anyone with no particular interest in superheroes.

Anonymooo
01-23-2009, 06:41 AM
Before manga came stateside, how common was it for girls to read comics?This is especially true for me. I have plenty of female friends who tend not to read Western comics (unless I throw it at them) but will freely pick up volumes of manga if the material is interesting enough to them, because they see right off the bat that there are manga made for them.

Merus
01-23-2009, 07:05 AM
So, after poring over this page for a little while.

What's wrong with comics is that everybody seems to think that a niche-within-a-niche is the norm for "mainstream" in comics.

This is a fucking ridiculous idea.

When you think of "mainstream" in any other medium, you get pretty bold generalizations.
In a "mainstream" movie, you'll probably get big action scenes, or a comedic plot, or a romance between characters.
In "mainstream" music, you may get anything varying from teary ballads to bubblegum pop to rap, with topics ranging from life to sex.
In "mainstream" television, you can expect a tremendous variety, from medical dramas to vastly-intertwined drama pieces to comedies to science fiction serials and beyond.
In "mainstream" comics you get ALL SUPERHEROES ALL THE TIME.

That's like if all movies were westerns.
That's like if all music was folk music about sailing.
That's like if every television show had the exact same premise.
It would be ridiculous.

What's worse is that this idea seems to be promoted by self-appointed supporters of the medium. The idea of a niche genre being the norm is totally absurd, but people think it's true for the medium. When that medium's fanbase is actively acting as mouthpieces to confirm it, it's made even worse.

There are two things that every superhero fan should know right now:

1) There is immense interest in "Watchmen" right now because of the hype of the upcoming movie. It is experiencing an all-time rise in sales that it will likely never see again.
2) As of this writing, it is still behind the newest volume of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" on Amazon's list of the top sellers in graphic novels.

On the Canadian list, it's actually behind Bone, which is behind DoaWK. On both lists, it's sharing room with more "indie" comics than it is "mainstream" ones, including "Persepolis," "Fun Home," and "Maus." People who read comics are not just reading superhero comics. In fact, some of the biggest markets aren't reading superhero comics at all. Of course, I'm not taking into account the sales of floppies or comic shops here, but why would I? Comic shops, for the largest part, have been a monoculture. Only one type of product is carried, or even gets a chance to be carried, and the only people who enter the store are looking exclusively for said product. If you can only buy one type of story, guess what type of story is going to sell the best?

(Seriously guys, although you could argue that it's the pricing, the aesthetic, or the culture that surrounds them; the real reason why all the kids love manga these days is because it's got more than one audience, more than one genre, and more than one type of subject matter. Before manga came stateside, how common was it for girls to read comics?)



In conclusion, there's nothing wrong with superheroes, but variety is a necessity for any medium. Superhero comics really can't continue to be depicted as dominating the medium. I'm not sure what that image is supposed to accomplish, given that it's both false and drives off anyone with no particular interest in superheroes.

If I haven't been saying this the entire time, I'm going to pretend I have been and hope no-one calls me on it. Fantastic stuff, teg.

Excitemike
01-23-2009, 08:22 AM
Teg gets it.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d25/eye_robot/1000%20WORDS/GOLDSTAR.jpg

Watchmen is a special case, it's a perennial seller like Dark Side of the Moon. The sales have spiked because of interest in the movie but it's always sold really well in bookstores. By which I mean you have to look a lot further down the bookstore bestseller lists to find a superhero book. The direct market isn't about reaching a mass audience, it's a collector's market. Like baseball cards or beanie babies. the nature of a collector's market excludes mass appeal. QED.

Before manga came stateside, how common was it for girls to read comics?

Not common at all. (http://www.tcj.com/269/e_own1.html)

Egarwaen
01-23-2009, 10:58 AM
On the Canadian list, it's actually behind Bone, which is behind DoaWK. On both lists, it's sharing room with more "indie" comics than it is "mainstream" ones, including "Persepolis," "Fun Home," and "Maus." People who read comics are not just reading superhero comics. In fact, some of the biggest markets aren't reading superhero comics at all. Of course, I'm not taking into account the sales of floppies or comic shops here, but why would I? Comic shops, for the largest part, have been a monoculture. Only one type of product is carried, or even gets a chance to be carried, and the only people who enter the store are looking exclusively for said product. If you can only buy one type of story, guess what type of story is going to sell the best?

I'd like to note that some comic shops do realize this. Strange Adventures in Halifax, NS, for example. When you walk in the door, the first thing you see on your left is two big bookshelves loaded with mostly indie comics. (The first is the "staff picks" shelf, which is about 1/4 superhero stuff, the second is all "indie" comics) In fact, most of the store's shelf space is dedicated to showing off "indie" comics. Superhero issues are relegated to one shelf, and trades are on a bunch of rotating racks throughout the store - and of those, half are dedicated to manga.

And it's played out well for them. They're very friendly to younger customers. There's always parents with kids in there. And Free Comic Book Day is so popular there that they've had to rent space outside the store for the past two years just to hold all the people that turn up, most of whom are not comics fans.

They were entirely responsible for getting me into comics. And even now, when I turn up there once or twice a year when I'm back in Halifax, they're still all "Hey, it's Nick! Have you read this new comic? I'm sure you'll love it!"

teg
01-23-2009, 01:50 PM
I know that there's some really nice comic shops out there, but nearly every one I've visited has been poor. Mostly, though, I'm taking into account general consensus.

(also, keep in mind that it's hardly fair to use Strange Adventures, voted "Canada's Best Comic Shop" in Reader's Digest's "Best of Canada" list 2007, as a typical example)

Egarwaen
01-23-2009, 03:28 PM
I know that there's some really nice comic shops out there, but nearly every one I've visited has been poor. Mostly, though, I'm taking into account general consensus.

(also, keep in mind that it's hardly fair to use Strange Adventures, voted "Canada's Best Comic Shop" in Reader's Digest's "Best of Canada" list 2007, as a typical example)

Yes. I'm just pointing out that there's no good reason for comic shops not to try to appeal to a wider audience. When they do, they demonstrably make money.

Egarwaen
01-27-2009, 08:33 PM
A (female) friend linked me to an excellent article on girls and comics (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6632328.html?nid=2789). Particularly amusing are these two paragraphs, which follow each other in close succession in the article:

Atkins (director of publicity for Dark Horse) agrees: “Teenagers more than any other audience realize when someone is directly trying to get their attention, and usually they’re going to resist that,” he says. “It’s going to be the things that appeal to them naturally that they’re going to get into.”

Joe Keatinge, PR and marketing coordinator for Image Comics, says that while Image believes great comics can and do have universal appeal, the company also acknowledges that getting those books to young women takes conscious effort. "The 19-24 year-old male comics store reader knows who we are and what we do," says Keatinge. "In the past year, Image has done a lot of outreach to these other markets, in particular by doing things like sponsoring a concert event at South By Southwest (the annual pop music festival in Austin, TX)."

Shorter Joe Keatinge: Image doesn't get it, but is willing to spend lots of money anyway.

Also of particular interest to Talking Time:

Alex Cox, owner of Brooklyn comic shop Rocketship—known for its broad clientele and family-friendliness—says that (...) his top seller to girls 16-20 is Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim from Oni Press, a hit that crosses gender and age lines.

Scott!

Pilgrim!

Merus
01-27-2009, 09:53 PM
So they're saying that to sell comics to girls, they need to make good comics that have cute art and no superheroes? Could that even work?

Surely you can't *manga* have comics that don't *manga* have superheroes in them.

I know! They could provide an option in the comic, and so that way everyone would be happy. (I guess you'd have two different pages, one with superheroes on it, one without.)

Anonymooo
01-27-2009, 10:01 PM
Manga is full of tons and tons of superheroes though, it's just that most die-hard manga fans don't want to admit it.

Al Baron
01-27-2009, 10:36 PM
...The My Chemical Romance front man writes Umbrella Academy? I did not know that.

Ample Vigour
01-28-2009, 12:01 AM
Manga is full of tons and tons of superheroes though, it's just that most die-hard manga fans don't want to admit it.

Oh, certainly. It's also got loads of comics about whether or not that boy/girl likes you, which is something that western companies don't seem to realize is something preteens love to read about.

liquid
01-28-2009, 01:22 AM
Not just preteens! Pathetic man-children like myself love it too!

teekun
01-28-2009, 02:03 AM
...The My Chemical Romance front man writes Umbrella Academy? I did not know that.

He sure does. At first that rubbed me the wrong way, but then I read the comic and found out how fantastic it is. Add to that the fact that the guy has always wanted to create comics, and this music thing just happened in the meantime, and I'm totally fine with it. I like him way more as a comic writer than a musician anyways :D

teg
01-28-2009, 06:56 AM
Nifty article.Manga is full of tons and tons of superheroes though, it's just that most die-hard manga fans don't want to admit it.Of course they do, but they also have a tremendous amount of both popular and more obscure material with absolutely no superheroes. You can read hundreds of manga without ever stumbling upon superheroics, but you simply can't read American comics without having to sift through shelves of superhero stories.
Plus, what superhero-esque titles and characters there are in manga are usually handled far, far differently from the American comics equivalent. We're comparing Knights and Samurai here.

chud_666
02-15-2009, 06:35 PM
http://chud.com/articles/articles/18160/1/THE-DEVIN039S-ADVOCATE-THE-NEW-DEPRESSION-MAY-BE-THE-BEST-THING-THAT-EVER-HAPPENED-TO-COMICS/Page1.html

What do you guys think of this?

Excitemike
02-17-2009, 05:56 AM
I've heard "this is the begining of the end for the direct market" so many times that I'm having a hard time believing it now that it's staring me in the face. But small press isn't the only casualty now that Viz is having over 1000 of thier titles being delisted from the diamond catalog. (http://comics212.net/2009/02/13/diamond-de-lists-1000-viz-manga/)

The list includes more than 100 different series of manga, including still-running series like Zatch Bell, Whistle, Ultimate Muscle, Prince of Tennis, Inu Yasha Animanga, Hoshin Engi, Crimson Hero, Case Closed, Beyblade, Beet The Vandel Buster, and Bastard, amongst many others.

Perhaps most importantly to readers of this site, this list also includes some of my favourite comics of all time, including Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix, Takao Saito's Golgo 13, and Kazuo Umezu’s Drifting Classroom.

Kirin
02-17-2009, 07:31 AM
We already went through this upthread, but every day provides new evidence that this industry really, really needs a viable alternative to Diamond.

Nicholai
02-17-2009, 07:35 AM
http://chud.com/articles/articles/18160/1/THE-DEVIN039S-ADVOCATE-THE-NEW-DEPRESSION-MAY-BE-THE-BEST-THING-THAT-EVER-HAPPENED-TO-COMICS/Page1.html

What do you guys think of this?

I think that Devin is being his usual baiting and insulting self in order to drive up traffic on chud because the piece is incendiary enough to get linked on a multitude of other sites. I do think that comics could stand to diversify more, but you'd get a bleak picture of any medium if you only looked at the top X selling movies, books, albums, etc. In the end I go back to what I've said before that while there is room for some growth and diversification in the comic book industry it will never be what it once was. When my parents' generation was young comic books did not have to fight so many other forms of entertainment as they do now. There are many people now who may even be predisposed to the superhero genre but who do not read comics because they get their fill from various action/sci-fi TV shows, video games, and movies.

I do believe though that the monthly floppy format will probably change to a larger and larger extent in the upcoming years. Digital distribution will become more and more popular and profitable as time moves on and it will eventually leave fewer and fewer people buying the expensive monthly floppy. The stories would still be collected into trades for people as trades are a much better buy for most people than following comics on a monthly basis. I know I'd be interested in reading the "monthlies" online for a cheaper price and I'd then buy the trades of the stuff that I really enjoyed. Not to mention how many people read a ton of comics every week that are simply pirating them anyway as I'd wager that piracy in comics is much more vast than people believe.

Anonymooo
02-17-2009, 07:42 AM
We're comparing Knights and Samurai here.Yeah, pretty much. I guess I'm just using a very broad definition of "superhero" to mean "guy who fights bad guys," in which case you're then taking in every single non-superhero martial arts and general fighting that isn't something like Worst or Shamo.

The direct market seemed like such a cool idea when I was like 15. OH MY GOD THEY ARE MAKING COMICS SPECIFICALLY FOR PEOPLE WHO GO TO COMIC SHOPS AND SUPPORT THE LITTLE GUY, etc.

Edit: It's still far too much to ask of the Big Two, but I'd love to see a monthly (or even biweekly) digest magazine--one that covers all their large titles in a single month. In one digest, you could get a number of large titles and a few (possibly rotated) smaller titles in, and then sell the whole thing for about twice the cost of a regular 32-page comic.

Yes, I want the manga-fication of comics, and it's an almost impossible dream.

Queen Possum
02-17-2009, 10:31 AM
So they're saying that to sell comics to girls, they need to make good comics that have cute art and no superheroes? Could that even work?

Surely you can't *manga* have comics that don't *manga* have superheroes in them.

I always have to plow through teenage girls reading manga at the library when I go look for graphic novels. Stupid library, shelving them both together. Gimme my damn superheroes.

Posaune
02-17-2009, 11:38 AM
Yeah, pretty much. I guess I'm just using a very broad definition of "superhero" to mean "guy who fights bad guys," in which case you're then taking in every single non-superhero martial arts and general fighting that isn't something like Worst or Shamo.

The direct market seemed like such a cool idea when I was like 15. OH MY GOD THEY ARE MAKING COMICS SPECIFICALLY FOR PEOPLE WHO GO TO COMIC SHOPS AND SUPPORT THE LITTLE GUY, etc.

Edit: It's still far too much to ask of the Big Two, but I'd love to see a monthly (or even biweekly) digest magazine--one that covers all their large titles in a single month. In one digest, you could get a number of large titles and a few (possibly rotated) smaller titles in, and then sell the whole thing for about twice the cost of a regular 32-page comic.

Yes, I want the manga-fication of comics, and it's an almost impossible dream.


I'd just like to see comics at grocery stores or gas stations like they used to be.

Anonymooo
02-17-2009, 11:40 AM
I'd just like to see comics at grocery stores or gas stations like they used to be.This too. I bought a lot of my comics on the way home from school at a convenience store.

Then I had to go to a comic shop to pick up Superman #75. Jerks.

Merus
02-17-2009, 03:20 PM
I'd just like to see comics at grocery stores or gas stations like they used to be.
Bongo Comics (Simpsons/Futurama Comics) are actually sold at the supermarket and at newsstands and the like here.

Sven
02-17-2009, 03:52 PM
Bongo Comics (Simpsons/Futurama Comics) are actually sold at the supermarket and at newsstands and the like here.

Marvel's been getting better at putting there stuff at newstands recently - I know I walk by a Gateway location that has the Marvel Adventures stuff prominently displayed. But whomever made the decision to abandon that market in the 80s really fucked up.

That brings up another problem, however, where even if you put out good all-ages content (as DC's doing recently with their very good Johnny DC line), newsstands don't want to take comics any more because they're low-margin.

Josh_AnimeBum
06-30-2009, 01:40 PM
I saw an article on io9.com today and was reminded of this thread, and figured it was appropriate to bring it back from the grave to share this link: http://www.uncannyxmen.net/images/article/relationship/relationshipmapv1.htm

alexb
06-30-2009, 01:59 PM
That kinda makes me... hmm... angry?

Lumber Baron
06-30-2009, 08:00 PM
I'm disappointed that no one in that chart is connected to themselves with an alternate reality version of themselves.