Thursday, March 10, 2016

Interesting analysis by Heidi. 

"Comics +18.6%: This figure is rather misleading. Most of that increase was before the ongoing collapse of DC and Marvel’s rather mundane relaunch." 

"Graphic Novels +38.1%: Graphic Novels have exploded. I believe it is due to the treasure trove of creator owned properties. That, coupled with the unprecedented amount of new readers of all types and genders, makes 2016 look really exciting! Most of these new readers are not that interested in single issues."

That's exactly what I've been saying for a couple years now and have been called a fool by certain parties. 

But these numbers have also been my observation from the ground, at the festivals and cons, and talking to fans. The Millennials, ESPECIALLY women, who are reading and making comics in numbers I've never seen before, want something new. The superdude stuff still has its audience, it's not going anywhere, certainly not with those billions in corporate marketing behind it, but there are simply too many superdude floppies on the market for a stagnant, largely male readership. The superdude books are a lot better than they were 25 years ago, but I think they're simply played out. How many times can you regurgitate the same 10 storylines? It’s all about movies and tv for the Big Two now anyways, and rumors abound that both publishing entitities lose money. But, of course, their film studios make billion, even if they’re simply adapting old material. And that’s all they’re doing. Deadpool is 25 years old. Capt. America: Civil War is a decade old. I quickly lost interest in Netflix’s lauded Daredevil because it’s straight out of Frank Miller’s run of 36 years ago! 

And Marvel and DC right now simply have NO clue how attract this vast new female readership (hint: pretty much the opposite of what you're doing). Both companies seem hellbent on pissing off their loyal readership with lame cross-title events that either flop or simply peter out, and the variant cover nonsense. The latter especially drives the poor shop owners crazy. More importantly, if your business model is convincing your customers to buy multiple copies of the same damn comic book, I don’t think that’s sustainable.

It's especially grim when you see how many Marvel & DC titles sell under 10,000 copies. Ouch. Why even bother? To saturate the newsstand, that's why. It's straight out of Martin Goodman's playbook back in the Atlas Comics heyday. Fill the racks with junk to keep competitors out. In the case of the Big Two, apparently they're mostly worried about Image, which is doing some very interesting books and of course, since it's creator owned, not work for hire, attracts the best talent with the best ideas. 

What we're seeing here is the death of the floppy. I think five years from now, the Big Two will be publishing half of their current titles, if that.

The big growth is in other forms of comics, outside of the Disney-Warner-Diamond stranglehold, and away from the floppy. Disney and Warner Bros. will thrive, of course, no matter how much their comic publishing wing falters. Diamond, I think, is on shaky ground. I know many will be pleased about that. 

It's an exciting time to be in the game. And to be a fan!