- Posted by Johanna on February 28, 2009 at 9:30 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
This isn’t surprising. The purpose of the community was to post comic pages and stories, which made it a good way to read a wide range of comic content online without the participation of the copyright holders, who tend not to like that kind of open sharing. The site originally started with a focus on slash (male/male fanfic-based pairings) but then widened its focus. While you could find pages from the latest DC and Marvel comics there, they also posted unusual manga and much older stories. It was a great way to check out what people were talking about, if there was a particular panel or scene that got attention.
Brian Cronin speculates that a report by Peter David to Marvel about X-Factor pages being posted may have had something to do with the shutdown. Based on David’s comment, he has the mistaken assumption that if he can remove free copies, all interested readers will buy the comic instead. Many companies assume similarly, that any free taste is a lost sale. That’s rarely true.
Responses to the shutdown from users frequently include statements like “I started buying comics again because of what I was reading.” It’s a shame that IP owners fear the free sample so much, because in some cases, at least, it does work to convert customers. The carrot — “like it? consider buying the next issue” — works much better than the stick — “you’re all thieves who must be forced into spending money with us”. But then, several comic companies are all about the control.
For a differing professional viewpoint, Gail Simone gets it:
The truth is, there are only a handful of comics websites that aren’t run (and sometimes very heavily edited) by vested interests, like a publisher, where a sizable number of comics readers can go and share their enthusiasm about a title with a large enough audience to actually make a difference. There was a lot of dedication there, a lot of fascinating material. Yes, there was snark. Yes, some issues were panned. Who cares? The site was very heavily weighted towards books the posters really enjoyed, and served as a sample taste for many new readers. I myself have ended up buying several Marvel books in particular that I otherwise wouldn’t have even stopped to look at.
I sympathize with any creators who felt their work was spoiled. I JUST this week had the ending of my latest issue of Wonder Woman spoiled. But I don’t believe there was any malice. Quite the opposite, I believe that the poster intended only positive things and meant only to spread the word. I find that to be the motive there again and again. “Hey, I liked this book…take a look at this cool stuff in it!”
Do we really want to try to stop that instinct?
Scans_Daily is already back at InsaneJournal.
Brigid at Digital Strips has a lovely overview of all the events and reactions, specifically addressing the marketing challenge that S_D helped address, unofficially.
Update 2: Leigh Walton ponders whether the heavily female audience of LJ has affected reactions to the news. The behavior some complain about — fanfic, slash, styles of discussion — are typical of female fandoms and can make male fans uncomfortable. Other fans, in reaction to the news of the Scans_Daily shutdown, have commented similarly, that as women, they appreciated a place where their comments were welcome and they weren’t treated as though being a girl in a comic shop was unusual.