Super-Sized Catchup LinkBlogging

I feel like I lost all of August and half of September to moving, but things are much more settled now. (Note to self: Don’t ever think, “oh, I’ll be in a new location by myself for three weeks, I’ll have plenty of time to review.” No. I will be obsessing over what has to be done and all the decisions that had to be made so much I won’t be able to write.)

In the meantime, there’s been lots of good writing about comics and the business I wanted to capture and share.

Chris Schweizer shares a disappointing story of how his local comic shop drove him away — by getting upset when he and his three-year-old daughter were reading one of the comics they were going to buy. As Chris says,

EVERYONE now has the option to take their business elsewhere. The internet, the discount comic services, they’ve killed the monopoly. Make your customers feel unwelcome, and they’ll leave. They have that option, and it’s not an either/or choice anymore: they can STILL GET THEIR COMICS. They don’t need you. You need THEM.

Daredevil #16 cover

Speaking of comic shops, excellent retailer Mike Sterling makes a terrific point about the problem of too much of a good thing. Marvel’s been generating more income by releasing comics more frequently than monthly. I love Daredevil — right now, it’s the only DC or Marvel title I’m still eagerly awaiting — but I got behind earlier this summer due to how often the issues were coming out, and even after getting caught up, I’m no longer loving it the way I did. I’m almost the customer he describes here, although with me, it’s not the money, but the demands on my attention:

… sure enough, there have been three regular issues plus the annual released over the last five weeks…. Flooding the stands with consecutive issues of a series on what appears to be no set schedule is a good way to overwhelm your readership, and cause them to cut even titles they like if they think they can’t afford to keep up…. cranking out a new issue of a series every one or two weeks causes my customers to increasingly groan “another new issue already?” even on titles they love. And that’s not an attitude anyone in this industry can afford to encourage.

I don’t have anything to add to this post by Brian Hibbs except to agree that variant covers suck. They’re economically bad for everyone, and there are way too many of them being used in today’s market.

Now that digital comics are successful, buyers aren’t just picking comics out of what came out this week, but out of whatever’s come out EVER. Part of it is that the older classics are known, satisfying quantities, but the other factor is that they’re much cheaper. $1 for a digital comic (on sale, as they are frequently) is a lot better than $4 for the same page count for the newer stuff.

Digital is also global, and in a sign that comiXology may not be the total monopoly they seem, Marvel announced a deal with iVerse for all their non-English digital foreign editions. Given their international movie success, there’s presumably an audience for the comics, especially in their languages.

When it comes to audience, it’s well-known that superhero comics have a problem with women. Here’s a wonderful post by a Black Widow fan about being a girl and loving superheroes, even when they don’t love you back.

[The movie with Black Widow] will be made by a man who banks his credentials in pop culture lady kickass, it will be made by women costume designers, women storyboarders, who no one will really mention. And it will be seen by the number of people it needs to be seen by to make one billion dollars, and some of them will be girls, and some of them will be happy to see, to know, that when they go to sleep at night it is okay if they dream about punching aliens, too.

The movie will have a team, and there will only be one woman member.

She will be the only member who is not given her own comic.

The poster goes on to describe a truly horrible Black Widow comic that appeared in Maxim; then she sums up the problems of being a female superhero comic fan.

I buy comics I hate because they are about women, because I do not know how else to tell Marvel that I want to buy comics about women. They keep saying that they do not sell so I preorder and hope for the best and like the story but hate the art. I swim through all these reminders that comic books hate me because how else will I discover the characters I have come to love.

There are more of her out there than people like to admit, and the internet has given them voice. Maybe at some point the decision-makers will listen to them.

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7 Responses to “Super-Sized Catchup LinkBlogging”

  1. Jim Perreault Says:

    Funny, I often read comics at the local store without purchasing them and have never had any problems.

    Regarding Daredevil, I ended up skipping the annual for exactly that reason: too many books. Has anyone read it?

  2. Johanna Says:

    You must have a great store.

    Regarding reading the annual, I didn’t — I wasn’t interested in the crossover with the other two annuals. The event was by Alan Davis and featured the ClanDestine, and although I liked their series back when, I just wasn’t in the mood for more now.

  3. David Oakes Says:

    I really didn’t want to give Marvel any more money after the obvious cash grabs of .1 and double shipping. But it was Clandestine, so I convinced myself that it was one of their comics. On that level it was a good enough read, but if you weren’t familiar with the old magic, the annuals weren’t going to do it for you.

  4. Jim Perreault Says:

    I was a big fan of ClanDestine when the series came out. For some reason, I don’t think the concept works quite as well when teamed with other heroes.

    I might pick it up if there is a light week.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  5. J Leeds Says:

    Johanna, if you haven’t read the comments on Chris’s post about his local comic shop recently, you should. Lots of interesting discussion, including the owner of the store. And a happy ending.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’m sorry to see so many mentions of good stores no longer being around — that’s a reminder of just how tough and thankless the business is. You’re right, it’s good to see the owner stop by the thread to clarify, and I’m glad things worked out well.

  7. The Future of Publishing: Selling More Expensive Books to Fewer People? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] soon, it’s going to be tens online. Instead of variant covers driving the market, as is already happening, now it’s variant editions. It’s just another way to try and pull more money out of the [...]

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