An Excellent Snapshot of the Current State of Comic Retailing

The always-smart Mike Sterling has some thoughts on the current struggles of comic retailers, particularly as they relate to Marvel’s titles. I want to quote him here because I agree with what he says.

Comic fans only have so much to budget for their books, and every dollar that goes towards maintaining their run of Amazing or whatever at two or three copies a month are dollars not going toward maybe trying out something that isn’t a Spider-Man comic that month. It’s rack crowding and market flooding, and I don’t like it when Marvel is cranking out two or three issues per title per month, and I don’t like it when both Marvel and DC are cranking out a half-dozen titles or more for each of their franchises. We don’t need this many Batman books, or this many X-Men or Green Lantern or Avengers or Superman books, except we now have a marketplace that depends on devotion to the big franchises and doesn’t leave room in anyone’s budgets to try out or support something different.

For diversity in the market, you have to look outside the corporate companies, because as Mike points out, they’re consolidating around their characters and known properties. That’s the only thing they have to offer that no one else can, particularly as creators find better working conditions and more freedom elsewhere. As he says, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nothing else sells (at least for them) because they don’t offer anything else.

5 Responses to “An Excellent Snapshot of the Current State of Comic Retailing”

  1. James Schee Says:

    I just read an old Meanwhile column by Dick Giordano back in the 80s that says this very thing. Talking about how yes they could put out twice as many Batman titles or things of that like.

    Yet they didn’t as they didn’t want to flood the market, and not allow readers the chance to sample their other great titles.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Dick was a very smart man.

  3. warren Says:

    I remember when I could buy just about every title on the rack for $25 I experienced DC and Marvel popular and unpopular titles.

  4. Richard Williams Says:

    This is very true and the main reason why I have dropped nearly all Marvel & DC titles with the exception of a few. In all honesty, this method has made me look elsewhere for comic book enjoyment and as such I am now enjoying quite a few Dark Horse, Image & Top Cow titles aswel as Terry Moore’s always excellent output which is currently Rachel Rising. I’ve also rekindled my interest in the UK Small Indie press and there’s quite a few crackers out there!!

  5. Johanna Says:

    Isn’t it neat what you find when you have an incentive to go looking and break out of the old habits? Glad to hear that you’re finding some great reads.




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