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  #841  
Old 04-01-2017, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
The obvious move is to a Shonen Jump style anthology weekly sold dirt cheap that focuses on continuity-lite (or -free) all-ages stories built around the versions of the characters people know from the movies or broader cultural osmosis.
They did that. It was called Marvel Adventures.



It was great.
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  #842  
Old 04-02-2017, 05:24 AM
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G. Willow Wilson wrote a bit about the "diversity is failing" claim.
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  #843  
Old 04-02-2017, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
colin spacetwinks made a good point on the twitter by showing how the marvel properties - diversity titles or not - are dead in the water when it comes to monthly floppy sales. I know my wife enjoys reading Ms Marvel and Transformers, to the extent that she picks up a paperback on Amazon when the spirit moves her. That strikes me as a reasonable level of brand engagement from an older millennial - the last generation that is even aware there are such things as comic stores.

I have no idea what Diamond's next move is. Are they counting on Sven's kids buying a few million in product every week? Because I can't think of anyone else making sure their seed is conversant with Previews.
Yeah, it really bums me out how like even when I was a kid (I just turned 30) you could still buy floppies at supermarkets or gas stations near the checkout, but now that entire avenue is totally closed off.
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  #844  
Old 04-02-2017, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
G. Willow Wilson wrote a bit about the "diversity is failing" claim.
The most important thing she says here:

Quote:
4. The direct market and the book market have diverged. Never the twain shall meet. We need to accept this and move on, and market accordingly.
Ms. Marvel the monthly pamphlet comic is absolutely not a draw -- it doesn't even crack 20K copies a month last I checked, something like one-tenth the gross of an issue of ROM Spaceknight from 1984 even before you adjust for inflation -- but that's practically irrelevant to the question of whether the character and the creators behind her are potential moneymakers.

or, put another way: diversity probably doesn't sell to dudes with pull bags at comic shops, but so fucking what.
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  #845  
Old 04-02-2017, 10:51 AM
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Pow Zoom Bang Comics Are For Kids Now
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  #846  
Old 04-02-2017, 10:57 AM
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Marvel made a big show of how their diverse books were selling gangbusters in digital, and doing better than usual in trades. They even released an original, standalone Squirrel Girl graphic novel based on the trade sales! Why are they suddenly talking about the sanctity of the direct market?
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  #847  
Old 04-02-2017, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
Marvel made a big show of how their diverse books were selling gangbusters in digital, and doing better than usual in trades. They even released an original, standalone Squirrel Girl graphic novel based on the trade sales! Why are they suddenly talking about the sanctity of the direct market?
on pure irrational bias I'm gonna say it's cuz they're falling behind DC in the monthly sales dick-measuring contest.
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  #848  
Old 04-03-2017, 06:47 AM
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I'm still not clear on whether Marvel thinks diversity is the cause of their sales problem or if they were just repeating what they heard from retailers. But yeah, if you actually look at the sales and what people who buy comics are complaining about, it's not the existence of characters who aren't white guys. And they need to realize they aren't going to build their audience by expecting them to start pull lists and preorder new books months before they begin.
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  #849  
Old 04-03-2017, 07:39 AM
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The single worst part of this whole debacle is that people have started hate-retweeting Instapundit into my timeline. Unforgivable.
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  #850  
Old 04-03-2017, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
Marvel made a big show of how their diverse books were selling gangbusters in digital, and doing better than usual in trades. They even released an original, standalone Squirrel Girl graphic novel based on the trade sales! Why are they suddenly talking about the sanctity of the direct market?
Because the part where the books were selling gangbusters was probably a bit of a bubble to begin with. Any idiot can have a #1 sell well. The key is to have your #10 sell well, and your #20, and your #30. Of course, Marvel stopped bothering to print anything about #24 or so years ago....

(EDIT: That's slightly unfair - apparently, both Spidey and Deadpool have been allowed to carry on past #24 in their current volumes. Otherwise, Marvel is the comics equivalent of Carrousel)

I guess the best way to put it would be that a book like Ms. Marvel is being kept alive by trade sales, but it's more like the trades are allowing it to not lose (much?) money. Which is all well and good, but even Marvel, who can afford to flood the market with a ton of stuff because, fuck, they're Marvel and any losses they make can be made up by the change in Michael Eisner's old couch, gets a little tired when their current product is being routed. And you can't just say that the monthly books are loss leaders for TPBs forever; eventually, that math just doesn't work out. And then you might get stuck in a death spiral like DC was in at the start of this decade.

But that's even if you buy Marvel's excuses from this past weekend (don't forget about the "we can't promote artists anymore" weirdness), that's only why Ms. Marvel is 109 on the sales charts or Silk (a book that I've caught up on and really like, as an aside) is 134. It doesn't explain why Marvel has all of 1 superhero book in the top ten for revenue, and why - even worse - Spidey's now being beaten by a random issue of the third string* Batman book in sales.

* - I think Tec's #3 in the pecking order, at least. Might be lower.

And then there's the stuff like the series of delayed / random event stories that no one appears to care about (IVX, Civil War, pick your poison).

And that ties to the weirdness like that inexplicable Inhumans push for the last four years that was more out of spite than anything else but accomplished little but torpedoing their X-titles' sales. And believe me, I lived through the 90s, I thought that you'd be able to sell X-Men to the irradiated cockroaches that took over after the bombs dropped.

It's worth noting just how different the sales charts are vs. three years ago (coincidentally, I think that was the first issue of Ms. Marvel on there at #24). Sure, Batman was still driving sales, but DC's depth outside of him was basically non-existent. Marvel had... 20 out of 25 books between 16 and 40? That's a solid business model, and they didn't have the artificial Star Wars bump back then. DC's got people reading Wonder Woman, Superman, and Flash again, and twice a month (back to four times a month in Supes' case). Marvel's run off a LOT of customers, and I seriously doubt that those people are simply reading TPBs instead or have been replaced by customers who do.

Aside: I have no fucking idea how Flash is selling as well as it is. It's... just not a good book. At all. And that's coming from **ME**; I just fistbumped a random dad at the park yesterday because he was wearing a Flash logo T-shirt (hopefully not because of TBBT, but it's Canada so that depressing conclusion can't be ruled out)

But, hey, I'm a brown guy who reads Batman comics. I'm not supposed to exist to begin with because I've been frightened away by a lack of representation, let alone being able to read simple numbers.

Last edited by Sven; 04-03-2017 at 01:41 PM.
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  #851  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:24 PM
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If there's anyone here saying that Marvel's floppies are doing great, they need help. That link I posted the other day pointed out that Marvel is doing a bad job getting market share of the couple hundred thousand people in North America who still buy floppies on the regular. Direct market comics are the most broken retail model I can imagine - fucking Stüssy was more sustainable - and judging your success by how well you "win" at it makes my brain twist.
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  #852  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:27 PM
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Especially when Marvel's got its Unlimited model, and the fall-off described seems to match up pretty well with Unlimited's growth...
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  #853  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:31 PM
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I just don't know if I buy the argument that TPBs are a perfect replacement for floppy sales. That... I don't know, just seems like there's more fingers in that particular pot (EG, Amazon) to maintain your margins.

(and the link above notes that Marvel has few disproportionate trade hits unless you've got a weird situation like Scholastic picking up on Moon Girl & DD)

I've personally always been an advocate for moving the industry to digital single issues. Seems the best balance. Kinda screws over every comic shop owner, though....

(As I said, I was reading old Lazarus issues last week and Rucka said he and Lark basically make the same money from either format at the end of the day... and that's on a creator-owned Image title. Marvel's probably in the same place at the end of the line, just with the creator / company revenue split flipped the other way around in most cases.).
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  #854  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:35 PM
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Kinda screws over every comic shop owner, though...
as someone who makes most of their living off floppy comic book sales, anybody in this line who doesn't have a plan for when their business up and vanishes overnight isn't paying enough attention.
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  #855  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by The Raider Dr. Jones View Post
as someone who makes most of their living off floppy comic book sales, anybody in this line who doesn't have a plan for when their business up and vanishes overnight isn't paying enough attention.
You're talking to the man who lives in fear of everyone switching to auto-driving cars, remember.

Last edited by Sven; 04-03-2017 at 02:48 PM.
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  #856  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:49 PM
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Especially when Marvel's got its Unlimited model, and the fall-off described seems to match up pretty well with Unlimited's growth...
I don't doubt that's part of it, but the die-off really did seem to happen circa Secret Wars as that article notes. Even with Unlimited growing... is that a reason why day-and-date sales would tank? I don't think I buy the connection there. I'd bet that of those 80,000 Spidey readers that were there, 4-5,000 switched to other formats but the bleed was much greater than that.

Something tells me that part of the issue is that Marvel feels like DC was rewarded financially for doubling down on its core line with Rebirth and they didn't get the same rewards with any of their steps. But even then... I think they've just driven readers away from their entire line, and they have to answer for that first and foremost.

(Honestly, DC seems like they're basically drunk with power this year. That's the only explanation for basing their big story of the summer around friggin' Hawkman, a character that I remember Jimmy Palmotti once being praised to all high heaven for selling out a 25,000 copy print run)
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  #857  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:53 PM
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The greatest mistake Marvel & DC ever made was not making sure their most recent comic books were not found between this week's national enquirer and the chocolate bars in supermarkets across America.

A generation of children who were never given the opportunity to nag their moms into spending an additional buck-nintey-nine so they could read about the latest adventures of Batman on what always felt like a painfully long drive home.
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  #858  
Old 04-03-2017, 03:05 PM
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I can understand why things happened the way they did (stores hated having to stock the comics), but the elimination of the newsstand (and subscription! That was just as big a loss! Parents got to save the trouble of little Timmy annoying them each week!) market needed to be immediately replaced with a more friendly front end, which is what we only now have with digital comics.

It's just that there was that 20-year gap and Heroes World and all sorts of messes that were avoidable in the interim.

And, of course, you didn't have the geniuses like the guys at Hasbro who realised that while there were restrictions on animation appearing in toy commercials, no such restrictions applied to commercials for comic books. Hence GI Joe getting the first TV commercials ever for a comic, which turned the Marvel comic into the biggest selling book in the world as a happy side effect. Mind you, the one thing that books don't need today is more exposure for the characters....
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  #859  
Old 04-03-2017, 03:09 PM
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I've sometimes tried to imagine what the business might be like now if Marvel hadn't made the play for a distribution monopoly and I flat-out can't even get started. It changed everything six times over.
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  #860  
Old 04-03-2017, 03:11 PM
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On the one hand:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven View Post
I've personally always been an advocate for moving the industry to digital single issues. Seems the best balance. Kinda screws over every comic shop owner, though....
There's nothing I'd like more than to have a digital-only delivery service that allowed me to purchase from my favorite comic shop (and I would continue my patronage through manga and GN sales, natch.) I DO have a pull-list for many titles (seven, at last count?) but these pile up and I hate throwing them in the garbage/recycling. But they still constitute about a third of my purchases at my shop, so...


And on the other:

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Originally Posted by BEAT View Post
The greatest mistake Marvel & DC ever made was not making sure their most recent comic books were not found between this week's national enquirer and the chocolate bars in supermarkets across America.

A generation of children who were never given the opportunity to nag their moms into spending an additional buck-nintey-nine so they could read about the latest adventures of Batman on what always felt like a painfully long drive home.
This. The comic market's insistence on making everything as unfriendly as possible to children has led to the death of regular comic book distribution at newsstands and supermarkets/grocery stores. The only place outside of specialty shops where I can even SEE comics is Barnes & Noble. Why aren't Disney, My Little Pony, and other child-oriented comics not found in family-friendly venues? Why aren't there MORE child-oriented comics in the first place?
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  #861  
Old 04-03-2017, 09:16 PM
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an additional buck-nintey-nine
these days it's more like three-ninety-nine.
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  #862  
Old 04-03-2017, 09:43 PM
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I wish I could remember where I read it, but I read something about the newsstand market for comics and it basically didn't exist by the time Marvel and DC abandoned it. There were a lot of factors, like how improved quality of the paper stock they used made the economics of newsstand distribution untenable. The short of it was that selling comics in the grocery aisle was a failed business model thirty years ago and the only thing that kept comics around since the late 80's are those comics shops.

I don't disagree that one of comics' bigger problems is accessibility, but going back to how things used to be isn't a viable solution.
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  #863  
Old 04-03-2017, 10:49 PM
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I would gladly buy singles on crummier stock if they were cheaper. If I REALLY want a super nice version of it I could always get a trade, but I used to get monthlies around 10 years ago and it was so much dang fun to follow things week by week and go to the comic shop and pick up your new comics and look at all the other new comics.

Why, All-New Atom and Irredeemable Ant-Man were coming out on the same Wednesday of the month for a while and I'd be like "All right, it's shrinking guy day!". I really miss that!
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  #864  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:57 AM
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If Marvel had the slightest clue what they were doing they would have the biggest comics reading audience in history right now.
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  #865  
Old 04-04-2017, 07:03 AM
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I still like some individual character books (Squirrel Girl, Dr. Strange and Daredevil probably the only ones that haven't been cancelled in the last month though), but it feels like Marvel at large is continual crossovers into events. They desperately cling onto someone being "forced" into buying a less popular book because 2+ months of story from their favorites cross over.
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  #866  
Old 04-04-2017, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Büge View Post
these days it's more like three-ninety-nine.
DAM U, INFLATION!
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  #867  
Old 04-04-2017, 07:27 AM
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I would gladly buy singles on crummier stock if they were cheaper.
Something interesting I learned recently: it's economically impossible to print comics on old-time newsprint nowadays, because the cost of spinning up a press using that kind of material is prohibitive unless you're producing the kind of numbers Marvel and DC cranked out in the '80s -- i.e., tens of times more than they could ever sell now.
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  #868  
Old 04-04-2017, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
G. Willow Wilson wrote a bit about the "diversity is failing" claim.
damn, this is a really smart take, and the point about readers hungering for authenticity and particularity versus diversity in the abstract is right-on.
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  #869  
Old 04-04-2017, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by The Raider Dr. Jones View Post
Something interesting I learned recently: it's economically impossible to print comics on old-time newsprint nowadays, because the cost of spinning up a press using that kind of material is prohibitive unless you're producing the kind of numbers Marvel and DC cranked out in the '80s -- i.e., tens of times more than they could ever sell now.
I'm also fairly certain that they couldn't get the same image quality on newsprint that they could on glossy paper.
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  #870  
Old 04-04-2017, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Raider Dr. Jones View Post
Something interesting I learned recently: it's economically impossible to print comics on old-time newsprint nowadays, because the cost of spinning up a press using that kind of material is prohibitive unless you're producing the kind of numbers Marvel and DC cranked out in the '80s -- i.e., tens of times more than they could ever sell now.
Those presses also got hugely subsidized by phone book & yellow pages production, which basically doesn't happen anymore.
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