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  #871  
Old 04-04-2017, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Büge View Post
I'm also fairly certain that they couldn't get the same image quality on newsprint that they could on glossy paper.
That would probably also royally screw with the computer-aided colouring process. I suspect that everything would wind up looking like Wednesday Comics, which was great in isolation but I dunno if you want the entire industry looking like that. And since TPBs would be on the better paper stock anyway....

Let's face it, the minute New Teen Titans went to "Baxter Paper" back in 1984 they were never going to turn back the clock on the physical product outside of the occasional experiment.

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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.
Yeah, moreso than anything else that's the big inflection point. Can you believe that Jim Lee damn near owned Marvel outright at one point during the fallout?

The only thing that comes close is when Marvel nearly bought out DC in 1984 (only turning it down because they thought that the reason DC was losing money was that no one cared about their characters).
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  #872  
Old 04-04-2017, 10:46 AM
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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....
This is a little besides my point. What I was saying was that Marvel was quick to tout their success in other venues and shrug off their relative decline in the direct market, and now they're specifically talking about direct market as an indicator of sales.

Regarding your point though, you are of course correct that their launch numbers were sustainable, and I don't mean to suggest otherwise. But that slide, seemingly larger than usual, speaks to a larger inability to retain readers. That's Marvel's problem.

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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.
Definitely not as a 1:1 replacement; digital (and subscription services) will need to pick up the slack, too. But floppies are increasingly irrelevant as a format even before we start talking about how ludacrous the direct market.

Given DC/Marvel have been "writing for the trade" for decades now, it kind of floors me that single issues remain the bedrock of their strategy.
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  #873  
Old 04-04-2017, 11:16 AM
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What I was saying was that Marvel was quick to tout their success in other venues and shrug off their relative decline in the direct market, and now they're specifically talking about direct market as an indicator of sales.
Marvel's higher-ups are pretty good about talking from both sides of their mouth (look at what poor Dan Slott got stuck having to do last week, selling Renew Your Vows while saying there's no hope of it ever having an impact). But they did talk about the direct market - the catch was that a lot of what they were saying for the more successful titles was how well the books were selling not relative to other #1s, but rather to other comics on the shelves in the months when they appeared.

Even if Marvel flipped to a TPB-heavy approach like Image, I honestly doubt they'd make the same money, digital and all. People want to consume their product, but they're more willing to do so via live action than in any form of their comics no matter which characters are involved. It's a harsh verdict, but...



I don't know if there's enough Scholastic Book Fairs in the world to make up for that chart (and, remember, February was a quiet month for DC, with Batman's first sub-100K issue in about five years; that'll change next month with the Flash story).

Marvel became a bit too dependent on line-wide refreshes, I think. They seemingly were pushing out a bunch of new titles every year, and after a while that's just not going to have any reasonable effect.
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  #874  
Old 04-04-2017, 11:27 AM
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People want to consume their product, but they're more willing to do so via live action than in any form of their comics no matter which characters are involved.
I would posit that the reason people are drawn to the films (and cartoons) is because they find the comic landscape confusing and difficult to follow, rather than an apathy for the medium.

There's no quick and easy solution here. But I don't think the current model, in neither distribution nor in writing, is welcoming to new readers.
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  #875  
Old 04-04-2017, 11:44 AM
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It's not as though Marvel's stories have become any more or less accessible in recent years. People just aren't buying what they're selling anymore (at least, as compared to two years ago). Accessibility is a weak excuse that gets trotted out when deeper business reasons are usually the reason for negative changes.

(For instance, was the Superior era of Spider Man more accessible than the current product? Probably not - but it was almost literally 100% more successful.)
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  #876  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:05 PM
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I don't disagree.
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  #877  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:18 PM
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(For instance, was the Superior era of Spider Man more accessible than the current product? Probably not - but it was almost literally 100% more successful.)
I'd argue it was because it was largely isolated to one book and didn't have any crossovers until retroactively with Spider-verse.
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  #878  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:30 PM
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I'd argue it was because it was largely isolated to one book and didn't have any crossovers until retroactively with Spider-verse.
Crossovers, historically, have boosted readership, not tanked it. The boost is often artificial, but the crossover itself usually hasn't been the problem. For instance, I bet that both Superman titles had a really good month in March off that crossover, and both Batman and Flash are going to have a good month this time out.

Now, it's possible that we saw a couple of historically awful crossovers in 2015 in the form of Secret War and Convergence, both of which appear to have killed sales in an almost unprecedented manner. But... I don't know if the freaking Clone Saga bled off as many Spidey readers as the last two years have, on a percentage basis.
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  #879  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:37 PM
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I could see an argument that Secret Wars, which not only was a giant event but also caused the cancellation of every ongoing Marvel title for several months, damaged their sales. But I think the analysis I saw suggested that Marvel's #1s post-SW did fine and then dropped off below pre-SW levels, which makes me think it wasn't really the problem.
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  #880  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:46 PM
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I could see an argument that Secret Wars, which not only was a giant event but also caused the cancellation of every ongoing Marvel title for several months, damaged their sales. But I think the analysis I saw suggested that Marvel's #1s post-SW did fine and then dropped off below pre-SW levels, which makes me think it wasn't really the problem.
True. Looking at the numbers, it seems as though they're just losing waaaaay more readers / month than the usual 3 - 5% attrition. EG, Black Panther was over 100K last May for its second issue, now it's near 30K. Avengers is down near 30K an issue, as is the Miles Morales book.

They should be holding readers better than this. Champions shipped 334K for its #1, and now its at the 30K mark. 90% of the people who read that book just said "nope."
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  #881  
Old 04-04-2017, 01:16 PM
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An interesting case study - sales of the Ms. Marvel TPBs to date:

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VOL.1 : 46,149 [+945]
VOL.2 : 18,698
VOL.3 : 11,282
VOL.4 : 6,642
VOL.5 : 5,200
VOL.6: 3,500
HC vol.1 : 1,942
HC vol.2 : 2,653
And Hawkeye:

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VOL.1: 47,268
VOL.2: 25,657
VOL.3: 13,536
VOL.4: 8,814
VOL.5: 4,109
VOL.6: 2,583
And Squirrel Girl, which seems to have held a bit better:

Quote:
TPB VOL.2: 8,884
TPB VOL.3 : 2,928
TPB VOL.4: 2,387
Now, TPB charts are waaaaaaay less accurate than single-issue ones because you're not just dealing with Diamond, and of course these will trend up by a couple thousand sales / year, hopefully... but maybe the Marvel die-off isn't just limited to monthly sales?
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  #882  
Old 04-04-2017, 01:42 PM
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Hawkeye kind of doesn't count by the end when they took like a year between single issues.
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  #883  
Old 04-04-2017, 01:52 PM
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I think this is a pretty good analysis.

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Having dug into the data, it’s become clear that diversity is not hurting Marvel. The truth is, Marvel’s “diverse” titles actually sell decently. The problem, instead, appears to be a hollowing-out of Marvel’s traditional A-List, titles whose sales have dropped by tens of thousands of copies in the past few years. Especially painful has been the collapse of X-Men sales, which once made up Marvel’s bread and butter, though the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy lines have also seen a major declines since “Secret Wars.” Blaming “diversity” only goes so far when it is series about white men and teams of white men that have been dropping the furthest.

There are many potential explanations for why Marvel’s sales have declined since “Secret Wars” — the decision to relaunch titles that were already selling well, a weak slate of new series, reader fatigue with the seemingly unending string of events and crossovers, a desire for more escapist stories at a time when Marvel was prepping for an event about fascism, steep competition from DC’s Rebirth relaunch, poor marketing outside of the direct market, etc. — but the publisher’s current focus with “diversity” is not among them.
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  #884  
Old 04-05-2017, 08:45 AM
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Maybe they're trying?
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  #885  
Old 04-05-2017, 12:07 PM
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So... no more events for 6 months after Secret Empire is inevitably delayed for a year before it's over?
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  #886  
Old 04-05-2017, 12:17 PM
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With Secret Empire they seem to have much-belatedly figured out that if they want the event to run on time, they need to throw a platoon of artists at it.
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  #887  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:04 PM
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It looks like Secret Empire has gone full Clone Saga circa '94. Except this time the Scarlet Spider is Nazism.

Maybe for their next trick, they'll bring back Onslaught, but lean even more into the angle of Professor X as a an incel beta turned MRA after being driven mad by Jean's short skirts.

I can see a lot of potential in this plan to take the most hated crossovers of the 90s and make them even worse.
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  #888  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:19 PM
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In a vacuum, the basic story concept of a long-time hero being revealed as a villain who had been twisted by outside forces long ago, and seeing what happens when that comes out, is a novel and potentially interesting one.

But I realize this isn't a vacuum, and when you add together all of the context that exists from history and how people react to things, Marvel probably didn't think this through well enough and it seems like a really bad idea. I still haven't read it yet, though.
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  #889  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:26 PM
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I guess the one good thing about this event is that its going to save me a lot of money this summer.
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  #890  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:33 PM
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I think my favorite part of the spoilers I've heard is that the actual twist is the Allies lost WWII and used a cosmic cube to rewrite history. But they left the Holocaust in, because nobody was thinking beyond "What if we lost WWII instead!?"
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  #891  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:45 PM
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What really gets me is how lazily they're cribbing from other recent events they themselves ran.

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In Secret Empire #0, Hydra waits for the Chitauri invasion to arrive before sabotaging that planetary shield. When all the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe are out in space trying to hold the line against the Chitauri, Steve Rogers uses that as an opportunity to set Zemo's "Masters of Evil" on Manhattan — motivating congress to grant him emergency powers. With that done, he strands the majority of Earth's most powerful heroes in space by switching the planetary shield back, and reveals his true allegiance to Hydra. S.H.I.E.L.D. is overthrown and New York is cut off from the rest of the world in a veil of darkness.
The whole planetary shield thing? That was a huge chunk of the plot of Infinity (2013).

The whole New York cut off from the rest of the world? Onslaught (1996).

I'm pretty sure they've used the emergency powers oops I'm evil thing too, I just can't remember where.

Like, this is so creatively lazy; especially given the lengths they've got to go to to prevent the Ultimates from just killing Cap and resolving the problem. Oops, Cap was always evil? Well, Photon has just fried his brain, Captain Marvel's burned him alive, and Ms. America has dropped him into a parallel dimension composed entirely of acid. Problem solved.
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  #892  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:47 PM
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In a vacuum, the basic story concept of a long-time hero being revealed as a villain who had been twisted by outside forces long ago, and seeing what happens when that comes out, is a novel and potentially interesting one.
Worked for Teen Iron Man.
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  #893  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:48 PM
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Besides the obvious Star Wars connection, the emergency powers thing sounds a lot like Norman Osborn taking advantage of Secret Invasion to become the head of SHIELD.
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  #894  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:28 PM
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Do they ever address how Hydra knew that Steve Rodgers would become Captain America?
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  #895  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:34 PM
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just on pure irrational bias I'm gonna say the explanation is "Cosmic Cube, shut up"

btw not gonna bandy about exact numbers or nothin but don't be shocked when Diamond puts out the figures in a couple months and it turns out this series sold like butt
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  #896  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:40 PM
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Basically, yeah. The way it's described, Kubik literally retroactively changed Steve's reality. So, his present as Cap was the starting point, and then his past unraveled and snapped into place from that anchor. And even better --according to spoilers, that "snapping" included Steve-as-Cap willingly assisting the Axis in its victory against the Allies. Because when you protest too much that he's not a Nazi, having him as a Nazi collaborator is exactly what you want to do to prove your point!

...incidentally, once you have a reality-altering Cube as your trigger for this event? Everyone and their giant, tuning-fork-headed teleporting dog knows the event will end with that exact same Cube resetting reality to "our" Marvel Universe and, more than likely, either sacrificing itself to do so or just vanishing to another dimension once it's done. There's zero tension. There's no way the other Marvel heroes will accomplish anything, especially since they're dealing with fundamental changes to their reality. The only way out of a Deus Ex Machina is with another one. At best, the tension remaining is how many people, and who, will remember all these shenanigans after the conclusion, and how angsty/guilty they'll be and how much they will trust Cap.

In the meantime I'll go to my comic shop and ask whether Ms. Marvel and Ultimates --the only two series I buy, and the latter only because it recently got SERIOUSLY Megaten with its Cosmics-- will cross over into Empire, and remove them from my pull list if they do.
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  #897  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
Besides the obvious Star Wars connection, the emergency powers thing sounds a lot like Norman Osborn taking advantage of Secret Invasion to become the head of SHIELD.
Yup, that's it!

Oh, and the whole setup also smells a lot like The Earth's Mightiest Heroes version of Secret Invasion from season 2.
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  #898  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Zef View Post
...incidentally, once you have a reality-altering Cube as your trigger for this event? Everyone and their giant, tuning-fork-headed teleporting dog knows the event will end with that exact same Cube resetting reality to "our" Marvel Universe and, more than likely, either sacrificing itself to do so or just vanishing to another dimension once it's done. There's zero tension. There's no way the other Marvel heroes will accomplish anything, especially since they're dealing with fundamental changes to their reality. The only way out of a Deus Ex Machina is with another one. At best, the tension remaining is how many people, and who, will remember all these shenanigans after the conclusion, and how angsty/guilty they'll be and how much they will trust Cap.
These things can have plenty of tension if you structure them like a heist movie. Everyone know that they'll pull off the heist, but it's interesting to figure out how they will do it and how they will deal with the unexpected snags. Of course, heists can also show character growth which things with big reset buttons tend to avoid, thus making their endings much less satisfactory. (Why yes, I've watched a lot of Star Trek: Voyager. How did you know?)
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  #899  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Hedgehog View Post
These things can have plenty of tension if you structure them like a heist movie. Everyone know that they'll pull off the heist, but it's interesting to figure out how they will do and how they will deal with the unexpected snags. Of course, heists can also show character growth which things with big reset buttons tend to avoid making their endings much less satisfactory. (Why yes, I've watched a lot of Star Trek: Voyager. How did you know?)
Hahaha, I just watched "The Year of Hell" the other day and, it being the third VOY story I watch, made me wonder why the show has such a bad reputation when it can actually get pretty damn brilliant.
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  #900  
Old 04-20-2017, 02:48 PM
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In the meantime I'll go to my comic shop and ask whether Ms. Marvel and Ultimates --the only two series I buy, and the latter only because it recently got SERIOUSLY Megaten with its Cosmics-- will cross over into Empire, and remove them from my pull list if they do.
Actually, I can help you with this one. That is a negatory for the moment. The issues from MAY17 Previews, the most recent solicits (dropped yesterday), do not cross over with the crossover.

ETA: no wait Ultimates 2 #7 does do a Secret Empire crossover. But they appear to be trying hard to stick with the ongoing Galactus storyline while they do it.
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