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View Full Version : Hmmmm, the direction of the industry...



Brad N.
05-14-2006, 08:41 AM
I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I thought about more today when I heard they cancelled Thing. There's been a lot of talk over the last few years about low book sales in general but TPB's have been mostly through the roof. More and more fans seem to be waiting for trades overall and especially rather than trying new series. For years there have been people saying the print comic book medium was eventually going to die I say bullshit. I can see eventually that would happen (like decades, maybe even a century) but for now neither comics or novels are going anywhere. However, I have started to wonder if perhaps the industry may some day go more toward trades than traditional monthly issues. I can honestly see the comic medium becoming more like the book industry and releasing first original large scale hardcover graphic novels, then in paperback form many months later. While I would be upset with this it seems inevitable to me with the way the industry is going right now. Any thoughts?

RODGER
05-14-2006, 08:43 AM
it will never survive if it went to just trades only.

Thudpucker
05-14-2006, 08:45 AM
Singles are going to be phased out eventually. I think US comics will be more like the Japanese in a few years - release the monthlies bundled together in magazines or digests, then collect them as trades.

Brad N.
05-14-2006, 08:50 AM
Singles are going to be phased out eventually. I think US comics will be more like the Japanese in a few years - release the monthlies bundled together in magazines or digests, then collect them as trades.

That's kind of what I was thinking. You know, what really got me thinking about this? Target and Barnes and Noble. Mostly Target. They carry a small number of Trades now. My whole life I never in a million years thought I'd ever see a TPB in a Target store. You won't see issues of Amazing Spider-Man there, but you can buy a trade of some of his best stuff.

Kody
05-14-2006, 08:59 AM
I think there are two main goals for comics to improve in the marketplace.

Truly diversify the medium, so it's not 99% superhero, and 1% everything else. We've got to start supporting non-superhero books and help diversity the industry with well rounded content. Crime, horror, romance, westerns, comedy, drama, etc. Those genres need to grow for us to see comics head in the right direction. We pride ourselves as being innovative and we brag to our friends when Hollywood taps into comics because they've "run out of ideas." Yet, the bulk of the concepts they're buying is well over 40 years old. They're buying Kane, Ditko, Lee and Kirby, again, for the 3rd or 4th time.

The second thing we need to do is to switch from a 'collector' mentality to a 'literature' mentality. I think a big part of that is to simply launch more books in bound format rather than single issues. That helps us get into book stores. Only comic fans go into comic shops. Therefore, it's nearly impossible to pick up new readers. And if a romance fan happens to walk into a comic shop, that person probably won't find much to support their favorite genre. We've got to treat the medium as art and literature (which it is) and try and move away from collectible pop culture if we can. I think maintaining the 'inside club' mindset that's so popular today hurts our chances of bringing in new readers.

Donal DeLay
05-14-2006, 09:00 AM
You know, everyone keeps saying "people say the industry is dying, and the way of the pamphlet is vanishing. blah blah" NEVER, ANYwhere have I EVER read or heard that. WHO says the industry is going to die?


it will never survive if it went to just trades only. Why wouldn't it?

Ben Rosen
05-14-2006, 09:01 AM
I think there are two main goals for comics to improve in the marketplace.

Truly diversify the medium, so it's not 99% superhero, and 1% everything else. We've got to start supporting non-superhero books and help diversity the industry with well rounded content. Crime, horror, romance, westerns, comedy, drama, etc. Those genres need to grow for us to see comics head in the right direction. We pride ourselves as being innovative and we brag to our friends when Hollywood taps into comics because they've "run out of ideas." Yet, the bulk of the concepts they're buying is well over 40 years old. They're buying Kane, Ditko, Lee and Kirby, again, for the 3rd or 4th time.

The second thing we need to do is to switch from a 'collector' mentality to a 'literature' mentality. I think a big part of that is to simply launch more books in bound format rather than single issues. That helps us get into book stores. Only comic fans go into comic shops. Therefore, it's nearly impossible to pick up new readers. And if a romance fan happens to walk into a comic shop, that person probably won't find much to support their favorite genre. We've got to treat the medium as art and literature (which it is) and try and move away from collectible pop culture if we can. I think maintaining the 'inside club' mindset that's so popular today hurts our chances of bringing in new readers.

word up.


word. up.

Thudpucker
05-14-2006, 09:14 AM
That's kind of what I was thinking. You know, what really got me thinking about this? Target and Barnes and Noble. Mostly Target. They carry a small number of Trades now. My whole life I never in a million years thought I'd ever see a TPB in a Target store. You won't see issues of Amazing Spider-Man there, but you can buy a trade of some of his best stuff.

The good thing about magazines instead of single comics is that alot of stores you mention have magazine racks. The newstand comics would be back again :)

If Marvel put out monthly magazines that collected 5 or 6 stories apiece (the magazines replacing single comic issues) they could still collect revenue from a secondary source before the stories were collected as trade. And the fact that magazine racks in dozens of retail outlets (convienence stores, grocery stores, bookstores, ect) would carry them makes comic shops obsolete.

PhilipClark
05-14-2006, 09:19 AM
I think the Thing's cancellation is a terrible side effect from all of the company-wide huge event/crossovers going on right now.

When the Big Two create a glut in the market place with things like Civl War, Infinite Crisis, and 52, all of the smaller, second or third string characters' books sell less and eventually get cancelled.

It happened to the Thing, it's happening to Manhunter, didn't it happen to She-Hulk, too?

I don't think the "waiting for the trade" pheomenon is responsible for these cancellations. It's the Big Two flooding the market with major crossover events, causing fewer orders of second string characters and indie books.

Doc Randy
05-14-2006, 09:23 AM
You know, everyone keeps saying "people say the industry is dying, and the way of the pamphlet is vanishing. blah blah" NEVER, ANYwhere have I EVER read or heard that. WHO says the industry is going to die?

Why wouldn't it?

I don't know anybody who says the comics industry will vanish. We'll always have some comics.

That being said, it is a shrinking industry. Sales numbers for the industry as a whole are a small fraction of what they used to be. A very small fraction of what they used to be.

For example, it used to be common practice to cancel any book that didn't sell more than 100k copies an issue. Now, only the very top 3-5 titles sell that many.

Thudpucker
05-14-2006, 09:27 AM
I think the Thing's cancellation is a terrible side effect from all of the company-wide huge event/crossovers going on right now.

When the Big Two create a glut in the market place with things like Civl War, Infinite Crisis, and 52, all of the smaller, second or third string characters' books sell less and eventually get cancelled.

It happened to the Thing, it's happening to Manhunter, didn't it happen to She-Hulk, too?

I don't think the "waiting for the trade" pheomenon is responsible for these cancellations. It's the Big Two flooding the market with major crossover events, causing fewer orders of second string characters and indie books.

I agree. I've made several threads about this, one of them a few weeks ago:

http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=67533

I was very unhappy to see Marvel and Bendis bringing back the 'big event' crossover stuff to Marvel, one after the other without end. It's a sad indication that Marvel will soon follow DC in killing off most of the fun quirky books that don't fit the big picture Bendis is creating :(

PhilipClark
05-14-2006, 09:32 AM
I don't know anybody who says the comics industry will vanish. We'll always have some comics.

That being said, it is a shrinking industry. Sales numbers for the industry as a whole are a small fraction of what they used to be. A very small fraction of what they used to be.

For example, it used to be common practice to cancel any book that didn't sell more than 100k copies an issue. Now, only the very top 3-5 titles sell that many.
Yes, but the industry is starting to see growth again. Granted, nothing like before the fallout in the nineties, but the top 3 are starting to see better numbers than even 1 or 2 years ago.

Donal DeLay
05-14-2006, 09:35 AM
I don't know anybody who says the comics industry will vanish. We'll always have some comics.

That being said, it is a shrinking industry. Sales numbers for the industry as a whole are a small fraction of what they used to be. A very small fraction of what they used to be.

For example, it used to be common practice to cancel any book that didn't sell more than 100k copies an issue. Now, only the very top 3-5 titles sell that many. Was that before, during, or after the collector boom of the late 80's-early 90's?

Looking at the numbers and the books on the shelf, are the number really DOWN since more independent books are available, or are the numbers just spread out?