The decline of modern comics...

Discuss anything vaguely M&M related here, such as comics, movies, and action figures.
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Kyle
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Kyle » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:09 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:I have rather enjoyed the recent Valiant reboot. Archer and Armstrong and Quantum and Woody are excellent books with a lot of humor in them.

The Valiant reboot amazes me. Who would have thought that people would be excited about a book with Ninjak in it in 2014?

saint_matthew wrote:Unfortunately the indi's can't support the industry if Marvel & DC collapse.

Marvel's owned by Disney and DC's owned by Warner Brothers. They'd both have to be doing a lor poorer for there to be any chance of collapse. So long as their stories and ideas are valuable as movie and television properties, the comics industry will exist.

However, even with the collapse of the direct sales market, we'll still be getting comics. Digital distribution and companies like Monkey Brain will be around.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby kingk » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:09 pm

As somebody who only really started following comics with the New 52, let me raise an important question that many of you seem to be ignoring: When did this decline (whether it's real or not) ostensibly begin? I heard a lot of complaining about the New 52 and recent Marvel "event oversaturation." Am I to assume that everything was just great before that? If not, when did things go downhill?


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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby JetstreamGW » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:59 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
FuzzyBoots wrote:
saint_matthew wrote:- Constantly changing your comic books to reflect the trends in movies. The prime example would be how they shoe horned in a black Nick Fury into the 616 universe just for the benefit of the movie. When we know the movies do not spike sales on the contemporary comic books they are based on, they only spike sales on extant trades.

I'll yield your other points, but you have this one backwards. Samuel L. Jackson let them use his face as Nick Fury's on condition that he could play Nick Fury in the movies.


I think you may be mixing up ultimate universe with standard 616 universe.


Yeah, what Matt said. That's the reason Nick Fury looked like Sammy Jackson in the Ultimate universe. After the movies took off they shoehorned Sammy-Jackson-Fury into the 616 Universe, which is the name for Marvel... Prime? Original? Main? Whatever.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:52 pm

Kyle wrote:Marvel's owned by Disney and DC's owned by Warner Brothers. They'd both have to be doing a lor poorer for there to be any chance of collapse. So long as their stories and ideas are valuable as movie and television properties, the comics industry will exist.


Actually it makes it easier for them to collapse... Because they are not a major revenue stream for the parent company.... In fact that was one of the supposed reasons for the NU52.... As the story goes Didio was told by WB to turn it around or they would replace him with someone who could. How much truth there is to that story, I don't know.

Kyle wrote:However, even with the collapse of the direct sales market, we'll still be getting comics. Digital distribution and companies like Monkey Brain will be around.


Except that without new mainstream content, platforms like comixology would rapidly fail due to loss of advertising/licensed product revenue & without the direct market there would be no more reason for companies like Monkey Brain to exist, because there product no longer has a platform.

However that wasn't the point. The point was that as great as indis can be (because some are truly terrible), they can't support a system if that system flounders... Not economically & not artistically. Indis make a great pallet cleanser, but just like elseworld stories, or superior spider-man you wouldn't want them as your main meal forever.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby greycrusader » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:29 pm

From (mostly) reliable sources, I have indeed heard DiDio and other DC executives were basically given an ultimatum-produce or begin looking for new employment. Basically, WB finally woke up and realized DC hadn't beaten Marvel in sales in over ten years-not for a sales quarter, not for a month, not even for a damn week. Meanwhile, Marvel had several successful film properties (IM, X-Men, Spider-Man) and even minor properties were crossing over (Captain America, Thor, the Blade movies of the previous decade) while ONLY Batman worked for DC. As much as I want artistry to triumph, let's face up to something: comics are a business, and it isn't exactly startling WB execs wanted to actually compete, sales wise.

The new 52 is getting much better in terms of content, IMO, at least compared to where it started out a couple years back. Honestly, at first it was just "throw out a bunch of Batman, Justice League, and GL related titles, and a mess of random other stuff, and see what works", aside from having an incoherent shared universe. So things are starting to jell a lot better overall, though obviously some titles are up and others are down.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:39 pm

greycrusader wrote:From (mostly) reliable sources, I have indeed heard DiDio and other DC executives were basically given an ultimatum-produce or begin looking for new employment. Basically, WB finally woke up and realized DC hadn't beaten Marvel in sales in over ten years-not for a sales quarter, not for a month, not even for a damn week.


An in that way the NU52 was still a failure, since by years end of the first full year of the NU52, Marvels market share still eclipsed that of DC.

greycrusader wrote:Meanwhile, Marvel had several successful film properties (IM, X-Men, Spider-Man) and even minor properties were crossing over (Captain America, Thor, the Blade movies of the previous decade) while ONLY Batman worked for DC.


Power of Shazam TV series.... That's all I'm saying DC.... Just give it a try. :D

greycrusader wrote:The new 52 is getting much better in terms of content, IMO, at least compared to where it started out a couple years back.


To little, to late: They burned a lot of readers & yes an improvement is good, but when you start with nothing, the only direction to go is up. An unfortunately the giant %$#@ ups they made in the first 12 months are the giant @%$^ ups that are still going to be the ones that are pulling down the entire thing 12 months from now.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby King Snarf » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:25 pm

saint_matthew wrote:Actually it makes it easier for them to collapse... Because they are not a major revenue stream for the parent company.... In fact that was one of the supposed reasons for the NU52.... As the story goes Didio was told by WB to turn it around or they would replace him with someone who could. How much truth there is to that story, I don't know.


Well, in the case of Disney and Marvel, Disney apparently has a measure of faith in them. There's the new Star Wars comics, obviously, as well as the new title Seekers of the Weird, based on stuff from the Disney Park Imagineers.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby kingk » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:06 pm

FuzzyBoots wrote:^_^ Take your pick


Ok, but looking back through this doesn't seem to point to an answer, necessarily. I know that a TVTropes page doesn't really give a detailed history, but I also wasn't regularly reading comics pre-2010. To me, I see plenty of examples from before the New 52... and plenty of examples before then. To try and date things, it looks like mid-2000s had a lot of issues. Early 2000s aren't really mentioned, so presumably they were good. Then before that is the 90s, which is talked about disparagingly, and I know to be the era of the Clone Saga and the Death of Superman, along with a lot of other Iron Age madness. So it has to be before that then, right? So was the 80s the last time comics were "good?" I've heard negative things about that period as well, and you go much farther back you hit the over-the-top Silver Age silliness, which nobody seems fond of either.

So when was the height or peak that we are now declining from? Seriously, I don't mean this sarcastically or as a challenge. I'm trying to fit together a timeline of what I've been missing, if everything out today is so sub-par.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Mr Mole » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:18 pm

Regarding Greycrusader's comments... I completely understand and agree with the points you made. That said, whatever the specific causes were that led to the current state of the big two in the comics industry, they've lost me as a reader.

saint_matthew wrote:To little, to late: They burned a lot of readers & yes an improvement is good, but when you start with nothing, the only direction to go is up.

Bingo. Matthew summed up my feelings on the matter with that line. With few exceptions, DC took a fictional universe, filled with people and places I've loved for decades, and turned it into an abomination. I do feel burned and I don't plan on jumping back into purchasing any titles from DC (or Marvel, for that matter) in the foreseeable future (if ever).

I felt less burned by the Star Wars prequels than I did by DC's relaunch... And that's saying something... :shock:

kingk wrote:So when was the height or peak that we are now declining from? Seriously, I don't mean this sarcastically or as a challenge. I'm trying to fit together a timeline of what I've been missing, if everything out today is so sub-par.

There've always been good comics. There still are... But the focus has changed dramatically, and for some of us, it's not for the better. My personal "happy place" tends to be bronze age comics, but there were plenty of options to choose from in any age. They've all had their strengths and their weaknesses.

Or you could just go by raw sales figures, if you prefer... But the dollars rarely match up with the titles I enjoy most. Sadly, I'm apparently not part of anyone's target demographic these days. :roll:

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:10 am

The shift of comics away being aimed at an all ages demographic has done a tremendous amount of damage to the industry as a whole. As the focus has become solely aimed at an aging demographic that will simply eventually die of old age. And without new readers to replace them, the mainstream comics run the risk of dying with them.

This is why it is critical to get books out that appeal to a wide range of demographics. So that a new audience can be built. So that the whole medium actually has a future.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:05 pm

Mr Mole wrote:
saint_matthew wrote:To little, to late: They burned a lot of readers & yes an improvement is good, but when you start with nothing, the only direction to go is up.

Bingo. Matthew summed up my feelings on the matter with that line. With few exceptions, DC took a fictional universe, filled with people and places I've loved for decades, and turned it into an abomination. I do feel burned and I don't plan on jumping back into purchasing any titles from DC (or Marvel, for that matter) in the foreseeable future (if ever).


It would be like rebooting the Marvel universe, but removing anything worked on or created by Stan Lee. I'm sure you could come up with a universe that may be worth reading about, but it'd no longer be the Marvel universe, it'd be something else entirely. An then to add insult to injury, they decided to reinsert the stuff Stan Lee made, but in a fashion that it was completely unrecognisable as the original works barring the name.

For DC that's something as simple as removing the legacy of the Golden Age... There is no DC without the Golden Age.

Darrin Kelley wrote:The shift of comics away being aimed at an all ages demographic has done a tremendous amount of damage to the industry as a whole. As the focus has become solely aimed at an aging demographic that will simply eventually die of old age. And without new readers to replace them, the mainstream comics run the risk of dying with them.

This is why it is critical to get books out that appeal to a wide range of demographics. So that a new audience can be built. So that the whole medium actually has a future.


Yep, we'll just become the newest iteration of model trains, pulp fiction novels, or radio plays. Unwilling to adapt & with creators walking around announcing "we shall never be replaced, we shall never die" right before they died & were replaced.

But I think I know what the industry needs. The industry needs a new third party producer of superhero comics: Combining all the best aspects of 90's Marvel story telling, with 2000's DC story telling. A company that instead of creating 52 books, is much smaller & just produces 10 books.... Quality over quantity. Because at the moment, DC & Marvel do in fact have a monopoly on the superhero concept & they are attempting to run it into the ground for pure profits for somebody else, in this case Hollywood.

A company that cares only for the quality of the product sold, rather than kitsch sales gimmicks, like point 1 issues, 3d covers, foil covers, alternate covers, poly-bagging, trading cards, etc etc.

Think of it as Invincible, if it had 9 other titles just as good, but with a diverse range of styles, characters & even superhero paradigms. Think of it as Malibu Comics Ultraverse, if the Ultraverse hadn't been almost completely shit.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm

Matthew:

I'm in the process of creating my own comics company. One that focuses on strong storytelling, and well conceived characters.

We have chosen the graphic novel format, simply because it makes the most commercial sense to do for a small company. And we will be able to put out a few books a year.

Small potatoes compared to the big two, I know. But each and every book has to pass my quality standards before they ever go on the market.

I would like to be able to sell them in a format that could coexist in the market with manga right now. Because Manga is selling like crazy. While the conventional comics format just are not.

I'll drop a press release once our first books launch. But rest assured, this is the push of my lifetime.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:26 pm

Darrin Kelley wrote:Matthew: I'm in the process of creating my own comics company.

[...]

We have chosen the graphic novel format, simply because it makes the most commercial sense to do for a small company. And we will be able to put out a few books a year.


Yep, because you don't have the start up capital.... None of us do. That's why it has not been done successfully already. Because it would take considerable funding from multiple moderately wealthy silent investors willing to take a chance on a medium with more failures than successes, with the hopes of making a sweet heart deal.

Our history is littered with comic book company failures, from the old comic book companies of the 1930's when comics where cheap to manufacture to, the failure of the 1940's collapse with companies like Ace Comics, to the forced corporate failures of companies like Charleston in the 80's, to more recent companies like Malibu Comics & CrossGen Entertainment.... An that's not even mentioning the hundreds of indi companies that produce a single book, or a handful of books & are never heard from again.

So if anyone out there knows of such a group of individuals, or maybe just one excessively wealthy individual looking for an off shore tax write off, I'll happily offer my services to fritter away that money in the big, showy, yet commercially unsuccessful fashion that is commercial mainstream comics. :lol:

EDIT: However if you are serious about your desire to make comics, I would suggest looking up & possibly purchasing a copy of a book by Mat Nastos, its called "Comic Book Marketing 101."
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:12 pm

saint_matthew wrote:EDIT: However if you are serious about your desire to make comics, I would suggest looking up & possibly purchasing a copy of a book by Mat Nastos, its called "Comic Book Marketing 101."


I will check out that book. Anything that helps at this point is a positive.

I am serious about making comics. But I'm not looking to get rich doing it. I know the realities of the business. And the idea that comic book artists should equate to rock stars is an idea that already did enough damage to the industry.


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