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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 5:36pm | IP Logged | 1  

Wow. Alpha Flight sold that well?



For the first year or so. As I noted in another thread, the very expensive
($1!!) first issue sold around half a million, the highest sales any
mainstream book had seen in quite a while.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 5:40pm | IP Logged | 2  

Yeah, I remembered that. Just didn't realize the following issues were DOUBLING the FF at the time. I figured it was second only to X-Men. Well, and maybe Daredevil.
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 6:38pm | IP Logged | 3  

Diminished expectations, again.

Let's set aside how appalling 125,000 a month is for a "best seller" (I
averaged 250,000 on FANTASTIC FOUR and nearly twice that on ALPHA
FLIGHT), do the math. DC could hire some lesser lights who might sell 20
or 25 thousand copies every month and they'd make as much, if not
more, than what they are making of ALL STAR.

If this is about the bottom line, their bookkeeping is fkd.


Not to mention that Frank Miller, Jim Lee and Scott Williams are probably
the top-paid writer, penciller and inker in comics. I wonder how many
other books can be produced for the same amount of money that the
creative team pulls in for an issue of All-Star.

Somewhere in that bottom line, DC's probably factoring in the expense of
staying on Frank Miller's good side at all costs, and they've decided that
whatever work they can get out of him is worth the headaches and
uncertainty.
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Richard Callaghan
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 7:18pm | IP Logged | 4  


 QUOTE:
My impression of comic fandom today is that Marvel and DC have spent the last quarter century relentlessly driving away the Readers, making it as difficult as possible for the few who remained to actually find the product, and increasingly gearing that product toward the over-age, whining fanboys so perfectly caricatured on THE SIMPSONS. That stereotype used to be the majority. When I see what sells these days, I fear the balance has long ago tipped.


"Over age"? Do you regard there as being a cutting off point for comic reading then, JB? Only I'm in my late 30s here and thinking maybe it's time for me to stop getting them as it is...
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Keith Elder
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 7:27pm | IP Logged | 5  

When I was younger, my group of friends divided up comic book purchases.  I bought Fantastic Four, for instance, and my buddy volunteered to take Alpha Flight when it started.  After a trip to the store, we'd spend a few hours shuffling comics between each other's piles.

My point is that even though sales are dramatically down from twenty years ago, readership is probably down EVEN MORE.  I bet a lot fewer people read any given copy of a comic...
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 8:09pm | IP Logged | 6  

There might be less pass-around of individual copies, but trade paperbacks
are getting pretty good circulation at libraries around the country, and a
quick trip to Borders will show you that there's at least a sizable amount of
kids willing to *read* comics that are just sitting around someplace.

I'd bet that part of the massive drop in sales figures from the early 1990s to
today is that fewer people are buying five copies of every issue of X-Men in
the hopes that it will become an instant collectible. Sure, those guys will
never completely go away, but I think there's been a huge decline in their
population since the X-Force/X-Men/Youngblood #1 days.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 8:34pm | IP Logged | 7  

I work in a public library and the graphic novels get a lot of circulation and in-library use.

However, I doubt the average comic gets as many readings as they would have back in the 40's when they were passed from friend to friend.  And the comics sent overseas to the military probably more so.

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Lars Sandmark
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 9:07pm | IP Logged | 8  



-Looking for some naughty copies of ASBAR-
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Lars Sandmark
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 9  

Oh, What's the big deal? DC has been doing this for decades!
Haven't they?



All kidding aside, I'm personally very disappointed with DC Comics.

Edited by Lars Sandmark on 12 September 2008 at 9:12pm
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 10  

Lars - those are priceless.

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Thomas Moudry
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Posted: 12 September 2008 at 11:00pm | IP Logged | 11  

I've finally given up on All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. Pretty
pictures are not going to be enough to keep me buying drivel.
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Darren De Vouge
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 12:02am | IP Logged | 12  

Gave up on this title months ago.  Whoever the "God-Damned Batman" is, he ain't no hero, that's for sure. 
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Al Cook
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 7:21am | IP Logged | 13  

UN or LI?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 7:56am | IP Logged | 14  

"Over age"? Do you regard there as being a cutting off point for comic
reading then, JB? Only I'm in my late 30s here and thinking maybe it's time
for me to stop getting them as it is...



If all you buy is Marvel and DC superhero books, it was probably time for
you to stop more than a decade ago.

Of course, if you want to expand this beyond our present area of discussion,
there are plenty of other-genre comics being produced, for a wide range of
ages. So if you want to read comics until you are 106, by all means do so.
Just don't complain that Spider-Man or Batman don't reflect your 106 year
old lifestyle.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 8:04am | IP Logged | 15  

There might be less pass-around of individual copies, but trade paperbacks
are getting pretty good circulation at libraries around the country, and a
quick trip to Borders will show you that there's at least a sizable amount of
kids willing to *read* comics that are just sitting around someplace.



Ever since I started writing for a living, I have found myself viewing libraries
somewhat differently than once I did. I think we are all in agreement that
libraries are A Good Thing -- but are they A Good Thing right across the
board? When we have niche products like comics, is it really a good idea for
them to be available in libraries? Some might argue that reading a trade
paperback could encourage a reader to seek out the comics themselves, but
I wonder if that really happens as much as we might like to think it does?
After all, as I have complained so many times, the comicbook industry has
done just about everything it can to make it as difficult as possible for
someone to start reading comics. The product is sold almost exclusively
thru out-of-the-way venues. It is "expensive". Shipping schedules are
erratic. Increasingly, once juvenile (in a good way) fare has become "adult".

The notion of "waiting for the trade" has, I am sure, had a negative impact
on the sales of the monthly books. How much more negative impact comes
from those trades being available in libraries? Not only are they reliably on
the shelf from month to month in a library, they are free! Taken from the
most cold hearted and mercenary stance (which is where I think we really
have to be in this crumbling business!) are libraries a Good Thing for
comics?
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 16  

They're good for getting them exposed to people, I think.  Theoretically, at least.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 8:52am | IP Logged | 17  

I covered that in my query, Paulo.
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Joel Tesch
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 18  

I'd bet that part of the massive drop in sales figures from the early 1990s to today is that fewer people are buying five copies of every issue of X-Men in the hopes that it will become an instant collectible.

Andrew, the drop in sales is not just from the 90s...sales are way lower than they were in the 80s, 70s, 60s, etc. It's not just that the speculators are gone (or mostly gone)...the readership is hugely diminished.

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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 19  

Good point about libraries and something I had not considered.  Since comics are available essentially NO WHERE else....the options are to pay full price at a comic shop that you may or may not even know exists....or read them for free at a library!  Ouch!
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 20  


 QUOTE:
I covered that in my query, Paulo.


Beg your pardon.  However, if the concern is that the companies don't promote their product enough, some exposure might be better than where there would else wise be none.  I haven't noticed that local libraries keep very many trades in circulation, so I'm wondering if they will have much of a negative impact on sales.
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Richard Callaghan
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 21  


 QUOTE:
If all you buy is Marvel and DC superhero books, it was probably time for
you to stop more than a decade ago.


Well, I have followed your more adult works, and I read Alan Moore (sorry!) but only when I get the chance.

To be honest, I just tend to read Fantastic Four out of habit, that's all. Just simply don't have the time to read much else, comic wise... or the disposal income. I don't think I (hopefully!) fit the "whining" stereotype you conjured up though.

If you were back with Marvel or DC JB, then what would you do to retarget the younger readership? I just interviewed a writer about Fantastic Four (Dwayne McDuffie) who said that he believed there to be no current "kid" readership for the title.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 10:11am | IP Logged | 22  

If you were back with Marvel or DC JB, then what would you do to retarget
the younger readership? I just interviewed a writer about Fantastic Four
(Dwayne McDuffie) who said that he believed there to be no current "kid"
readership for the title.



I consider the bulk of my work at Marvel -- and all of my work on FF
-- to be "All Ages", and if I ever found myself back on that title, I would
continue in that vein.

Incidentally, saying "there is no current 'kid' readership" is an admission
of failure.
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Richard Callaghan
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 23  

I guess in the interests of not misrepresenting anyone, I should print the full quote, and not my paraphrase:


 QUOTE:
I wish there were still lots of kids reading Fantastic Four, but there aren't. Coming out of Civil War, it would be disingenuous to claim the title was intended mostly for children, so I wrote it for the audience that was there.


Edited by Richard Callaghan on 13 September 2008 at 10:16am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 10:22am | IP Logged | 24  

Same thing. Writing for "the audience that was there" is what got us to this
bleak place.
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Richard Callaghan
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Posted: 13 September 2008 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 25  

Yeah, my paraphrase pretty much summed it up, but then I remembered about you saying how you don't like to be misrepresented with quotes out of context, so I thought I ought to print the whole thing.

I must say though, your stance on people needing to grow out of comics surprises me, considering I've read elsewhere you saying that people should respect them as a valid art form, even the superhero titles.
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