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Topic: The Show’s Link To Its Comic Spin-offs’ Success Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 6:18pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I was reading some tweets today by Paul Lang, who worked as a designer on the UK comic DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURES.

Panini, the successor to Marvel UK, started publishing DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURES in 2006. It ran until 2017. But sales fell a long time ago. According to Lang, the show's hiatuses affected sales.

The fourth season of "New Who" (Tennant's era) ended in the summer of 2008. From December 2009 to mid-2010, there were only specials, no full seasons. And from mid-2010, Matt Smith took over.

Paul Lang stated this via Twitter:


 QUOTE:
The gap between series 4 and 5 is ultimately what killed Doctor Who Adventures, I think. We never recovered.


 QUOTE:
It wasn’t that gap on its own though. We went from selling 100,000 during series 4 down to 40,000 in the gap. It went back up as high as 70,000 for series 5, which literally ANYONE would kill to sell now. But each gap chipped away a bit more.

Okay, what is the point of the topic?

It's just an interesting collection of figures pertaining to the link between the TV series and sales of its spin-off publications. A drop from 100,000 to 40,000, and only rising to 50,000 when the show returned, is quite remarkable.

Of course, a comic has to be responsible for its own success. And let's not forget that DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, published since 1979, survived from 1989-2005 despite the show being off the air. That said, I have read many articles over time about how sales have dipped when the show has been on hiatus.

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE can probably weather that storm better because its readership is mature and we don't suffer the vagaries of youth; but a comic like DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURES, aimed at a very young demographic, can't weather such storms as well. And if the series is off the air (it also had a gap year in 2016), then kids may not be inclined to pick up a comic.

In a nutshell, the link between a show and its comic/magazine spin-offs is an interesting one. I'd love to see if various superhero releases (theatrical and TV) have increased sales of comics, for instance did the first Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN film provide a boost for the various Superman comics published at the time?



Edited by Robbie Parry on 06 January 2018 at 6:19pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 8:38pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

According to this site, there was an upward tick in sales in 1979(after the movie was released for Christmas '78), but it was only a marginal increase after sales had been in free-fall for most of the '70s.http://www.comichron.com/titlespotlights/superman.html
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 6:41am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Fascinating stuff, thank you. 
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

On the other hand, though I don't have exact numbers, the current American Doctor Who comic series featuring primarily the NuWho Doctors seems to be a pretty big success, at least as far as indie comic sales go.  
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 4:00pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

On the other hand, though I don't have exact numbers, the current American Doctor Who comic series featuring primarily the NuWho Doctors seems to be a pretty big success, at least as far as indie comic sales go.  

***

You know what's ironic? Titan published a NuWho reprint title (3 US stories per issue) and it's not doing so well. It even went on hiatus for a while, and it's scheduling was sporadic in 2017.

I find it interesting that the title is a success in the US, not the home country of the series, yet the UK, home to the show, can't make a success of a reprint title featuring those exploits. 
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 4:47am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Perhaps another problem for DWA was that the TV series became less child-friendly during Moffat's reign, even being shunted to a later time-slot that might have been after many a kiddies bedtime. With it's endless angst and navel-gazing, I doubt I'd have been attracted to the show if I was growing up in this era rather than the '60s.

PS This thread has reminded me of the Doctor Who comic strips I used to read as a boy. I was too late for the William Hartnell strips, but I enjoyed the adventures of the Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker Doctors in 'TV Comic', 'Countdown' and 'TV Action'. Those were great fun. Funnily enough, although I love Doctor Who and I love comics, I'd just never think to pick up a Doctor Who comic now - I wonder what has changed...myself or the comics? oh well.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 12:31pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Andrew,i too grew up on Doctor Who in TV Comic and
Countdown,but the modern comics hold no appeal to me,so
i guess it`s us who changed! On a related note,the
hiatus between any tv series seems to harm
magazines/comics devoted to them,it seems that only the
die hard fans stick with the publication.Was the DWA
comic one of those aimed at younger readers and laden
with `Free` gifts?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 1:49pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Oh yes, most comics now, Bill, have 'free' tat on the front? And countless wordsearches/crosswords in. Nothing intelligent about them, they often talk down to readers.

Who wants a comic (not necessarily referring to DWA) which has shitty frisbees and water pistols every other issue?
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 5:11pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Andrew Saxon:

Perhaps another problem for DWA was that the TV series became less child-friendly during Moffat's reign, even being shunted to a later time-slot that might have been after many a kiddies bedtime. With it's endless angst and navel-gazing, I doubt I'd have been attracted to the show if I was growing up in this era rather than the '60s.

Bingo. Precisely the same problem with the comics industry since about the mid-80s.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 3:14am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Even though I'm not the comic collector I once was, I still cringe at the idea of free gifts sellotaped to a cover. That's what British kids have come to expect from their comics these days though (I've been told it's something British supermarket chains insisted on to help sell the comics - maybe someone here can confirm or myth-bust that). However, I remember seeing packets of tiny plastic Daleks, Cybermen and model TARDISes attached to covers of DWA and thinking I would have loved those as a kid.

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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 3:30am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Andrew,i too grew up on Doctor Who in TV Comic and
Countdown,but the modern comics hold no appeal to me,so
i guess it`s us who changed!


Yes. I think the last Doctor Who comic strip I enjoyed was The Tides of Time which ran in the early issues of DWM. After that I gradually lost interest and barely looked at the picture strip even when I was still regularly buying the mag.

Those old strips from Countdown were simply magnificent though. I can just close my eyes and summon up the memory of a Gerry Haylock illustration of Jon Pertwee's Doctor standing outside his TARDIS on some barren alien world, and it makes me smile. Ah, those were the days...I feel sorry for the kids of today who won't get to take such wonderful memories into their adulthood. There's nothing charming about a word-search puzzle slapped on a screen-capture of Missy.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 4:32am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 (I've been told it's something British supermarket chains insisted on to help sell the comics - maybe someone here can confirm or myth-bust that).

***

I researched this once. And asked someone who would know. It's 100% true. 

And it's sad, too.

The THUNDERBIRDS comic (2015-2017) was a flop. It was another one that attached tat to its covers. And inside? Boy, you don't want to know. Mainly puzzles in addition to rehashed TV stories.

I grew up with the 80s EAGLE. Lots of fumetti strips. Lots of cartoon strips. Articles about technology. Cutaways of vehicles. A good 40-minute read (at least). Occasional cover gifts, but not often.

Comics today look awful. How many frisbees do they need to attach to comics? Frisbees, water pistols, pinball games, balloons, etc. Yuk!
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 8:40am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

As far as i`m aware,in M&S the magazine space is rented
from M&S by the magazine wholesalers,so in that case i
would presume it`s the publishers who want the free
gifts to flog their ware?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

This didn't impress me at all:

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Me neither,aiming soooo low! If only they had strips of
the quality of 50 odd years ago!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

This sums up the UK comic industry.

We have COMMANDO (running since 1961). The BEANO is still going. As are 2000 AD and JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE. I commend them all. 

We have Titan doing a lousy job with the DC reprints. Panini Comics, the successor to Marvel UK, do a wonderful job with Marvel reprints.

All those aside, the rest is licensed tat. And poor. I bought the THUNDERBIRDS comic that began publishing around 1991. It initially reprinted TV 21 strips. It then began publishing its own material. There were cutaways, a lively letters page, good articles, etc.

But in 2015, we got...puzzles, photos from the modern THUNDERBIRDS series and tat. They are all doing it. 

With some modern UK comics, strip away the 'free' tat and you're left with a shallow comic that will take about 10-12 minutes to read. Yet when I read the 80s EAGLE, it was a good 40-minute read (at least). These magazine/comic hybrids now look glossy to a child (who will beg their parent to buy it), but strip away the frisbee/water pistol/cheap tat gift and you are left with something that is "toilet paper".

How far we have fallen from the days of EAGLE, ROY OF THE ROVERS, LION, TIGER, etc.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I spent three weeks visiting relatives in Northern Ireland in May, 1984, and ended up with a (now long-gone) nice little stack of 'weekly newsprints and glossies' from the local news shops(I think it was 1985 that IPC went under, and the others began cutting back). 
The practice of 'splitting up' American reprints across three issues took some getting used to. Marvel UK also jumped between 'full colo(u)r', 'black and white', and some weird mix of  'red tinting of clothes with faces left in black and white', which looked a bit jarring.
While I liked the idea of a weekly comic, in practice, it didn't do me much good over that three weeks, because when it came to the more 'serious' comics, I had to look to 'summer specials' to read a complete story!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 7:57pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The difference between UK and US comics is definitely an interesting one.

It used to feel odd buying the likes of EAGLE and ROY OF THE ROVERS on a weekly basis whilst waiting an "eternal" month for ACTION COMICS or THE INCREDIBLE HULK to arrive!
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 9:41pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

On the other hand, though I don't have exact numbers, the current American
Doctor Who comic series featuring primarily the NuWho Doctors seems to be a
pretty big success, at least as far as indie comic sales go.
****************************
I've read a few on a regular basis...mostly fun enough, but no "wowwww"
stories or anything. Also a bit hard to get invested in companions in the
comics that never existed in the series.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 4:15pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I read some reprints. They were so-so for me. Nothing that would get me rushing back each month!
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