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Topic: Is the comic industry really in that bad of shape? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 1  

if you look at sales on an individual comic things look pretty grim but there are some good things compared to when I started reading comics in 1980.

1. There are a huge number of comics being produced.  I think there are more Batman comics produced in a month than DC used to produce across their line.  If you like Batman you are set.

2. If you do not like the current batman there are more trade papaerbacks being created than ever.  You can read the version of Batman you like since there is a trade for it.

3. There is more variety.  If you only look at the top of the charts you won't see it but there is a comic now being prodused for any taste.  Look at the size of Previews if you cannot find something you like in there you do not like comics.  There are three series just by Byrne this month.

4. Many artists and writers are making good money.  Kirby had to work really long days to make enough money while many artist now make plenty on one book that does not even come out very often.

5. Anybody can start a comic and get it distributed.  This was much more difficult in the past.
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Matthew Hansel
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:19am | IP Logged | 2  

Is the comic industry really in that bad of shape?

****************

Yes.  Fewer readers than ever before.  No new audience being produced/courted.  Distribution is horrible.  Not enough VARIETY in GENRE, because many, not all, stores only seem to push SUPER-HEROES and nothing else.

Matthew Hansel
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:33am | IP Logged | 3  

Pick a Genre, Horror, Fantasy, Western, War, Pirates , there is a comic being produced. 
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John Mietus
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:36am | IP Logged | 4  

Yes, but it's not selling in large numbers. Consider this, Michael -- in the
mid-'70s, when those within the industry didn't expect the industry to
last much more than five years or so, comics were cancelled if they didn't
sell over 100,000. These days, that's a hit book.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:38am | IP Logged | 5  

There have always been comics produced in those Genres.  The problem is in finding them. Hardly any, if any, are produced by the Top Two. And to a huge majority of comics readers, if it ain't produced by the big two, they either a) ain't buying it or b) don't know anything about it.

Edited by Brian Miller on 25 August 2005 at 11:38am
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 6  

There are a huge number of comics being produced.  I think there are more Batman comics produced in a month than DC used to produce across their line.  If you like Batman you are set.

****************

Keep in mind that the combined sales of all the Batman titles sold today probably don't equal the sales of the Batman title, alone, 20-30 years ago.

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Lance Hill
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:41am | IP Logged | 7  

"1. I think there are more Batman comics produced in a month than DC used to produce across their line. If you like Batman you are set."

I actually see that as one of the problems. So much for creativity. There's no good reason for having that many ongoing series about a single character, other than the fact that that character is popular and brings in cash.

Imagine if in the early 60s Marvel produced five Fantastic Four comics a month and other ideas and characters got the shaft.

One thing that has improved about the industry is the range and availability of comic books (trade paperbacks, graphic novels, digests, collected editions, whatever), as opposed to just comic magazines.
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Jeremy Nichols
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:42am | IP Logged | 8  

What can we do about it, though, except continue to buy
comics?
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 9  

Of course I should not care how many  other people buy a comic as long as it is still produced.  As long as people are making money on the comic they will be produced.  It looks like people are making money on the comic. 

How are they able to do that if the numbers are much lower?

1. They do not destroy  comics that do not sell.  They just print to order.  That saves a bunch of money  for the publisher.

2. Each person spends more on comics than they used to.

If 1 and 2 hold then artists make money and customers get what they want.  Is that so bad?

I certainly have more to choose from than when I was a kid. 

People who complain about lack of variety are not paying attention.  I bought comics throughout the 90s without buying a superhero book. 
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:46am | IP Logged | 10  

I do see small sales as a bad thing, but it is offset by some good things I have mentioned above. 

If the industry stayed inthe same state for the next 20 years you would have to admit that is a lot of comics you could buy.
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John Mietus
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 11  

Michael, not only are fewer people buying comics now than they were 5,
10, 20, etc. years ago, but the overall numbers continue to decrease.

It's not about the variety, it's about the dwindling readership and
subsequent decrease in sales. The number of sales of a book that was on
the chopping block twenty-five to thirty years ago was a solid seller ten-
fifteen years ago, and now is considered a hit. What does that tell you?
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Lance Hill
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 12  

"People who complain about lack of variety are not paying attention. I bought comics throughout the 90s without buying a superhero book."

That's a big part of the problem. If you want to find them you have to actively search for them. They don't have the same availability or publicity as CDs or novels to bring in the average reader.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 13  

Did you have Previews to look thru? Most readers of the readers then didn't. It's available even now, but you would be suprised at how many people don't know about it or choose not to go thru it month to month.
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:50am | IP Logged | 14  

"The number of sales of a book that was on
the chopping block twenty-five to thirty years ago was a solid seller ten-
fifteen years ago, and now is considered a hit. What does that tell you?"

It tells me that people are able to make money on smaller sales than they used to. If not then all  books would be cancelled.
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John Mietus
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 15  

Wow.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 16  

I don't have any idea where the industry is today. I assume it's bad but I don't really know.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:52am | IP Logged | 17  

By raising prices 5 times what you paid 20 years ago. It's not because of 22 different Batman books alone.
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John Mietus
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 11:54am | IP Logged | 18  

Matt Hawes, are you paying attention to this thread? How's your customer
base? Increasing or steadily decreasing? [edited to add] I know that my
local LCS owner says his comics readership is on a gradual downslide,
and that the only thing that keeps him solvent is that he diversified into
also being a gaming shop.

Edited by John Mietus on 25 August 2005 at 11:56am
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Michael Hatton
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 19  

It is a good time to be a customer you can get what you want if you want it.  Thiswas not true 25 years ago.

You guys are worried that the whole thing will disappear, and that is why you are worried about the customer base.  But would you rather it be like it is now for twenty more years are like it was 25 years ago for twenty more years. 

From a customer's point of view it would be better now. 
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Trevor Giberson
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 20  

From my perspective:  if there was only one Batman book, I'd buy it.  Because there are a dozen, I don't buy any.

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 21  

The comparison has been made that comic books are now fairly similar to jazz music, in that a great number of the people who are customers are also wannabe pros.  Both comics and jazz were once prevalent forms of entertainment across all society, but now they each occupy only a niche.

The retailer who used to write the column for ICV2 once signed off by saying "Are comics dying?  Maybe.  But not in my store."  That's a good approach for everybody, I think.

 

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Matthew Hansel
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 22  

If the industry stayed inthe same state for the next 20 years you would have to admit that is a lot of comics you could buy.

*******************

Yeah...reprints of the OLD COMICS.  The vast majority of my comic book budget, these days, is made up of buying reprints of stuff from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Matthew Hansel
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:10pm | IP Logged | 23  

It is a good time to be a customer you can get what you want if you want it.  Thiswas not true 25 years ago.

**************

Explain to me how this is easier now than 25 years ago.

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Rob Hewitt
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 24  

Internet, e-bay, comic shops, books shops, etc. make it far easier for people to get the books they want ojn a regular basis, without missing an issue, and any title or genre they want.

The lack of availability in normal stores, and other things, makes it arder for a casual reader or new reader.

 

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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 12:44pm | IP Logged | 25  

Last time I did ACTION COMICS sales were in the
200,000s, and those were considered "normal"
range sales. Now, about one fifth that, and those are
considered "normal" range sales.

Nuff said?
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