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Topic: Q for JB: Comic Book Collecting Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 22 September 2022 at 7:42pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

This is a hypothetical question because you have an insightful way of seeing the positives and negatives of the relationship between the comics industry and comic book collecting (particularly the impact of direct-sales).

Given a hypothetically healthy comic book industry, what would be the healthiest way for it to interact with or support the hobby of comic book collecting?
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 22 September 2022 at 7:44pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Hypothetically speaking, of course. (Did I say "hypothetical" enough?)
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 24 September 2022 at 12:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Or maybe too much. :-l
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 September 2022 at 7:16pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

As the comic book industry took on all the aspects of a car racing down a cliff road in a hurricane, I offered many helpful suggestions as to how we might avoid what seemed obvious catastrophe.

When the car finally went off the cliff, people turned to me saying “Okay, you’re so smart, what do we do now?” I could only shrug. “My ideas all depend on us being back on the road.”

Same now.

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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 25 September 2022 at 2:30am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

JB: I could only shrug. “My ideas all depend on us being back on the road.”

**

Thanks. Your history of being one of the few who saw the industry going off the rails is what made me ask this question. But I understand that we are nowhere near a place where things can be restored. I also understand if this feels like a farcical way to discuss a serious topic that is irreversibly cast (as you have said before) in the mold of "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

I just wonder what might be good axioms for healthy relations between the comic book industry and the comic-collecting hobby --if they were starting from a good place.

The industry went down a weird rabbit-hole. But if cooler heads had prevailed, something could have been averted. Are there any "golden rules" that might have kept things from going astray?

I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on this, if anyone has an opinion.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 25 September 2022 at 2:34am
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 25 September 2022 at 7:37am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I have few ideas on this, very few.

I don’t know how you get people to spend so much for something that takes
so little time to read.

All I really see people being interested in on the forums I frequent are
limited covers, first appearances & grade 9.8.

Actual story content, quality of writing/art seem never to be mentioned.

I just don’t see why Marvel/DC/anyone doesn’t put links to connect a
show/film with the comic - now we all know the one comes from the other, &
Marvel seem to be putting hidden QR codes within their shows, but make it
more obvious.

Kids love the characters, the films, the toys, costumes for kids sell like gang
busters.

The only thing that is limited in sales seems to be the comics themselves.
Distribution? Price? Lack of all ages - having splintered into
childish/teen/adult content - so see a film, buy the comic & see some
impenetrable story with ultra violence - can’t see that appealing to parents
of small children.

Lack of clear art & increasing prominence of stylist artists - that appeal
more to adults rather than children? Impenetrable stories?



I recognise these are a list of hindrances rather than ways to solve, but
these are the things that need addressing.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 25 September 2022 at 5:59pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I could conceivably see a “golden rule” that advises a healthy comic
industry to do as little as possible to cater to the collectors.



Once a portion of your audience is willing to spend hundreds or thousands
of dollars on back issues that only hit the market just a few years ago and
were sold by the publisher for a relative pittance, there is something afoot
to be wary of.



I think you are right to bring content into this context. It’s like advising
comic book publishers to remember what business they are in.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 September 2022 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

…do as little as possible to cater to the collectors.

•••

Decades back I started saying we needed to borrow from the Hippocratic Oath: FIRST DO NO HARM.

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Craig Earl
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Posted: 26 September 2022 at 6:52am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I always thought that the MCU BLU-RAY/DVD's should include extra features about the character's comic book origins. They seem to shy away from that, focusing instead on multiple 'making of the movie' extras instead.


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Jason Ladwig
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Posted: 26 September 2022 at 1:34pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

JB:  Amongst creators and the industry that you worked with, was there preference/pressure for changing a classic character to keep them "fresh" versus inventing a new character?

It seems to me that little needs to be done, and certainly nothing drastic when a character has proven themselves to be popular. If wanting a change, or to be current with modern culture it would seem better to create something genuinely new. 
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John Wickett
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Posted: 26 September 2022 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

"I always thought that the MCU BLU-RAY/DVD's should include extra features about the character's comic book origins. They seem to shy away from that, focusing instead on multiple 'making of the movie' extras instead."

The vast majority of movie watchers have never picked up a comic book, and probably never will, so they don't care about the comic book origins of the character.  Those of us who do care already know about them, so its probably smarter for them to focus on the "making of the movie" stuff.

I think the rise in popularity of comic book movies, along with the acquisitions of DC and Marvel by Warner and Disney will ensure the comic book industry continues to exist (its a cheap way for media giants to maintain a stream of source material), but at the same time, it will continue to diminish the quality of material being produced by the "big two,"  because good writers and artists will want to save all of their best ideas for creator owned projects that give them licensing opportunities.

People will still break into the industry through DC and Marvel, but depart once they have made a name for themselves.

Last week I was looking at the new solicitations for Marvel.  I couldn't find anything that interested me (except Black Panther).  There were few creator names I recognized, and the cover art looked bad across the board.
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Craig Earl
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Posted: 26 September 2022 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think if 1% of MCU fans decides to pick up a comic for the first time off the back of a movie, that would be a win. I guess that there's no way to know for sure, but would the Harry Potter books be as popular without the movies (I know that The Walking Dead comic became immensely popular after the show started)?

The 'big two' have incredibly popular characters but are limited by the constraints upon them (changes can be made but they will more often be short term gimmicks). It shouldn't stop a writer's ability to tell the best stories that they can though.
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