Since discussion about the industry is heating up, I feel this article is worth...

Noah Barnes
Noah Barnes

Since discussion about the industry is heating up, I feel this article is worth note.

The Retailer’s View // A Disgrace To The Industry

comicsbeat.com/the-retailers-view-a-disgrace-to-the-industry/
archive.is/NppkB

The industry has changed substantially over the past few years, but many are refusing to acknowledge this fact. From distributor to publisher to retailer to consumer, you find old thoughts that linger and fester while the whole structure attempts to lumber on.

At the distributor level, you have Diamond – a company which manufactured a modified monopoly that has directly contributed to the instability of the industry. In the time since it formed, the comic industry has grown past its terrible service and has flourished through alternative means of distribution – although the monthly periodicals seem to be pretty landlocked. Despite the fact that there are better alternatives to get several evergreen products that Diamond offers, they continue to run that portion at the same discount levels to retailers, without the ability to return a majority of the product.

At the publisher level, you have companies that are relying on their old business models to produce numbers in an age where distraction and market fragmentation abound. Gone is the harder focus of the Marvel Zombie or whatever the heck DC called their die-hards. In its place are people with the means for any kind of entertainment they could possibly hope for just a few clicks away – and so the age of publishing for the sake of hitting a budget has been replaced with the need to create art with the ability to grab and hold attention above any and all else.

All urls found in this thread:

comicsbeat.com/the-retailers-view-a-disgrace-to-the-industry/
archive.is/NppkB
archive.is/txbxX

Landon Hughes
Landon Hughes

At the retailer level, you have folks who are pretending as though the old model is something they are owed. Where are the ongoing series that last for hundreds of issues? But also, where are those number ones that sold in the millions? And why can’t I sell back issues like I used to? In a world where a digital copy of that comic you’re selling for $25 is just a digital payment of $2 away, or a couple of weeks away from being available as part of a collection for far less, where’s the incentive to spend? And what’s more: if the person does still grab that $25 issue, what other books did they leave behind that could have made you ongoing money in the future?

And finally, there’s the consumer level, where folks are wondering where all the fresh new ideas are for characters that have been around for over 75 years. There’s always a low rumble of voices complaining about how the medium is becoming “too PC”. “Why can’t things be like they used to?” some folks wonder out loud, coming just short of saying, “When everyone was a white dude.”

The industry has been running on all of these old ideas and models for far too long while the medium strains against the constraints those old structures offer, and if that continues, things are going to get really bad, really quick. For some in the industry, that time has seemingly already come.

We’re looking at you, Marvel.

Leo Richardson
Leo Richardson

Any way you want to look at it, Marvel has had a garbage year. Their sales are dwindling, their big event is the constant subject of dubious press, and they’re fighting a war on multiple fronts. As higher ups continue to cut costs within Marvel’s publishing wing, those left are asked to use dwindling resources to create better results. Like a lot of comic companies, Marvel has always been reliant on short term solutions, but faced with this mounting pressure, they started using a lot of these short term solutions as crutches, offering more variants, accelerated shipping, bigger events and various incentives to move dials. Under the best of circumstances, this would have been a mistake. These, sadly, are not the best of circumstances.

Marvel Comics, and this industry, are stuck in a feedback loop that’s built from outdated ideas. Some of these outdated ideas are the variants and the shipping schedules and the events and the incentives. Some of them involve the language that Marvel continues to use to promote the books in their line. Let’s start with one of the more obvious ones: the term “ongoing comic”.

In the classic sense of the term, an “ongoing comic” was a book you could reliably count on to ship monthly, in perpetuity. Yes, books would come and go, but something that was given the chance to be an ongoing concern was ran with the intent of the book being published in perpetuity with creators arriving and departing as required. The market has long been shifting away from this model, recognizing the power of the “new #1” as a demarkation to new readers that there’s a starting point ready for them. Add to that the fact that the entertainment market has reached an intense saturation point, and you have an environment where the traditional idea of an “ongoing comic” has long been rendered useless. People don’t have time for the never ending second act that the traditional ongoing offered – they want ideas with form, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And more importantly? They want those ideas to speak directly to them. The idea that an ongoing, never-ending book can satisfy this need is ridiculous.

So as consumers began looking to grab onto ideas and concepts that spoke directly too them, Marvel began seeing folks drifting away from the ongoing concepts that served them so well. Employing a lot of short-term thinking, they resolved to put out a lot more number ones, and turned their “ongoings” into something else. Yes, the concepts technically continued – they were ongoing stories – but the presentation was different. The form of release was different. Hundreds of issues became tens. Tens soon became ones.

Levi Morris
Levi Morris

In an attempt to both satisfy budgetary needs and the shifting attention of the market, the term “ongoing” continued to be used without thought. These days, an ongoing comic runs more like a television series, with unifying themes for a season, but instead of welcoming new readers to a brand new season of X-Men, Marvel welcomed readers to another ongoing… that would last a few years at most.

For their part, retailers reacted to this change poorly, again working from old models. As the market has changed to welcome regular collected editions and access to digital content, the back issue market has changed. While Marvel (and many other companies, to be fair) are going around brandishing the term “ongoing”, many retailers are stuck on the old ordering patterns for books with that designation. The idea is to order high of earlier issues for back issues and make a bit of money on the back end. The problem? As the runs of ongoings become shorter and shorter, this ordering practice leaves retailers with dead product – as back issue sales tend to tank after a series has ended. And that’s all before you get to the part where many folks who aren’t grabbing comics week to week are more and more likely to grab collected editions of product (at a much cheaper price point) or digital copies instead of inflated back issue prices. All of this leaves a lot of retailers with less cash flow on hand and dead titles – a memory which they often carry with them towards the next launch.

What results from this is the previously mentioned feedback loop. Marvel sees sales dropping on their single issues, so they’re more quick to reboot and relaunch. Retailers are slow to adjust, but have an easier time sending out a reaction in the form of orders of the next relaunch – which tend to be smaller. This cycle continues because old thinking is comfortable, and short term gain is the path of least resistance. The only problem? Old thinking and short term gain always, always, always result in a hard fall – and this is the place Marvel finds themselves right now.

There are ways Marvel can break this cycle – but absolutely none of them appear to be present in their Legacy marketing. In fact, the company actually seems like they’re regressing through a series of even older ideas, leaning harder on the crutches that are already straining from the weight. It’s clear from where they’ve been they know how valuable a well marked jumping on point can be, but they’ve squandered that form of marketing through a lot of bad faith moves that have left retailers and fans less willing to give up their hard earned dollars. So instead of trying to innovate, Marvel has decided to look back and roll out… old numbering? Corner boxes? The return of FOOM? What? These changes are purely cosmetic, and do nothing to address the real problems that exist in the company.

Gabriel Carter
Gabriel Carter

Honestly, if Marvel were looking to turn things around, they have to start looking at companies that are doing so without relying so heavily on gimmicks. Companies like Boom! Studios, who pledged to deliver less books in 2016 than before in order to provide a focus in content and marketing. That company ended up having one of their very best years, and we’ve been reaping the rewards of that in our shop. Image is doing similar things – keeping tight schedules, but ones that build in breaks for people to catch up on collected editions, and to make sure the creative team isn’t handing in books that don’t contribute to the main ideas being sold. You won’t find a book like Spider-Man/Deadpool (or Trinity, for an example from across the aisle) coming out from either, where the main driving creative forces flit in and out of the book. You won’t find their titles interrupted by events, which modify the formula that readers were finding connections with in order to goose the numbers for a few short issues.

What Marvel needs to do, is focus on ideas, and not on cosmetics or marketing – because they are officially bad at both of those things. They need to be up front. The ongoing titles they offer will continue until the idea that fuels them runs out, or the sales necessitate an ending. They need to stop shoehorning content in that doesn’t run along with those ideas, and if they need a title to take a break for a few months to make sure stories come out on time? So be it. They need to stop looking backwards to the methods and audience that necessitated these short term marketing tactics in the first place, and start looking into the future. And if for some reason there are internal struggles that are preventing this from happening? Well, that’s rough, but if things keep going the way they are, there are worse things to come for both the company and the industry than what relatively little growing pains moving forward and incorporating new ideas would provide.

Because as it stands? They’re acting like a true disgrace to the medium. And unlike us? They shouldn’t be proud of that badge.

Change. Grow. Do better. Or else we’ll soon see what a comic industry looks like without monthly Marvel titles on the stands sooner rather than later.

TL;DR The market is changing and the industry isn't adapting fast enough to survive.

Jeremiah Perez
Jeremiah Perez

I honestly hope the comic industry dies. There's a chance of real rebirth that could grow and adapt in the changing times with the current systems/companies out of the pictures. But Marvel won't go away until their movies start doing terribly. DC won't go away until normalfags stop giving their shit movies loads of money just to watch how bad they are or because they're brainwashed to watch anything with a cape.

Benjamin Davis
Benjamin Davis

When everyone was a white dude
Is that guy crazy?!

John Brooks
John Brooks

seeing as he's a liberal comic book journalist, probably.

Jason Martin
Jason Martin

I don't think most savvy people will deny that things need to change, but ironically this article lists all the incentives against it. Playing the long game sounds nice from the cheap seats, but it's not realistic for everybody.

There’s always a low rumble of voices complaining about how the medium is becoming “too PC”. “Why can’t things be like they used to?” some folks wonder out loud, coming just short of saying, “When everyone was a white dude.”
Fuck him. I'd kill to go back to the days before touting a character's skin color and genitalia was reduced to being another marketing tactic and an excuse for shit writing.

I honestly hope the comic industry dies.
Can we stop this meme? DC and Marvel certainly aren't going anywhere now that they're corporate subsidiaries

Ryan King
Ryan King

All his suggestions? Yeah, they're never going to happen because they all involve money.

Focus on ideas? Well that means spending more money on talent. Putting out less books? That means downsizing and losing money.

The downsizing thing is the absolute terror of both DC and Marvel. DC started the disastrous Nu52 because they were threatened with downsizing. The moment any higher-up starts throwing around the word "reprints", comic companies get nervous.

Bentley Bell
Bentley Bell

We can still hope, ya dingus.

Gavin Fisher
Gavin Fisher

Can we stop this meme? DC and Marvel certainly aren't going anywhere now that they're corporate subsidiaries.

Oh no, they can totally die. It's called "going into reprints". Their staff downsized to a skeleton crew where they put out only two or three new titles a year and rest is republishing their old stuff. It's death in all but name.

That is what I mean when I say "I hope the comic industry dies".

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith

I'd kill to go back to the days before touting a character's skin color and genitalia was reduced to being another marketing tactic and an excuse for shit writing.

But they're not talking about going back to the 90's, bro. They're talking about going back to the Geoff Johns era.

Juan White
Juan White

Just watch anime like the rest of Holla Forums

Levi Parker
Levi Parker

Can you not do this in every thread? Every anime after 1999 is pretty much garbage.

Isaiah Howard
Isaiah Howard

Btw, this was the cover for that particular issue.

The 2000's were a dark time.

Aiden Foster
Aiden Foster

Can you not do this in every thread?
If daily "omg comics are bad now, what can we do" threads stop.
Every anime after 1999 is pretty much garbage.
And? I didn't say watch modern anime.

Mason Ortiz
Mason Ortiz

All I want is people to stay on topic, no need to pull out your stale smug anime girls

Ryan Cook
Ryan Cook

Damn this pic made me realize how ugly cartoon girls are D:

Angel Hernandez
Angel Hernandez

This thread isn't about cartoons

To add onto the samefag's point: just read and BUY independents.

Benjamin Long
Benjamin Long

Well, sucks for you then cause this is smug anime girls thread now

Justin Adams
Justin Adams

He is making a lot of good points. Diversifying methods of distribution and formats would help industry a lot. Places where comics thrive tend to offer more than just short monthly issues available almost exclusively in specialty shops.

There’s always a low rumble of voices complaining about how the medium is becoming “too PC”. “Why can’t things be like they used to?” some folks wonder out loud, coming just short of saying, “When everyone was a white dude.”
Why can't they understand that people just want good characters? Old Captain America, Peter Parker, Batman and so on, got popular for a reason other than being white.
Problem with the new "diverse" characters is that they are all bad and written mostly the same way. They are all Mary Sues, never face serious consequences of their actions, and are all extremely self-righteous. They also have tendency to be quippy, fanboyinsh/fangirlish, spouting political crap at every opportunity, and praised by every non-evil character. If that character is a white woman, she is an angry cunt most of the time. And let's not forget about obligatory eating with friends and social media scenes that take pages upon pages.

b-but people don't buy new characters
That's because they aren't good. For every superman, there are dozens of other white super heroes that did not become popular and are now forgotten.

b-but America is more diverse now! Minorities are underrepresented in comics. More diverse characters reflect country better!
Country is still 70 to 80% white. Even if you just narrow it down to New York metropolitan area, vast majority of characters would still be white. If anything, many minorities are over-represented. Then there are minorities like European and Asian immigrants that are underrepresented. Interestingly enough, characters tend to either come from suburbs, royalty equivalents, or ghettos. Where are blue collar, small-town, or ethnic neighborhood superheroes?

Adam Garcia
Adam Garcia

The thing you have to remember is most of these 'diverse' characters are written by people that don't really know that races lifestyle or real attitude based on real accounts. They take the tumblr ideals and roll with those. So you get nothing but quip machine mary sues with no legs to stand on beyond 'I'm a minority so ya gotta respect me'. They have no character because the writers don't have character. Just brainwashed ideologies that they spout back and forth.

Cameron Cooper
Cameron Cooper

I agree with your point on diversity characters being cut-outs of characters for the most part, but when they're actual characters like New Superman, it can be pretty good.

Jose Morales
Jose Morales

Dr Light and Sue Dibny

kek

Leo Parker
Leo Parker

Good. That was my preferred era.

Bentley Nelson
Bentley Nelson

The thing about Chinese Superman is that he's written by an actual Chinese guy with no love for the communist government and the fact that he's not meant to be a replacement for Superman. Just another Superman character. He even makes sense with China's policy of bootlegging the shit out of everything. Why wouldn't the China of DC do the same thing?

Evan Jackson
Evan Jackson

“When everyone was a white dude.”
Yup, we must never let whites have anything of their own, we always need to remind them they, and only they, have to share with everyone else.

Gabriel Davis
Gabriel Davis

Nobody likes a whiner

Bentley Hernandez
Bentley Hernandez

Now get yourself a copy of "Identifying Jokes."

Aiden Morgan
Aiden Morgan

Kid I know its summer but leave the fedora at home for once.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

Thinking /pol/ putting their two cents into a given argument is summer
I think you will find that the newfag is you, my friend.

Ryder Evans
Ryder Evans

s-sauce? and name?

Joseph Gray
Joseph Gray

Sad.

Brayden Roberts
Brayden Roberts

Image is doing similar things – keeping tight schedules, but ones that build in breaks for people to catch up on collected editions
I love this, I honestly do

Kevin Bailey
Kevin Bailey

There's a solid reason for that too. Publishing monthly comics is expensive and rough on the talent.

I don't think anyone outside of the Big Two really publishes monthly comics anymore.

Kayden Collins
Kayden Collins

When I stopped by my FLCS yesterday, the guy manning the register apologized to me because Diamond had shorted them on a bunch of stuff, so they were behind in stocking. It's no big deal to me, I'm only following a few comics regularly and I've got two shops in easy driving distance, but he was really pissed. We talked about it a little. He hates Diamond because they have a monopoly, so they can do whatever they want to retailers.

Grayson King
Grayson King

Aussies, please stop reporting this thread for "underage nipple". Just because a girl has small tits doesn't mean she's underage.

Thank you.

Brandon Wilson
Brandon Wilson

OK, but I'm still reporting her for kneeling on Dr. Strange.

Charles Rivera
Charles Rivera

lol

Alexander Anderson
Alexander Anderson

Pedobear, I've come to bargain.

Adam Phillips
Adam Phillips

The author of this article was just kicked out of Marvel's secret retailer facebook group for stating the obvious.

archive.is/txbxX

Liam Watson
Liam Watson

Hey /tv/

Seconding

Jason Jackson
Jason Jackson

It just keeps tumbling down tumbling down tumbling down

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