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Scott Ruggels

DC Comics may go away as Mad Magazine Has.

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1 hour ago, zslane said:

 

That's why I wait for a highly positive consensus to be reached on a particular comic run before I consider buying it (as a digital compilation). Saves me money and megabytes.

 

Good idea. 

But a "highly positive consensus" is more rare than an honest politician.....:whistle:

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1 hour ago, zslane said:

 

That's why I wait for a highly positive consensus to be reached on a particular comic run before I consider buying it (as a digital compilation). Saves me money and megabytes.

 

Of course, if no one reads the books, there is no one to reach that consensus.  Perhaps the medium will develop from monthly comics to bi-annual trade paperbacks.

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Just merge Marvel and DC.  You will get a surge in buying that could last a decade or so.  Plus the opportunity to tell a bunch of fresh stories due to new combinations of characters, you wouldn't feel bound to keep retelling old stories, etc.  

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16 minutes ago, Bazza said:

So Disney should buy DC off AT&T. 

Not the worst idea.  I'm not sure having an effective monopoly on superhero comics is that big of a deal, antitrust-wise.  And we could finally see a JLA/Avengers movie, someday.

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As long as independents like Valiant and IDW are managing to stay in business, I can't imagine DC stopping publication.  It might need to be spun off into its own, smaller, leaner business in order to make things work, though.

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Both Marvel and DC have around 35-50 active titles published per month, plus about 10-20 "limited series" published per year.  Collecting all of them combined would cost around 4-500 bucks a month.  Back in the 1960s I think Marvel published 10-20 titles a month.  That seems like the de minimis variety necessary to keep it viable.  If they shrank down to 25 books each, dropped the prices to 3 bucks and tried to sell them more widely, they might be able to keep things going longer.  But I think comic book specialty shops are headed for another crunch.  

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4 bucks an issue is a bit of a barrier.  Prices in 1990 were a buck an issue, inflation adjusted would be about 2 bucks. So the relative prices increased.  So now the same budget buys half as many comics.  And a kid with 10 bucks to spend a week could buy maybe 2 titles.  In the old days, 10 titles.  

If they dropped the price to 2 bucks an issue and put them all over the place, they might sell better.  But then profits would dip in the short term.  Can't have that.  Instead they will just fritter away their audience.  

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6 hours ago, zslane said:

They already got rid of the Vertigo imprint. How much leaner does DC need to get to survive?

 

27 minutes ago, megaplayboy said:

Both Marvel and DC have around 35-50 active titles published per month, plus about 10-20 "limited series" published per year.  Collecting all of them combined would cost around 4-500 bucks a month.  Back in the 1960s I think Marvel published 10-20 titles a month.  That seems like the de minimis variety necessary to keep it viable.  If they shrank down to 25 books each, dropped the prices to 3 bucks and tried to sell them more widely, they might be able to keep things going longer.  But I think comic book specialty shops are headed for another crunch.  

 

I don't see it so much "imprints" as "market saturation".  DC went to 52 books a month with New 52.  Feels like Marvel publishes at least that much.  If they cropped the numbers down, maybe they could get more sales of the better titles. 

 

23 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah those old racks of comics in stores have been gone a long time, and that means only people who especially seek out comics get any.  Not a great business model, although it made Diamond rich

 

The practical reality was that comics were dying before Direct Sales came in.  They were no longer selling on the newsstands.  Specialty shops could not practically operate because part of that "ship them out, and tale back the returns" model was that the distributors decided what you got, not the store.  So the store owner may have 20 customers who want Avengers every month, but the distributor sends 15 Avengers and 20 copies of a  book he doesn't need.  Now he has 25% of his regulars ticked off because they don't get Avengers this month.  Part of the tradeoff was "you pick which books you want, but they can't be returned".

 

That moved comics away from the magazine distribution channels and into the specialty shops, because sales were already largely transitioning too "people who especially seek out comics".  Those Marvel digests that were distributed like Archie digests for about a year seem to have disappeared.  Presumably, that tells us something about how successful that experiment was, and those didn't need writers or artists since they had no new content.

 

Thinking back, both DC and Marvel had a lot of reprint books back in the '70s and early to mid-80s.  That faded with the advent of direct distribution and specialty comic stores, likely because they were more likely to be picked up by the kid looking through the spinner than the collector.  I wonder whether reprint books for newsstand distribution (make them names the public knows from the movies) might be a decent experiment.

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On 8/7/2019 at 11:14 AM, Hermit said:

 

Pretty much :(  This sort of thing is why I really hate how inflated copyright terms have become. Superman should be in Public Domain by now, and if AT&T doesn't want to show him in print, it would be great for some independent to have a chance to strut their stuff with the character, either drastic reinvention or an attempt to return to the roots or what not. Instead... a section of our collective culture is in a lockbox.

 

 

 

Pretty much every superhero since Superman has been a knockoff of him at one level or another. "Reinventing" him at that level is easy.

 

If you wanted a multi-year plotline for him to go through, you could do worse than to revisit the early years of Spider-Man. Take him from Superboy to Superman - from teenager to adult.

 

Let's see: he starts in high school, maybe takes a year off to wander around the world/universe, goes to college, messes that up a bit, but eventually graduates, gets a job, gets another job and eventually achieves a theoretically stable status quo, at which time his series ends. He'll have had a couple of relationships of various degrees of stability, success and drama, eventually ending up with one that can pass as a One True Love for the purposes of winding up the story line.

 

Perhaps about 8 years of his life, from his late teens to mid-twenties. How long it would take in actual real world publication years would be tricky, since some plotlines would tend to take multiple issues to tell stories that occur in a matter of days or even hours. Matching his time to publication time would require lots of "nothing of importance happened for the next few months", which would get old pretty fast. Maybe keep the stories fairly episodic, confined to a single issue or two. That would probably allow for a reasonable time match.

 

8 years of his life would be ambitious though. Perhaps the transition from kid to adult could be compressed somewhat, with him ending up balancing college, work, his relationship and his superheroics fairly successfully, perhaps with a bit of an epilogue at the end.

 

Or use some other arc that similarly allows him to grow as a character over time. Or do something else completely.

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On an artistic level, webcomics allow people to put their work out there for people to read. Commercialising them successfully is trickier, even if the work is of a quality worthy of being commercialised.

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55 minutes ago, assault said:

On an artistic level, webcomics allow people to put their work out there for people to read. Commercialising them successfully it trickier, even if the work is of a quality worthy of being commercialised.

 

I read Grrl Power, a full-color superhero comic which has been an ongoing series for 10 years.

 

The author has increased his output to getting out 2-3 pages a week which is a scorchingly high rate for a webcomic and his art is much improved over the years. The storyline in that 10 years of real life has progressed about 3 months maybe (in 759 pages).

 

As much as I love the title, that's not a lot of content even though the author is very prolific by webcomic standards. As a consumer, it's tough to pay a lot. If you're giving him $5 a month on Patreon, for example, you're getting less than a comic book of content per month for the cost of a physical comic book. Now in my opinion, the content is better than a lot of Marvel/DC titles. But what amount is the right amount to give an author per month for getting a fraction of the content of a comic book?

 

Some comic books are $4 rather than $5. If you're getting half of a comic book a month, is $2 a month the right amount? How many people need to give an author/artist $2 a month to not only keep him from starving to death but also keep him in a good frame of mind to keep producing top quality content? And keep in mind he has to pay the inker as welI. I certainly don't know.

 

 

https://grrlpowercomic.com/archives/comic/gp0001/

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I'll also toss out Jawbreakers. I haven't read any as the preview left me uninterested, but using kickstarter to "presell" physical books looks like a possible model. And the creater is a veteran.

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18 hours ago, assault said:

 

Pretty much every superhero since Superman has been a knockoff of him at one level or another. "Reinventing" him at that level is easy.

 

If you wanted a multi-year plotline for him to go through, you could do worse than to revisit the early years of Spider-Man. Take him from Superboy to Superman - from teenager to adult.

 

Let's see: he starts in high school, maybe takes a year off to wander around the world/universe, goes to college, messes that up a bit, but eventually graduates, gets a job, gets another job and eventually achieves a theoretically stable status quo, at which time his series ends. He'll have had a couple of relationships of various degrees of stability, success and drama, eventually ending up with one that can pass as a One True Love for the purposes of winding up the story line.

 

Perhaps about 8 years of his life, from his late teens to mid-twenties. How long it would take in actual real world publication years would be tricky, since some plotlines would tend to take multiple issues to tell stories that occur in a matter of days or even hours. Matching his time to publication time would require lots of "nothing of importance happened for the next few months", which would get old pretty fast. Maybe keep the stories fairly episodic, confined to a single issue or two. That would probably allow for a reasonable time match.

 

8 years of his life would be ambitious though. Perhaps the transition from kid to adult could be compressed somewhat, with him ending up balancing college, work, his relationship and his superheroics fairly successfully, perhaps with a bit of an epilogue at the end.

 

Or use some other arc that similarly allows him to grow as a character over time. Or do something else completely.

 

So, why does any such arc need to feature Superman, rather than a new creation? 

 

Let's assume we had an end to his copyright protection.  Anyone can use the character for anything they want.  What's the value of using Superman when all it means is competing with a few dozen other producers looking to leverage the same name recognition?  It seems like it would be preferable to develop your own "brand". 

 

The episodic structure of comic books and many other media don't fit well with a static "X years after first publication, copyright expires".  "After x years, anything related to the character is fair game" leaves less value to developing the property as time goes on, but "you can use anything from the first two years, but all else is off limits, becoming available as time ticks on" is a real mess for anything but direct reprints - which bits originated when, exactly?

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

So, why does any such arc need to feature Superman, rather than a new creation?

 

I started with: "Pretty much every superhero since Superman has been a knockoff of him at one level or another. "Reinventing" him at that level is easy."

 

Not coincidentally, Spider-Man is a Superman knockoff, just like all other superheroes.

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3 hours ago, assault said:

 

I started with: "Pretty much every superhero since Superman has been a knockoff of him at one level or another. "Reinventing" him at that level is easy."

 

Not coincidentally, Spider-Man is a Superman knockoff, just like all other superheroes.

 

If all superheroes are ""Superman knockoffs" then Superman and all heroes in fiction are "Gilgamesh knockoffs."

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And a palindromedary knock off

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