Jump to content
Scott Ruggels

DC Comics may go away as Mad Magazine Has.

Recommended Posts

Irony is comics book characters are dominating pop culture yet the  industry is in decline. You have to wonder why comic books availability isn't everywhere young kids and parents are. This basically was the reason a lot of us became readers and fans in the first place. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Bazza said:

Irony is comics book characters are dominating pop culture yet the  industry is in decline. You have to wonder why comic books availability isn't everywhere young kids and parents are. This basically was the reason a lot of us became readers and fans in the first place.

 

I'd agree back in the '70s.  I specifically recall the plastic bags with three comics inside (oh, what might the one in the middle be?) and DC's 100 Page Super-Spectacular.  I bought a lot of those Giant-Size books, and reprint books, too.

 

Even then, the comics were evolving.  Stan broke the back of the Comics Code, then killed off Gwen Stacy.  More complex, lengthier stories carried over multiple issues (miss one and there is a hole in the story - and getting every one off the newsstand was no mean feat).  Aging fans wanted stories with more "grown-up" themes.  Flash got married, Speedy became a junkie.  It took DC a while to catch up with the more modern Marvel, but they got there.

 

Meanwhile, fandom is aging.  They'll pay more for higher quality, but they don't want whatever happens to be on the spinner rack.  Printing and paper costs outstripped inflation already, so the prices were rising.  I remember the 15 cent books in the used book stores, 20 cents on the racks, then 25 cents, 35 cents, 40 cents, 50 cents and DC's 80 pages for $1 (not that many years after 100 pages, albeit entirely reprints, cost 50 cents).

 

The kids were getting priced out, and the comics were moving beyond the kids.  It's not like the MCU is aimed at the kids or the tweens now, either.  For some reason, these characters are cool on TV and in movies, but  not in their original medium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bazza said:

Irony is comics book characters are dominating pop culture yet the  industry is in decline. You have to wonder why comic books availability isn't everywhere young kids and parents are. This basically was the reason a lot of us became readers and fans in the first place.

 

It isn't that they are not available.  It is the stories ceased to be "kid friendly".  I have a few friends that won't let their kids read them these days.  Remember one bad or inappropriate book seen by a parent is enough to make them rule comics are out.

 

I pretty much stopped reading comics  when they abandoned heroics for blood splatter or the writers political crusade of the moment.

 

Comics used to be written to entertain the general populations kids.  Now the writers are more concerned with advancing their adult agendas.  And people are surprised that the sales are in decline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disney/Marvel succeeds by targeting an "all ages" demographic with the MCU and it makes billions of dollars in the process. I'd argue that such a strategy is a winning one no matter what the genre/format is. "Kid friendly" is fine so long as it doesn't become "kids only" in its appeal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Irony is comics book characters are dominating pop culture yet the industry is in decline.

 

Everyone thought that successful superhero movies would draw people in to buy comics by the mobs, packing comic stores.  The opposite happened.  People who read comics casually stopped because they could just watch a film instead.  And to make matters worse, the publishers put out stuff unrelated to the movies.  "You want an avengers comic?  OK but... Captain America is a Nazi, Thor is a girl, and the rest are characters you don't even know."  It killed comic shops.  I know personally and am buddies with a comic shop owner (who had to shut down) and he will tell you in great detail how they were murdered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, zslane said:

Disney/Marvel succeeds by targeting an "all ages" demographic with the MCU and it makes billions of dollars in the process. I'd argue that such a strategy is a winning one no matter what the genre/format is. "Kid friendly" is fine so long as it doesn't become "kids only" in its appeal.

 

This.  Kids still have no disposable income, certainly not at $4 an ish.  At that price point the writing has to target twentysomethings with money to burn, or collectors.  And neither of those is going to buy a whole lot of conventionally written books.  One way to actually expand the fan base is to feature nonwhite, nonmale characters, and to do it in a splashy way.  People whine about female Thor, but she outsold original Thor by 30%.  In an industry that seems to be perpetually teetering on insolvency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All those splashy "woke" rebuilds sell well at first, then tail off rapidly once people figure out the writing is just as bad, its just a gimmick.  They've been trying to save comics by "expanding the demographics" for a decade now and its not working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, zslane said:

Disney/Marvel succeeds by targeting an "all ages" demographic with the MCU and it makes billions of dollars in the process. I'd argue that such a strategy is a winning one no matter what the genre/format is. "Kid friendly" is fine so long as it doesn't become "kids only" in its appeal.

 

True, it shouldn't be kids only.  But I said "Kid Friendly", not "Children Shows".   There is a distinct difference.  .

 

The MCU managed to make movies that were "kid friendly" enough that parents could actually take their kids while being interesting for the entire age range. 

 

Most comic lines (most not all) have abandoned any pretense of acknowledging that young kids might read them. 

 

A while back I remember a friends wife being livid when she happened to read a comic her daughter had. I don;t have kids so I am really bad at estimating age, be she was in the 8 to 10 year old range.  I don't remember the title, but it was one of what used to be super safe comics like Archie or Veronica & Betty.  Anyway, the issue was basically about sex.   As I said I don't have kids, but only an idiot takes a comic aimed at younger kids and ups the subject matter in age without warnings on the cover and notifying the vendors and shop owners.    Boom, a family with four children immediately outlawed comics of any kind because they could no longer trust that kids books were for kids.

 

And before anyone jumps in with the mind numbing drivel about freedom to write and how 2-10 year olds are fully capable of making adult decisions.  This is not about that.  This is about writers changing content with no warning and failing make sure the product change notice reached the parents.   

 

My opinion of what is appropriate for another child is irrelevant.

 

Too many comics since the late 80's mid 90's'sh ( I really can't remember when, it has been so long) shifted from entertaining stories about  superHEROES into something that I no longer recognized as anything to do with heroes.    On an off over the years I have sampled and never did see any return to the Superhero concept.  Of course others have different views, but there is not much on the shelf that is written so a 9 year old can actually follow the story any more.   Lots o blood and lots o adult situation drama.  But not too much hero beats villain any more. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

8 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

All those splashy "woke" rebuilds sell well at first, then tail off rapidly once people figure out the writing is just as bad, its just a gimmick.  They've been trying to save comics by "expanding the demographics" for a decade now and its not working.

 

Or, comics would have failed years ago if not for increased inclusiveness.

 

The problem with good writing is that it doesn't sell.  Good writing is necessary to keep readers buying, sure.  But it does nothing to get new readers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't disagree.

 

Honestly, I've never made a secret that I'm not and never have been a comic book guy.  I peep a few here and there as players leave them laying around, and I can honestly say it's been twenty years since I saw something interesting.  The bulk of it seems to be soap operas and spandex.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Old Man said:

People whine about female Thor, but she outsold original Thor by 30%.  In an industry that seems to be perpetually teetering on insolvency.

 

We had an old saying, 10% of nothing is still nothing.

 

30% better of virtually nothing is virtually nothing. 

150,862 copies compared to 110,443 copies is nothing.   There are RPG's outselling this, and they are a micro-niche product. 

 

This reinforces my thoughts that comics are zombies.  Unaware that they have already died.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Spence said:

Too many comics since the late 80's mid 90's'sh ( I really can't remember when, it has been so long) shifted from entertaining stories about  superHEROES into something that I no longer recognized as anything to do with heroes.

 

I refer to this as the Frank Miller/Alan Moore Effect. Those two deconstructed (and destroyed) all the revered superHERO traditions in the comics and tickled the dainties of all those twentysomethings who wanted something edgy to replace the "pabulum" of popular comics like the X-Men in the 80s. The marketplace responded by "going dark" in the 90s, having taken the temperature of the primary demographic with all that money to burn, and no longer caring about the enduring impact of their storytelling.

 

Now that superheroes are a financially booming genre, this pendulum swing is happening in the live-action space as well. It began, one might argue, with Snyder's Watchmen adaptation, gained momentum with BvS, and carries on with gusto today in shows like The Boys. Most of this is "something I no longer recognize as anything to do with heroes," but I am definitely not their primary demographic and so I'm quite certain they don't care what I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 One way to actually expand the fan base is to feature nonwhite, nonmale characters, and to do it in a splashy way.  People whine about female Thor, but she outsold original Thor by 30%.  In an industry that seems to be perpetually teetering on insolvency.

 

This has been a failure for two main reasons. The first is that the “Diversity Push” has aimed at re- inventing already long established characters, which devalued the lore and is seen by the fans as either a snub to the current fans, or a cynical money grab. They have not followed the old formula of introducing a new character in an established book, and then responding to popularity by giving them their own book, with the first episode co-starring Spider-Man. 

 

The second problem is writing. The biggest problems are the “new”’ or remade characters are created as “types” rather than people, with their attributes derived from their physical categories. As such they cannot be flawed, because they are “models” of representation of their types, and as such cannot have flaws or internal conflicts, and their victories in external conflicts are given to them. They become insufferable Mary Sue characters (or Gary Stues) that outshine the original characters they are replacing. Then laid upon them are the agendas that those “writers” use the characters for, writers and artists now hired for having identical physical characteristics as the character, rather then for talent. Comics from Marvel rarely tell stories any more. They have become joyless, smug propaganda. The exception that proves this is Miles Morales. He was written as a likeable kid with family issues, under confidence, and made mistakes, but didn’t quit. But Miles was created by a veteran comic writer who knew the form. The other recent retreads were written by people with limited industry experience pushing an agenda. They write for an audience that will praise their intentions, but not actually part with their money to actually pay for the issue. 

 

Those “high numbers” for Lady Thor were because of the novelty. Comic book companies will drop a novelty of one sort or another in an attempt to goose sales, but it’s a temporary replacement for good quality stories. I used to work in Independent Comics, before Inworked in Video Games, and I loved the industry, even if it didn’t pay enough, and Instill keep an eye on it. Comichron tracks the sales, and things are in a decline  turning 70 years of comic stories into 5-10 years of T shirt and coffee mug sales as Lifestyle brands will be a sad end, but they killed it themselves. The future will be boutique issues produced by independents; and manga that still tell focused stories. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still say Disney should buy DC Comics from ATT/Warner, lay out a strategy to merge the two universes through a long crossover event culminating in a relaunch of both universes as a single unified comic book universe.  You'd get 20-30 years of new stories and also address the aging copyright issue since you could intro new elements for old characters.  And of course the movies that came out of it would be outstanding.  But what do I know, I'm just a lifelong comic book fan with a creative writing degree.  🙃

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

I still say Disney should buy DC Comics from ATT/Warner, lay out a strategy to merge the two universes through a long crossover event culminating in a relaunch of both universes as a single unified comic book universe.  You'd get 20-30 years of new stories and also address the aging copyright issue since you could intro new elements for old characters.  And of course the movies that came out of it would be outstanding.  But what do I know, I'm just a lifelong comic book fan with a creative writing degree.  🙃

 

They could, but before they could start the merge they would need to perform lengthy and difficult period of damage control in an attempt to reverse the damage from the last 15-20 years.  From their perspective, is it worth the effort for the micro-dribble of current sales?

 

Nice idea though...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DC and Marvel have very different "Bibles" that is, different basic rules about how their respective universes work.  Superman has to be the best at everything he does; he's the strongest, he's the fastest, he's the toughest, etc.  Hulk can't be the strongest in that setting.  So if this fantasy came about (and who knows, down the road) there would either have to be a lot of rewriting basic rules, or the universes would have to be kept utterly separate except for specific very special occasions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I remember a Marvel/DC crossover from a long time ago where the Hulk encountered Superman and started pounding on his chest. Superman just stood there like nothing was happening. It was absurd, and rendered the whole crossover exercise rather pointless in my eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...