AND SO IT BEGINS: my probably months-long attempt at going over your comic industry predictions for 2015 that you left on my site about a year ago. Let’s get started…and don’t forget to leave me your predictions for 2016 so we can do it all again next year!
• • •
Jack Feerick puts the fear into me with:
“Scott McCloud’s THE SCULPTOR will be shortlisted for the National Book Award”
Not that I can tell (if I’m wrong, let me know), but it did top the Publishers Weekly Graphic Novel Critics Poll. I liked it, too, and surely that’s better than some national award.
“Raina Telgemeier will be awarded a MacArthur Genius grant”
Alas, not this year, but I congratulate her on her overwhelming popularity and success…I certainly can’t keep her books in stock!
“Somewhat more pessimistically: The marvel movie bubble will develop some leaks. ANT-MAN will underperform at the box office, leading to a shake-up in the slate of upcoming films. BLACK PANTHER will be made as a miniseries for Netflix, with a drastically lower budget, while the INHUMANS and CAPTAIN MARVEL movies will be scrubbed entirely. (I would be delighted to be proved wrong about this.)”
Your parenthetical aside has been granted! Ant-Man‘s worldwide box office take of $520 million may seem short compared to all these billion dollar movies we keep seeing, but a half-billion bucks is still a half-billion bucks.
• • •
William Burns sets things on fire with
“Ms. Marvel goes to 4 dollars, and I start following it in trade.”
Sadly, it went to only a $3.99 cover price, so you’re a penny off! (Okay, okay, I know what you meant.) However, I have no idea if you started following the series in trade paperbacks, as my satellite cover of your home is on the fritz…er, I mean, because you’ll have to let me know yourself! Yeah, that’s it!
“Sandman: Overture will not finish by the end of 2015.”
It did finally finish last year. In fact, I had a brief discussion with one of my customers about just how long it did take. I could have sworn it was just over a year, but #1 came out in October 2013, and the last issue came out in September 2015, so it was just shy of two years. Yikes.
“Sterling Silver Comics is a major success!”
Well, my store is still open, after a year, two months and some change…so I’m calling that a hit!
• • •
Tony Isabella strikes like lightning with
“Someone will be offended by something that happens at a convention or is posted online.”
Oh, now, when does this ever happen? …Okay, I actually did a quick Googling to remind myself of any online hoohar that may have broken out over the last year, and found a few things. I’m just going to pick this planned Batgirl variant cover as our example. And yeah, folks were plenty offended, particularly since the victimized-Batgirl cover was in huge contrast to the actual tone of the book. I seem to recall someone posting an altered version of that image, where Batgirl’s terrified expression was changed to one of anger and determination, which could have been a possible fix to the problem, but, yeah, maybe it was best maybe to pass on that particular image this time.
“Roughly 50% of the time the something really will be offensive.”
Ooh, I hate to judge if something is actually offensive, because what may offend one person may not offend another, and who am I to say if someone else should or should not be offended by something? And I mean about things like “Batgirl cover art,” and not real world stuff like “violent abuse” or “pet mistreatment” or “Donald Trump” or anything else most people can agree is terrible. Do I think maybe sometimes people overreact to things? Sure. Am I going to solve anything by jumping in and saying “hey, you’re overreacting to that!” Nope, not in the slightest. Anyway, this is the sort of thing that could be hashed out by…
“There will be much volatile discussion of the someone and/or the something online.”
…and of course there is always extended discussion about this sort of stuff, and in a good, rational world, we could calmly debate the fine points of the topic du jour and each side can have its eyes opened to the positions of the other sides and perhaps we can come to a compromise, or we can agree to disagree, or reach some other peaceful conclusion. Sadly, today’s Internet is still mostly at the “let’s get all our pals to pile on and scream at folks and call people we don’t like rude names and maybe post personal information about them online” stage of debating skills, so it may be a while before we attain that idyllic state.
• • •
Steven Rowe rows his boat ashore with
“the direct market will continue to slowly shrink”
Well, I was all set to do some number crunching here, using sales charts from all over the place, but it looks like this site already did the heavy lifting. Looks like the direct market did grow over 2015…not a whole lot, but a little growth is better than a lot of shrinkage. …I could phrase that differently, but I’m not doing to. I’ll just let it dangle there.
“more retailers will start taking last week’s stock and setting up in flea markets or ‘antique’ malls in areas without comic shops”
Not really any industry stats for that, but it’s probably not an unheard-of strategy. Though I suspect more retailers are just throwing them online for cheap rather than going through the trouble of setting up an extra physical location somewhere.
“Some company will renumber a comic, and its sales will go down, not up.”
Renumbering a series midstream, for no particular reason, is usually a good way to kill sales momentum. Sometimes things will bump up just a tad for the initial couple of issues, but soon it’ll be back down again. Just picking one renumbered title as an example: Spider-Gwen. #5 of the previous series, according to that site I linked to previously, had estimated sales of about 67,700 copies. Issue #2 of the current Spider-Gwen series is at 62,200. Now that might just be the trend of attrition on this particular series…if they never restarted the series, that #2 would have been #7 and may have dropped down to 62,200 copies anyway.
But, yes, your prediction was correct in at least one instance. I’m sure every other renumbered title saw its sales just shoot through the roof.
• • •
Old pal Kurt Onstad bounces in with
“Sterling Silver Comics opens its first satellite store in Eugene, Oregon. (Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I know someone willing to manage it for you…)”
Pffft, Oregon!? Like I’d put my fine establishment in just any state…!
• • •
Jer pushes the definition of “limit of three predictions” with
“Marvel’s Secret Wars event this summer will turn out to be weird and unsatisfying.”
Sadly, this prediction kinda breaks in the middle with the “this summer” thing, but with Secret Wars finally wrapping up this month, folks seem to be…okay with it, I guess. It sold well throughout the run, and my customers seemed to enjoy it. The lateness of the book kinda screwed with the timing of all the relaunches, but most folks appeared more bemused by the post-Secret Wars continuity books not actually being post-the-conclusion-of-the-actual-Secret-Wars-series.
“DC’s Convergence event this spring will turn out to be weird and unsatisfying.”
Yup. Though some of the individual mini-series were pretty good (like that Shazam! one), but the main series itself was kind of a dog, with an overcomplicated premise that didn’t seem to go anywhere.
“DC will try to soft-reboot their universe again after moving their offices out west. But they’ll screw it up.”
It was more of a “here are a bunch of new series” thing, and a lot of them didn’t really do well or last long, but at least they were trying something. The series that explicitly spun out of Convergence (like Titans Hunt and Lois and Clark) are doing okay.
“Marvel will continue giving head-fakes about a Crisis-style reboot of their titles, but they’ll go for something softer in the end that will let them clean up a few messes that have been made without making a giant reboot mess like DC manages to do every decade or so.”
It certainly wasn’t a line-wide reboot or anything, and I don’t know about cleaning up any messes, but it doesn’t look like they’re making too many new ones. I’m sure the messes will come, however.
“Ant-man will be the movie that finally allows people to say that having the Marvel Studios name on a movie doesn’t guarantee a hit as it underperforms the expectations people have for it (though it will end up doing reasonably well for a freaking Ant-man movie). Everyone will start talking about how the superhero bubble has burst and how Hollywood needs to find something new. (But you can go ahead and put down that my 2016 predictions will include Captain America 3 breaking some kind of records and having everyone talking about how superhero movies are awesome again, because that’s how movie reporting tends to go.)”
I don’t know that Ant-Man could perform under expectations, given that, as you say, it’s Ant-Man. Like I said above, it made a half-billion dollars, and it’s got a sequel coming, so I don’t think anyone’s unhappy. …Someone’s always saying the superhero bubble has burst. I say it a lot. I thought for sure the Avengers sequel put the knife in its back, but then Ant-Man ended up being really good, so I’m probably going to stop trying to second-guess this crazy industry.
“The CW will introduce a character into Arrow/Flash as a backdoor pilot for another spinoff series. Not sure what it will be, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t brainstorming a third spinoff for the CW at this point. (It should be Wonder Woman, but it won’t be.)”
Legends of Tomorrow, debuting this Thursday on the CW!
• • •
Brian doubles up with
“Following the end of his AVENGERS runs and the conclusion of the SUPERIOR arc, Jonathan Hickman takes over as the writer of IRON MAN and actually manages to portray Tony Stark as a real futurist (as well as surprising folks in the twists taken as writer in his first real solo Marvel book)…”
As well all know, Iron Man relaunched with Brian Michael Bendis as the new writer, and reaction to the book itself has been mostly positive. The overordering of the first issue was a potential marketplace problem, but I’ve kept my orders on the book at reasonable levels, and it seems to be doing okay.
“After CONVERGENCE, DC Comics rebrands their ‘New 52’ books into two competing lines: one set published out of NYC follows the old continuity while another published out of LA follows the new continuity. ‘East Side’ versus ‘West Side’ leads to much fantasy violence in annual crossovers – the Teen Titans are the first to have caps put into their asses…”
I’m going to put this under “predictions I’m glad didn’t come to pass,” because if you thought I had a hard time explaining continuity issues to folks now….
“GOTHAM is quickly shown to be happening in a parallel universe to the Batman we’re used to, when young Bruce Wayne is killed, Oswald Cobblepot become the Joker, Renee Montoya grows a broomhandle mustache, and Jim Gordon becomes a bat…”
TV continuity is always going to be a little off from whatever passes for continuity in the comic books, but points to you for the “Jim Gordon becomes a bat” guess. Wrong medium, but close enough! I do recall a popular theory was that the Cobblepot character was going to become the Joker. That actor would certainly make a good one!
• • •
Erik weirdly asks
“The Tumblr-verse will explode in outrage over an offensive storyline in a Marvel or DC book. Six weeks later we will have forgotten all about whatever it is we were so worked up about.”
Yeah, probably. A little Googling brought up some Tumblr anger over various comic issues over the past year, some of which I’d forgotten about, which shouldn’t diminish these particular irritations. Like I said in response to Tony’s predictions above, it’s not for me to say what other people should be artistically-offended by. But, it’s the nature of the Internet news cycles that today’s outrage gets shoved right into the memory hole by whatever new annoyance that comes down the pike.
• • •
Signal Watch ticks off the following:
“In the wake of the move to LA and the routine failure of New 52 titles not featuring Superman and/or Batman, ‘Convergence’ will conclude with the launch of a multiverse of DCU’s for readers to pick from. DC’s continuing success with the DC Originals licensed products will drive a secondary DCU that’s more all-ages than the New 52 content, and we will see a return of red shorts Superman a gold-tiara’d Wonder Woman who is more likely to use the lasso than swords.”
I’d enjoy having a regular, continuity-lite, kid-friendly series of superhero comics from DC, but I suppose the publishing arm would rather have a consistent presentation of their trademarks via their New 52 relaunch rather than admit defeat and reinstate previous versions of their characters. I’d be surprised if this didn’t happen sooner rather than later.
“Somehow, DC will still make a mess of this. Probably by decapitating the Wonder Twins in the first issue.”
I’d hate to see that happen to Zan and Jayna. Maybe to Marvin.
• • •
Interstate Shogun crosses the line with
“the new Star Wars movie will suck even more than Episode 1. It’ll make 2 billion at the box office, though. Marvel’s Star Wars comics will also pretty much suck too.”
I think we were all pleasantly surprised that the new Star Wars flick turned out to be pretty good. Can’t believe R2-D2 is now the new Emperor…I never saw that twist coming. You’re dead on about it making 2 billion in the box office…I think it’s just about there even as I type this. Marvel’s comics have been quite good as well, in my opinion.
“my Sandman Overture prediction. I correctly predicted last year that the series would not end in 2014 and the odds are about even that it could run on into 2016, culminating in a gold plated Absolute Edition with hand tooled leather pages by JH Williams and an original haiku personally inscribed by Gaiman himself.”
As noted above, it did finish in 2015! And I have no doubt there will be some super high-end collected version…DC ain’t shy about repackaging their Sandman books.
“The Ant Man movie will sink the Marvel movie franchises.”
Boy, you guys had it in for this Ant-Man movie. Clearly none of you counted on the sheer power of the Garrett Morris cameo.
• • •
Okay, enough prediction fun-time for today. Back soon with more!