There’s probably a reason why I don’t get interviewed for articles like these more often.

§ July 18th, 2012 § Filed under retailing, self-promotion § 11 Comments

So a while back, Matt Wilson (he of The Supervillain Handbookfame) asked me “if superhero movies are so successful, why aren’t people buying more comics?” And I said “because people are big poopie-heads.” Well, okay, I didn’t say that, but you can see what I did say by looking at Matt’s article right here. My response is hardly the be-all/end-all answer to that particular quandary, but, you know, it’s a start. Oh, and some other people responded, too, but pfffft, they’re obviously not me.

11 Responses to “There’s probably a reason why I don’t get interviewed for articles like these more often.”

  • Roger Green says:

    Your poopiehead answer is better.

  • Billy says:

    It’s the price. With today’s comics $3-$4 buys you 15 minutes of entertainment. I can buy all the 80s-90s comics I want for $0.25-$1 each or about $50 a long box at cons. Plus, since all of these stories are already “done”, I don’t have to waste money on anything mediocre “just to see if something pans out…”

  • IvoryTower says:

    It’s because comics are the same as any fandom. When they release a movie, hoping to appeal to a mass market, some people just go in, see the movie, go ‘that was pretty cool’ and that’s where it ends. My boyfriend is like that. He saw and liked the Avengers, but has no real interest other than that. I liked the new Batman movies, but I’ve no interest in delving further.

    On the other hand, you will get people who already were comic fans, so they don’t increase their purchasing because, hey, they were always going to buy them, or you have a few people who start poking into it, get scared off by how many comics they might need to buy and all the reading they need to do to catch up, so they shy away from it. Some few people will watch the movie, read the comic (and may well wind up disappointed when things get changed for format).

    I think you’d see more people getting into it if there was less to buy to catch up. If you watch a movie based on a single book or game, the catch up is much faster than decades of comic book writing.

    (Or it could have something to do with the art…)

  • Rich says:

    I think there’s a lot of truth to this:

    “If you watch a movie based on a single book or game, the catch up is much faster than decades of comic book writing.”

    I’d even say it’s true of a single series of books (see WALKING DEAD on TV and SCOTT PILGRIM movie). Being available in affordable trade paperbacks helps too. Superhero comics are just too complex and plentiful to make sense unless you do homework. Most people won’t make the effort.

    I admit I’ve said nothing about single issues. I don’t buy them anymore.

    I really wish the AKA JESSICA JONES show would have happened. The original ALIAS series is compact enough that it would have made a nice experiment. That is, so long as the series were available in an affordable format (not a $99 omnibus).

  • Halek says:

    Decompression isn’t helping, especially when it comes to making comics palatable to new readers who have yet to make it into a habit. Each issue is read faster and story arcs take more issues to play out thanks to decompression.

  • philip says:

    It might not help, either, that movie versions of characters don’t always have anything to do with their comic book counterparts. Bane showed up in comics 20 years ago (gasp!) and I suppose anyone driven to a shop by the new movie can maybe find one of those phone-book sized Knightfall collections or try to figure out what the grunt is the whole “Court of Owls” thing. Remember when there was always a not-necessarily-well-done comic version of the movie released around the time of the movie’s release? I think they did these as late as the Burton Batman movies. What happened to those? Perhaps the owners of these giant properties just don’t give a crap about the comics when their movie could make more in a weekend than their entire slate of comics will make in a year. Pardon my rambling.

  • g23 says:

    I was in a Toys R Us yesterday. I was very happy to see that along with the GIANT Spiderman displays, the massive amount of super-hero toys and such, there was a display selling current issues of super hero comic books… right near the register… as an impulse buy… just like they used to be… gave me a (faint) glimmer of hope for the future…

  • MrJM says:

    Comic book fans go to the theater to see a movie about superheroes.

    Movie fans go to the theater to see a movie about superheroes.

    It’s not reasonable to expect the latter to ever buy comic books.

    — MrJM

  • Harvey Jerkwater says:

    Distribution. Distribution distribution distribution. Also, distribution.

    We all know the story. The comic book was a widely available, cheap entertainment. The market was inefficient as hell and always on the verge of dying. Then, for various economic reasons, the market shifted to a vastly more efficient and profitable model. But it cut the access from “they’re everywhere” to “they’re in isolated enclaves.”

    The industry’s been counting on the exact same people to buy comics for twenty years. This is great short-term business and death to long-term. Plus, it breeds weird behaviors, like storytelling styles that cater only to those with a Ph.D. in Nerd-American Studies, and a wild disconnect between price and value. Dude, the disconnect between issue cost and issue value is so out of whack it makes my nerd-beard ache.

    Turns out that if you take a popular, if little-respected medium, and change it from ubiquitous to hidden, and leave it like that for decades, it fades out. Is anyone shocked by this? You can slow the decline by producing quality work. Maybe even stabilize it. But you won’t be able to grow for beans unless they’re more visible to the public and a better value for the dollar.

    Digital is the future, but who knows how it’ll work. DC’s online pricing is bugnuts crazy and Marvel’s “online library” model, with its deliberate holes in story arcs, could not be better designed to piss off customers. Maybe those’ll work, but I wouldn’t bet on ’em.

    Wow, I’m ranty today. And you know what else, the music kids today listen to, what with that “Justin Bugbear” or whatever he is…

  • Kevin says:

    “That doesn’t seem like a jump the casual film fan is going to make. Enjoying a Spider-Man movie is just part of a regular movie going experience. Becoming a fan of the Spider-Man comic books is practically a lifestyle choice, requiring some serious damn commitment.”

    I really like this response. The Tobey Maguire movies got me into Spider-Man, and I picked up my first comic book because of it. After all the movies that came out in between, my friends think it suffices to ask me about comic books and watch the movies, but I choose to make those trips to my comic shop every week. It really is a lifestyle choice.

  • Bully says:

    They still make comic books?!?