Okay, more like a dozen Batman series.

§ February 11th, 2016 § Filed under retailing, self-promotion § 7 Comments

So Chris in the comments to Monday’s post noted that he often wondered why superhero movies didn’t lead to higher sales on the related comics. His answers — price and availability — are part of the problem, clearly. The other answer, essentially spinning off the idea of availability, and one I’ve noted on this site before, is that it’s practically a lifestyle choice. Going to a comic book store on a regular basis to follow the serialized adventures of superheroes is a commitment, as opposed to seeing a superhero movie every few months or a TV show beamed directly into your lean-to every week, which is good enough for most people.

The other problem is, as Chris also mentions, is that the stories themselves often don’t tend to welcome new readers. I think it goes even beyond that…if someone sees an Avengers movie and comes to a store looking for an Avengers comic, there’s at least three or four to choose from. Or Batman. Or Spider-Man (which, for bonus confusion, has a side series numbered 1.1, 1.2, etc.). It can be hard to pick which one is the one to follow. At least in most cases, if someone comes in and says “I want a Batman comic” there’s usually a comic that’s just straight-up called “Batman” that I can hand them. And to Marvel’s credit, while their flagship Amazing Spider-Man title is doing some different stuff with the character, there’s a side-series, Spidey, which is a more recognizable version of old Web-Head that’s not tied into any post-Secret Wars, pre-Civil War 2 hoohar for the uninitiated to worry about.

Now, it’s not as bad as all that. I still do reasonably good business (and repeat business!) in folks young and not-so-young just popping in and trying out comics that look interesting. Plus, of course, there are always the trade paperback collections for anyone seeking out longer reads. This is generally despite the comics themselves, with confusing numberings and constant reboots making it difficult for titles to get traction and for new readers to catch on and catch up.

Anyway, as usual, there are no answers here. It’s a weird business, but generally a rewarding one for readers who decide to put the effort into it and figure out just how to keep up with the mostly-bonkers publishing end of things.

Be sure to go back and read the comments to Monday’s post…some good discussion there.

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The latest Question of the Week over at Trouble with Comics is regarding favorite romances in comics, and while I considered the Brain and Monsieur Mallah, I went with the response that will surprise none of you.

7 Responses to “Okay, more like a dozen Batman series.”

  • Patrick C says:

    This is a good point, and has happened to me despite being someone who has read comics for years (decades? Best not to think about that) and hits up the comic shop every Wednesday. When the Thor movie came out I liked it enough to check out his comic, so the next time I’m in the shop I pick up Astonishing Thor #4 from the new release rack. It was very confusing, and I didn’t learn until later that it was a mini not the main series. There was no indication like 4 of 5 or anything to warn me. Instead of figuring it out I ordered the Simonson Thor trades off Amazon and gave up on figuring out the monthly. I can only imagine the difficulty of a newbie or casual comic reader. It’s difficult to just grab a random comic without doing some research first.

    On the flip side I started reading comics in the early 90s (with Superman #78 I believe), and that gave me enough information through the story, editorial boxes, and the letter column to catch me up and point me at what else to read. I guess the internet serves that purpose now, but I really think all that should be within the 4 corners of the issue.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “I went with the response that will surprise none of you.”

    Nancy and Sluggo, got it

  • Andrew Davison says:

    I feel the same way about Deadpool, as Patrick C did about the Thor movie.

    Why can’t Marvel put out short video features along with the movies which point to good starting points?

    These could tease/trail the movie, *and* supply some useful info.

  • Does Marvel NOT put some kind of “check your local comic shoppe” mini-commercial in their theatrical releases?

    (I haven’t seen a marvel movie IN theatre since the first couple of X-Men flicks, so I really don’t know.)

    You’d think it would be a cross-promotional no-brainer.

    But then, having movie-friendly comic adaptations and series’ (even if just a well-timed mini) would be so as well (and we all know THAT hasn’t happened since maybe the 1989 Batman).

    le sigh.


  • Chris Wuchte says:

    “Lifestyle choice” is a good way to describe it, and I had something like that in the back of my mind when I typed that original post.

    In Baton Rouge, we’re down to one comic shop, and getting there involves, typically, hopping on the interstate (which is a nightmare around here), then going down a street that’s always jammed with traffic, to go to a shop that, to be honest, is pretty cramped and over-stuffed with merchandise. To someone unfamiliar with comics, it has to be overwhelming.

    And if you go there, that’s the only reason you’d be going there, as there’s nothing else near it aside from a beautician school and a storage facility. It’s not as if you can pick up your comics, then grab a coffee or shop somewhere else next door.

    I just don’t see a lot of people deciding to devote their time to doing this unless they’re already into the hobby or they really, really want to get into comics.

    I can also easily envision a parent driving their kid all the way out there, buying them a Batman comic for 4-5 dollars, and seeing them finish it in the car before they even get home.

  • Batman is normally bandied about as the paragon of all the superheroes — he’s resourceful, has the best gadgets, and can make guano rain down upon his foes with but a snap of his fingers. Thank you for post