Your 2021 Predictions, Part Seven: The Competition.

§ January 24th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 8 Comments

So you know the drill by now: I’m looking at your 2021 comic predictions that you posted here, and the previous installments of this series can be found here: one, two, three, four, five, and six.

And I know I have a response or two that should be addressed…I’ll get to them soon enough. Probably Friday, for an “epilogue” post.

Now, let’s jump in and see what we’ve got for this round!

Yours truly handsomely writes

“1. The comics division of Marvel will see cutbacks…not to the extent of DC’s current travails, but Disney’s gonna put the partial-kibosh on the publishing line.”

Not anything quite as drastic as this has happened, to my knowledge. At least, not any kind of sign that Disney has stepped in and said “OKAY, ENOUGH OF THAT” on anything. I suppose this could be extended to the ending of the Marvel Action line over at IDW, but even that’s not quite the behind-the-scenes bloodbath DC endured.

“2. We’re gonna find out who Olivia Jaimes, the pseudonymous cartoonist of the Nancy comic strip, really is.”

Did not happen, but I figure it will sooner or later. (Olivia Jaimes rips off the mask – “ah HA, it is I, Bill Watterson!”)

“3. A significant portion of DC’s comics line will switch over to a thicker, more expensive (but still comic-sized, not like Black Label album-sized) format. Like, $5.99 for 48 pages will be the norm, rather than reserved for specials and one-shots. Not everything, we’ll still have $3.99 books. But the cheaper format will clearly be on the way out.”

Well, it’s hard to say “yay” or “nay” to this one, and it all feels like it’s still in transition. Yes, a LOT of books are being released with higher price points, but $3.99 comics are still a thing. To be fair, this was already sort of happening when I initially made the prediction, but I haven’t seen too significant a shift in balance re: pricing yet that’s much different from before. A few more $5.99 books, maybe.

The trick is noting when the extra qualities of the higher-priced books (like page count and paper stock) start getting scaled back to what would be today’s $3.99 format, but keeping the $4.99 and up price points.

Okay, depressing myself, let’s move on.

• • •

Bully, The Bull That Walks Like A Stuffed Man, horns in with

“Once again I predict that this year, comics shall be printed on delicious deli ham.”

Friend Bully, I’m pleased to report that the comic strip Heathcliff is doing the Lord’s work and continuing to print comics on and about ham, such as this example from early last year:

…Now you probably meant actually physically printed on ham instead of paper. I bet if anyone’s going to do it, it’s Heathcliff.

“Also: one or more DC 12-issue limited series will be abandoned by the publisher mid-series.”

I know Nice House on the Lake had a mid-series break, but that was planned, not due to sales. I can’t think of any, though I’m surprised The Batman’s Grave made it to the end. If I’m missing something, let me know.

• • •

Kirk beams in these

“1 – Archie will cease publishing their own books.”

Archie is still hanging in there! It feels like they’re mostly doing digests, collections, and an entry or two in their horror line, but there’s still the occasional standard comic book (usually a holiday special of some sort).

“2 – Another new distributor will appear to battle Diamond & whoever the others are”

Well, Penguin Random House ain’t new but they certain shook things up a bit by becoming Marvel’s main inroad to the direct market. I can’t believe that was just last year.

“3 – Jim Lee will leave DC as they change their publishing strategy. Fewer comics, more prestige books “

Jim Lee’s still hangin’ on there, as are plain ol’ funnybooks! But I feel like more higher-end books will be in DC’s future.

• • •

Raymond Zinsius gets right zin there with

“I predict that DC Comics will fold entirely.”

Boy, people sure have it in for DC Comics! It was an easy target given the slashing of the publishing line and the cutting of employees, but it’s still floatin’ along there. “I DON’T WANT TO GO ON THE CART,” DC weakly exclaims.

• • •

Andrew-TLA has some true life questions for me

“1. A whole slew of new titles will be announced, each promising to be the next big thing.”

Well, it’s a typical thing for new comics to be announced all the time. And very few of them start off with “oh, I guess we’re okay, maybe you’ll like us.”

“2. 92% of said titles will fizzle out by the third issue, becoming nothing more than footnotes in comics history, relegated to quarter bins for all eternity.”

I can’t say to the percentage, but in my experience, unless it’s a huge hit, sales on most comics tend to settle down by about the third issue or so (usually because by then the retailer’s figured out the actual demand for the book). As far as outright “fizzling” — I did have a few new titles debuting over the last year that were not-starters, with no interest from my customers from the get-go. And a couple of others that may have started big, but were mostly bought by speculators who didn’t want any issues past the first one.

I’m trying to put an actual number to the percentage, and…well, there are a lot of comics, aren’t there. I’d say roughly about half of debuting series kept a readership of some sort as the series continued, and maybe half were D.O.A. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I think that’s more or less right.

“3. A lack of consistent updates regarding the Fantastic Four movie leads to the CW commissioning a Terrifics series set in the Arrowverse. Nevermind the fact that Simon Stagg was killed off in a very early episode of The Flash.”

I remember them killing off Stagg, and I was like “that’s not just a name of some random character you can plug in for verisimilitude.” That’s, like, an actual character with a position in the DCU.

Anyway, no Terrifics TV show, which is too bad because that would have been hilarious.

• • •

Ray Cornwall pops over the fence with

“1. Something drastic will happen at IDW- either a closure or a takeover. There’s a lot of smoke there. I’m not rooting for this, especially since I love the reprintings of old newspaper comics, and I hate to see any comics employees lose their jobs.”

Not sure if this is the sort of thing you’re thinking of, but IDW did announce it was following Marvel to Penguin Random House for exclusive distribution. Like I said in that post I wrote discussing Marvel’s move, IDW had a presence at PRH already, which likely smoothed over the transition. Wondering which company already with a PRH deal will be next?

“2. DC will launch a new digital comics platform just for their comics, separate from Comixology. There will be some comic that is exclusive to the platform.”

I mean, DC is still doing DC Universe Infinite for their online backlog for both print and digital, but otherwise they appear content to let Comixology handle the comic sales. I mean, as far as I know, I’m not much of a “buying digital” comics guy.

“3. We will see new Miracleman comics. We will not see new Saga comics.”

Mentioning once again Timeless, in just under the wire during the last week of December. A certain MM (no, not Mickey Mouse) has his logo appear…so not the big guy himself, but closer than we had been.

And Saga waited ’til this year to come back.

Okay, we’ll wrap up the 2021 predictions next time, and ’til then put in your predictions for 2022 already.

8 Responses to “Your 2021 Predictions, Part Seven: The Competition.”

  • Daniel says:

    “Jim Lee will leave DC as they change their publishing strategy. Fewer comics, more prestige books”

    If there were a coordinated phase out (e.g., planned over the course of a year and not all of a sudden) of periodicals/floppies by DC and Marvel with a focus going forward on just books (paperbacks, hardcovers, premium Absolute and Gallery Editions, etc.), could most comic shops survive that change to what would essentially be a bookstore model?

  • JD says:

    Re: DC maxiseries getting shortened…

    If anything, we got the reverse happening, with The Swamp Thing getting expanded from 10 to 16 issues. Which I doubt escaped Mike’s notice, but eh.

  • Arrowverse is CW, right?

    What is HBOMax, particularly since Peacemaker is a thing (and a pretty good show, along with Doom Patrol, etc.)
    Why NOT do The Terrifics on HBOMax.
    But has anyone given that -verse a name? Sterlingverse? Mike: can you get your people to talk to their people?

    On another note: did INFERIOR 5 finish the run? I thought COVID-19 killed it about 4 issues in, same with TERRIFICS, actually. The two month break and all.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    @Wayne Allen Sallee
    Inferior 5’s issues #5-6 were only published digitally and in the TP.

    Terrifics’ issues #28-30 were only published digitally and in the final TP.

  • […] all the previous installments in this year’s coverage: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. And now, let’s get to your […]

  • Snark Shark says:

    DC: We’re not dead!

    Marvel: They’ll be stone dead in a minute!

  • […] rolls down the road here. Look back at the previous installments (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight) and then let’s see what exactly I have to say for […]

  • Hal Shipman says:

    Pretty sure they killed Simon Stagg in WW84 also. I guess they really don’t think they’ll ever do anything with Metamorpho.