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Posted by No_Name_ (17409 posts) - - Show Bio

As with any consumer product, there is and always will be pressure to boost sales. This is prevalent in any industry--but this seems to be an urgent demand in the comic book industry, especially lately. Whether there really has been a bigger focus on comics sales, or it just feels that way is hard to tell from the casual comic reader. But the impression from retailers and fans is that now, more than ever, we are seeing a big push to introduce the product to new audiences in order to garner more revenue.

The worry over comics sales feels constantly looming and this is due in part to so many recent changes that have taken place within the industry. Between the "digital comics revolution," and the acquisition of Marvel by Disney, the news of the revamp of the DC Universe this September and the increase in the number of comic book inspired films being released (five comic book films being released this summer alone), you would think these moves would bring in more comic sales. That's a logical assumption to make about the average moviegoer, right? If someone who watched the Green Lantern movie happened to enjoy it, then it makes sense that they'll be interested in picking up Green Lantern comic books. Surprisingly, no.

The market now, more than ever, feels completely over-saturated with comic book inspired films, television shows and video games. Comics are being injected into all aspects of media; and the result is an attempt to increase the fan base and get more people reading comic books. But is it working? Are the releases of all these comic book movies increasing comic book sales whatsoever, or is there no direct correlation?

== TEASER ==

"Movies have never and will never increase comic book sales," says Eric Thornton, owner and operator of Chicago Comics for the last twenty years. "[Most of the] People who go to the movies have no interest in investing in the comics and becoming fans of the comic book characters. They won't become Green Lantern comic fans because they liked the Green Lantern movie...In fact, if a bad movie is released, like Catwoman for example, it can actually hurt sales."

A major comic writer cited a similar position on the subject, stating that sales may actually be driven down by comic book movies because when that 13 year old Thor fan has to choose between spending his $13 allowance on a Thor comic or a trip to the Thor movie with his friends, chances are, he'll go see that movie.

Last week both the Comics Chronicle and ICv2 cited a drop in May comic book sales of 11.21% versus the previous May. Not only that, but May 2011's comic sales ranked as the second lowest comic sales this year, second only to January 2011's which was "the worst seen January to January sales in the last 15 years [the Diamond exclusive era]."

The thing is, this May should have been a big month for comics. It's the start of the summer movie releases, and the very first week of May saw the release of the highly anticipated Thor movie (May 6th) from Marvel Studios. The film's release coincidentally fell on the same weekend as one of the comic book industry's biggest days out of the year; Free Comic Book Day (May 7th). So why did May sales fall so short?

"I think there was just a drop in sales," Eric said, "I don't think it had anything to do with the movie releases...I just don't think there was enough product that fans wanted to read in May. With Marvel releasing so many books, it over-saturated the comics market. No one will want to read five Captain America mini's every single week."

And Eric is right, who would want to read 5 Captain America mini's every week? But it wasn't Captain America that didn't meet its projected sales mark in May, it was actually DC's Flashpoint #1 (86,981 units) which came second in sales for May after Fear Itself #2 from Marvel which estimated at 96,318, dropping an estimated 32,000 units between issues 1 and 2. Still, for the first issue of an event book, Marvel was at least able to get over the 100,000 unit hump, while DC couldn't manage to crack the top spot. So why didn't Flashpoint garner higher sales?

"I went into Flashpoint not know what it was about," Eric said, "and while my Flashpoint #1 orders were spot on, and I only had to reorder once, I still didn't know a lot about it."

Eric isn't the only person to complain about not knowing enough about Flashpoint prior to the event. After speaking to Jonah Lantern, a sales associate at Los Angeles' Golden Apple Comics shop we discovered that the store still had at least 100 copies of Flashpoint #1 on their shelves. "The Flash ongoing was a little bit confusing," Jonah said, "[the] run before Flashpoint didn't do a good job setting up [the story]" Jonah said. However, both Jonah and Eric stated the Flashpoint tie-ins are doing far better than they anticipated. So what could the reasons be for the low Flashpoint sales? Could it be because DC Comics keeps much of their content so close to their chest? Not only that, but The Flash only had one series prior to the Flash driven event, and that might be harder to sell especially when you compare that to Green Lantern and the Brightest Day event which was backed by at least 40 Green Lantern books- including Sinestro Corps which exceeded expectations of DC Comics and retailers alike. Not to mention, The Flash series also struggled with delayed shipping.

Even though sales in May did drop considerably, DC still managed to snag three of the top 25 highest seller slots for three different Green Lantern titles that month. Green Lantern #66 in May sold almost as many units as Flashpoint #1, coming in third place at an estimated 75,371 units while Green Lantern #60 came in 6th place and Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #10 made into the 17th position.

With the release of all these comic book movies, it doesn't necessarily mean that comic sales will increase. However, the sales number of Green Lantern comics did go up, so perhaps the films help to introduce characters to people who already read comics but that may not read that comic? What do you think of the future of comic books? Do you feel that the decline in sales is indicative that movies really have no bearing on the success of comic book franchises, or do you still think these films could introduce comic characters to a new audience and increase the reader base?

#1 Posted by miguel_yanke (36 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting!

#2 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2302 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, My girlfriend saw the Green Lantern movie and loved it which sparked an interest in reading the Green Lantern comics so it's not entirely unheard of that the movies would inspire a desire to read the comics. Although she'll probably be reading my copies so I guess that doesn't help sales.

#3 Posted by joshmightbe (25021 posts) - - Show Bio

The real reason comic sales and movie ticket sales and every other kind of sales that aren't food are down the economy sucks right now and people don't have the money to spend on things that are luxuries hell they can barely afford the gas to go to the comic store why are all these entertainment companies and web sites not seeing that aspect 

#4 Posted by Shaunw1973 (39 posts) - - Show Bio

They're over priced. Once all the ads are removed I pay £3.00 (GB) for what is essentially a 20 page book. That's not good value.

#5 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder what the sales are like for the series when they are released in trade paper back. I prefer reading a story arc that way. You don't have to keep waiting for the next issue to come out which can get tedious.

#6 Posted by SirSparkington (342 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the sales numbers show that people approach the movies and the comics as two very different things. Same character but one takes only a couple hours of your time and you get a complete story, while the other aks to you to take the story a bit by bit every month.

#7 Posted by RareCheshire (190 posts) - - Show Bio

Sadly people don't read as much anymore

#8 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel and DC are a part of Major Corporations. 
Who cares about their sales? 
Let them eat the losses, they can afford it. 
What goes around comes around kids. 
Marvel's properties will be O.K. regardless Disney CARES about it's properties. 
DC's management has been and continues to be Atrocious. Sell it Off Time Warner! Let someone who CARES have a shot!

#9 Posted by roboticjesus (71 posts) - - Show Bio

Most story arcs from Marvel and DC have been mediocre in recent years, rarely great or even good. I think people are just losing interest and choosing not to read certain titles. I love Superman but stopped reading the Supes books regularly because of the poor story quality.

Mark Millar has recently lashed out at DC and Marvel for the lack of originality in their major titles. Its the same stories over and over.

I don't think movies will ever drive an increase in comic sales, at least not on a long term basis.

#10 Posted by joshmightbe (25021 posts) - - Show Bio

So we're just going to ignore the whole thing about the impending economic collapse having something to do with people not wanting to spend so much money on entertainment 

#11 Posted by YoungFrey (17 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not big on hero titles but I do follow a few.  My least favorite thing in all of comics is stories hopping between books.  For the same reason I don't buy into huge crossover events that will end up costing me over $100 to read the whole story, I don't like having the storyline I'm following being held hostage in some book I don't care about.  If DC did a lot less of that I might follow more of thier titles.   
 
I would put a lot of value on a line of comics that were promised to never branch into other titles. 
#12 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio
@joshmightbe said:
So we're just going to ignore the whole thing about the impending economic collapse having something to do with people not wanting to spend so much money on entertainment 
3.99 a book? 2.99? 4.99? LMAO, go back to depression-era printing methods and sell more! OOPs, too late priced out your target audience. LMAO.
#13 Edited by Shadow_Thief (2509 posts) - - Show Bio
@joshmightbe: You hit the nail on the head. As much as I love comics, I have to put gas and food first. There was a conference of some sort awhile back, where some business bigwigs were basically trying to convince the crowd that the economy was just peachy, when you looked at the overall prices of consumer goods. As an example, one of them cited the affordable price of the iPad 2, to which someone in the audience yelled "I can't eat an iPad!" This has since become something of a rallying cry. When people are struggling to get necessities, luxury and recreational purchases get put on hold.
#14 Posted by TheShame (477 posts) - - Show Bio
@Shaunw1973 said:
They're over priced. Once all the ads are removed I pay £3.00 (GB) for what is essentially a 20 page book. That's not good value.
Yeah, i live in the U.K and prices are hiked up even higher due to import costs and the greed of the retailers.  The local waterstones has even started charging higher for graphic novels with a new six issue softback costing upwards of £25 for comics that would cost maybe £16/17 if purchased individually (secret invasion for e.g).  So comics sales are decreasing, what else does the comics industry expect in this economic climate?  A Green Lantern hardback is worth its weight in gold, but you can't  feed it to your family (if its a Jeph Loeb hardback go for it).
#15 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio
@Shadow_Thief said:
@joshmightbe: You hit the nail on the head. As much as I love comics, I have to put gas and food first. There was a conference of some sort awhile back, where some business bigwigs were basically trying to convince the crowd that the economy was just peachy, when you looked at the overall prices of consumer goods. As an example, one of them cited the affordable price of the iPad 2, to which someone in the audience yelled "I can't eat an iPad!" This has since become something of a rallying cry. When people are struggling to get necessities, luxury and recreational purchases get put on hold.
While true, we do see a surge in other mediums, such as gaming and movies. And the reason we see this not reflected in comics is the price point, I can go through a comic in fifteen minutes, and for 2.99 or 3.99 it's not worth the price for only fifteen minutes. I'd rather not spend 3.99 on ten comics but spend 39.99 on a game I can play for 40 hours +.
 
That coupled with the recession and the stigma of comics after the 90's(As huge soap operas that aren't going anywhere) makes it hard for someone to justify spending the money on monthlies.
#16 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Come on people its all economics.  One has only to look at history to see that comics are suffering right now just like everything else is.  Movies are down and will continue to be down so long as ticket prices continue to inflate and people are more likely just to get pirated copies of movies that  can be obtained for a fraction of the cost.  And comics? Well unfortunately right now with how things are..I'd say only true fans are the ones that are going to be buying issues from week to week now.  Sales of things reflect how good the economic nature of things are.  The reason why the industry of comics was so darn good in the 90s is because we had an economic surplus in that time...at least until '96 when the speculators's crash caused it all to come down.  No movie is gonna change comics sales...and frankly its why I think unfortunately the digital revolution coming to comics is going to happen if the goal is to reach to a wider, younger audience.  Lets be honest people, the generation of youngsters that they are trying to reach out to is the same generation that has had a smart phone in their hand from the time they were 5, has probably never heard of what a walkman due to the availability of iPods, and most likely hates reading with such a vengeance that unless its something they see on their 10-20 hours of daily websurfing will never even read to begin with. These people are going to enjoy the movies for what they are, but not to instantly browse the comics shelves and become instant comic fans.  It all boils down to generational changes, and the economy. Period.

#17 Posted by Sodon (8 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll tell you what turns me off, because movies and other tie-ins can in fact generate interest and motivate me to head to the comic store to check out the books. Then I get there and find a dozen different titles varying in number range from #1 to #600+, and I have no idea which one to buy. More often than not, I'll buy none, or fall back on something a little easier to grasp (Walking Dead, Fables, etc)

The market is absolutely over-saturated. If they want to generate interest, maybe they shouldn't relaunch 52 new titles at once. It's mind boggling. How can you expect a comic to sell well, on its own, when there are 51 other titles (from one company alone) vying for attention?

Marvel and DC release more and more spin-offs and mini-series in the hopes of generating more revenue, but all they're really doing is turning people like me off to the whole thing.

#18 Posted by joshmightbe (25021 posts) - - Show Bio
@turoksonofstone: its simple when people are having money trouble the first things to go is stuff that is considered unnecessary like movies and comics and other forms of entertainment
#19 Posted by sergyanime (103 posts) - - Show Bio

I am kind of new to comics so I can tell you how it was for me and what lured me in as well as some friends and my personal experience.   
 
 
. I honestly got the idea of going out to read comics by marvel vs capcom 3 no joke. I have seen so many more people go to comics due to a video game then a movie because the game gives discussion hype and when your out nerded by a friend  or a member of a message board you want to be able to defend your self but you only know X amount about this character. It did a good job showing there first comic release and making characters seemed interesting but I know it's not like that for everyone.   
  
If movies are trying to push a new reader they are doing it wrong by not pushing the trades and explaining what a trade is. I know even a month into reading comics I had no Idea what a trade was just heard it thrown around a lot and I was like "are we trading comics"? At the start of the movie and then at the center credits there should be a plug for trades because that is where you are going to get people to say ok maybe I will. The start catches them when there filled with hype and the center gets them leaving with it on there mind. They already have to drive home why not go swing buy borders and see if they have Iron man volume 1 like it said in the advertisement.   
 
That is not the only issue though it is hard to keep up with comics during busy periods even you guys can't read every issue that comes out and it's your job imagine a casual person who just wants to get in who gets way to much spiderman a month to handle but wants to check it out. Then cost comes into play even with DC's drawing the line at 2.99 if I wanted to know everything happening in flash point just last week id pay for 4 with isn't to much but week after week of that for what at max is a 30 minute read an issue you start to eat at your other founds. That is if your just interested in knowing everything with flash point.  
 
I think that is where trades really shine  because its a one time buy for a full story at a lower pricish depending on where and when you pick it up with out having to buy and buy. It helps the average reader out because marvel doesn't give shoot outs to comic vine like it should with would be wonderful because without you guys id be lost with comics and I can only spread word of mouth so far.  
 
They need to just relook at there whole marketing as a whole re numbing isn't necessary we know how old these series are we expect an issue 1000 to come out we just want a good story that we can start on and a link to a web site that can give us the background we need if we want it.  

#20 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio
@joshmightbe:  
I'm just sayin', During the GA War years comics were booming because they were cheap. And had no real competition for entertainment value, Continuity at Marvel has been a bit of an afterthought since the 1980's and DC was never able to cobble together anything that made sense and Stick to it. Why should the Fans stay loyal with ever increasing prices and dwindling returns on value? Why should loyal fans stay loyal when they are constantly overlooked for the non-existent "New Customer" these "Event" stories target. No, No, No, It makes perfect sense. The Economy is bad and so are the Comics. I will always read Comics, doesn't mean they have to be Time Warner's or Disney's.
#21 Posted by obscurefan (274 posts) - - Show Bio

Here is why sales are down, because we are burned out. We as fans just can't take one more "Everything changes" when it all changed just six months ago. We can't take one more bit of depressing story telling where characters die or get their lives ruined. We just want really good stories again, not giant crossovers and events that will drain our wallets only to have all of it be rendered moot just a few months later.

#22 Posted by crj25 (15 posts) - - Show Bio
@joshmightbe said:
The real reason comic sales and movie ticket sales and every other kind of sales that aren't food are down the economy sucks right now and people don't have the money to spend on things that are luxuries hell they can barely afford the gas to go to the comic store why are all these entertainment companies and web sites not seeing that aspect 
FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS
#23 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

There's so much to this that has to be taken into account. First and foremost, everyone must keep in mind that we're living very hard times. We are living in a country with 9.1% unemployment and a devastatingly slow 'recovery' period. The first thing to go for a lot of folks when the belt needs tightening is hobbies. Especially expensive hobbies like comics. 
 
Then you have to take into account what the youth is like; what they're into, what is trendy today, etc.. At this point in time, it's acceptably  cool for a teen to go see Thor with his friends, but for him to be home reading comics in his free time... Not so much. Comics is still a 'nerdy' or 'geeky' hobby, and no matter how many episodes of the Big Bang Theory everyone watches, or how many Twihards go to Comic Con, being a nerd or geek still isn't cool when you're in High School. 
 
And consider the impact that digital life has had on our culture. The idea of taking pages of a comics and digitizing them is one that falls flat for most people who aren't already comic fans. And, to boot, there are surprisingly few fans that will actually commit to a digital weekly following. That makes digital a colossal failure on all fronts, and if something doesn't pick up soon, it's going to kill the industry. How, you ask? By companies -- DC and Marvel, I'm looking at you -- putting millions into 'digital revolutions' and constantly having them fall flat. If the digital doesn't take off like a damn rocket ship next year, believe me, DC and Marvel are going to be in trouble. 
 
I have trouble believing that young fans want to read a comic. I have trouble believing young people want to read period. I personally think that the way to make the comics industry last a bit longer and reach a wider audience is through animation. Kids want to see stuff happen, like a video game, or a cg cartoon. That's what they like, so instead of making comics into digital comics, make them into digitally animated stop motion books, complete with audio. 
 
And then we come to the problem with book stores. Bleeding Cool has an interesting story about Marvel's new way of thinking when it comes to 'newsstand comics' that somewhat talks about this, if anyone's interested. Go into any Barnes and Noble, you'll find at least half a wall full of trades and hardcovers and probably a whole magazine isle filled with floppies. And guess what. You can bet that they're getting them for much better prices than your local shop is. When I was younger there were 10 comic shops in five town radius. There is currently one left, and the guy that owns it is in his 60s, ready to retire. 
 
I don't think all the great hero movies in the world will make a damn bit of difference, to be honest. I think that the comic book industry is dying, and that we should enjoy it while it lasts. I think DC and Marvel are too top heavy, and they'll be the first to cave under the pressure of a declining readership. 
 
I hate to sound pessimistic and like I'm ranting, but this is the reality of things. Our best hope is that the movies will generate enough money themselves for Hollywood to keep having the desire to make them; that's probably the only way to project the characters we love into the far future. 

#24 Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio

  Because there's this thing called the internet, and with it, you can get essentially anything retailers try and sell you for free, especially comic books.

#25 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3561 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it has to do with a lot of factors. I personally can understand the mentality, because I often felt that with books when I was younger. If I saw a movie based on a book that I enjoyed. I would often check out the book. The problem is that 9.99 times out of 10 the movie and book were nothing similar. I felt pissed off and cheated. What is the point of making these movies that portray characters in ways they aren't like in the comics. If someone does get interested in a comic based on a movie. They go in with a perception that isn't anything like they will find. Zero of the events they were told never happen in the comic. Since it wasn't what they were expecting, they go no further. They you get editors who think it's a great idea to manipulate characters to fit the movies. That just pisses off your long term readers.
 
One of the best reasons is stated by the Eric Thorton when he mentions the over saturation in the market. Most people just either don't want to or can't afford to buy all the comics it takes to follow a story. Publishers keep giving individual comics to characters that can't support them. Not every character is designed to be a lead. When it comes to manga, each series is it's own universe. You can follow a complete story by following a one series. Spin-offs almost never happen. When they do, they are side series that don't effect the main story. Such as Rock Lee recently getting his own comedy manga spin-off. They aren't trying to be a canon story but just a fun read.
To give you an example in sales. The series One Piece in Japan is easily one of the largest manga in the nation. When Volume 62 was released back in May. It sold over 2 million in four days.
 
I'd be interested in seeing how sales of trades go. Are people just skipping over the comic for the  trade collection?

#26 Edited by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Want to know something really funny? When i lived in LA I would go to Golden Apple comics and for the past year ive been shopping at Chicago comics. Who ever made these interviews is obviously targeting me.

#27 Posted by TDK_1997 (15085 posts) - - Show Bio

In these days comic events suck and so will be their sales
#28 Posted by BlackRoseTessa (59 posts) - - Show Bio

i do like  the idea of a small advert before and after  the film saying how to get in to the character it may help
#29 Posted by The Impersonator (5591 posts) - - Show Bio

We know that comics sales are down because a lot of people are not reading it. It's like watching a TV show. People are not interested watching new shows lately. There are several new shows which gets cancelled most of the time. If you compare this to comics, then it's pretty much different since comics don't get cancelled a lot. Unless, the readers are not reading it or there are such comic book delays. 

#30 Posted by JediXMan (31250 posts) - - Show Bio

My reason? 
 
1. Prices are too high. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Marvel.
 
2. There is still a poor stigma on comics and the people who read them. They are still thought of as children's books, and making more kids shows based off comics doesn't help. We need more serious and more mature cartoons/television shows/movies based off of comics and less stuff like Iron Man: Armored Adventures.

Moderator
#31 Posted by ComicMan24 (147115 posts) - - Show Bio

A cartoon is more likely to make someone interested in comics IMO.

#32 Posted by HexThis (915 posts) - - Show Bio

As a predominantly Marvel reader, I've cut down quite a bit on comics. Mainly because I feel Marvel talks down to it's readers. How? Let me count the ways....
 
1- They announced they'd be killing a character every quarter this year to make a profit because the Human Torch's death raised sales. 
2- There are numerous characters who are over-exposed, Marvel seems to have lost the concept of ensemble casts....you know, more than just 1 or 2 characters to relate to.
3- They've totally dismissed a lot of previously popular characters like Storm or Jean Grey. 
4- Quesada cited "sales" as the reason for why notorious plagiarist Greg Land was still employed even though he's widely hated and it makes no sense (Uncanny is huge title, has nothing to do with Land). 
5- They released a softcore porno book about X-women that failed miserably and did a Sex and the City parody "to appeal to the female audience"
6- In response to allegations some material was sexist Joe Quesada simply said if you felt it was sexist you shouldn't read the comics. 
7- The events are an obvious ploy to get us to buy more books and the fans are wise to this. 
8- They're careless with the rights to their material. All the Marvel movies are owned by separate studios, Wolverine and the X-men was lost due to issues with financiers, and a few characters (like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) get lost in copyright issues and can't be featured in movies. 
9- Smaller characters with potential are frequently plowed over by cash cows, impeding on the variety of the different franchises. 
 
If there weren't so many new ways to market Marvel characters like with action figures and videogames, they would already be bankrupt.  They treat everyone like 13 year old boys, well guess what? 13 year old boys can't drive to comic shops or shop online...play to people in their late teens-20's, this isn't the 60's.

#33 Posted by Adnan (1037 posts) - - Show Bio
@TheShame: I live in the UK, where the heck are you, where waterstones sells this stuff for £25 and up? Granted, I just buy my TPB's online these days...
#34 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio

I think he's wrong. Movies got me into comics. Or, rather, back into comics as an adult.

#35 Posted by labarith (670 posts) - - Show Bio

Some comic book movies make you want to read the comics.  Scott Pilgrim did this for me. 
 
Green Lanturn did not make me want to read the comics.  Thor didn't (although I already read a lot of Thor, so it couldn't make me more interested).  Batman didn't (although, again, batman comics are on and off again good). 
 
What is really hurting comics is the tendancy to stretch even the most mundaine stories over a 4-6 issue arc, with the intent to be a better graphic novel release.  And yes, I have found myself waiting for IDW Transformers Graphic Novels (largely because I hate what they're crapping out - seriously, editing and common sense just aren't there), but if you're selling a $3-4 book, it better have something worth reading in it.  It is, I think, a little ironic that many GOOD books get 4 issue miniseries (Annihalators), while when someone says "I have an idea for batman", they get a 5 issue mini without even thinking about it. 
 
Sometimes there are epic stories that take 6+ issues to tell.  Old Man Logan.  Other times, there are 4 issue stories that are good enough (... goes to hell).  But when you have poorly written tie-ins (everyone else... goes to hell; suprising very few of the flashpoint tie-ins), it hurts. 
 
The solution is simple - take those writers who tell bad stories and don't let them write stories.  If this means you can't publish a book this month, so be it. 
 
As for the solution to the drop in readers, TELL MORE 1-issue STORIES!  A 6 issue arc should be an event.  6 one-shot issues that tie together is great.  Batman won me back with a one-issue story a few years ago, and lost me again just as quickly as suddently I needed to pick up half of the DCU to know WTF was going on.  And then retcon.  And now another retcon. 
 
Tell me a story in 1 issue.  Then tell me another story in the next issue.  Reader friendly.  I think the new Venom series has been a fine example of this.

#36 Posted by EnSabahNurX (2302 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually my friend who thinks I'm a nerd for reading comics(Irony since she's a complete potter fangirl) just watched the green lantern movie and texted me how much she enjoyed it and how she now wants to read the comic and I gave her a site to order comics and she just ordered like 30 green lantern comics O_O  She only knew GL was a comic character because I gave her a quick rundown of who he is before she watched the movie
 
but granted it's harder to get young readers(tweens and younger) because they have very limited funds to be buying $3-$4 comics when a movie ticket costs $11 and in my town going to the movies is the only thing to do 

#37 Posted by Mainline (1132 posts) - - Show Bio

There is a correlation between media and comic sales, the "problem" is that it's a long term investment that doesn't see the immediate up-tick that other comparable films because there's generally more and better merchandising choice. 
 
Make no mistake, comic films- even bad ones- still make a ton of money on the tail end in terms of licensing and merchandising, especially when WB or Disney own all the subsidiaries making all the products (a little less so for Marvel since a few of its major properties belong to other licensees). 
 
Here's the difference, however, when someone leaves "Captain America" versus "Eat Pray Love"... even if the film has created some loyalty in you, some brand attachment, some consumer desire... what you CAN spend your money on affects what you WILL spend your money on.  If you've finished watching "Eat Pray Love", "Julie & Julia", or "Dear John"... what exactly are your merchandising choices?  Basically the book itself, perhaps a trashy romance novel, or something branded / written by Julia Child or Julia Roberts, right?  And indeed, those books see a significant up-tick in sales due to movie buzz.  The source material AND the ancillary cookbooks get a bump, but that's because that's basically all there is.
 
If you're someone leaving "Captain America", "Batman", "Green Lantern", or "X-Men" you've got practically an unlimited choice in merchandising... toys, videogames, clothing, collectibles, cartoons, etc.  There's a dozen ways to scratch the loyalty / brand / consumer itch- not the least of which is purchasing the movie you just saw- WITHOUT resorting to the source material (which is arguably intimidating, not as distilled / elemental or quality as say animated adaptations, and potentially in a challenging format, with a price point that provides limited value compared to alternatives).  Even if you want a comic, why the monthly format when- typically- there are tons of quality trades available at the same time (thus comic format competing even with itself).  Those things assuredly DO see a significant boost in sales (which, typically end up going to big box retailers- Walmart, Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, etc- rather than LCSs) which typically justify the films irrespective of MONTHLY comic book sales.  If you measure trade sales, they go up, whether we're talking about Watchmen, Scott Pilgrim, or even Jonah Hex.
 
The thing is, after all the merchandising and marketing dies down and the options fade away, quality movies will still leave an impression, character loyalty, brand recognition, nostalgia, etc. with some consumers who later- perhaps years- seek out the source material as a means to reconnect with the characters... and thus enter comics readership.  The amount and quality of the comic media adaptation needs to be high enough for this effect to take place... and for the industry to see an appreciable effect the rate of attrition has to be smaller than the gain. DC saw this boost years after Bruce Timm's DCAU, Marvel was seeing this boost after the Spider-Man / X-Men films... (again "after" being years after the initial media release) but attrition is over-taking those series of booms with MONTHLY comics... whereas trades are continuing to sell strongly. 
 
The point is, the single issue format and pricing is weak right now and not the best metric of whether the films are making fans necessarily... a better measure might be to ask new and recent fans what character or property brought them into comics and how?  I suspect a larger proportion of them will cite back to some cartoon, some film, some game, or some trade as being their first and most influential superhero impression.  I'm sure there will be some who say a single floppy did it, but they're likely the minority.  So we can't be looking for the immediate monthly up-tick when that's the most insular aspect of the property despite being, ironically, the source material.

#38 Posted by TheShame (477 posts) - - Show Bio
@Adnan: Around Brent/Harrow region.  And you're right, it makes more sense to buy stuff online, but i guess i'm just too impatient to wait lol.
#39 Edited by difficlus (10679 posts) - - Show Bio

Because let's face it, people have better things to spend their money on. 

@joshmightbe

said:

@turoksonofstone: its simple when people are having money trouble the first things to go is stuff that is considered unnecessary like movies and comics and other forms of entertainment

the film industry is one of the few things not affected by the recession. Movies were making loads even in the deepest part of the recession. 
 
One thing to note the movies never got me interested in reading comics. I always felt (before actually reading them) comics and their continuity and history were too convoluted to bother getting into. One of the reasons i don't really read X-Men. Can't bother with all the catch up and research needed. When the movies are released they need to update the comics so those who want to jump on board will have a easy time. 
 Luckily Invincible solved that problem for me.
#40 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2302 posts) - - Show Bio
@labarith said:
Some comic book movies make you want to read the comics.  Scott Pilgrim did this for me.  Green Lanturn did not make me want to read the comics.  Thor didn't (although I already read a lot of Thor, so it couldn't make me more interested).  Batman didn't (although, again, batman comics are on and off again good).  What is really hurting comics is the tendancy to stretch even the most mundaine stories over a 4-6 issue arc, with the intent to be a better graphic novel release.  And yes, I have found myself waiting for IDW Transformers Graphic Novels (largely because I hate what they're crapping out - seriously, editing and common sense just aren't there), but if you're selling a $3-4 book, it better have something worth reading in it.  It is, I think, a little ironic that many GOOD books get 4 issue miniseries (Annihalators), while when someone says "I have an idea for batman", they get a 5 issue mini without even thinking about it.  Sometimes there are epic stories that take 6+ issues to tell.  Old Man Logan.  Other times, there are 4 issue stories that are good enough (... goes to hell).  But when you have poorly written tie-ins (everyone else... goes to hell; suprising very few of the flashpoint tie-ins), it hurts.  The solution is simple - take those writers who tell bad stories and don't let them write stories.  If this means you can't publish a book this month, so be it.  As for the solution to the drop in readers, TELL MORE 1-issue STORIES!  A 6 issue arc should be an event.  6 one-shot issues that tie together is great.  Batman won me back with a one-issue story a few years ago, and lost me again just as quickly as suddently I needed to pick up half of the DCU to know WTF was going on.  And then retcon.  And now another retcon.  Tell me a story in 1 issue.  Then tell me another story in the next issue.  Reader friendly.  I think the new Venom series has been a fine example of this.
I disagree. I think the whole Arc vs. One-Shot Sory debate is a matter of personal opinion. I really enjoy big stories, while I agree sometimes there are arcs that get stretched too long, I for one love to see most stories drawn into longer arcs as long as it's not forced. Each type of story has their own place and I feel that a good series knows how to balance these types of stories. Break up the arcs with shorter one issues stories between big arcs. Sure, some series work better as one-shot stories, but not all of them. Grant Morrison comics especially work best as long arcs, even sagas comprised of arcs. But 6 issues doesn't need to be an 'Event.'
#41 Posted by Xenozoic Shaman (410 posts) - - Show Bio
@Amegashita said:
  Because there's this thing called the internet, and with it, you can get essentially anything retailers try and sell you for free, especially comic books.
Finally.  I was wondering when somebody would mention this.  I buy my comics, but whenever I talk to my room mate about something cool in the world of comics, he just downloads them via torrent.  I don't talk to him about comics any more.
#42 Posted by xmanaker (23 posts) - - Show Bio

I tie it all into the poor economic times we live in....and comic prices being UP during a DOWN economy just doesn't make sense...I read EVERY issue of one or two titles at most...there are about 10 or 12 others out there i would LOVE to read EVERY issue of...but at 3 or 4 bucks a pop...with rent, gas, and everything else to pay for...who can afford to these days??  If prices would come down to $1.99..i think sales would pick up a lot.
#43 Posted by AskaniSon295 (429 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Graphic Novel Sales  are an important factor to consider with comic books just as Dvd Sales are and important factor with movies. Now Over-Crowding the Marketplace with one particular brand can hurt that brand a dicerning buyer will buy only items in that brand that they will enjoy while a disgruntled buyer may just abandon the brand completely do to lack of satisfaction in the Marketing/Advertising Strategy employed on him by the company. In an uncertain economy with ever increaseing food and rent prices. The buyer will most likely choose which form of entertainment is most enjoyable and most affordable. When the company asks the buyer to invest in a event-crossover which the buyer may get disgruntled knowing the investment that would required ultimately abadoning the original title. Eventually the companies Marvel/DC may understand that some titles will never actually sell more than a certain amount and may decide to limit thier comic lines resulting in an increase in sales. One of great advantages of the Valiant and Image lines of the 90's was that a buyer could afford to buy every title of the Imprint getting the full story of those comicbook universes. I time may come when Marvel/DC need to think Smaller to Get Larger amounts of money from the average comic buyer.

#44 Posted by sithfrog (909 posts) - - Show Bio

I know that price point is a big one for me and I agree with others who have said that with questionable quality of writing and/or art paired with that make for a poor investment for 2.99, 3.99, or more.  When Heroic Age started, I was anticipating the changes in the Marvel U, but also realized that many of the titles I was reading at 2.99 were getting the bump up to 3.99 once they were renumbered.  
I must also agree with what some others were saying about the crossovers and big event tie-ins.  When was the last time a crossover felt remotely special?  With a new universe shattering event every year we have lost some of the pizzaz.  I remember how cool Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught were and while I haven't been totally against House of M, Civil War, or Secret Invasion, I am often let down by the end results.  And whatever happens will just be changed, retconned, or somehow altered in a year or two anyway.  If Marvel saw a spike in sales when Johnny Storm died, then once FF hits a slump you know he'll be back.  Good storytelling or not, it will happen to make money. 
That being said, I know that the comic book business is just that, a business.  They exist to make money.  But I think too many of the companies have lost sight of the fact that making readers happy will lead to making more money.  A concept they may want to look at that would help pocketbooks as well as serve as an easier starting point for new readers is to make all series mini-series.  Venom did that forever in the '90s, you could read some but not lost if you didn't read others.  The Young Avengers seem to follow this formula too.  Buy the ones that interest you and go from there.  You don't have to scrap continuity or characters, but a succession of well written, well drawn Spidey (or X-Men or Batman or ...)minis has the potential to sell WAY better than multiple on-going titles a month that aren't written or drawn that well.  Plus, you can give creative teams time to work on projects so that the minis can be out on time.  The tardiness of so many books over the past decade or so cannot have helped sales. 
Also, just because a character is popular doesn't mean they have to be in every book to sell it.  I like Deadpool and I read his main series, but I haven't shelled out the dough for the multiple other books (and it sounds like other than Uncanny X-Force I'm not missing much).   
I don't want comics to go away, but I hope Marvel, DC, and other publishers start thinking quality over quantity, both for fans and so they aren't competing against themselves.
#45 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2303 posts) - - Show Bio

I was talking about this with my uncle, he is a Stained Glass artist, and I am a comic artist and freelance illustrator.  And We were talking about how, because of the economy, people don't have as much extra money as they used to.  So one of the first things to go is something like comics or something like art.  They have more important things to spend money on perhaps.
 
Plus, recent comics are so heavily weighed down with continuity.  To understand whats going on in Green Lantern, that just had a movie in theaters, you have to go back to almost the Sinestro Corps war.  Because you read Brightest Day, to understand that you need to read Blackest Night, and to understand that you need to read the Orange Lantern and Red Lantern Stuff, and then go back to read the Secret Origins of Atrositus, and then you go back and read the war with the Yellow Lanterns, and maybe you have to go back all the way to Rebirth.  Maybe you don't have to go all the way back to that, but you do have to read some of the other comics to understand where things are right now in Green Lantern.
Captain America is coming out, and right now Cap is not in his costume, Bucky was but he is now in prison.  To understand that you have to go back and read some other stuff, and to understand why Bucky was Cap you have to read that story, and to understand why Bucky isn't dead you have to read other stuff.  Its just lot of continuity.
Not sure, but I think when Iron Man was in theaters he had just fought against Cap in Civil War and then became director of SHIELD.  Maybe the comics should anticipate the movies and have at least one comic that goes along with the main hero (like Iron Man) just being the basic hero from the comics.  Saving the day from bad guys, the basic idea of the comic.  Instead of having the story weighed down in continuity or having the character out of character.
 
Like when Spider-Man 1 came out Norman Osborn was all over the Spider-man comics, then when Doc Ock was in the movie he was all over the comics, then when Spider-man 3 came out Spider-man went back to Black in the comics.  Maybe they should try to tie them in a little more without bogging it with continuity.

#46 Posted by Deadcool (6818 posts) - - Show Bio

ALL my friends watch superhero movies, and most of them become fans of the character but they would never waste their money in comic books, they just ask me about the character or read the article about the character in wikipedia, you are right babs, people has another interest... 
 
And events like Flashpoint, is just about things that the great fans would read about, people would never read about big changes, people (the average population that is not a comic book superhero's fans) just want something INTERESTING to read... 
 
JMS has awesome comics, he wrote comics that even my dad (he doesn't likes superheroes) read, it was just something interesting not a particular event that no one cares about, each comic was good by itself, O'Neil used to write comics like this, curren't comic books readers are lame, they don't know how to read a good story. they just look for the main event, that is sad.
#47 Posted by darkcloakx (788 posts) - - Show Bio

i can only afford to buy my comicbook in paper tradebacks and since the economy is so hard right now i can only afford one or two comic paper trabacks. 

#48 Posted by Xenozoic Shaman (410 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not certain if I'll be watching the Green Lantern film any time soon, but the theatrical release has actually caused me to become greatly interested in the series, and I plan on purchasing several TPB issues in the near future.  In my case, just the mention of a film was enough to increase their sales.

#49 Posted by HellionVulcan (3867 posts) - - Show Bio
@Shaunw1973 said:
They're over priced. Once all the ads are removed I pay £3.00 (GB) for what is essentially a 20 page book. That's not good value.
This is a big factor also i mean i pay 7 to 15 dollars for some comics singles & 50/60 dollars for trade paper backs also i think alot of characters today don't have personality or flare any more to generally sell like they used to but i'll keep on buying comics as i love it huge fan for life just lower the prices abit & maybe it'll help more people afford them instead of downloading or borrowing from a friend or whatever ..
#50 Edited by Mach (171 posts) - - Show Bio

Movies  Never bring in comic book fans  this  is true , even really good one  like X-men 1st Class , now this does mean movies base off comic book never be made , but it should  never be call cannon case in point X-men 1st class outside  of Hank Macoy aka Beast the rest of the team never was a X-man or became one later after 1st class , now as far as DC Comics I feel they are doing a knee jerk reaction , because of Marvel relaunch , now I'm look  forward to Grifter and the other titles from wildstrom to be melted into the DCU , but let's hope  that  acr like Thunder Agent will be pick back up , and 1st Wave .