By Chunksie101 0 Comments
The DC52s in Retrospect
DC comics, faced with a never ending battle with its nemesis Marvel comics for the ever dwindling readership of comic book lovers, has devised a campaign to stymie the marginalization of their sales by the increasingly popular Marvel comic books referred to as: The DC New 52s. With this ‘new hope’ DC/ Warner Brothers hope to draw the demarcation line, with the spoils of majority of sales to the victor, DC.
The DC52s is a re-imagining of the beginnings of 52 DC titles which include, but are not limited to Superman, Batman, Action Comics and Batgirl. Over 52 titles of DC comics and their respective main storylines are being halted to allow for a redux of the beginning of the whole DC universe cast of characters. This is an overwhelming and cumbersome venture that DC has decided to take in order to garner not only the attention of the growing number of comic book readers that have gravitated from DC to Marvel comics but to grab the attention of the more general public that can prove often burdensome to grasp the attention of for any specific genre/ medium for a prolonged period of time.
Are the DC52s enough of a cataclysmic event in the comic book world to merit the sustainable interest from the general public? There will no doubt be a restored virtue in the homage of DC in the heart of its readership as there would be most definitely a spike in sales with the advent of the new comics, as there are with dozens of other titles when there is a new special issue available.
DC appears to be aggressively taking the sure path to success by slimming down the number of available titles for readers to purchase, letting go of the ‘extra cooks in the kitchen’ and streamlining the creativity process. They have made the initial offering of their site much easier to navigate and have taken the very appropriate action of informing the general public of their New 52s venture by creating a simply viewable commercial which should be televised to wide audiences both via cinematic screenings and on television, and hopefully invasive internet advertising as well.
However, within the marketing scheme of the new DC/ Warner Bros. revolution, there has appeared to be a disproportionate realization in the deeply-seated fact that what the public wants, DC, unlike Marvel, is not willing to give. What is it in fact that the public wants, that DC is unwilling to give up? Simply rather, DC is unable to let go of its virginity - by refusing many new readers the uninhibited access to its treasure-trove of past publications to be subscribed to online freely/ cheaply.
DC comics has yet to understand that for once, the customer is always right. The customer wants to read their comics, but not for 2.99 an issue or .99 an issue. Readers want access to an online digital reader for a low price each month, which makes sense of the growing users that patronize Netflix, and the backlash that befell onto Netflix once they raised their fee. Viewers want uninhibited access to a streaming service, therefore, once they come across read.dccomics.com, click on the read online, or the subscribe button, they are most likely going to be turned off after a few select purchases. Another alarming occurrence might be that after gaining the attention of a new readership, they might be curious to check out more prominent characters such as Spider-man or Captain America, inadvertently becoming exposed to the marvel.com website which is far more engaging than the dccomics.com website in capturing the attention of the general public. Once exposed to the Marvel online digital library they may decide to subscribe to marvel’s vast online digital library and, having the common retention span of a ‘general public’ and no true loyalty to the DC brand would purchase a yearlong subscription to Marvel’s digital library. Soon Marvel will take advantage of a lack of DC’s foresight by offering further discounts on a longer subscription period such as two and three years long subscription service. This offering by Marvel will further chip away at DC’s initial gains of offering the New52s to new readers to become acquainted with the DC brand. DC’s only hope is that new readers become attached to two or three specific titles and in this non-recession proof economy where job growth remains stagnant, where there is worldwide purse pinching and the phenomena of the superhero has been spread thin across many genre’s such as supernatural vampires, that persons are willing to shed some extra cash for a few 12 issue subscriptions of the superheroes they have become emotionally attached each year.
Also, customers appreciate a reflection of themselves no matter the medium. Be it television, cinema, or comic book, readers want to read about a character they can lend support to and say ‘yeah, that’s our guy’. DC/Warner Bros. have accomplished this implicitly, but to a fault in that they have alienated two title factors in their approach, women and children. Two dominating, burgeoning, coveted masses in the comic book readership that DC has decided to either ignore completely or disavow temporarily. An intriguing stance as the popular sites such as Netflix and DC’s rival Marvel have poured resources into appealing more to the sensibilities of these groups by the obvious display to one click access to webpages that include games and featured heroines that appeal to these key demographic on their sites that cater specifically to children and women respectively. The Nook ereader has purportedly laundered their resources to greatly appeal mainly to women rather than men. However, DC has decided to gear towards the opposite direction by marginalizing their Vertigo line which had a greater appeal to females with their titles, they have gone from their hidden access to their children comic book series by burying the tiny teens and Cartoon Network comic book lines among the mass of singularly purchasable titles. Maybe they hope to capture the attention of the discredited male readers? One has to guess maybe DC/ Warner Bros. has a broader view of the spectrum of readers of comic books than general data has assured the industry for years about who buys books and why, time will surely tell.
Lastly, people do not want 52 original stories that do not conform to consistency of plot, people wish to read the original decades old storylines. Original storylines that DC/ Warner Bros. is too selfish to give up to the rest of the world believing themselves to be a brand of such superior quality that they are priceless relics that must be earned through relinquishing of precious monies in this downward, lame duck economy. If DC/Warner Bros. was a distinctive, unique and only choice available to the reading general public one would believe that they had the market cornered with this bravado thinking, however, though they wrestle each month for the top 100 spots for most bought comics with Marvel comics, they are ideally not the only fish in the sea.
Certainly the years of alliance between DC/Warner Bros. has whittled away at its worth with its ineptness in competing with Marvel for its own fan base, failings at the box office from Jonah Hex to the newly inaugurated Green Lantern and the foregoing of the many years of resources and support relinquished behind the ideology of The Flash promotions within the Justice League animation and television for the failed Green Lantern experiment, all point to a lack of sustained leadership and a sure directional compass of thought within the DC/ Warner Bros. ‘Omnibus.’
To strengthen their popularity with the general public they have decided to stand clear of joining their characters together on screen, which if not overcome by humility will eventually be the weighing factor that may bring about their downfall at the feet of Marvel Comics. Cinema does not necessarily veer readers towards comic books related to film, however, Marvel has successfully sustained the viewing public’s interest by relinquishing bluffer for real corporate decision making in repackaging their brand to appeal to the general public and sustain the interest of the general public by a continuous flow of accessible material and information geared towards their special interests.
Within the next 6 months to 1 year the fruits of DC52s labor will be revealed in the tell tail signs of the market share and whether they would be able to maintain the readership and it will come to pass if they can merit proper standing in the comic book world as the legendary DC Comics, or the relic of the burdensome shadow that once was DC Comics.