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  1. #1
    Extraordinary Member Crimz's Avatar
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    Default How do you solve the "mini" problem?

    There has been a problem for a while with the sales of mini's. Fans usually don't see them as "important" so end up ignoring them, leading to poor sales whenever a title is revealed to be a mini. To try and curb the issue Marvel often doesn't announce books as mini's (even if they were planned to be) and treat them as ongoings. They often eventually end at around issue #12 and fans have picked up on this leading to them not giving certain books a chance. It puts Marvel in this awkward position where calling a book a mini means it DOA, but their current solution is failing fast. What do you think would help (if there is any solution)?
    Invisible Woman deserves a solo or mini. It should have happened years ago.

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  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Not sure there is a solution in the current Direct Market. Take Astonishing X-Men, which Marvel seemed to accidentally reveal was a 12 issue series but ever since have been closed mouthed about it. Everything about it says maxi-series, lots of things in it feel like they are temporary, it almost feels silly to not straight-up admit its a maxi and could be seen as stringing the audience along to pretend it is an ongoing. Especially when we have a recent success in The Vision pitched as a maxi. Many writers like the 12 issue length and the freedom to avoid continuity issues with other books.

    The obvious BUT is the audience are genuinely less interested. Compared to european formats this seems insane but it is entirely based upon the expectations of the direct market and the solicitation process. If there was no direct market we would see many more limited series and probably more OGNs. But the Direct Market isn’t going away, no matter how much a few of us would like that.
    Last edited by JKtheMac; 01-03-2018 at 02:48 PM. Reason: not uncanny - Astonishing!

  3. #3
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    Marvel has been back to actually calling things minis though. Rogue and Gambit, Legion, Tales of Suspense. I think their new strategy is saying it can become an ongoing if the sales are good enough.

  4. #4
    Niffleheim
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    Mini should only be for big characters/A/B-list characters while unpopular characters sale-wise should get a limited 10-12 issues serie.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Of Atlantis's Avatar
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    I think the solution is to not announce books as minis, even if they are.

    I can only speak for what I've seen on the forums, but there was a serious amount of vocal disinterest in Spirits Of Vengenace after they announced it as a mini and not an ongoing. Many seemed to interpret it as "if Marvel doesn't take this title seriously, why should I?" Hard to guess the impact, but that might've really killed sales.

    Minis only seem to sell well when they're tied into events.
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  6. #6
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    I guess it could possibly be marketing. Since events get more attention. But also it could be price point. It's difficult to keep up with comics I read on the regular. Taking on something else presses the budget.

  7. #7

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    Maybe just release them in the trade format and market them as OGNs

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member Bl00dwerK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the illustrious mr. kenway View Post
    Maybe just release them in the trade format and market them as OGNs
    Sounds good. Why even bother printing floppys when most folks are trade-waiting, anyway?

  9. #9
    Mighty Member Drops Of Venus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKtheMac View Post
    Not sure there is a solution in the current Direct Market.
    This right here. The direct market is outdated and will always set up certain books for failure. I wish Marvel would rely more on the kind of markets that helped books like Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl and Ms. Marvel to linger on despite the low DM sales, but alas, that seems to be the exception and not the rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Of Atlantis View Post
    I think the solution is to not announce books as minis, even if they are.

    I can only speak for what I've seen on the forums, but there was a serious amount of vocal disinterest in Spirits Of Vengenace after they announced it as a mini and not an ongoing. Many seemed to interpret it as "if Marvel doesn't take this title seriously, why should I?" Hard to guess the impact, but that might've really killed sales.

    Minis only seem to sell well when they're tied into events.
    Yeah, I see this happening all the time. Whenever some books are actually announced as a mini, there is a worrisome number of people who IMMEDIATELY decide they don't deserve a shot. The only characters that seem to sustain a mini these days are characters who would also sustain an ongoing (like Thor Odinson or Deadpool), so the agument that ''launching minis might be better for some books'' is completely moot, because launching some books as minis is exactly what kills them in the first place. Spirits Of Vengeance was selling 21k by the second issue, when we know characters like Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) and Blade have potential to be selling more than that if they had ongoings. I don't think there was a single one-shot from Marvel Legacy that sold more than 20k. Being short stories are not helping those books, period.

    I can only speak for myself, but I would like Marvel to keep launching books as ongoings. There are many books that I love that I knew would probably get cancelled, but they got to live for a while because they were ongoings. Kelly Thompson's Hawkeye was probably always meant to be cancelled at some point, but I'm glad it was an ongoing and I got to read 16 awesome issues of it. Same for Christopher Hastings's The Unbelievable Gwenpool, that lasted for 25 issues. I wouldn't have gotten that much if it was a mini or even a maxi. If my favorite characters are going to get one single shot at a solo, then at least let me savour it for as long as possible.
    Last edited by Drops Of Venus; 01-03-2018 at 12:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    I think modern writing style is partly the problem. It feels like nothing happens in a 4 issue mini. While an ongoing could be criticised equally the difference is that the 4-6 issue decompressed story in the ongoing leads to another 4-6 decompressed story and another. The investment of money, time, space (Storage) and attention (hard to keep track of everything coming out) has more of a payoff with an ongoing.

    Another problem with modern writing is that it feels like half the time a new book comes out it just picks whatever it wants from previous stories and ignores anything that gets in its way. Minis are likely to be the easiest thing to disregard. A reader gets this impression and decides reading something that does not count is a waste. While a good story is worth reading, if it is good there is always the graphic novel.

    Now, this is all kind of a sloppy thought process, I will admit, because the current market is a complete mess and we are trying to identify why one thing has a problem without even knowing if it does. However, if we are to agree there is a problem, my fix would be to trim down the line (that does not mean get rid of variety), tighten continuity (which would be helped by trimming the line) and put big name creators on minis.

    Keep the price low as well.

    This one is important. Retailers and readers want a low investment, especially retailers as a mini that ends at 4,5 or 6 has a limited time to catch on and if someone heres about something the day issue 4 comes out, you want issues 1-3 available for them. Retailers can also bundle them when the series is over. But the investment has to be low or else these just become special orders for the most part.

    Finally, each mini should be written as if it was telling the definitive story of that character/team. Nothing gives minis worse rep then when they are completely forgettable. A mini should attempt to be something that has a purpose, that people will hold up as an example of a great moment in Marvel's history.

    In short, mini's just need to stop being a waste of money.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drops Of Venus View Post
    I can only speak for myself, but I would like Marvel to keep launching books as ongoings. There are many books that I love that I knew would probably get cancelled, but they got to live for a while because they were ongoings. Kelly Thompson's Hawkeye was probably always meant to be cancelled at some point, but I'm glad it was an ongoing and I got to read 16 awesome issues of it. Same for Christopher Hastings's The Unbelievable Gwenpool, that lasted for 25 issues. I wouldn't have gotten that much if it was a mini or even a maxi. If my favorite characters are going to get one single shot at a solo, then at least let me savour it for as long as possible.
    Exactly this.

    Quote Originally Posted by cranger View Post
    Finally, each mini should be written as if it was telling the definitive story of that character/team. Nothing gives minis worse rep then when they are completely forgettable. A mini should attempt to be something that has a purpose, that people will hold up as an example of a great moment in Marvel's history.

    In short, mini's just need to stop being a waste of money.
    That's the interpretation often associated with minis that ends up killing them. And it's true, often minis do lack a purpose or lasting effect. That's why events sell so much better despite technically being minis themselves. They largely have that association with being a self contained side story.
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  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the illustrious mr. kenway View Post
    Maybe just release them in the trade format and market them as OGNs
    Not a bad idea at all, and we've seen some success with OGN's the last few years which could easily be capitalized on.

    As for mini's in the regular format......they don't sell easily in the first place, they sell even worse when not featuring a major character. The only exception seems to be Events (which feature major characters) so the answer seems clear.

    Make your mini's major Events, with some major characters involved, but tell the story through the perspective of whoever the mini is "really" about.

    Want to do a mini about Blade? Great. But instead of putting Blade in a "regular" story about vampires run amok, make it something wild like Dracula gaining the Power Cosmic, bring in Doctor Strange and Thor and have them (among others perhaps) play large supporting roles in the story. Maybe get Doom involved somehow.

    You could start the story off in the pages of Strange or Thor (or whatever title that's doing well) to get interest going, and maybe have them do another tie-in issue once the mini is part-way through.

    In other words, if you want your mini to sell, and its about anyone other than Spidey, Tony Stark, or another high-selling name, you have to make the mini actually matter. Use it to launch the next big line-wide mega-story. Use it to begin the next phase of a popular character's life. Do something that matters, use the big names, but tell the story from the vantage point of the mini's actual main character. Basically, trick readers into thinking the mini is about Thor (or whoever) when its really about Blade (or whoever). Hopefully, once the readers catch on, it'll be too late.
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  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member AcesX1X's Avatar
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    the solution is to market everything as a mini from here on out.

    it saves marvel the embarrassment of quickly cancelling low-selling books and forces writers to go ahead and tell the story they want to tell without belaboring the point ..

  14. #14
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    A lot of fans tend to trade wait regardless. Marvel thinks they are circumventing this by not announcing things as mini because they know there's some folks who'll jump on the the first issue of an ongoing hoping it'll be the next Walking Dead or X-Men or whatever. However, this practice has lead to creating cynicism among certain fans, "Oh this thing isn't part of a major franchise so Marvel will just cancel it in 1-2 years. Whatever."

    They just need to go back to being honest about certain titles being mini/maxi series and then pushing them as trades. If they title sells well just say, "Hey we're going to keep this one going after all."

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    Put A list talent on them. Stop using them as tryouts for new or experimental artists. Of coarse no one is going to care if they look at the creative team and it people no one has ever heard of. That just screams to most people that this book is not even important enough to put know talent on.

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