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  1. #1
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    Default Didio And Lee On The Fate Of Imprints And How DC Looks At Sales

    DiDio explained that, on the whole, DC’s periodical sales have been “strong” for a number of different reasons, but two in particular. For one, the publisher’s downsized the overall number of titles it’s producing in order to focus on the creative energies going into those series. DiDio also cited mature Black Label and new, hit books like Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo’s Teen Titans: Raven that are directly aimed at younger audiences as other examples of places where DC’s seen growth.
    Some of the biggest problems plaguing the industry’s ability to push new ongoing, flagship titles, DiDio continued, is the approach publishers have taken to artificially goose sales through time-honored, but not necessarily beloved comics publisher traditions:
    "Where my concern comes from is more about the overreliance on nostalgia, speculator marketing, variant covers, and a lot of things that seem to be driving numbers in sales to give the appearance of a healthy industry, but it’s not built on the ongoing success of the individual titles in order to keep those numbers successful and maintained. If we’re creating these artificial highs on a continual basis, if something pulls that apart, does it break the infrastructure overall, and how do we change these buying patterns in that fashion to build something that is a more healthy business going forward?"
    For all his optimism, Lee echoed DiDio’s honesty and pragmatism while speaking about the fact that DC’s digital sales have been a complicated puzzle to solve. While people aren’t buying individual issues digitally the way they might traditional comic books, digital subscriptions have been up. That might initially seem like a good thing, but digital subscriptions are having an impact on individual sales. That dynamic, Lee said, is something DC’s still trying to figure out:
    I think it’s discouraging in general because everyone talks about digital being the future. If there’s anything that should continue to grow year-in, year-out, it should be that channel. The fact that it’s kind of plateaued and we’ve hit a wall speaks to a lot of different things. We need to reinvent what we’re doing digitally. The subscription service that we’re doing on the DC Universe platform is part of that. We just have to get better at marketing to people that know our characters, love our characters, but aren’t buying comics.
    Read the rest here.

    https://io9.gizmodo.com/dc-comics-to...rin-1837070776

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Nostalgia... Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen...

    Speculator Marketing... The Bat/Cat Wedding, Batpenis, Heroes in Crisis...

    Variant Covers... Harley Quinn, line-wide variant themes, pretty much all that Jim Lee does these days...

    There must be two Didios in there.
    "There's magic in the sound of analog audio." - CNET.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Nostalgia... Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen...

    Speculator Marketing... The Bat/Cat Wedding, Batpenis, Heroes in Crisis...

    Variant Covers... Harley Quinn, line-wide variant themes, pretty much all that Jim Lee does these days...

    There must be two Didios in there.
    The Trinity were created 2 decades before Barry Allen and Hal Jordan. Are they nostalgia too? The JSA and the Legion are coming back and everyone seems to be excited about it. Is that also supposed to be a nostalgia act. What about the Doom Patrol? Popular characters are popular characters, as long as there's fan demand for them they will be around in some capacity.
    Last edited by Johnny; 08-09-2019 at 01:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny View Post
    The Trinity were created 2 decades before Barry Allen and Hal Jordan. Are they nostalgia too? The JSA and the Legion are coming back and everyone seems to be excited about it. Is that also supposed to be a nostalgia act. What about the Doom Patrol? Popular characters are popular characters, as long as there's fan demand for them they will be around in some capacity.
    I'm just calling out the ones that Didio in particular appears to have nostalgia for.

    His comments above sound like an Earth-3 Didio commenting about the Earth-1 Didio's comics. LOL.

    Ironically, nostalgia doesn't seem to become a problem until Wally West, Wolfman's Titans, Legion, JLI and the JSA start getting involved. Then nostalgia is a 'bad thing'.
    Last edited by Lee Stone; 08-09-2019 at 01:37 AM.
    "There's magic in the sound of analog audio." - CNET.

  5. #5
    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    I wonder how long this company will go before AT&T more or less wipes them out. People have been talking about doom and gloom for a while,yes, but with this change in ownership, I can actually see it happening this time around. I guess because we can actually watch DC folding in on itself, and I'm sure that's mostly to do with AT&T not being terribly interested in the comics publishing business. The only thing of real value to them are the IPs. This comics literature doesn't do anything for them.

  6. #6
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    I've always wondered about digital issues.
    Why wouldn't you try something like having the issues read by voice actors?
    Make it something different to encourage people to give it a whirl.
    Hell, how many people would buy a digital Batman comic if DC had Kevin Conroy reading Batman's lines?
    Mark Hamill reading lines for the Joker and Trickster.
    Michael Ironside reading Darkseid?

    I know, big names big costs. But it wouldn't take very long to read for 6 issues worth of lines.
    Take advantage of the medium, they don't HAVE to be static when they're on the digital platform. Take advantage of it!
    "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive!"
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Nostalgia... Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen...

    Speculator Marketing... The Bat/Cat Wedding, Batpenis, Heroes in Crisis...

    Variant Covers... Harley Quinn, line-wide variant themes, pretty much all that Jim Lee does these days...

    There must be two Didios in there.
    I think there might be. Two economists who are trying to increase DC's markets long- and short-term, one fanboy with strong ideas on how they want DC's universe to look.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Ironically, nostalgia doesn't seem to become a problem until Wally West, Wolfman's Titans, Legion, JLI and the JSA start getting involved. Then nostalgia is a 'bad thing'.
    I think the problem that Didio sees, is the lack of success of their new charcters.

    I mean just look at "New Age of Heros". They had lots of their big name creators involved with these books, but the only book that had somewhat decent sales was Terrifcs, which was the only book featuring established characters.

    And basically all the new characters that had at least some success, were legacy characters or otherwise part of bigger franchise.

  9. #9
    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    Didio doesn't get to complain about nostalgia.
    ConnEr Kent flies. ConnOr Hawke has a bow. Batman's kid is named DamiAn.

    To do spoiler tags, use [ spoil ] at the start of the sentence and [ /spoil ] at the end, without the spaces. You're welcome!

  10. #10
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    I don't know that the "New Age of Heroes" can be blamed on the new characters. Most of their big name creators lasted 2-3 issues, best case. That was a creative, editorial, and planning disaster. The Jim Lee book had him for what, 1 and 1/4 issues?

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I firmly believe that floppies will be phased out within the next decade or so. DC is owned by a digital company and print is getting more and more expensive. At some point, someone higher up will sit down and look at the numbers and conclude that it's just not worth it anymore. Plus, print comics are already up to something like $4.00. How much more are fans willing to pay? As far as nostalgia goes, yeah, Didio kind of has no legs to stand on here. How about we ask him what he thinks of having Wally be the official Flash again. Or just, you know, leaving Dick Grayson alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for nostalgia. But Didio's concerns are selective at best. He wants people to like their new characters but he hates legacy characters? How does one work that out in their minds?
    Now listen to me, Clark! This great strength of yours--you've got to hide it from people or they'll be scared of you!

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny View Post
    . . . The JSA and the Legion are coming back and everyone seems to be excited about it . . .
    Well, we don't know if "everyone" is excited, and we'll have to see how long DC lets that last. In the past, DC has continually mistreated the JSA, even when its sales numbers through Diamond were healthier than quite a few other titles that continued.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    I firmly believe that floppies will be phased out within the next decade or so. DC is owned by a digital company and print is getting more and more expensive.
    Digital sales are still just a fraction of the physical sales. I think it is more likely that we will see a shift from monthly issues to Graphic Novels at some point.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    The references to speculator marketing and variant covers giving the appearance of a strong market were obvious shots at Marvel more so than any sort of self reflective look at what DC has done in the past. I'd like to see Marvel launch a new #1 without 40 tiered variants and see where their sales go.

    Didio has said in the past that they don't care if they make people angry with the changes, based on the opinion that people will still buy the comics regardless. Which I think isn't true for a lot of people. Yes, some Wally fans will continue to buy Flash books after HiC, but some won't. And if you aren't pulling in enough new readers, chipping away at the fanbase like that does kill your readership numbers. Readers want new stories with the characters they have invested in. They want the appearance of change, not actual change. That was Stan Lee's mantra back in the day. DC's relied on these drastic status quo changes for to spike anger and interest for decades and once that burns off all the sales fall back. You can and should be able to modernize and tweak characters and status quos without throwing everything that came before it out and hoping you can piss off enough people to generate outside interest for a few months.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    Yes. When DiDio talks about the variant covers, he's likely referring to Black Cat #1, which has a ridiculous amount of variants. His complaints about nostalgia are probably rooted in his grouchiness about those reprint issues doing better than their new stuff.

    Yet, without those gimmicks the industry will probably fall apart like they alluded to. The only healthy solution is to get new readers. It's like an internet forum. They usually become inactive due to a lack of new members coming in. That's the main thing that typically kills them. There just isn't any real interest in their products outside of the people already buying them.

    It's hard for me to imagine DC turning this around. If that will happen at all, it will likely take someone with a bigger and better vision than DiDio and Lee to do it.

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