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  1. #61
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    If they could find a way to end piracy I would not complain. I might even applaud them if only to remove this from such discussions. This is not to defend piracy, but I think it is a drop in the bucket, as in if they did ban piracy, those X number of views would not turn into X number of purchases, or even X/100 number of purchases, probably not even X/5000. Those people would just engage in some other 'free' activity. Yes, stealing is wrong, but I do not believe any possible issues the superhero genre is having with sales in the book market are due to piracy, or would not still be there regardless.

  2. #62
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranger View Post
    This is just my take, but I think people are more willing to drop $10-15 on a book if it feels like it is complete and meant to be read again. I love the monthly format and collecting the issues, but even 'modern' comics feel completely disposable. The few times I have tried to 'trade wait' I just find it unfulfilling and have really never gone back to reread anything. There are very few superhero graphic novels I would recommend, but they are probably the obvious ones from years ago that still outsell new stuff.
    It is definitely true in my experience that trade waiting often turns into not bothering at all. Especially if the times I do trade wait only results in a trade that isn’t as good as expected. While many writers are accused of writing for the trade the resulting trade rarely reads as anything other than a compiled sequence of single issues.

    Compounded with that is Marvel Unlimited. It is just as easy to wait until the effective trade is on that platform. And the fact even these published figures give us zero insight into subscription sales leaves a big hole in the data.

    As to your point on pirating. It is obviously true that waving a magic wand and killing pirating would not suddenly result in equivalent sales. It is probably not even true that all downloaded books are even read. What would happen is less complaining from disgruntled fans that don’t actually support the books but still complain about the content they are not even paying for.

    Pirating is actually very nuanced however. The stats for music, TV and Movies probably hold true for comics, and they suggest that the customers that pirate the most also purchase the most. This suggests that reducing pirating may even have a negative effect on sales. But there is no magic wand that will stop digital files being pirated, so it is all a little academic.
    “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  3. #63
    Incredible Member capandkirby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranger View Post
    If they could find a way to end piracy I would not complain. I might even applaud them if only to remove this from such discussions. This is not to defend piracy, but I think it is a drop in the bucket, as in if they did ban piracy, those X number of views would not turn into X number of purchases, or even X/100 number of purchases, probably not even X/5000. Those people would just engage in some other 'free' activity. Yes, stealing is wrong, but I do not believe any possible issues the superhero genre is having with sales in the book market are due to piracy, or would not still be there regardless.
    Depends. Several of the replies indicate that people steal because they love the characters but can't afford the comics. So there does seem to be character/brand affiliation involved as a motivating factor in the theft.

    There are multiple problems with this excuse, of course, a big one Cates, himself, pointed out. Local libraries carry a copy of the comics, copies they buy and then lend out, so there are ways to follow a favorite character/brand without resulting to theft.

    That said, I agree that there are other issues involved with why superhero comics are struggling. While I do feel pirating is a major issue and am pretty shocked Disney doesn't crack down on it, I also feel the direct market is an outdated mode of sales (movie theaters should have a rack selling comics to customers, for example). Add to that event fatigue, controversial storylines like Civil War 2 and Secret Empire, and you've got a cornucopia of contributing factors that have led to the decline.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by capandkirby View Post
    The amount of people actually arguing with Gail Simone and Donny Cates on Twitter trying to justify piracy is blowing my mind. It's really sad. And they seemingly have zero remorse for what they're doing, which makes the whole thing even more tragic.
    Now if Coats & Simon take issue with piracy-where is their rage for the following?

    Half Price Books
    Ebay
    Vintage Trading Post

    A person buys House of X #1. After buying the arc-he SELLS that run to Half Price Books.
    Half Price sells those issues at half the cover price.
    House of X costs $30.94 (I am NOT about to count variants)
    Half Price that is $15.47
    $13.92 for me because I get Educator DISCOUNT

    A person buys the entire run of Dc's Damage 1-18 & Annual. He SELLS that to Half Price Books.
    Half Price sells those issues for 25 cents. As they do with Hal Jordan, Teen Titans, Nightwing and Mr & Mrs X.
    Damage's run normally cost $76.81
    Half PRice is $4.75

    A person buy the entire Moon Girl run 1-47. All first prints. Puts it on Ebay for $50 with shipping.
    Moon Girl's run would normally cost $187.53

    In all these cases ONLY ONE PERSON bought them NEW. ONE PERSON.

    THIS IS DOING MORE DAMAGE. Because you are getting the books CHEAPER and it's not always books like Moon Girl or Damage. It's Batman, Peter and A list gang who I see this way more of.

    And we have not covered comic cons or stores that sell access stock to Half Price & Vintage Movie Trading Post.
    Vintage does buy 1 get 1 free of ALL books 4 times a year and every month for certain books.
    Nor does this count stores that won't sale certain books for whatever reason.

  5. #65
    Incredible Member capandkirby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Now if Coats & Simon take issue with piracy-where is their rage for the following?

    Half Price Books
    Ebay
    Vintage Trading Post

    A person buys House of X #1. After buying the arc-he SELLS that run to Half Price Books.
    Half Price sells those issues at half the cover price.
    House of X costs $30.94 (I am NOT about to count variants)
    Half Price that is $15.47
    $13.92 for me because I get Educator DISCOUNT

    A person buys the entire run of Dc's Damage 1-18 & Annual. He SELLS that to Half Price Books.
    Half Price sells those issues for 25 cents. As they do with Hal Jordan, Teen Titans, Nightwing and Mr & Mrs X.
    Damage's run normally cost $76.81
    Half PRice is $4.75

    A person buy the entire Moon Girl run 1-47. All first prints. Puts it on Ebay for $50 with shipping.
    Moon Girl's run would normally cost $187.53

    In all these cases ONLY ONE PERSON bought them NEW. ONE PERSON.

    THIS IS DOING MORE DAMAGE. Because you are getting the books CHEAPER and it's not always books like Moon Girl or Damage. It's Batman, Peter and A list gang who I see this way more of.

    And we have not covered comic cons or stores that sell access stock to Half Price & Vintage Movie Trading Post.
    Vintage does buy 1 get 1 free of ALL books 4 times a year and every month for certain books.
    Nor does this count stores that won't sale certain books for whatever reason.
    Unless I'm misunderstanding you, the original was bought, then resold. So the creators re: writer/artists/etc. made some form of residual off the original buyer. That is the difference between stealing a copy outright and buying a used book. Cates and Simone (and literally every other content creator on Twitter) weren't saying don't read, Cates suggested the library because the library pays for a copy and then lends it out, they're saying don't steal.

    Last edited by capandkirby; 11-25-2019 at 03:45 PM.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by capandkirby View Post
    Depends. Several of the replies indicate that people steal because they love the characters but can't afford the comics. So there does seem to be character/brand affiliation involved as a motivating factor in the theft.

    There are multiple problems with this excuse, of course, a big one Cates, himself, pointed out. Local libraries carry a copy of the comics, copies they buy and then lend out, so there are ways to follow a favorite character/brand without resulting to theft.

    That said, I agree that there are other issues involved with why superhero comics are struggling. While I do feel pirating is a major issue and am pretty shocked Disney doesn't crack down on it, I also feel the direct market is an outdated mode of sales (movie theaters should have a rack selling comics to customers, for example). Add to that event fatigue, controversial storylines like Civil War 2 and Secret Empire, and you've got a cornucopia of contributing factors that have led to the decline.
    Only if you library has that book.
    Only if they have the BUDGET to buy those books.

    Dallas spends the LEAST amount on buying books for the public library of any major city in the USA.
    There are school districts who have had to BEG and ASK for diverse books because they can't afford it or Scholastic (or whoever they order books from ) does not carry them.

    16 years ago the only Super Hero books we could order for the school district was Batman, Batgirl, FF, Hulk, Spider- Woman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and Cap America.
    Who do you see missing from that list? 2003? Only person of color was Hulk.

  7. #67
    Incredible Member capandkirby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Only if you library has that book.
    Only if they have the BUDGET to buy those books.

    Dallas spends the LEAST amount on buying books for the public library of any major city in the USA.
    There are school districts who have had to BEG and ASK for diverse books because they can't afford it or Scholastic (or whoever they order books from ) does not carry them.

    16 years ago the only Super Hero books we could order for the school district was Batman, Batgirl, FF, Hulk, Spider- Woman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and Cap America.
    Who do you see missing from that list? 2003? Only person of color was Hulk.
    That sucks about Dallas. Really unfortunate to hear. But that still doesn't give anyone the right to steal. Fans aren't entitled to books or characters at zero cost, I'm sorry for the harsh truth-bomb, but they're not. Particularly when such theft comes off the back of creators. It's not Disney who suffers when books are pirated. It's the writers/artists/colorists/letterers who make residuals off of sales. I just bought a Cap cover this past summer for the Heroes Initiative, which is a charity that raises money for comics creators who are suddenly faced with medical debt they can't cover or similar situations. The fact that there needs to be a charity for this type of thing is sad but that's how the industry works. Those writers and artists we love? They deserve to get paid for their work, they can't live off of accolades.
    Last edited by capandkirby; 11-25-2019 at 03:57 PM.

  8. #68
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Now if Coats & Simon take issue with piracy-where is their rage for the following?

    Half Price Books
    Ebay
    Vintage Trading Post
    This reminds me of the video game industry cracking down on used game sales (due to Game Stop double dipping) and as far as I am concerned that did serious damage to gaming. The ability for companies who provide digital goods to remove the ability to actually own the good is a reason why many people stick to physical. Ownership of a good, and the ability to transfer ownership, are basic parts of our marketplace. It is easier to appeal for sympathy when the guilty party is actually guilty of something.

    Also, the direct market was established on the basis of comics as collectors items and the desire to have back issues available. These second hand outlets selling runs for so cheap is not something I would want to bring attention to if I was anyone working in the comic book industry.

  9. #69
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Good and interesting points here, though I somewhat agree with capandkirby that the direct market as a whole is outdated and ironically detrimental to the business of selling comics. A lot of people getting into the characters do so through movies, TV, video games, and other digital or digitized media because they get a more complete experience out of that than they do with comics that are increasingly just slices or excerpts of a complete story. The solution would be, as capandkirby suggested, to make comics more widely available and provide more avenues to legally read and buy them.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  10. #70

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    Superhero books have nothing new to say. When you have someone trying new things, like Tom King with Batman or Dan Slott with Spider-man, the irascible old guard shows up in their mewling multitudes to complain and troll until everything's back as it was. Superhero Comics have one of the most regressive and self-destructive fandoms out there, and I'm glad the kids are 'nope-ing' out of it.
    The woman in the shadows with the elegant sigh. What could a common man do to catch her eye?
    Her easy manner shames me, oh I hate myself so much! I tremble and I'm breathless and I'm begging for her touch.
    She sees my anguished urges but continues smirking by, If I dare to follow her, it's likely that I'll die.
    But even as she's feeding, as my body's torn apart, Will she think upon me kindly?
    When she slowly eats my heart?

  11. #71
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    I'm very surprised there are even people that actually care about pirating comics in the first place. I see so many graphic novels sitting in the library barely touched, and I'm talking about new ones. They might have a few holds but after that they are just in the library for months on end. Outside of this comic forum it's hard for me to find people that actually care about reading comics. I do meet them but it's rare to talk to someone who's a monthly avid reader.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handsome men don't lose fights View Post
    Superhero books have nothing new to say. When you have someone trying new things, like Tom King with Batman or Dan Slott with Spider-man, the irascible old guard shows up in their mewling multitudes to complain and troll until everything's back as it was. Superhero Comics have one of the most regressive and self-destructive fandoms out there, and I'm glad the kids are 'nope-ing' out of it.
    Quoted for the simplest of truths.

    I can't think of any other form of entertainment that's so vehemently stuck in an endless cycle of nostalgia and constant pining for by-gone eras.
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  13. #73
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handsome men don't lose fights View Post
    Superhero books have nothing new to say. When you have someone trying new things, like Tom King with Batman or Dan Slott with Spider-man, the irascible old guard shows up in their mewling multitudes to complain and troll until everything's back as it was. Superhero Comics have one of the most regressive and self-destructive fandoms out there, and I'm glad the kids are 'nope-ing' out of it.
    I both agree and disagree. It is absolutely true that the old guard continually complain about great and innovative books. Spend more than five minutes in an appreciation thread and black starts to look white. The greatest books of our current era are somehow abandoning the ‘fans’.

    On the other hand, they are somehow successful. Fans will forever pretend that sales were great until their current hated writer came along, but it isn’t true. The market is shifting and the clock cannot be turned back by somehow returning to their preferred mode of story. Nobody apart from a dwindling number of die-hards would buy those books. It would be a positive feedback loop slowly drifting towards unsustainable books.

    The real choice that publishers make is between a long and slowly declining run, as readers move towards trade or subscription reading of those successful books, and short spikes of interest by a high profile shake-up. So the situation that King’s Batman is in is a bit of a false narrative. DC know full well that his loyal readers have realised the run is continuing whatever happens and are collecting trades. Shifting the title of his book will have minimal impact upon that market. They can afford to change things up.

    Similarly Aaron on Thor does not need to keep the same title to sell. Even if Marvel’s strategy is to keep him in place until his story is over. Marvel seem more loyal to success. They probably know the trades will pull in more money in the long tail. So they stuck with Slott on Spider-Man even when fans spread a false narrative that his time was past. The fans are not the best judge and the numbers they look at are skewed towards their own narrow perspective.

    DC look less loyal here but the market forces are the same. Trades of successful runs can be marketed over and over as new readers discover them in the book channel.

    The fact that the book channel is dominated by Babysitter books and Manga, does not mean the big two don’t shift large enough numbers to make it profitable. We don’t really see the detail in the book channel when the top twenty books are either not Superheroes or evergreen books. But we can get a glimpse of this market based upon the big two’s actions.

    The most obvious trend in superhero comics is flooding the market with trades around the time of high profile movies. So not only will we see republishing of old trades, but around a year before a movie, and sometimes longer, we get bankable writers on a new ongoing. All they need to do is last for a couple of trades and add to the portfolio available when the movie is in full gear.

    Comic stores swear until they are blue in the face that movies don’t move the dial, but they ignore the fact that the mainstream movie audience uses Amazon. They also conveniently ignore all the trades they buy. And never seem to acknowledge that the large comic trade outlets in big cities often buy from a mixture of the direct market and the book channel.
    Last edited by JKtheMac; 11-26-2019 at 01:54 AM.
    “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  14. #74
    Incredible Member capandkirby's Avatar
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    I don't know about the kids noping out entirely. My 12-year-old loves superhero comics. I mean, I've tried to get her into them her whole life, but it's just this past year, since Into the Spider-verse came out, that her interest sort of quadrupled. Now *she* reminds *me* when we're late picking up our pulls.

    When she was younger she did like the DC Superhero Girls, as well. But DC Superhero Girls, in addition to a cute cartoon, was released as a graphic novel every few months, so easier for the kids to follow than monthly serials.

    It's not that there is no interest in superheroes. Obviously the MCU proves that there is. It's accessibility (in all that this entails).

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by capandkirby View Post
    I don't know about the kids noping out entirely. My 12-year-old loves superhero comics. I mean, I've tried to get her into them her whole life, but it's just this past year, since Into the Spider-verse came out, that her interest sort of quadrupled. Now *she* reminds *me* when we're late picking up our pulls.

    When she was younger she did like the DC Superhero Girls, as well. But DC Superhero Girls, in addition to a cute cartoon, was released as a graphic novel every few months, so easier for the kids to follow than monthly serials.

    It's not that there is no interest in superheroes. Obviously the MCU proves that there is. It's accessibility (in all that this entails).
    Generally agree with that last part, though I can also see the point some have raised here about the entrenched older fans/readers (and possibly some creators) feeling entitled to have the stories and characters be exactly the same as they were when they were young (or younger) and chasing away younger or newer fans/readers (and possible comics creators), which the market does need to sustain itself in the long run, with their virulent animosity toward anyone that doesn't echo that sentiment or dares to like what they almost uniformly despise.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

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