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  1. #331
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    I do not want to seem glib in the face of this pandemic, but I wonder if this crisis will just hasten trends that were in the works. I wonder how long the direct market could have survived with the move to online, where we are seeing more brick and mortar stores are going under. Look at Gamestop, their stores were closing even before the pandemic, due to people buying games online. I wonder how long the direct market would have lasted even before this crisis.

  2. #332
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    I do not want to seem glib in the face of this pandemic, but I wonder if this crisis will just hasten trends that were in the works.
    I think to a degree that's exactly what is happening/will happen. Companies and industries that were already struggling to stay afloat will sink that much faster, while industries that were healthy and doing well will weather the storm.

    In other respects, this may go against trends. We know that bookstores and printed novels have been selling better than they were some years ago, but this is certainly doing a number on those places. I don't want to be glib either, but I'm kinda fascinated by how this will play out. I spent years studying business and economics but nothing ever prepared me for this and I can barely imagine what it'll do to us.

    With the direct market, it was dying, but it's been dying for decades. I doubt it would've collapsed in the near future had this pandemic not happened. We likely would have limped along for years and years yet, as the market slowly shrank. But now, that death we've all seen in the distance just might reach us much, much sooner. It'll depend on how long this lasts, what kind of support publishers get from the government and their parent corporations, and how well retailers weather the storm.

    However things play out, I expect that publishers will put a lot more effort into entering healthier, wider distributions when it's over. Whether this pandemic does real, lasting damage to the industry or not the threat of it will likely be enough to light a fire under some asses.
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  3. #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I think to a degree that's exactly what is happening/will happen. Companies and industries that were already struggling to stay afloat will sink that much faster, while industries that were healthy and doing well will weather the storm.

    In other respects, this may go against trends. We know that bookstores and printed novels have been selling better than they were some years ago, but this is certainly doing a number on those places. I don't want to be glib either, but I'm kinda fascinated by how this will play out. I spent years studying business and economics but nothing ever prepared me for this and I can barely imagine what it'll do to us.

    With the direct market, it was dying, but it's been dying for decades. I doubt it would've collapsed in the near future had this pandemic not happened. We likely would have limped along for years and years yet, as the market slowly shrank. But now, that death we've all seen in the distance just might reach us much, much sooner. It'll depend on how long this lasts, what kind of support publishers get from the government and their parent corporations, and how well retailers weather the storm.

    However things play out, I expect that publishers will put a lot more effort into entering healthier, wider distributions when it's over. Whether this pandemic does real, lasting damage to the industry or not the threat of it will likely be enough to light a fire under some asses.
    That is true, but I think a lot of stuff is going online in general, most medium-sized movies go online rather than the theatres, before the pandemic, I doubt the direct market would have lasted another 10 or 20 years, this pandemic will hasten that trend.

    I also think there were issues beyond online selling slowly pushing out brick and mortar stores, I think Marvel and DC spent decades focusing on an aging fan base over getting new readers. Kids today do not care about the sprawling decades-long shared universes that the DC and Marvel universe have become, kids still like these characters, but the traditional comic book format of floppies to tell part of a story set in an overly convoluted universe is horribly dated as a business model. Not only should the comics industry move away from floppies, but it should have more out continuity stories for younger readers, like Superman vs. the Klan.

  4. #334
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    That is true, but I think a lot of stuff is going online in general, most medium-sized movies go online rather than the theatres, before the pandemic, I doubt the direct market would have lasted another 10 or 20 years, this pandemic will hasten that trend.

    I also think there were issues beyond online selling slowly pushing out brick and mortar stores, I think Marvel and DC spent decades focusing on an aging fan base over getting new readers. Kids today do not care about the sprawling decades-long shared universes that the DC and Marvel universe have become, kids still like these characters, but the traditional comic book format of floppies to tell part of a story set in an overly convoluted universe is horribly dated as a business model. Not only should the comics industry move away from floppies, but it should have more out continuity stories for younger readers, like Superman vs. the Klan.
    I don't think the sprawling universe is necessarily the problem. I mean, I don't think it's a detriment or that continuity in and of itself is the problem. Not necessarily a plus (though I love it the continuity when it actually functions), but not the biggest problem. Or rather, the way the sprawling universe is used is more an issue than it existing. I know in the '90s, there were tons of crossover stories where you could not get the entire story in one title. This was probably done to get the existing readers to buy more titles, but isn't great for accessibility at all (especially for those who don't live near comic shops so depend on subscription or who can only afford a limited number of titles). A reader should have to follow multiple titles to get a complete story, as a general rule.

    Even out of continuity stories that come out monthly is something I'm not sure about. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we are increasingly becoming a binge-culture with entertainment. Watch the entire season at once. Being able to get an entire story in one issue (or one OGN or whatnot) is a plus. I know it would be for me. And I think it's a reason trades do better. It's also not very accessible for any casual/new reader - nobody can buy a single issue, get a story, and like it or not. It's almost always a one small part of a story. And, with increasing value to TPBs, single issues are written more and more like single chapters and sometimes nothing really "happens" in that chapter, making the issue itself a disappointment if not read sandwiched between the others.

    While I love that it's ongoing, I will admit that it does means characters pile up baggage. It didn't matter so much when audience cycled in and out or before bronze-age-type storytelling came in or especially before heroes started doing bad things for shock value and melodrama. But now, almost every hero has so many bad deeds to and so much treating others poorly under their belts that it's hard for long-term fans to enjoy them sometimes (at least me) and they don't compensate by making it easier for new fans do so. Also means tons of recycled plot lines - which again is an issue when you have long-time fans.

    Out of continuity stories for younger readers may work well. Not going to make lifetime fans, but maybe they don't need lifetime fans, like I said (a broad, shallow fanbase over a narrow, deep one). I'd really rather the in-continuity stories be more geared towards younger readers. Not only for kids, but things that kids can enjoy. Stories that make the kids want to pretend to be the heroes.

  5. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I don't think the sprawling universe is necessarily the problem. I mean, I don't think it's a detriment or that continuity in and of itself is the problem. Not necessarily a plus (though I love it the continuity when it actually functions), but not the biggest problem. Or rather, the way the sprawling universe is used is more an issue than it existing. I know in the '90s, there were tons of crossover stories where you could not get the entire story in one title. This was probably done to get the existing readers to buy more titles, but isn't great for accessibility at all (especially for those who don't live near comic shops so depend on subscription or who can only afford a limited number of titles). A reader should have to follow multiple titles to get a complete story, as a general rule.

    Even out of continuity stories that come out monthly is something I'm not sure about. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we are increasingly becoming a binge-culture with entertainment. Watch the entire season at once. Being able to get an entire story in one issue (or one OGN or whatnot) is a plus. I know it would be for me. And I think it's a reason trades do better. It's also not very accessible for any casual/new reader - nobody can buy a single issue, get a story, and like it or not. It's almost always a one small part of a story. And, with increasing value to TPBs, single issues are written more and more like single chapters and sometimes nothing really "happens" in that chapter, making the issue itself a disappointment if not read sandwiched between the others.

    While I love that it's ongoing, I will admit that it does means characters pile up baggage. It didn't matter so much when audience cycled in and out or before bronze-age-type storytelling came in or especially before heroes started doing bad things for shock value and melodrama. But now, almost every hero has so many bad deeds to and so much treating others poorly under their belts that it's hard for long-term fans to enjoy them sometimes (at least me) and they don't compensate by making it easier for new fans do so. Also means tons of recycled plot lines - which again is an issue when you have long-time fans.

    Out of continuity stories for younger readers may work well. Not going to make lifetime fans, but maybe they don't need lifetime fans, like I said (a broad, shallow fanbase over a narrow, deep one). I'd really rather the in-continuity stories be more geared towards younger readers. Not only for kids, but things that kids can enjoy. Stories that make the kids want to pretend to be the heroes.
    Okay, answer me this, if you have a kid who has seen superhero movies, played games with superheroes and seen them in animation, exactly where would tell them to start if they wanted to read comics featuring Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, etc? Most other entertainment has a clear beginning and end, comics still in the middle forever and at a certain point that staying in the middle limits where you can go. So we have stories being recycled and even in the illusion of change is broken, Spider-Man has his marriage undone by a deal with the Devil, a marriage between Batman and Catwoman is built up but is a giant tease, they don't actually get married.

    The fact that the Marvel and DC universes do not really make any sense anymore (good luck trying to explain to kids the convoluted storytelling involved with these universes) and the pricey nature of floppies, the comics themselves hold far less appeal to kids today.

    It's hard to keep the middle of the story going forever. At this point, the characters are worth more than the format that created them.
    Last edited by The Overlord; Today at 10:07 AM.

  6. #336
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    Okay, answer me this, if you have a kid who has seen superhero movies, played games with superheroes and seen them in animation, exactly where would tell them to start if they wanted to read comics featuring Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, etc? Most other entertainment has a clear beginning and end, comics still in the middle forever and at a certain point that staying in the middle limits where you can go. So we have stories being recycled and even in the illusion of change is broken, Spider-Man has his marriage undone by a deal with the Devil, a marriage between Batman and Catwoman is built up but is a giant tease, they don't actually get married.

    It's hard to keep the middle of the story going forever. At this point, the characters are worth more than the format that created them.
    Where to start - that's why I said, they need to (if keeping monthly format) go back to single-issue (or two-to-four-issue) stories. Then one could start anywhere. There'd be overreaching arcs/change, but any individual story could make sense on its own. With notes (as comics used to use more often) a reader could understand as much of the past as needed to get any given story.

    I just think the main medium needs to be geared for/suitable for younger readers and/or a broader audience, instead of only giving them different continuities and stand-alones. More self-contained and shorter stories instead of tons of crossovers and writing for trades. That doesn't mean continuity or change need to be thrown out the window. Barry could get married in the '60s, despite the type of stories told then.
    Last edited by Tzigone; Today at 10:06 AM.

  7. #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Where to start - that's why I said, they need to (if keeping monthly format) go back to single-issue (or two-to-four-issue) stories. Then one could start anywhere. There'd be overreaching arcs/change, but any individual story could make sense on its own. With notes (as comics used to use more often) a reader could understand as much of the past as needed to get any given story.

    I just think the main medium needs to be geared for/suitable for younger readers and/or a broader audience, instead of only giving them different continuities and stand-alones. More self-contained and shorter stories instead of tons of crossovers and writing for trades. That doesn't mean continuity or change need to be thrown out the window. Barry could get married in the '60s, despite the type of stories told then.
    So should kids start with new single-issue comics that would be printed after the crisis is over and not start somewhere before that? Would they make allusions to the broader continuity or would they be almost completely self-contained? Would they refer to something else going on in some other title or just focused on telling stories that appeal to new readers within that title?

    If you look at what actually sells in terms of graphic novels, Manga and original YA graphic novels outsell superhero comics, easily.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robsalk.../#31febea74d68

    Manga is far more self-contained than superhero comics, sure something like One Piece has gone on since the late 1990s and has hundreds of volumes, is still less of a slog than trying to start reading Batman starting from 1939, One Piece is more accessible than Batman comics. YA graphic novels are even more self-contained, they are told by one author to tell one story and have a beginning and an end. The continuity of Marvel and DC has become a millstone and it's easier for kids to enjoy these characters in movies, TV shows, and video games, the continuity has become a barrier.

    To me, the sprawling DC and Marvel universes need a better justification to exist as their main storytelling engine than the fact they have been around forever.

  8. #338
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    I was actually planning on going to my comic shop to pick up a few graphic novels (Omega Men!) but even when the stores reopen I'm not sure if I'll still go. I'm in a better situation than many people, but I don't want to spend frivolously in an economy that likely won't recover for a while. I still think I might just go to show some solidarity though.
    Last edited by Pinsir; Today at 11:09 AM.
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  9. #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    Okay, answer me this, if you have a kid who has seen superhero movies, played games with superheroes and seen them in animation, exactly where would tell them to start if they wanted to read comics featuring Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, etc? Most other entertainment has a clear beginning and end, comics still in the middle forever and at a certain point that staying in the middle limits where you can go. So we have stories being recycled and even in the illusion of change is broken, Spider-Man has his marriage undone by a deal with the Devil, a marriage between Batman and Catwoman is built up but is a giant tease, they don't actually get married.

    The fact that the Marvel and DC universes do not really make any sense anymore (good luck trying to explain to kids the convoluted storytelling involved with these universes) and the pricey nature of floppies, the comics themselves hold far less appeal to kids today.

    It's hard to keep the middle of the story going forever. At this point, the characters are worth more than the format that created them.
    Like the rest of us whatever issue of a comic or volume of a trade that they can get their hands on.

    There is no requirement to know where things start.

  10. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    If you look at what actually sells in terms of graphic novels, Manga and original YA graphic novels outsell superhero comics, easily.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robsalk.../#31febea74d68

    To me, the sprawling DC and Marvel universes need a better justification to exist as their main storytelling engine than the fact they have been around forever.
    Because they offer WAY more variety than DC & marvel who won't stop flooding the market with certain folks.

    There is a reason Miles Morales, Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl, Raven, Cassandra Cain, Beast Boy and others have sold well on Amazon and in some cases become New York Times best Sellers.

    When publishers stopped their bigoted practices of hiding the race of the leads-sales suddenly went up.

    NO Manga book got the hatred a Ms Marvel or Gotham High or Moon Girl books have gotten. No hate rage videos for Manga.

    DC and Marvel don't have to justify their existence-they need to prove that their universes are more than Batman, Superman, X-men and other entitlement characters.

    Dc's issue a character like Raven does well in YA and there is no follow up. Too many get only one shot and despite the result never sniff another shot.

  11. #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Like the rest of us whatever issue of a comic or volume of a trade that they can get their hands on.

    There is no requirement to know where things start.
    And what if the trade or volume is not self-contained and references a bunch of other stuff that the new reader will not be familiar with?

    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Because they offer WAY more variety than DC & marvel who won't stop flooding the market with certain folks.

    There is a reason Miles Morales, Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl, Raven, Cassandra Cain, Beast Boy and others have sold well on Amazon and in some cases become New York Times best Sellers.

    When publishers stopped their bigoted practices of hiding the race of the leads-sales suddenly went up.

    NO Manga book got the hatred a Ms Marvel or Gotham High or Moon Girl books have gotten. No hate rage videos for Manga.

    DC and Marvel don't have to justify their existence-they need to prove that their universes are more than Batman, Superman, X-men and other entitlement characters.

    Dc's issue a character like Raven does well in YA and there is no follow up. Too many get only one shot and despite the result never sniff another shot.
    Now we are getting into interesting territory. First of all, people should just ignore those alt-right complainers, they are doing this for views and clicks.

    I am not sure how many YA novel volumes Raven sustains on her own, but you can certainly tell enough of a self-contained story that kids may find interesting. YA graphic novels have defined beginning and end, but you certainly can tell an interesting story in those volumes, its shame if DC gave up on Raven before the YA novels finished their arcs.

    But giving those books you mentioned, in self-contained YA form, seem like the way to go.
    Last edited by The Overlord; Today at 12:04 PM.

  12. #342
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    I don't think a deep, long running continuity is in and of itself a deterrent for new readers. Certainly it is for some people, but there's others who love that kind of thing.

    I think the problem has been the way continuity is utilized, and the general lack of alternative options.

    Many franchises, from Star Trek to fantasy epic novels (like Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, Stormlight Archive, etc) to soap operas, have made continuity work for them. Trek fans (some, at least) love being able to track the crews of various Enterprises or the ongoing development of political dynamics between the Federation and other governments. They love the little nods to past episodes and series, like pet tribbles in someone's cabin; they eat that stuff up. DC is no different, except their history is a bigger mess. That's easy enough to fix but even as it is, the continuity is part of the appeal for many of us.

    Likewise, comics haven't offered much to people who *don't* want the continuity. Stuff like Superman Smashes the Klan or Harleen has been few and far between, until recently. So if you just want to read a Batman story without having to deal with thirty different Robins and all the rest of it, you've largely been just sh*t outta luck. Fortunately DC is trying to rectify that with all those self-contained OGN's and Black Label books and YA novels.

    Personally, I see no reason not to do both. Publish that ongoing narrative. That long-form approach to continuity is why we have Nightwing, Wally-Flash, Damian Wayne, Jon Kent, etc etc etc. You can't get any of that without a deep continuity. But I also want stuff that stands on its own, like Smashes the Klan; you can just grab the story and go without having to think about anything outside the pages in front of you.

    Different approaches for different audiences. Done well that just means product for everyone, and more money in DC's pocket.
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  13. #343

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    Okay, answer me this, if you have a kid who has seen superhero movies, played games with superheroes and seen them in animation, exactly where would tell them to start if they wanted to read comics featuring Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, etc? Most other entertainment has a clear beginning and end, comics still in the middle forever and at a certain point that staying in the middle limits where you can go.
    My first X-Men book was in the 300s. My first Batman book was in the late 400s. It wasn't a hurdle for decades of comic readers. Not to mention people have things like Google and Wikipedia now. Information is easily attainable if you get into a story and need to know something that happened before it.

    The issue is with both comic companies and comic readers. Comic companies rely waaaaay too much on "events" these days which gives the impression that everything is important and needed to understand anything. And comic readers hang onto this, thinking every event and tie-in needs to be read to understand everything when it's most often not.
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