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  1. #1
    Mighty Member
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    Default What would you suggest be done to bring in new readers?

    Over in the thread where Gerry Conway suggested massive changes to bring in new readers, I saw a lot of people decry his solution, but I am not sure what they were offering instead as a solution to a lack of new younger readers for comics. So what would you do instead? This thread is not about attacking Conway or his solution, you can agree with his solution or come up with a different one, but I think saying ''nothing needs to change, because Marvel and DC were fine in the past'' is not a real solution to this problem.

  2. #2
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    Serialized stories with cartoony art.

    Of course this is only my experience and I expect a lot of people felt differently, but when I was a kid what turned me off about mainstream superhero comics was the realistic or semi-realistic look that a lot of comics had - not just the photorealistic way characters were drawn but also the more realistic color and "cinematic" layouts. I was much more comfortable with art that was similar to the superhero cartoons I loved on TV. When Paul Dini wrote some Batman comics for DC in the '00s, I picked it up, but was so turned off by the art that I didn't stick with it - I was used to the Bruce Timm art style.

    There have been good comics from both Marvel and DC that had a more kid-friendly, less detailed art style but they've mostly been one-and-done stories, which makes them less addictive than the soap-opera style of mainstream superhero comics. You can't make a Marvel comic feel like a "real" Marvel comic if every story is wrapped up in 22 pages.

    So if I were playing at being an armchair editor, I would launch a line of comics that had the same basic storytelling style as regular superhero comics - shorter stories/arcs (maybe 3 issues each, let's say) with long-term plot running through them - but looked like a TV cartoon.

  3. #3
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    The big two things to overcome are cost and availability.

    You have to put comics where kids can find them and make them worth the price of buying them. No kid is going to want to pay 5 dollars for a single 22 issue comic. This especially holds true if the comic is part of some 18 issue storyline yet nothing in that particular issue seems to actually happen. Cliffhangers are good. Issues where people sit around talking aren't. Stop decompressing stories.

    I also think that the art style and coloring goes against the appeal of superheroes. Superheroes by their nature are larger than life and colorful, but the modern trned is to make all the coloring subdued and the costumes "realistic". It doesn't pop off the page as well.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan2099 View Post
    The big two things to overcome are cost and availability.

    You have to put comics where kids can find them and make them worth the price of buying them. No kid is going to want to pay 5 dollars for a single 22 issue comic. This especially holds true if the comic is part of some 18 issue storyline yet nothing in that particular issue seems to actually happen. Cliffhangers are good. Issues where people sit around talking aren't. Stop decompressing stories.

    I also think that the art style and coloring goes against the appeal of superheroes. Superheroes by their nature are larger than life and colorful, but the modern trned is to make all the coloring subdued and the costumes "realistic". It doesn't pop off the page as well.
    This is probably my biggest criticism with modern comics. There are so many things that comics can't do now for "reasons".

    "Spider-Man can't be a genius or self-sufficient." "Iron Man can't have a magic-based arch-nemesis."

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    A good example of what can be done is Tom Taylor's Injustice Gods Among Us comics. Not so much for the content or premise but for how it was distributed.

    Now here's the thing about these Injustice comics.
    A) They are tie-in comics to a fighting game adaptation.
    B) They were originally published digitally but on a weekly schedule. So you got a new comic per-week.
    C) Each digital issue cost $0.99.
    D) These digital comics were also designed with a widescreen two-panel grid. So each page had two widescreen panels (though obviously there were exceptions and you had splash pages too).

    These Injustice comics tie-ins were meant to be disposable and forgettable and yet it was so popular and such a sales success that these tie-in comics lasted for some five years, it also became influential in a lot of respects (the Birds of Prey movie has Harley Quinn dressed in one of the costumes from the comics, and James Gunn said it also inspired his take on Suicide Squad). It also made Tom Taylor a name so-to-speak. These comics undoubtedly found a brand new audience and its events and happenings in-page was followed week-by-week.

    The Injustice Comics had advantage in that a) It was able to get costs of single issues down. b) It was able to deliver serial storytelling with little interruptions, instead of waiting for a month, you got it next week, c) the storytelling and art layout was simple and distinct. As for the art style, Injustice Comics wasn't exactly cartoony, since the characters needed to resemble the 3D renders of the fighting game in some fashion so it looked realistic but it was also bright. The content could be extreme at times (a lot of violent and gruesome deaths in that story) but still it got an audience and kept it. So that shows that comics can enlarge readership.

    I think the quickest way to get new readers involved with ongoing serial comics is a weekly schedule release. So stuff like the original 52 series (one issue per week for a full year), Hickman's HOXPOX (12 issues released weekly little over 2 months), Spencer's HUNTED (where issues and '.HU' followed weekly). That's how you keep interest. Obviously with demands of art and so on it will be difficult, so making weekly issues smaller in layout is another tactic. Despite brevity, Taylor's Injustice were dense and the micro-issues had a lot of stuff inside it.

  6. #6
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    start cloning al ewing
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    The world has changed, and so have I.

  7. #7
    Spectacular Member Sataniel's Avatar
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    Those are general:
    1. Pricing - The current price point per amount of content per amount of titles produced is a heavy repellent. This will also tie into the further points to a degree.

    2. Distribution - Direct market was a solution to problems of newsstand distribution, but in the end it became a problem in itself. Yet, instead of adapting to the situation, comic publications cling to DMs rotting corpse. Its unsustainable and relies on progressively more scammy tactics. At this point we need a change of paradigm, DC seems to be starting to realise that - we will see how it goes.

    3. Wider outreach to new talents. Doesn't apply to all of the publishers, but it does to many. Some publishers basically run on structured nepotism, where people get in because they know people who are already in, some indie publishers basically require you to run a small business. This contributes heavily to the staleness of the industry.

    Those are relevant to mostly Big Two, but also IDW, Valiant etc.
    1. Cleariness.
    House of X #1
    Powers of X #1
    House of X #2
    Powers of X #2-3
    House of X #3-4
    Powers of X #4
    House of X #5
    Powers of X #5
    House of X #6
    Powers of X #6

    This is bullshit. It should've been one series, instead of gimmicking. It's getting short term sales from two #1s at a cost of strengthening the opinion that it's hard to get into comics.

    Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1
    Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth #1
    Ruins of Ravencroft: Dracula #1
    Ravencroft #1-5
    So is this. It's one miniseries that was split to have four #1s.

    So is overrelaunching, so it's unclear title changing and reuse. It's a mess.

    2. Rebuild editorial. DC may be doing it, we will see the results of their house cleaning from March or so, but Marvel still suffers from many times the editorial system was damaged (especially Ike's staff reduction that coincided with bringing Alonso in). There need to be solid rebuilding of staff, there needs to be similar cleaning as DC had. Brevoort needs to go, Lowe needs to go, I wouldn't cry after Jordan either, but at least he has some basic shreds of competency.
    There are good creators at Marvel and DC, there are many more creators who could produce good stories with some basic guidance. But they don't get it. Instead we have a mess of constant mismanagement.

    3. Connected to both previous points. Clear continuity. There are frequent voices that people hate continuity, and yet the interconnections between MCU movies heavily helped their popularity, led to things like rewatch seanses and so on. Also, we constantly see people getting confused due to bad continuity. Where a fits with b? What the hell is even currently canon at DC? The core and main feature of a good continuity is consistency, and thus again cleariness. And of course that requires competent editorial. Also shared universe is a core gimmick/feature of Big Two, and the best source to get people interested in buying their other books.

    For "indies"
    1. American comic industry really needs some actually useable equivalent to MyAnimeList/MangaUpdates. Finding a series that may interest you is incredibly hard. And terrible publisher's sites don't help. Searching things by tags, reviews, recommendation of similar works (however questionable they usually are), those are basics.

  8. #8
    Invincible Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    "Iron Man can't have a magic-based arch-nemesis."
    That more because Mandarin is a yellow peril villain (i.e. a racist stereotype), not because he's a magic user.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    The big one is pricing. Like it has been stated most new readers are going to be turned off at 22 pages for 5 bucks.

    Put comics in other venues that are not comic shops. The problem people will bitch that the industry is trying to kill comic book shops.

    The massive history of each character can be a turn off for some. Even more so since there are so many reboots and recons. So have a line that is just some simple one shot stories, maybe a cliffhanger that can be done in a second issue. Let the stories stand alone and not depend on 60 plus years of confusing history.

    Stop so many tie in issues. Every title does not need to have a tie in to the current event. Every event does not need stand alone issues that really add nothing to the story.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    That more because Mandarin is a yellow peril villain (i.e. a racist stereotype), not because he's a magic user.
    It’s funny how “Dirty Commies” still exist though.

  11. #11
    Extraordinary Member Holt's Avatar
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    As others have already said, price is a major problem. Not only are there already multiple other forms of entertainment that offer a much better value for cost, but the closest comparison, manga, is also significantly cheaper. 5 dollars for a 20 page floppy looks insane to anyone who isn't already a huge fan.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holt View Post
    As others have already said, price is a major problem. Not only are there already multiple other forms of entertainment that offer a much better value for cost, but the closest comparison, manga, is also significantly cheaper. 5 dollars for a 20 page floppy looks insane to anyone who isn't already a huge fan.
    If we are talking a SINGLE stand alone story it's not.

    Exhibit A
    Miles Morales (Marvel Spider-Man) (Little Golden Book) Hardcover – Picture Book $5.99
    Exhibit B
    The Berenstain Bears' Dinosaur Dig Paperback $3.99

    Both are 24 pages long and ad free.

    And Those Bears have been around HOW many years?

    And I can list a bunch more books with 24 pages that go for higher than $3.99. IDW's Star Trek has hardcovers of 24 pages for $20.

    Folks have to stop writing for trades.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    It’s funny how “Dirty Commies” still exist though.
    Someone like Red Ghost may be an outdated cold war relic, but he is not offensive the way Mandarin can often be.

  14. #14
    see beauty in all things. charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Maybe start giving "real" (by real I don't mean one specifically written for some promotion) issue away in things like cereal boxes or happy meals.

    Imagine as a kid you issue one of Aaron's Avengers with Mcguinness' cartoony style art or issue one of Ms. Marvel I would have been stoked.

    They can also start selling single issues in places like Target in the toy aisle next to the Marvel Legends; I feel like Disney doesn't care because there are so many avenues to get young eyes on comic books.

    Why would a parent take a kid to a comic book store for a single product when they can get some cleaning supplies at Target while the kids run around in the toy aisle. If the comic costs $1.99 or $.99 a beleaguered parent will easily buy an issue for a kid.
    Last edited by charliehustle415; 09-29-2020 at 10:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Mighty Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    While I do agree new distribution would be good. I disagree with it being Wal-Mart, Target, or any other grocery store. I simply don't think those stores want to dedicate space to monthly titles in their periodic section. Which is shrinking a lot over the years. 40 years ago, comics were in grocery stores. They went away for some reason. Now comics attached with toys, sure. And if they do, they will only want perhaps 4 comics a week.

    Which this is simply my opinion.
    I think restorative nostalgia is the number one issue with comic book fans.
    A fine distinction between two types of Nostalgia:

    Reflective Nostalgia allows us to savor our memories but accepts that they are in the past
    Restorative Nostalgia pushes back against the here and now, keeping us stuck trying to relive our glory days.

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