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  1. #1
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    Default DC's and Marvel's problems

    What do you think are the biggest problems that DC and Marvel face right now?

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    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickswordfish View Post
    What do you think are the biggest problems that DC and Marvel face right now?
    Marvel's problem is that it's owned by Disney.

    DC's problem is that it's not owned by Disney.

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    Did I put this thread in the right forum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Marvel's problem is that it's owned by Disney.

    DC's problem is that it's not owned by Disney.
    I don't understand

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickswordfish View Post
    Did I put this thread in the right forum?
    Yes, you did.

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    Fantastic Member ERON's Avatar
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    1. Kids don't know where to find Marvel or DC comics.
    2. Even if kids could find them, they can't afford them.
    3. Even if kids could afford them, they wouldn't be able to get into them because they aren't the target audience.

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    Extraordinary Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ERON View Post
    1. Kids don't know where to find Marvel or DC comics.
    2. Even if kids could find them, they can't afford them.
    3. Even if kids could afford them, they wouldn't be able to get into them because they aren't the target audience.
    4. Being out of school so long, are the kids even able to read the comics?
    [Quote Originally Posted by Thor-El 10-15-2020 12:32 PM]


    "Jason Aaron should know there is already a winner of the Phoenix Force and his name is Phoenixx9."

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    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    For the last 30+ years comics have only been available at destination stores that only bring existing customers in so there is little to no chance for new customers to discover them. The direct market is excellent for servicing existing customers, it is does not perform well as a discovery market because it was not designed to be one at its inception. When newsstands went away (moreso because they chose not to carry comics any longer because they were not a good value for the space they took up because of low cover prices than because publishers chose to move away form them) the industry as a whole (with DC and Marvel in the lead) failed to produce a new discovery market to replace it to allow a continued discovery market to ensure an influx of new customers into the market. The net result is that the natural attrition of existing customers outpaced the growth of new customers resulting in a shrinking of the customer base for the market. Since 2000 (with the release of the first X-Men movie), the industry, as a whole and Marvel and DC in particular, depended on the idea of "if you build it, they will come" expecting exposure to the characters and stories in other mediums would be enough to draw new customers to comic shops and their print products, and some 20 years later, they are still waiting for that influx of new customers to show up at the destination shops that are set up to service existing customers who already buy comics. At this point, they have to accept it's not going to happen and develop a new strategy.

    In that 30 years, the monthly print periodical became a dinosaur product in the mass market, so even if available in a discovery market it is not a product that is attractive to new customers no matter the price point. Print periodicals in all forms for all areas of interest are disappearing from the mass market and not getting space in brick and mortar outlets that used to sell them. So even if new customers become interested in the characters and stories, they are not interested in buying the physical product form they are delivered in. To capture the interest of new customers, they will have to adapt and develop new formats, however, the existing customer base that still buys periodical comics has proven extremely conservative and resistant to change and new formats, creating a divide in the market. No single format will please both sections of the market, and the old guard sees attempts to adapt/change format as the publishers abandoning them threatening existing sales to long-term customers if they make moves to expand and grow the market based on the desires of the larger mass market.

    Pre-ordering-most books have print runs set by preorders. almost becoming print on demand. Shops base their orders on pull list customers, i.e. pre-orders, and aim to sell through within a short window. So even if the miracle happens that a new customer finds their way into a destination shop and is willing to buy the product in the dinosaur format of the monthly periodical, there isn't a lot they can buy and most of it is not user-friendly for a new customer. Trades are better for this, but they are not the main format the publishers are focused on and on which they (and their retail partners) are dependent on for generating revenue and paying the production costs of the material.

    The problem with Marvel and DC is that they both failed to adapt to the changing marketplace over the last 30+ years and the net effect is a shrinking customer base without a mechanism or an infrastructure in place to find new customers and grow their customer base or to offer new products that appeal to a wider audience than the small remnant of the customer base they had 30 years ago. They are reaping what they have sowed for three decades and the only solutions they seem to have to offer were repeating strategies that were successful three decades ago but are out of date and out of touch with the current marketplace. It is not failures as a creative entity that is at the heart of the problem-the success of the content with audiences in other mediums attests to that, it is failures as publishing houses in the business of producing products for sale in the market that is at the heart of their current issues.

    In fact, both would be better off to restructure their businesses to focus on being content creators and give over the business of publishing content and bringing it to market to other entities that are better at it than they are.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  9. #9
    Incredible Member Zauriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post

    In that 30 years, the monthly print periodical became a dinosaur product in the mass market, so even if available in a discovery market it is not a product that is attractive to new customers no matter the price point. Print periodicals in all forms for all areas of interest are disappearing from the mass market and not getting space in brick and mortar outlets that used to sell them. So even if new customers become interested in the characters and stories, they are not interested in buying the physical product form they are delivered in. To capture the interest of new customers, they will have to adapt and develop new formats, however, the existing customer base that still buys periodical comics has proven extremely conservative and resistant to change and new formats, creating a divide in the market. No single format will please both sections of the market, and the old guard sees attempts to adapt/change format as the publishers abandoning them threatening existing sales to long-term customers if they make moves to expand and grow the market based on the desires of the larger mass market.

    The problem with Marvel and DC is that they both failed to adapt to the changing marketplace over the last 30+ years and the net effect is a shrinking customer base without a mechanism or an infrastructure in place to find new customers and grow their customer base or to offer new products that appeal to a wider audience than the small remnant of the customer base they had 30 years ago. They are reaping what they have sowed for three decades and the only solutions they seem to have to offer were repeating strategies that were successful three decades ago but are out of date and out of touch with the current marketplace. It is not failures as a creative entity that is at the heart of the problem-the success of the content with audiences in other mediums attests to that, it is failures as publishing houses in the business of producing products for sale in the market that is at the heart of their current issues.

    In fact, both would be better off to restructure their businesses to focus on being content creators and give over the business of publishing content and bringing it to market to other entities that are better at it than they are.

    -M
    Exactly that is the problem with the today's comics. The format called trade paperback is far more profitable than monthly print periodical. The trade paperback format being sold in the bookstores, especially large chains, saved several comic books from cancellation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_paperback_(comics)

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zauriel View Post
    Exactly that is the problem with the today's comics. The format called trade paperback is far more profitable than monthly print periodical. The trade paperback format being sold in the bookstores, especially large chains, saved several comic books from cancellation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_paperback_(comics)
    There is one caveat there though-the trade paperback is profitable because periodical sales pay for the production of the comic itself, i.e. paying creators to write, draw, ink, letter, color, etc. so the revenue trade paperback sales produce has a higher profit margin. Take away periodical sales covering creative costs and those sales become much less profitable for publishers and in many cases are not enough to sustain those products. Sales of OGN have a much lower margin and have to sell proportionately more to maintain the same profitability as trade collections If they abandon the periodical model, sales on trades would have to increase almost exponentially to cover those costs and maintain profitability, and there is no guarantee sales would increase at all if they ceased periodical production. This is just another hole their poor business plans have dug with seemingly no way out. OGN sales in the YA market for books like Dog Boy, Smile, etc. reach those levels of sales and profitability, but Marvel and DC's attempts to enter that market have not reached those sales levels. DC has made some inroads with what was their Ink/Zoom lines, but outside that YA market, sales aren't there to sustain a purely OGN model for super-hero comics yet.

    Again this is another reason they should shift the handling of the business of publishing to someone who actually knows what they are doing in the field of publishing (I am hoping the Marvel move to PRH distribution is a step in that direction) and focus on content creation.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  11. #11
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickswordfish View Post
    What do you think are the biggest problems that DC and Marvel face right now?
    The biggest problem is that comics have become a niche market and it's only becoming a smaller audience as time goes on. But it's inevitable.

    People say comics stopped being marketed to kids. Well, yes. But that started because kids were reading comics less and less as other things rose to get their attention. Plus the change from selling in supermarkets and corner stores to comic book shops made comics less available to kids which worsened the problem. The writers and artists rightfully wanted better pay but that also helped price them out of a child's range in addition to switching to comic shops where, unlike supermarkets and corner stores, the whole profits of a comic shop depend on comic sales so they can't be a minor side item. Hence, the prices went through the roof.

    As I understand it, movies, television/ streaming and merchandise are where the money is now. Comics are just a side item.

    I cannot tell you what the immediate worst problem of Marvel Comics is as I haven't read one for quite a while. But, at a guess, it's probably the same as DC's. The price. The old days of crossovers and even company-wide crossovers is ridiculous when comics cost what they do now. But the reboots, soft reboots and general ignoring of continuity is the big thing that drove me away. And I'm not talking about little nitpicking things but utterly rewriting history.
    Power with Girl is better.

  12. #12
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    Marvel and DCs problems in my opinion are as follows:

    1. Not flowing with the times. Most superheroes were held in stasis that when any meaningful changes they were met with derision. Worse still when said changes were made they were eventually reversed, sometimes decades after. See Spider-man and The Flash. IMO, superhero comics completely missed a generation because of this and they are now struggling to get them back.

    2. Marrying themselves to a broken distribution system. Comics distribution used to be massive both within and outside the direct market with multiple distribution companies. The indirect market basically stopped carrying comics and the direct market basically collapsed in the 90s with Diamond emerging as the sole distributor. This should have been a signal to the companies to adjust their practices and immediately explore new forms of distribution. The direct market as it stood pretty much prevented the creation of new comics and basically set a hard limit to what superhero comics could be. I keep going back to the case of Motor Crush which was completely under ordered in the direct market but tore up the bookstore market. Same with titles like Ms Marvel and even Coates Black Panther. Poor distribution has basically kept the market from growing and Marvel and DC stuck themselves to this...until Diamond almost collapsed the industry and the big two finally woke up and moved away from Diamond. The problem is that it’s too late now, the damage is done.

    3. Not enough diversity. All other forms of entertainment have learnt and understood that diversity in an increasingly diverse society is absolutely necessary to survival. But instead of creating more diverse characters and pushing them out, the big two simply doubled down on their existing portfolio completely ignoring real demographic change. How can a medium that appeals to young people with majority of characters being white really be successful in a society where majority of the population under a certain age isn’t even white? It doesn’t make any sense. Marvel and DCs solution to this has been somewhat inelegant because they basically had to start changing existing characters race and sexuality to appeal but this isn’t always the best way and can create friction.

    4. Pricing. Comics are unrealistically expensive and it really doesn’t make sense for any lower to middle income adult to spend $4-$5 on a few minutes of entertainment each week. It just doesn’t make sense. This is stuff that needs to be addressed because my understanding is that comic prices are rising faster than inflation which is completely unsustainable.
    Last edited by Username taken; 05-06-2021 at 10:58 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Marvel's problem is that it's owned by Disney.

    DC's problem is that it's not owned by Disney.
    None of these are actual problems.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenixx9 View Post
    4. Being out of school so long, are the kids even able to read the comics?
    A library card solves this problem. I buy books of my favorite characters but I BORROW the rest. No need to waste money.
    Last edited by Tofali; 05-08-2021 at 03:27 AM.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    I'd agree with everything MRP said. I love the hobby, it sucked me in young (a long, long time ago) and I'm here for the duration. But when it dies (in periodical print format) I can't say I'll be sad. I've read a few made-for-online free comics and they're not bad. I think that's a system that can grow, and has more potential revenue streams (not to mention more for the actual creators/artists).

    As to old time floppies/trades there's still so much out there that if every company currently publishing stopped tomorrow I'd never run out of things to read. Not to mention re-visiting old favorites.
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