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Comic books-Beginnings, endings and everything in between
Bill Nichols
post Dec 1 2011, 09:31 AM
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I posted this on FB, so why not here as well. I'm sure there will be some good discussion.

What? There are comics pros not working? There are comics being cancelled or not coming out? Get out...

On the last Monday of every month a group of us get together at a local restaurant to talk comics. Some of us are creators, some collectors, etc. and we just talk. The roster each month may change but hopefully we grow and add another comics-oriented soul. Heck, we've had artist Larry Elmore who may show up when he isn't painting so much.

I started this thing because there are times I really miss having a comics shop or just talking comics. This past get-together was a good one with my buddy Scottie Watson even making it over and we talked about a few things.

One of the things we lamented was the lack of comics that were not-so-pricey while we talked about the days where you could find comics at most every news stand. That's where I started my journey.

Having lunch with my friend Sam today brought the subject back up.

And I know the industry is hurting. Our country is hurting. The world is hurting.

Comics pros with years of experience are finding it hard to get work. Many of them. And that was one of the things that prompted me to do my Comics Pro Spotlight interview 'column' for Comic Related ( http://comicrelated.com) because maybe a light needs to be shone on them. Sure, tastes change and the new flavor of the month might get the gig, but there are still a lot of people who like the creators who get shoved aside. Nothing against newer people coming into the industry, but my comic book-loving heart aches for the others, many of them my friends.

So, what can be done here? Expand the market? Promote literacy? Easy to say, hard to make happen, I know. Then again, a lot of creators on my friends list, here and elsewhere. Lend your thoughts to this. Spread the word. Things can happen. It starts with you. And me. And the people you know. And the ones they know. Get it? It's one of those butterfly-flapping-its-wings-in-the-Amazon things.

It starts with us.

I encourage you to share this...


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Tyler James
post Dec 1 2011, 10:35 AM
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Here's one thing I started up...

Take the ComixShare Holiday Challenge!

With the holidays coming up, itís the perfect time to share your love of Comic Books and Graphic Novels with non-comic readers. The challenge is simple:

- Select three people on your holiday shopping list who arenít currently readers of comics.

- Carefully consider their current media consumption habits - What TV shows do they watch? What movies do they love? What video games do they play?

- Buy one or more comics and/and or graphic novels to give them as gifts this Holiday season. (It can be in addition to the Forever Lazy you were already planning on giving.)

- Share what you bought, why, and for whom, here on the ComixShare blog, so others might find the perfect book for someone else they know.

- Follow up in a month to find out whether the people you purchased books for enjoyed them, and whether theyíre open to more suggestions. Share what youíve found out here on ComixShare. Were you able to bring a new comics reader to the fold?

Let's grow the comic market one reader at a time.




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MasonEasley
post Dec 1 2011, 11:20 AM
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I'd just like to bring up the fact that the economy isn't as bad as people are making it out to be. Case in point, on black Friday, Microsoft sold over 1 million Xbox 360s. Mind you, each Xbox console is 200-300 dollars. Also over 2 million copies of Skyrim were sold in November. Each one was $60 each. Call of Duty also sold millions at the same price. Star Wars: The Old Republic has over 3 million pre-orders. etc. etc. etc. When was the last time a $3-$4 comic sold over a million copies?

To bring it back to comics, there are guys dropping hundreds of dollars for Adam Hughes sketches, and spending hundreds of dollars on comic-related toys, memorabilia, and other stuff. They are blowing entire paychecks to attend conventions, buying costumes, purchasing prints, etc.

Its not that people can't afford to buy comics. The problem is that comics aren't appealing to its audience. There's numerous reasons for this, but it isn't the economy.

This post has been edited by MasonEasley: Dec 1 2011, 11:22 AM


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Anthony Hochrein
post Dec 1 2011, 04:08 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Dec 1 2011, 12:20 PM) *
I'd just like to bring up the fact that the economy isn't as bad as people are making it out to be. Case in point, on black Friday, Microsoft sold over 1 million Xbox 360s. Mind you, each Xbox console is 200-300 dollars. Also over 2 million copies of Skyrim were sold in November. Each one was $60 each. Call of Duty also sold millions at the same price. Star Wars: The Old Republic has over 3 million pre-orders. etc. etc. etc. When was the last time a $3-$4 comic sold over a million copies?

To bring it back to comics, there are guys dropping hundreds of dollars for Adam Hughes sketches, and spending hundreds of dollars on comic-related toys, memorabilia, and other stuff. They are blowing entire paychecks to attend conventions, buying costumes, purchasing prints, etc.

Its not that people can't afford to buy comics. The problem is that comics aren't appealing to its audience. There's numerous reasons for this, but it isn't the economy.

Comic books are no longer in the public eye. My first Star Wars comic was a marvel Treasury Edition Star Wars #2 that my dad picked up for me at a Manhattan corner newsstand in 1977. Sadly, comics are no longer at newsstands. Out of sight, out of mind.


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MasonEasley
post Dec 1 2011, 05:43 PM
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QUOTE (Anthony Hochrein @ Dec 1 2011, 05:08 PM) *
Comic books are no longer in the public eye. My first Star Wars comic was a marvel Treasury Edition Star Wars #2 that my dad picked up for me at a Manhattan corner newsstand in 1977. Sadly, comics are no longer at newsstands. Out of sight, out of mind.


Not only that, but if you do find them, its hard to find a "jumping on" point. Its hard to tell what is a spin-off, mini series, or cross-over.


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ChadStrohl
post Dec 1 2011, 07:56 PM
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Anybody know how those Kickstart books did going through Wal-Mart? I was intrigued the moment I saw them on a shelf (but sadly not intrigued enough to buy... yet).

I have to agree with Mason (in part). I've heard it said that Hollywood got it's boom during The Great Depression. Perhaps this Recession is triggering the video game eruption. As far as all those consoles, though, the thing driving them is the razor thin margins that retailers use to get customers in the store. Once the platform sells, the rest is pure bank when those customers start buying the games for over $50 (which are not a whole lot different than your standard DVD.) Lots of profit for a thin sheet of plastic.

I'm not sure of the underlying psychology of any of it, but it seems pretty simple. A game takes hours upon hours to complete and the stories anymore are as engaging as any movie (which lasts around 2 hours). Gaming is an active experience. Watching is passive. It appears we're on a cultural shift in what our entertainment is and where it's going. Just an observation not based in any level of research, though. But it seems it's all pretty presumptive. Who really knows if comics at newstands would matter? Gone are the days when kids would ride their bikes to those stands and grab a soda and a funnybook. I remember when Atari would package an insert comic as a rider in their video games. Maybe that's how comics get into kids hands. Find the biggest wave and ride it.

Mainstream comics appear to be trying to regurgitate their own personal big waves and the law of diminishing returns apply. I've read on and off for thirty years and in that span I've seen many of the big events play out time and time again with enough minor tweaks to satisfy some but not all readers. Thus, numbers fall and fall and fall with each passing comic generation, which I will guess runs at about 5 years on average. Maybe the big boys already know this and are simply holding a rear gaurd action - knowing the war is lost, but salvaging as much as they can until extinction. Pretty bleak, but...?

And I also agree with Tyler. I guess us old horses who hang on (even if by a thread) owe it to the war to at least try and find a battle plan. I'd suggest treading carefully with what material you offer up though. One bad or even mediocre comic book experience might actually lose more ground than gain any. Comics as gifts is a great idea because they get to experience it for free. Getting them to shell out $20 to $30 for an hours worth of reading might be the hard sell down the road.


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Anthony Hochrein
post Dec 1 2011, 08:01 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Dec 1 2011, 06:43 PM) *
Not only that, but if you do find them, its hard to find a "jumping on" point. Its hard to tell what is a spin-off, mini series, or cross-over.

Oh yeah, I forgot about THAT part!!


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