Friday, October 7, 2011

First Rant about comics

Hello and welcome to my blog. I’ve been told numerous times by friends that I needed to start one of these, so now I’m finally doing it. I want to say, up front, that I don’t always have perfect grammar and I know my wife will loathe me posting anything that isn’t perfect, but it’s going to happen. I’m going to screw up.  Expect run-on sentences, comma-splices, poorly worded sentences, and all of it written in a conversational style. I hope this won’t detract from what I’m saying or drive anyone away. So, without further ado…

Lately I’ve been reading a number of back-issues of Marvel Comics Presents. I noticed a lot of talented creators getting their start in those pages as well as some established creators doing some nice work. People like Joe Madureira, Jae Lee, Sam Keith, Peter David, Tim Truman, etc… I started thinking about how there isn’t a good anthology book on the newsstand today. Scratch that…Dark Horse has revived Dark Horse Presents which is attracting a lot of great talent. However, it stands alone and I have no idea how well it’s doing in terms of sales. I picked up a recent issue because it had a Ricardo Delgado story; A new Age of Reptiles tale. It was great.
            I started thinking about the state of comics today. They don’t sell as well as they used to, but they also seem to be more in the public consciousness. We’ve seen a number of comic book based movies do very well at the box-office lately. So, how is Marvel welcoming new readers that might want to check out an Avengers comic once they see the upcoming movie? They can go to their local comic shop and find…Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Avengers Academy…wait…what the hell? How the hell is that a good thing for a new reader to find? X-men comics are known for having many different titles since the late 1980s. X-Men: First Class fans can go to their local comic shop and soon find 8 different X-titles to choose from. Not to mention one-shots or mini-series that may be out there.
            What if they could have one book called Avengers and one book called X-Men? They could have a back-up feature that would showcase stories of the other teams. Make the issues have a higher page count. Hell, make it a double sized book containing two complete issues. My other idea is that you could have an anthology book outside of the main title. You could have an Avengers ‘family’ anthology. It could contain stories of the Secret Avengers, the Avengers Academy, and the New Avengers. Deadlines could easily be met by the authors and the artists because they are only doing eight pages or so every month! You could do a special issue every now and then that might focus more on one of the particular titles. Do the same thing with the X-family of books. Fans of the movies can go to the store and find the Avengers comic or the X-Men comic and not feel daunted by the thought of 8 different titles from which to choose.
            It just seems strange, to me, that with comic books selling less and less that the big companies are putting out more and more titles. Where is the promotion? Where are the commercials on Saturday mornings? Where are the banners and ads on the internet? The only places I see comic books promoted are on comic book websites. Do you know where I see promotions for pills, anti-aging creams, cat litter, mops and brooms, etc…? They are EVERYWHERE online. I see them when I look at the weather, video game news, world news or just silly videos. I see ads for all the things previously listed and more. Where are the comic book ads? Comic books try and sell more books by bagging them or having variant covers, but the only people who are buying those gimmicks are the people buying comics in the first place and that pool is quickly drying.
            I bought my first comic book at the E-Z Mart gas station by my house. It was the last chapter in a story arc. I loved it. I bought more. I was a little confused by things, but I made my way through it and bought more. I still buy comics today because of that issue. I wish companies would put comics back in front of children. Distribute them to places people go; the grocery store and the convenience store. I also wish comic book companies would quit rebooting things and putting out new number one issues to try and get new readers. It didn’t matter to me that my first issue wasn’t a number one. Trust your creators to be able to make an interesting story that will entice readers whether it’s the first chapter or the last chapter of a story. If people know about it, they will buy it. If it’s good, people will continue to buy it.


  1. That anthology idea is GREAT. There are WAY too many choices. My first exposure to most comics has been through cartoons, movies or those magic racks that I only ever see at Military Exchanges now.

    When I started buying comics in high school, there was only one Green Lantern book to pick up and only one Flash. As I began looking to expand my range, things got intimidating. In college I'd buy the one-off titles, knowing I was safe. And damn, I loved the hell out of Sea-guy!

    Then I bought my first big tie-in series and it was a mess. I ended up traipsing though unknown comic book territory just to find out why villain X attacks hero Y and why it's important. Made me retreat, tail between my legs. Made me afraid to go into the comic book store.

  2. @Carl, what was the big crossover?

  3. Oh Gawd... I'm sure there are some that enjoyed that, but from what I've read about that occurred in that event, I'm pretty sure I don't want to read it.