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My 2 Cents On Comics Now

Old 10-19-08, 09:29 AM
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My 2 Cents On Comics Now

So I've been reading comics for years now. But in the last year and a half, I've been slowly fading away from it. Two factors come to mind that have influenced me to do so. One would be company crossovers. Both marvel and DC. I for one can't stand the year long or summer cross overs that seem to be annual these days. Think back, what 5 years ago, they weren't as common. But now, it's a summer tradition that lasts all year. I understand it is a money making scheme to get people to buy titles they wouldn't normally pick up to complete the story. What is wrong with characters having their own self contained titles? Why must in every issue, the MU or DCU have to tie in or connect with another characters story arc? Isn't that what the team up books and Avengers and JL books are there for?

And second is pricing. The price of a book these days is getting out of hand. It's single handedly pushed the realm of comics out of kids hands (where it should be) and into the hands of the 20-30 somethings. If Diamond was cut out of the loop and the publishers sold their books directly, I wonder if the price would come down? (Probably not, seeing as its expensive to process all that and the individual publishers would go under, but I can dream, right?).
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Old 10-19-08, 08:14 PM
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Welcome to the forum

I read mostly indy books and graphic novels now. I also buy 99% of my comics in trade. It saves you a ton of money. I can sit down with $50 worth of comics that would have lasted me 30 seconds from my normal monthly pull.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:27 PM
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Yeah my interest in current comic books has fallen pretty far. I've only got like 3 monthly books on my pull list now. However, my love for for comics is as strong as ever. I'm still reading tons of older stuff via the Marvel Essentials and Showcase Presents. I'm also thinking about picking up some cheap back issues of older DC series I've always wanted to read (like Suicide Squad and Justice League Europe).

That's the great thing about comic books, if you lose interest in today's stuff, there are decades worth of back issues you can pick up pretty cheap and still be entertained.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:40 AM
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Yeah, burnside, I totally agree with you - I can't stand the massive cross-overs (a quick 2-3 month crossover contained in one book is fine - but spread throughout 8 months wears far too thin).

I've been weening myself off the monthlies (I only pick up books from a handful of writers and artists I really, really like) and instead I've diverted my attention to the big collected editions like the Omnibuses and Absolute editions - after discounts, those cost far less, per issue, then the monthlies do, and you get a nice big book out of it instead of a bunch of floppies in a bag.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:47 AM
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The last 5 years? I raise you Crisis and Secret Wars since. The summer crossover is just fact now a days. Just buy what you want , if your a smart shopper the days of blind buying every insignificant crossover issue should be over. Any decent crossover, if you want to read it, you can just stick with the core title.

And get your comics online and save a ton of money.
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Old 10-20-08, 11:07 AM
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I definitley think pricing as trumped the comic industry. With books averaging $3.50 a pop now its just to risky to pick up a book and try it out for the casual fan. Plus, if you have a pull list the cost and quickly reach the $50.00 - $75.00 mark. Pricing is also the reason that many people have simply turned to the internet for their comic needs. Why pay that tremendous amount when you can go onto Pirate Bay and have your entire stash for free? Sigh.
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Old 10-20-08, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stingermck View Post
The last 5 years? I raise you Crisis and Secret Wars since. The summer crossover is just fact now a days. Just buy what you want , if your a smart shopper the days of blind buying every insignificant crossover issue should be over. Any decent crossover, if you want to read it, you can just stick with the core title.

And get your comics online and save a ton of money.
Is it only a summer crossover nowadays, though? It seems like they go from one major crossover to another (as I don't collect many monthlies anymore, I'm only going by solicitations). It used to be that crossovers were largely contained in their own miniseries or annuals or Xbooks (Crisis being a major exception because hey, it affected the whole universe). I'm not sure 5 years ago was the starting point for the crossover extravaganza, but it has seemed to get out of hand.

The "problem" is that the comic book fans, the few that are left, eat these up. They can boost the sales of a lower tier book by a lot, because of the "gotta get 'em all" mentality. This, of course, creates problems for the comic store owners, who have to order these books, the creative teams who have to abort or work around their already running story plans, etc. This also does nothing to help bring in new fans... much like the suggestion of ordering comics online, which are great for already-existing fans, but usually have to be done months in advance of when the comic actually ships.

I do appreciate crossovers like the Sinestro War: largely contained in just the core GL books. My main complaint is it didn't really end, it just set up the next big thing.

The problem of attracting new readers to comics has been brought up before... can someone resurrect that thread? Otherwise, I think we'll be treading much of the same ground as we did there.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:07 PM
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I quit buying comics about 6 months before 9-11. Wish I kept buying them for at least another year. I still want to read all the back issues I own, but I don't have that much time to get around them anymore. And the price is crazy. Couldn't afford them anymore. I couldn't find time to read them and was storing them away, so I had to stop.

The other things that got me losing interest in comics is 4 or 5 Spider-Man series and about what, 12 X-Titles. They should have stuck with Amazing and X-Men.

I read Marvel only and I hate the way they start a new super hero series and cancel the series without giving them a chance. I'm one that would buy all new series and give them a chance. I have every issue of Darkhawk, Quasar, Sleepwalker, NFL SuperPro, The New Warriors, Night Trasher, Blackwolf, War Machine, Force Works and more. I liked reading Darkhawk, Quasar and The New Warriors the most.

Example: The Amazing Spider-Man back in the 60's was about to get cancelled, but they kept the series going and look what it's done. The X-Men was cancelled, but they kept the series going by printing old stories. Then they learned how good the sales were and came out with Giant Size X-Men and the series is a big hit.

I like crossovers, but I agree with you when it's a season or longer story.

Last edited by darkhawk; 11-23-08 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by darkhawk View Post
I quit buying comics about 6 months before 9-11. Wish I kept buying them for at least another year. I still want to read all the back issues I own, but I don't have that much time to get around them anymore. And the price is crazy. Couldn't afford them anymore. I couldn't find time to read them and was storing them away, so I had to stop.

The other things that got me losing interest in comics is 4 or 5 Spider-Man series and about what, 12 X-Titles. They should have stuck with Amazing and X-Men.

I read Marvel only and I hate the way they start a new super hero series and cancel the series without giving them a chance. I'm one that would buy all new series and give them a chance. I have every issue of Darkhawk, Quasar, Sleepwalker, NFL SuperPro, The New Warriors, Night Trasher, Blackwolf, War Machine, Force Works and more. I liked reading Darkhawk, Quasar and The New Warriors the most.

Example: The Amazing Spider-Man back in the 60's was about to get cancelled, but they kept the series going and look what it's done. The X-Men was cancelled, but they kept the series going by printing old stories. Then they learned how good the sales were and came out with Giant Size X-Men and the series is a big hit.

I like crossovers, but I agree with you when it's a season or longer story.
The problem is that if the books can't catch on to an audience, they start losing money. The comic shops stop ordering them, and they don't get out to the general public anyway. This is part of the reason why there are dozens of Spidey and X-men titles... because people will pick them up. This is also why there are so many crossovers...

There have been successful resurrections of near-dead series: Spider Girl, I think, was on the verge. Runaways didn't seem to sell all that well, but it lasted. DC's Manhunter. I'm still hoping that people picked up Alan Davis's latest ClanDestine series, but I kinda doubt it (I mean, they had a crossover with Excalibur... from the early 90s...)

NFL Superpro? I'll admit, I picked up a few issues too. But looking at some of the other series you liked, stuff like New Warriors and Darkhawk, both of which were pretty decent in the beginning, just lost their way as writers and artists changed... at least, to me, pretty much once Bagley left NW and there were multiple Darkhawk armors, I kinda lost interest. No point in trying to continue the series just to do it. If they really thought a franchise would make money, I think they would continue with it.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:09 PM
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Adjusted for inflation, comics are cheaper now, although comparatively, they buy a lot less entertainment. For the price of 3 comics that will entertain you for about 5 minutes, you can go see a movie. For the price of a trade you can buy several DVDs.

It's just become a weak industry that's slowly dying off. Mostly due to the incompetence of the editorial staff. Books are totally incongruent now, even within their own family of titles. Seriously. I can't even think of any mainstream Marvel or DC titles that I enjoy anymore.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:14 PM
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Justice Society?
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Old 11-24-08, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
Adjusted for inflation, comics are cheaper now,
Are you sure of that?

In 1970, with a minimum wage salary one could buy over ten comics for one hour's work; 15 cents per comic, $1.60 minimum wage.

In 2008 with the $6.55 minimum wage you can buy less than 2 comics for each hour of work.

Edit to fix math.

Last edited by Trevor; 11-24-08 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
Adjusted for inflation, comics are cheaper now...
Nope.

Let's take the mid-'70s when comics were $0.25. Adjusted for inflation, that's just a little over a buck, say $1.05 in today's currency. That's a hell of a lot less than the $3-$4 single issues are going for now.
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Old 12-02-08, 09:13 PM
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I had quit when the price went up again in the mid 90's and the X-Title books where so interconnected with a cross over so you almost had to buy issue to understand them. And to help that out the LCBS closed.

I started getting back in, found I could get an Omnibus where the issues where $2 or less per issue inside. Along with some of the online shops having 50%-75% off TPB/HC books a couple of times a year. I think I've been spending less now and getting more comics. I can't find the list of what I use to buy, yep I use to keep track of what I bought and sold back then. If I found it, I'll add it.

And now I can find out what stories are worth reading and just get the good story arcs in trades.
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Old 12-04-08, 08:22 AM
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You see people complain about events, but I think this is definitely more a case of a vocal minority online. Not that I think it's the cool thing to do, but each and every one of these series has been a "success" in terms of sales, yet you can't throw a stone online without seeing someone complain about them. It's interesting. I don't hate events, but I do agree that these things that go on for 6 to 8 months just begin to drag. If there needs to be events, and all signs point to that being the case, I would love a return to a true "summer" event that only lasted 4 months. Hell, print 4 double sized issues, but keep the event contained to a shorter period of time, so that there can be some real after effects. That would be ideal for me.

I've definitely shifted my reading habits a lot recently. I don't buy much of anything these days, but instead make use of the comics my library has. Trying to keep up with what's hot in comicdom is pretty fruitless, because there is always something else and something next. I wasn't even really appreciating what I was reading, I just was doing it because I was trying to keep pace. Now? Fuck that noise.
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Old 12-19-08, 12:31 PM
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Think of the publishers as drug dealers. When some of their regular clients stop using, they freak out and try to get their remaining clients even more strung out, so they can keep their revenue stream as close to normal as they can. The problem is, that many drugs are either going to kill or bankrupt the remaining clients, leaving the dealer with even fewer than they would have had if they hadn't tried to increase everyone's addiction.

Marvel and DC have lost a lot of readership over the last twenty years, even as comics based movies have finally become respectable. Remember in 1989, how "Batman" singlehandedly brought an entire generation to reading comics for a while? Why is it that 19 years later, with "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" leading the movie pack, readership is not up? Say what you want about there being more competition for youth's attention (gaming, especially), and say what you want about pricing, the truth is that today's kids have not had the interest in reading fostered in them.

Three years ago for Christmas, I bought a Christmas themed issue of "Teen Titans Go!" and "Justice League Adventures" for my nephew. He enjoyed the animated series greatly, but he outright refused to even look at the comics, insisting that I keep them at my house. This is a kid that has done poorly in school for years, and it's an interesting cycle. He doesn't read because he's self-conscious about not being good at reading; he's self-conscious because his school performance proves to him he's bad at reading. Simply put, he's part of an entire generation that has been raised to consider reading a required part of school and nothing more. They resent being asked to read anything, regardless of subject or context.

If a kid loves Batman, but won't even read a Batman comic book, beyond the obvious implications for the comics industry, what does that foreshadow for our society when this generation comes of age?
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Old 12-19-08, 02:15 PM
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That is terrible. I may have said this before in this forum, but comics helped me in my reading comprehension... as a kid, there were many words in comic books that I didn't really understand, and I would always ask my mom (who was an avid comic fan and helped get me into them) or consult a dictionary for the meanings, which helped to expand my vocabulary.
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Old 12-19-08, 02:56 PM
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onomatopoeia?
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Old 12-19-08, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
That is terrible. I may have said this before in this forum, but comics helped me in my reading comprehension... as a kid, there were many words in comic books that I didn't really understand, and I would always ask my mom (who was an avid comic fan and helped get me into them) or consult a dictionary for the meanings, which helped to expand my vocabulary.
Same here! I owe much more of my vocabulary to comics than to my elementary school education. I started with Transformers and Larry Hama's excellent G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, because of the cartoons and toys. Really, what other seven year old knew that a dirge was a mournful song? Thanks, comics!
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Old 12-26-08, 09:50 PM
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I personally miss the single issue stories. It used to be that a multi-issue story was a special thing. Now it's just the norm. As for crossover and multiple part stories getting more sales, it may be backfiring on them too.

Suppose a non collector/reader happens to walk into a bookstore and considers buying a comic to read for the first time in years. He goes to the spinner rack and decides to get a Spider-man comic. He pics up one and sees on the cover that it is "part 4 of 6" and puts it back down because he hasn't read the first 3 parts. Then he pics up another Spider-man title and it is "part 3 of 4" so he puts that one back. He then decides to get a Superman comic and the same thing happens there so he leaves the store empty handed.
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Old 12-27-08, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by movieguru View Post
Suppose a non collector/reader happens to walk into a bookstore and considers buying a comic to read for the first time in years. He goes to the spinner rack and decides to get a Spider-man comic. He pics up one and sees on the cover that it is "part 4 of 6" and puts it back down because he hasn't read the first 3 parts. Then he pics up another Spider-man title and it is "part 3 of 4" so he puts that one back. He then decides to get a Superman comic and the same thing happens there so he leaves the store empty handed.
I've done that. At times, though, even when I was too intimidated to get into the middle of a storyline (and burned out on the titles I had been following), I often kept up with things via Wizard. I have vicariously followed quite a lot of series that way, and while it's not the same as reading them for myself, it did let me know key background events in case I wanted to get into something. New readers, though, may not even know about such publications; they may also not be into reading such things even if they knew about them.
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Old 01-02-09, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by movieguru View Post
I personally miss the single issue stories. It used to be that a multi-issue story was a special thing. Now it's just the norm. As for crossover and multiple part stories getting more sales, it may be backfiring on them too.

Suppose a non collector/reader happens to walk into a bookstore and considers buying a comic to read for the first time in years. He goes to the spinner rack and decides to get a Spider-man comic. He pics up one and sees on the cover that it is "part 4 of 6" and puts it back down because he hasn't read the first 3 parts. Then he pics up another Spider-man title and it is "part 3 of 4" so he puts that one back. He then decides to get a Superman comic and the same thing happens there so he leaves the store empty handed.
Funny, I was just reading Showcase Presents LSH #2, and EVERY issue has to have the footnote "*Ultra Boy can use only one of his powers at a time." It's like they had to make sure that no one would be left out in the dark if that was the first issue they were reading.
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Old 01-02-09, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Funny, I was just reading Showcase Presents LSH #2, and EVERY issue has to have the footnote "*Ultra Boy can use only one of his powers at a time." It's like they had to make sure that no one would be left out in the dark if that was the first issue they were reading.
That would be annoying for new readers, but I thought it was pretty cool... along with the little editor blurbs saying that "such and such happened in issue 21," which would motivate me to try to track that issue down.

For a little while, every Marvel comic had a little gatefold in the cover that allowed new readers to catch up.

I forget if it was Buseik that said this, but I remember someone saying that every comic could be a reader's first, and that part of each issue should try to catch the reader up on what's happening. And then I remember another writer saying it was a waste of time, mostly because a lot of writers had very clunky ways of summarizing what went on before. You still see it sometimes, though... I was reading the new Guardians of the Galaxy trade, and you can tell that they want to summarize who everyone is at the start of each issue. It gets really, really annoying, however, for those that read it in trade form... for example, try Avengers Forever.

It's not just that there are multiple parts to every story nowadays... it's easy enough to find back issues or a trade that collects them, and at least it's numbered properly. The problem comes with the massive amounts of continuity that needs to be kept up, and the intertwining of all the books with these never-ending big events.

Say you were reading Mighty Avengers, because it started off as a simple enough superhero team book, one that was supposed to be a bit brighter than the dreary post-Civil-War marvel universe. Pretty nice art, if a little cheesecake. A few issues later, there's already a crossover with New Avengers. With the latest trade, there's not even any semblance of the team that the book is named after, it's basically a side series to Secret Invasion, and makes absolutely no sense unless you also read New Avengers and Secret Invasion.

DC is much, much worse at times. They have stories that have no endings, where you have to wait months for the annual to come out because they couldn't get their creators to stick to a schedule. They have these complex continuities which they seem to reboot every few years, only to then try to tie them all in together, making it even more of a mess than it was before. Seriously, when a book entitled "Countdown to Final Crisis" can't even manage to tie in correctly to "Final Crisis," there's a problem.

I have no idea how a non-comicbook reader could ever get into superhero comic books. And we haven't even gotten into the whole pricing thing.
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Old 01-02-09, 03:26 PM
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I've read a few recent Spiderman issues & the first page has a pretty good 'previously in..' summary that should help readers at least knoew important facts that relate to that issue.
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Old 01-15-09, 03:04 PM
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Re: My 2 Cents On Comics Now

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
That is terrible. I may have said this before in this forum, but comics helped me in my reading comprehension... as a kid, there were many words in comic books that I didn't really understand, and I would always ask my mom (who was an avid comic fan and helped get me into them) or consult a dictionary for the meanings, which helped to expand my vocabulary.
Books did that for me.
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