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Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

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Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Old 05-23-10, 08:51 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Thought of another thing. There isn't that many 'kids' comics out. I've seen some Simpsons & some Archie comics but that's about it for comics for younger kids. Have a few series out that are based on what little kids are into. Yes, that means Bakugan, Pokemon, etc. Release a Barbie comic for the girls. Disney owns Marvel now. Why not a Donald Duck or Lilo & Stitch comic series? MinLShaw had a good idea of the Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans Go! series meant for younger kids. While it didn't work in his case, I'm sure other kids might get into reading/looking at their favorite toy/cartoon based comic & when they get older, graduate to the more 'older' hero books.

Also, why just toy/cartoon based for just young kids. When I was young, I loved GIJoe & Transformers comics. They were toy based but seemed just as mature as superhero based comics.
Old 05-23-10, 09:05 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
Thought of another thing. There isn't that many 'kids' comics out. I've seen some Simpsons & some Archie comics but that's about it for comics for younger kids. Have a few series out that are based on what little kids are into. Yes, that means Bakugan, Pokemon, etc. Release a Barbie comic for the girls. Disney owns Marvel now. Why not a Donald Duck or Lilo & Stitch comic series? MinLShaw had a good idea of the Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans Go! series meant for younger kids. While it didn't work in his case, I'm sure other kids might get into reading/looking at their favorite toy/cartoon based comic & when they get older, graduate to the more 'older' hero books.

Also, why just toy/cartoon based for just young kids. When I was young, I loved GIJoe & Transformers comics. They were toy based but seemed just as mature as superhero based comics.
The first comics I ever read were G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and The Transformers. I've said since I was a kid that Larry Hama's writing did far more to develop my vocabulary than anything I was taught in a classroom. I genuinely considered it a privilege to get to thank him for that via message on Facebook last year.

But, in the larger scheme, I agree entirely. Just as comics for more mature readers don't have to all feature superheroes, I see no reason comics for younger readers should, either. Bone was brilliant, and one I would advise readers of all ages to explore--but certainly I would push it toward folks looking to provide younger readers with age appropriate material. (And by that, I mean it's not something that's dumbed down to the point of being insulting.)
Old 05-24-10, 01:31 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

I got my nephew a score of Marvel a DC comics targeted to younger kids based off of popular characters like FF and Spiderman. I had to ask my comic store where they kept them (lower shelf closest to the door if you push away the boxes where they dump 3 year old anime wall posters) but they exist. I expected something pretty bad honestly, but I was rather surprised on the quality. Had a vibe in art and writing close to comics in the 1960s.
Old 05-24-10, 01:58 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by Navinabob View Post
I got my nephew a score of Marvel a DC comics targeted to younger kids based off of popular characters like FF and Spiderman. I had to ask my comic store where they kept them (lower shelf closest to the door if you push away the boxes where they dump 3 year old anime wall posters) but they exist. I expected something pretty bad honestly, but I was rather surprised on the quality. Had a vibe in art and writing close to comics in the 1960s.
I haven't checked out the titles you suggest (I haven't bought a "new" issue of anything in ages), but there was a comic book based on Batman: The Animated Series that launched when the show did called The Batman Adventures. I read the "main" Bat-books, but I read that title, too. It was consistently superior, month in, month out. They told more interesting stories, I thought, in spite of (or, likely, because of) the different circumstances. For instance, they couldn't get away with a fourteen-issue long arc with that title, and there was no other book to cross over into. DC Comics didn't need another Bat-book on the market, and the show didn't need a tie-in title; it succeeded because it was well done.

The popular story Mad Love (later adapted as an episode of the animated series) was originally published as a one shot special from this title. There was also a Holiday Special issue that became the "Holiday Knights" episode later. The writers and artists of that title (and its subsequent incarnations) really did an impressive job.
Old 05-24-10, 07:18 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
Thought of another thing. There isn't that many 'kids' comics out. I've seen some Simpsons & some Archie comics but that's about it for comics for younger kids. Have a few series out that are based on what little kids are into. Yes, that means Bakugan, Pokemon, etc. Release a Barbie comic for the girls. Disney owns Marvel now. Why not a Donald Duck or Lilo & Stitch comic series? MinLShaw had a good idea of the Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans Go! series meant for younger kids. While it didn't work in his case, I'm sure other kids might get into reading/looking at their favorite toy/cartoon based comic & when they get older, graduate to the more 'older' hero books.

Also, why just toy/cartoon based for just young kids. When I was young, I loved GIJoe & Transformers comics. They were toy based but seemed just as mature as superhero based comics.

Boom! has a nice run of Muppet comics out now, and it looks like they have a bunch of Pixar tie ins too (I haven't read any of those though).
Old 05-25-10, 01:52 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

I think Boom! takes care of all Disney properties now, though I'm not sure what their distribution is like. Bone actually has some kind of distribution deal to keep the colorized volumes in those Scholastic Book Order forms.

There are comics for stuff like pokemon and naruto and the like, but that's all manga. In fact, Target stocks some manga, I know I picked up a volume of Naruto there, and Viz also has a monthly Shonen Jump magazine anthology before they're collected in volumes. Manga, as I've stated in the past, though, is a different beast... it's basically all reprints, in B&W, and the US market is secondary, so by the time it gets here it's already made the creators money.

The problem with kids comics and availability is largely circular, IMHO. Kids don't really come into comic book stores, so the kids titles don't sell that well, so comic book stores don't stock a lot of them, so kids don't come into comic book stores, etc. Kids do read manga, though, judging by the floor of every nearby bookstore with a manga section, which is usually littered with kids sitting and reading. Not sure how much they buy.
Old 06-08-10, 10:53 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

I've been interested in what Boom's doing. I'd been waiting for some larger collections like the Don Rosa that ended up getting pulled when they took over the property, but they do seem to have the adult collector in mind with the stuff they've released. Nice hardcovers with jackets. A little on the spendy side, though, like breaking Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck into two volumes, though probably without the binding problems the previous release had.
Old 06-11-10, 08:37 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

I haven't bought a monthly in at least a decade. I honestly don't ever see myself picking one up.
Old 06-14-10, 09:11 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

I've been looking at reviews for the recent JLA series (mainly because I've been trying to see some other viewpoints, as I'm close to dropping the title) and came across another reason monthlies stink. They apparently gave away the endings to not one, but two of their premier miniseries in JLA before the last two issues of either series was even out (as I only collect JLA out of the three, I didn't realize it at the time). I would be really upset at spending three to four bucks a pop on a limited series I know will be collected, only to have the ending ruined due to lateness or scheduling problems.

edited to add: And I just read one of the last JLA issues where they pretty much gave away the outcome of the currently running JSA storyarc.

Last edited by fujishig; 06-16-10 at 11:10 AM.
Old 06-16-10, 08:03 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Collecting individual comics is something for those who appreciate their value and see them as an investment. Collectors (the majority of them) keep their beloved comics sealed in the "bags with boards" in order to maintain a near mint/very fine condition.

More power to the collector, but personally I don't see the fun in that. I like to read my comics, hold them in my hands, and indulge in all its glory. Buying comic books individually can become pricey, and since I don't see it as an investment, I just buy the trade paperbacks when they become available. My favorites are those in the Marvel Essentials line (the old-school compilations). I don't care if they're in black-and-white, I'm only in it for the stories. And they're reasonably priced too (I have several volumes that I paid $10 each).
Old 06-16-10, 08:12 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by Vlyger View Post
More power to the collector, but personally I don't see the fun in that. I like to read my comics, hold them in my hands, and indulge in all its glory.
I hear this a lot, and I have to ask: how much "fun" do you get from holding a TPB vs. holding an individual issue? Other than physically holding the book--whatever the format--to read, how much "fun" does anyone actually get out of a comic?

Buying comic books individually can become pricey, and since I don't see it as an investment, I just buy the trade paperbacks when they become available. My favorites are those in the Marvel Essentials line (the old-school compilations). I don't care if they're in black-and-white, I'm only in it for the stories. And they're reasonably priced too (I have several volumes that I paid $10 each).
I'm well past the point in my life where I give a damn what the list value or going rate on eBay is for anything in my library. In fact, I was excited to dig up a stack of Legends of the Dark Knight and Shadow of the Bat back issues to replace ones I used to own, and to fill in gaps that had always existed in my library. Most of them were from the quarter clearance box. And, frankly, I found it exciting to sit down and revisit these issues--some of them 20 years old now--and see the Konami ads and the back cover announcing the Aerosmith re-mastered CDs. You don't get that extra dose of nostalgia with the collected edition.

As for the Marvel Essentials line, I've only read one: The Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 1. I found that the black & white imagery made it taxing on my eyes; I could only read a handful of pages at a time because it was draining. I've seen scans of the original, colored artwork and I think the b&w editions really gut Jack Kirby's brilliance. I understand the purpose they serve to keep the old stories around, but I found it very difficult to get into that volume because of the color scheme.
Old 06-16-10, 08:39 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
I hear this a lot, and I have to ask: how much "fun" do you get from holding a TPB vs. holding an individual issue? Other than physically holding the book--whatever the format--to read, how much "fun" does anyone actually get out of a comic?
.
I think that's the point he was trying to make... If tpbs are cheaper, and reading most modern stories all in a row is a better experience, why get the monthlies? Because someday I might want to look at the ads? (the DVD rom collections did a great job of including the ads, by the way). Most comics don't even have letters pages any more. I should add that I do have fun cracking open a huge hardcover or an absolute and pouring over the pages. But part of that is that I know these collected editions are considered some of the best comics have to offer, even if it's the first time I'm reading them... A far cry from most monthlies.

I do disagree with the investment part. Most collectors (including me) may have mild OCD that has them bag and board everything, but if anyone is collecting comics for profit, give it up now.

I agree with you on the essential volumes, which are nice and cheap, but I prefer omnibus despite the price.

Last edited by fujishig; 06-16-10 at 08:42 PM.
Old 06-17-10, 12:16 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
I hear this a lot, and I have to ask: how much "fun" do you get from holding a TPB vs. holding an individual issue? Other than physically holding the book--whatever the format--to read, how much "fun" does anyone actually get out of a comic?



I'm well past the point in my life where I give a damn what the list value or going rate on eBay is for anything in my library. In fact, I was excited to dig up a stack of Legends of the Dark Knight and Shadow of the Bat back issues to replace ones I used to own, and to fill in gaps that had always existed in my library. Most of them were from the quarter clearance box. And, frankly, I found it exciting to sit down and revisit these issues--some of them 20 years old now--and see the Konami ads and the back cover announcing the Aerosmith re-mastered CDs. You don't get that extra dose of nostalgia with the collected edition.

As for the Marvel Essentials line, I've only read one: The Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 1. I found that the black & white imagery made it taxing on my eyes; I could only read a handful of pages at a time because it was draining. I've seen scans of the original, colored artwork and I think the b&w editions really gut Jack Kirby's brilliance. I understand the purpose they serve to keep the old stories around, but I found it very difficult to get into that volume because of the color scheme.
Yeah, that's the point I was trying to make. A "collector" seeking some sort of investment just keeps the comic book encased inside the boarded bag and doesn't touch it or read it because apparently it would lose its value (or so I have heard. I think it was from Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons). I'm not satisfied by just looking at a comic book cover, I want to open up the book and read it. THAT is what I find 'fun' about it. You know the old saying: You can't judge a book (or in this case, comic book) by its cover. To me, it's the contents that count. I don't care for a comic book's monetary value or going rate.

As for the Marvel Essential line of TPBs, some people like them and some don't. To each his own. Like I said, I don't mind the black-and-white pages; they don't bother me. I wasn't old enough at the time when the original comics were around, so I'm content with reading the classic stories in a well-organized collection. And for the price, I'm not complaining.
Old 06-17-10, 11:54 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I do disagree with the investment part. Most collectors (including me) may have mild OCD that has them bag and board everything, but if anyone is collecting comics for profit, give it up now.
I bag and board my comics, but that's just because I was raised to take care of my things. I mean, I have a bag and board for The Adventures of Jell-O Man and I will be stunned if that thing is ever worth more than the quarter its postage cost.

Originally Posted by Vlyger View Post
Yeah, that's the point I was trying to make. A "collector" seeking some sort of investment just keeps the comic book encased inside the boarded bag and doesn't touch it or read it because apparently it would lose its value (or so I have heard. I think it was from Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons). I'm not satisfied by just looking at a comic book cover, I want to open up the book and read it. THAT is what I find 'fun' about it. You know the old saying: You can't judge a book (or in this case, comic book) by its cover. To me, it's the contents that count. I don't care for a comic book's monetary value or going rate.
I'm with you now. You're referring to the type of person who obsesses over owning issues, but never actually handling them. Those people are going to be sorely disappointed when they die and realize that he who dies with the most toys...still dies.

As for the Marvel Essential line of TPBs, some people like them and some don't. To each his own. Like I said, I don't mind the black-and-white pages; they don't bother me. I wasn't old enough at the time when the original comics were around, so I'm content with reading the classic stories in a well-organized collection. And for the price, I'm not complaining.
The only one I've read was the Fantastic Four volume I mentioned. I found Kirby's layouts really anticipated being colored, and the absence of coloring hurt the pages. He used a ton of black ink, though. I'm sure there are other pencilers and inkers whose work is easier on the eyes without the work of colorists. Maybe some time I'll check out another of the Essentials series and see what I think of other people's work.
Old 06-17-10, 06:56 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
The only one I've read was the Fantastic Four volume I mentioned. I found Kirby's layouts really anticipated being colored, and the absence of coloring hurt the pages. He used a ton of black ink, though. I'm sure there are other pencilers and inkers whose work is easier on the eyes without the work of colorists. Maybe some time I'll check out another of the Essentials series and see what I think of other people's work.
The one I would recommend the most would be "The Essential Howard The Duck". It's pretty bizarre and over-the-top with zany characters and storylines, but at the same time it's a fun and unique read about an obscure/B-list Marvel character from the 1970s.
Old 06-17-10, 09:55 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by Sessa17 View Post
There is no reason to wonder about this. Yes, it is proven, that TPB waiters kill are detrimental to the decline of monthly titles. Many creators have written articles about this including my favorite comic book writer Ed Brubaker numerous times pleading for fans to buy monthly comics. He also wrote a great article on how comic book writers & artists see pretty much zero money from trade sales. Mark Waid, Jason Aaron, Erik Larsen & many many more have all written articles & pieces urging comic book fans to stick with the monthly comics.
Too bad. It's time for the business model, and the contract of the artists, to change.
Old 06-17-10, 11:50 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

It's the same reason why so many people wait for DVDs and don't go to the movies. The cost of monthly titles stacks up really fast, and with dubious quality, poor selection, and such a fragile publishing format that's sold through an incredibly obscure retail network, it's no wonder that monthly titles are heading south.

I know tons of friends that i've been recommending comics to for years that only recently got into them because of the trade format. Books like The Walking Dead, Invincible, Preacher, Y: The Last Man, Daredevil, Gotham Central, Demo, Local, etc etc, they're all books that read much better in trade because the story takes so long to develop.

Even mainstream hero titles that are so-called "jumping on points" for new readers are terribly written. Take the relaunch of Avengers #1. Horrible book for new readers.

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Old 06-18-10, 01:29 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by Vlyger View Post
Collecting individual comics is something for those who appreciate their value and see them as an investment.
There's a point where everything that Marvel or DC released has been collected. For DC, the point is as late as 2005-2006, circa Infinite Crisis. You can't get trades that collect the beginning of Will Pfeiffer's excellent Catwoman run, or even the end of Ed Brubaker's run. You can't get most of Geoff Johns' Flash, or his Hawkman run, and those creators aren't exactly obscure. Want to read some DC comics published before 2005? Get to a back issue bin, cause DC's in no hurry to reprint Abnett and Lanning and Coipel's Legion comics.

Then there's the stuff with rights issues. Marvel's Rom comics? Rights issues. Classic Master of Kung Fu? Rights issues. Jack Kirby's 2001 comics? Rights issues. Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo? Hoo boy, rights issues.

Yeah, there's plenty of trades out there, and no shortage of easily available reading material, but if you know what you want to read, sometimes there's no other option but back issues. I think Aaron from the webcomic The Rack might be the only investor left, and he's all fictional and stuff.
Old 06-18-10, 10:40 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

There are definitely a ton if titles that may never be collected. Most of the Legion (and LEGION) from the 80s and 90s will probably never be collected in traditional tpb format, so I still have those issues. Heck, even x titles have huge gaps (I know most will rightly say they don't deserve to be collected, but what about allred's factor, for instance?). That's why I wish there were some digital subscription or dvdrom distribution for this kind of backlog.

But the question mainly addresses current comics. Pretty much everything is collected for the major companies. I even have a collection for a Patsy Walker Hellcat series. What's the motivation to collect new stuff monthly anymore?
Old 07-23-10, 09:23 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Within 5 years, smart publishers will go the digital + TPB route.
Old 07-23-10, 10:57 AM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
Within 5 years, smart publishers will go the digital + TPB route.
Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
Excellent observation, and true, too. I don't like digital copies of movies, or digital books, or digital downloads of songs, though I've tried all of them (and lotsa other digital stuff) many times.

But I think that if the "majors" want to survive, and perhaps even thrive at some point, this will be the norm soon enough.
I'm typically anti-digital, but I'm intrigued by the idea of digital comics. Not so much right this moment, but as soon as I buy a laptop or an iPad.

Printing is usually blamed as the main reason why comics are so much higher in price than other forms of entertainment versus their historical prices, right? Stolen from comicbookresources.com:


Year Cover Price Rate of Inflation

1977 0.30 0.30

1978 0.35 0.32

1979 0.40 0.34

1980 0.40 0.38

1981 0.50 0.43

1982 0.60 0.48

1983 0.60 0.51

1984 0.60 0.53

1985 0.60 0.55

1986 0.65 0.57

1987 0.75 0.58

1988 0.75 0.6

1989 1 0.62

1990 1 0.65

1991 1 0.69

1992 1 0.72

1993 1.25 0.74

1994 1.5 0.76

1995 1.5 0.78

1996 1.5 0.80

1997 1.5 0.83

1998 1.5 0.85

1999 1.75 0.86

2000 1.99 0.88

2001 2.25 0.91

2002 2.25 0.93

2003 2.25 0.95

2004 2.25 0.97

2005 2.25 1

2006 2.5 1.03

2007 2.99 1.06

2008 2.99 1.09

2009 3.99?


In real terms, at least as defined by US inflation, your comic should be just over a buck. And yet it may well be about to hit $4.

And double the 2000 price.
link

So remove the printing cost and sell comics for a dollar or so?

I know, I know, it won't be that simple. Price them that way and would kill the LCBS. But I used to be a monthy buyer of 30 or more titles on a couple hours worth of my mediocre salary. Now I can afford maybe 10 titles for the same amount of work. Comic prices are just hugely far ahead of inflation.

This is the major reason for the dwindling of the industry imo, almost has to be, right?

For a buck an issue I'd consider getting back into monthlies.
Old 07-23-10, 12:11 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post



link

So remove the printing cost and sell comics for a dollar or so?

I know, I know, it won't be that simple. Price them that way and would kill the LCBS. But I used to be a monthy buyer of 30 or more titles on a couple hours worth of my mediocre salary. Now I can afford maybe 10 titles for the same amount of work. Comic prices are just hugely far ahead of inflation.

This is the major reason for the dwindling of the industry imo, almost has to be, right?

For a buck an issue I'd consider getting back into monthlies.
The major problems I see with digital distribution:
1) Like you said, pricing it significantly lower would destroy the print market. I think it's similar to why most manufacturers that have online stores don't significantly discount their new products online, despite not having to deal with the overhead of selling through retail stores... the stores would revolt.
2) There'd have to be some kind of DRM, which the pirates would dismantle in a matter of hours but which would continue to annoy everyone else. And if not DRM, then some limited way to view the files (like having to use Comixology).

I think they're trying to get around 1) by delaying the release of the digital versions. Then they can discount some of the older title without ticking off fans. What's funny is that I was reading through some old Legion of Superheroes letter pages, when they first went to the more expensive, direct market-only printing. Their solution for that, at the time, was to continue to print the newsstand title, and for the first year print different stories in each. After 12 months, the newsstand title would start reprinting the direct market series from the beginning, so it'd be a 12 month delay. The direct market books were on better paper with better quality but were more expensive.

I saw nothing but complaints in the ensuing letter columns, but I wonder if something like that would work here, where you know every month you'd get a new title available online, but it's 6 months behind. As a tpb-reader, I'd be fine with that, and even better, I wouldn't have to keep expanding my bookshelf (if I haven't mentioned it before, reading comics on the ipad, despite not being sized exactly right, is great).

But what I really want is a subscription/rental service. I don't really need or want to collect a lot of series anymore, a lot of the titles I just read once anyway.
Old 07-23-10, 12:30 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
But what I really want is a subscription/rental service. I don't really need or want to collect a lot of series anymore, a lot of the titles I just read once anyway.
Hey now, that would be pretty cool. As long as it was cheap enough, I could see getting back into reading tons of titles again.

I'd probably pay $5-10 a month to read every DC comic once, and maybe the same for Marvel and a couple other companies.

That would keep fans enthused about the hobby, and get us to pay for print versions of the really good stuff we want to keep.
Old 07-23-10, 12:41 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I saw nothing but complaints in the ensuing letter columns, but I wonder if something like that would work here, where you know every month you'd get a new title available online, but it's 6 months behind. As a tpb-reader, I'd be fine with that, and even better, I wouldn't have to keep expanding my bookshelf (if I haven't mentioned it before, reading comics on the ipad, despite not being sized exactly right, is great).
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The problem here is that it will just drive fans who want digital comics to torrents if they don't want to wait. By the time they're officially release they probably won't care anymore.
Old 07-23-10, 12:55 PM
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Re: Does TPB-only people hurt comic series?

The thing is, back issues are where comic stores make their profits through the secondary market. I understand that times are rough for comic specialty shops across the country, and that they had become that way even before the rest of the economy fell apart. But I think if they don't have new issues to put in the back issue boxes at above-cover prices, they're done for. New readers discover books all the time, and part of the thrill of getting into comics is exploring what has gone before and getting caught up on story arcs, or tracking down key back issues featuring specific characters or the work of specific artists, etc. And the industry simply cannot go without these shops to bring their products to consumers in person.

I can't imagine trying to select what to read for the first time from a website. New readers have to have a place to go and peruse the offerings, and if it's digital-only, then that's taken off the table. Collected editions in print might be viable to a point, but of course then you get into the lag between digital and collected editions, meaning new readers are behind by default. And collected editions would have to be in and out of print to promote any kind of back issue system to keep the stores going.

What I wouldn't mind seeing would be limited series told in digital form and then printed in a collected edition, so long as the consequences of the story aren't immediately manifest in other concurrent, printed titles. There's a lot of potential for the digital world, and I think it's clear that the publishers are all trying to find a viable model that makes the best use of it. Neal Adams's animation studios have really nudged along the motion comic. I watched the first issue of Astonishing X-Men last night and it was leaps and bounds ahead of the last motion comic I watched. I know readers like to actually read and aren't wanting motion comics to replace a stationary, laid-out page they read for themselves, and I'm not suggesting that motion comics should replace that. But there's clearly some kind of role for them to play, and it's nice to see they're coming along quickly.

The one thing I noticed when I last looked at what DC publishes is that virtually none of their characters currently have their own book except those in the Batman and Superman groups, Wonder Woman (always on the verge of cancellation, it seems), Green Lantern and of course the Justice League--whose roster frequently includes most, if not all, of the aforementioned characters. I understand their other characters aren't strong enough to sustain ongoing titles of their own, but it seems they should be able to have an anthology series that would do well. I remember in the 90s they tried with Legends of the DC Universe, a title patterned after Legends of the Dark Knight, and it didn't really take at the time. I think there's room in the market for something like that now, especially since there aren't solo titles to make an anthology superfluous. It's hard to say you don't need to read an Aquaman story if there's not an Aquaman solo book to read, you know? (Note: only applies to Aquaman fans.)

It's also important that the industry do a better job promoting the indie publications that aren't dressed in capes. It seems that it's much harder for someone to break through with something like Bone or Strangers in Paradise today than it was 20 years ago. It's as though those kinds of books blazed a trail that was abandoned and covered with overgrowth. The most noteworthy recent publisher I can think of is IDW, and their main focus has been on books based on licensed properties (Star Trek, Transformers, etc.). I don't know what the explanation is for this dearth of successful, original books but if the industry wants to thrive it needs to resurrect that segment of the monthly selection.

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