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Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

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Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Old 03-12-12, 01:30 PM
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Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Marvel just announced a new line of comics called Infinite Comics that will be exclusively digital. I have to wonder if this is them testing the waters to see how well an exclusively digital comic sells. If it really takes off, I wonder how long it will be before they stop printing single issues completely and move to a format of digital singles with printed trade paperbacks released later.
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Old 03-12-12, 01:40 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

I think, at least currently, that the Infinite comics are free with the purchase of the print or digital comic, not standalone, and they are boasting about techniques that the artists can utilize that are specific to digital.

I'm fully onboard with digital, but I don't think they can easily get away with getting rid of print comics, even just the single issues, without alienating a large portion of their fanbase. Even if tablets become really mainstream, you'll still have people clinging to the comic book experience, and you'll need comic stores to cater to them. This is one of the main reasons they haven't just cut the price of their digital offerings and tick off all the LCBSs.

Personally, I'm fine with comics the way they are, I don't really want to see a lot of extraneous stuff that they'll put in just to use the new techniques; then again, I haven't even seen what they're going to do, so I'll try to keep an open mind.

Other companies have already churned out digital-only comics; I think there's a Batman Beyond and an Arkham City series, and a Transformers one.
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Old 03-12-12, 03:27 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

I would certainly consider digital comics as my collectin continues to balloon past 40 long boxes. But there's no way I'm paying more than a dollar for a digital comic. Absolutely no way.
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Old 03-13-12, 01:45 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

The Infinite comics are going to be a different experience than the usual digital images.

Here is an example:

http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/ab...y=24&offset=20

The beginning of the end of printed comics was already here in the form of a dying business model.

One day we'll definitely see the end of single issue comic books coming out weekly or whatever. Things will move digital in both the traditional format and the Infinity format. Infinity comics may be hard to translate to paper. But traditional digital comics will definitely see collected edition print runs for those willing to pay the price for it - aka collectors, not causal readers. Probably hardbound collections like Omnibuses and Absolute editions. But I'm sure the availability of printed runs is going to depend on the initial digital single issue sales. And eventually the trade collections will be available digitally too, which will definitely kill off printed trades one of these days. It'll be like the individual MP3/Album or Single Episode/Season situation. I think that day is still a long while off even though digital is booming - but a lot of that is thanks to the business models of Amazon and Apple. Digital comics are terribly overpriced at the moment and there is no good unifying store front like Amazon or iTunes, or killer product like a specific tablet or iPod that screams "stop buying books, comic books have to be read on this instead."
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Old 03-13-12, 03:54 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by kodave View Post
And eventually the trade collections will be available digitally too, which will definitely kill off printed trades one of these days.
Trades are already available on Comixology. I don't think printed trades will ever die though. Single issues will because that is an outdated format, but not trades.

The modern comic industry has been writing with a trade paperback mentality for the better part of a decade now. Everything is written as a 4-6 issue arc and collected soon afterward. The days of a story being done in a single issue are gone.

So for that reason, I believe singles will eventually move to an exclusively digital format, but there will always be some people who want a printed product and trades will be available for them.
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Old 03-13-12, 04:32 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

"Beginning" of the end
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Old 03-13-12, 04:51 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Not sure what is so funny.

Sure there are already plenty of digital comics. Comixology and iPad are popular, but not so popular as to spell the doom of print as something like an exclusively digital comic like Infinite Comics has to potential to do. I would say that makes it more a beginning of the end than anything else before.
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Old 03-13-12, 08:56 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by kodave View Post
The Infinite comics are going to be a different experience than the usual digital images.

Here is an example:

http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/ab...y=24&offset=20
That was pretty cool. I can get behind that.
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Old 03-13-12, 12:07 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by kgrogers1979 View Post
Not sure what is so funny.

Sure there are already plenty of digital comics. Comixology and iPad are popular, but not so popular as to spell the doom of print as something like an exclusively digital comic like Infinite Comics has to potential to do. I would say that makes it more a beginning of the end than anything else before.
At this point I think that the audience for digital comics is much different than the audience for real comics. Comic book collectors have a certain mentality and need that digital comics can't and won't satiate. I was reading the interview with the DC sales people and according to them they've been surprised at how underwelming the digital sales of the New 52 have been.

If the big publishers were smart, they would give away FREE digital copies of their comics to get readers used to reading them that way.

Two things that need to happen in general for paper comics to go the way of the dinosaur. First EVERYONE needs to have a tablet device to look at comics that way. Second, people like me who prefer paper comics have to die off and be replaced by people who grew up on digitial comics and like to read them and NOT collect them. Big difference.
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Old 03-13-12, 12:40 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by madcougar View Post
At this point I think that the audience for digital comics is much different than the audience for real comics. Comic book collectors have a certain mentality and need that digital comics can't and won't satiate. I was reading the interview with the DC sales people and according to them they've been surprised at how underwelming the digital sales of the New 52 have been.

If the big publishers were smart, they would give away FREE digital copies of their comics to get readers used to reading them that way.

Two things that need to happen in general for paper comics to go the way of the dinosaur. First EVERYONE needs to have a tablet device to look at comics that way. Second, people like me who prefer paper comics have to die off and be replaced by people who grew up on digitial comics and like to read them and NOT collect them. Big difference.
They are. The other part of Marvel's announcement was that all 3.99 books would have the digital copy bundled in for "free." I put that in quotes because they are still a dollar more than their "normal" 2.99 comics and the page count has been dropping, so you're really paying something for it.

Marvel treats their tpb collections a bit like their monthly pamphlets... they never really have everything in stock and ready to ship. If you want to start collecting something in trade only, you'll have problems filling the gaps in their ordering system, since they don't keep tpbs in print with any kind of regularity. This is where I think digital can make a dent, since they seem to want to collect everything but then to keep things profitable, they keep even the reprints on a tight production run; with digital, you can have things available in perpetuity with less overhead.

I don't think the monthly is going away, though. Those single issue sales subsidize some of the cost of the tpbs, since the tpbs are basically reprinted material; what's going to replace that revenue stream, especially if the digital consumers are conditioned to wait for sales. Why do people pay 2.99 to 3.99 for single issues? I think a large part of it is that they are available for a limited time; there's no guarantee that they will hit the .99 bin or even be available a month from now, because if there were a lot of people would just wait. The only guarantee is that for 99.9% of all comics you buy, you will not be able to get what you paid for it if you wanted to sell it, and they will take up space in your house.

With digital, you take away that impulse buy. It's going to be available later. Heck, with DC, it'll be available cheaper in a month. This is similar to the wait-for-the-trade mentality. And you know what happens with that? People wait for the trade, and when the trade comes out, they realize that they didn't really want to read that story anyway, or something else has come up, or maybe I waited this long, and if it's good enough, it'll be an omnibus soon anyway. You take away that impulse buy and you may not get a buy at all. Heck, you take away that impulse guy and you may wean some of the addicts off altogether.

Me, I'm a strictly wait-for-the-trade and/or cheap digital guy anyway, but I do know that the industry cannot easily lose the monthly printed comic fan base, at least not at this point.

Digital comic sales are rising very quickly, though:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/22104.html
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Old 04-09-12, 01:30 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

So anyone pick up AvX #1 and try this out yet?
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Old 04-09-12, 01:42 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

I long for the day the Direct Market crashes and burns.
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Old 04-09-12, 02:15 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
They are. The other part of Marvel's announcement was that all 3.99 books would have the digital copy bundled in for "free." I put that in quotes because they are still a dollar more than their "normal" 2.99 comics and the page count has been dropping, so you're really paying something for it.
Not only that, but there's also the small point that you're getting a digital copy of a comic you already own!

I'm not against digital comics. Far from it. But again, I don't own a tablet so they're pointless to me, even if you give me a free one.
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Old 04-09-12, 03:44 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
I long for the day the Direct Market crashes and burns.
Is digital really that much better than Diamond though. Comixology pretty much has a monopoly on the digital market, so you are pretty much replacing one with the other. And the biggest problem (i.e. the lack of availability of comics to kids) would still exist. Parents typically don't allow their kids to buy stuff online. Comics need to be available in grocery stores and convenience stores again, where kids can actually find them. So I really don't think digital is going to solve the big problems.
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Old 04-09-12, 04:39 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

I tend to agree that digital won't introduce kids to comics. Heck, on a tablet, there are so many more things to compete against, and in addition to that comics, even at 99c, are a terrible value compared to most of them.

Looked up some reviews, it seems the major breakthrough with this is with pacing, which still looks pretty cool... granted, not I'm-going-to-buy-a-digital-comic-for-3.99-to-get-this-free cool, but it'll be interesting to see what else they do with the format and how well it sells.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:03 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by madcougar View Post
I would certainly consider digital comics as my collectin continues to balloon past 40 long boxes. But there's no way I'm paying more than a dollar for a digital comic. Absolutely no way.
Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I tend to agree that digital won't introduce kids to comics. Heck, on a tablet, there are so many more things to compete against, and in addition to that comics, even at 99c, are a terrible value compared to most of them.

Looked up some reviews, it seems the major breakthrough with this is with pacing, which still looks pretty cool... granted, not I'm-going-to-buy-a-digital-comic-for-3.99-to-get-this-free cool, but it'll be interesting to see what else they do with the format and how well it sells.
I recently got an iPad, and thought that I might be making the plunge into digital comics. I'm also at around 40 long boxes, and thought that the space savings would be the main factor.

But given that 99 cents can buy an app with potentially weeks of entertainment value, paying even 99 cents for a 22 page comic is starting to seem expensive. And they are rarely available that cheaply.

I don't know. If every DC comic was 99c digitally, I'd probably buy 20+ a month of the current stuff and hundreds of back issues a year, but it doesn't appear as if the publishers are moving towards pricing that low.

An unlimited monthly subscription service should be explored by all the publishers too. I'd pay a flat fee to be able to read the entire Marvel back catalog for example.
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Old 04-10-12, 10:49 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
I recently got an iPad, and thought that I might be making the plunge into digital comics. I'm also at around 40 long boxes, and thought that the space savings would be the main factor.

But given that 99 cents can buy an app with potentially weeks of entertainment value, paying even 99 cents for a 22 page comic is starting to seem expensive. And they are rarely available that cheaply.

I don't know. If every DC comic was 99c digitally, I'd probably buy 20+ a month of the current stuff and hundreds of back issues a year, but it doesn't appear as if the publishers are moving towards pricing that low.

An unlimited monthly subscription service should be explored by all the publishers too. I'd pay a flat fee to be able to read the entire Marvel back catalog for example.
I can't see myself ever paying more than 99 cents for a digital comic. I can see where a publisher has to price an actual comic book at a certain price because of production and distribution costs. But the costs for a digital comic book can't possibly be the same. The fact that digital comic books are so expensive today is a joke.
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Old 04-10-12, 12:15 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

If you price every single comic, new and old, at 99c, what happens to the direct market? They pretty much go belly up, even if it's only a fraction of the audience that goes after the savings. You see this in video games too, where digital copies only get a slight discount, if any at all, over the retail copies, because unless you're going to go digital distribution only, you don't want to screw over the stores stocking your stuff. And heck, even if you don't care about the direct market, at 99c you'll be screwing over book stores and Amazon as well, and it has yet to be proven that comic book companies can persist on digital alone.

I really think an unlimited rental agreement, easily accessed from an ipad, would either be horrendously priced or kill their market. Marvel has their Digital Unlimited sub now, but it's clunky and relies on Flash and is not accessible via the iPad as a result. It is also missing issues in the middle of runs, presumably to get you to go out and buy stuff. But if this was a tablet app, I might give up buying their comics altogether... since I really just want to read comics, and collect the stuff I know I'll re-read, which is a much smaller list than the amount of stuff I buy now.
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Old 04-10-12, 12:52 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

My biggest concern with going digital isn't the price, but rather the fact that you don't even own the comic. Even though my 25 long boxes take up a lot of room, I am still comforted by the fact that I own them and will always have them whenever I want to read them. Who knows if Comixology will even still be around in 10 years, and if Comixology goes out of business you lose your entire digital collection.
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Old 04-10-12, 01:46 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
If you price every single comic, new and old, at 99c, what happens to the direct market? They pretty much go belly up, even if it's only a fraction of the audience that goes after the savings. You see this in video games too, where digital copies only get a slight discount, if any at all, over the retail copies, because unless you're going to go digital distribution only, you don't want to screw over the stores stocking your stuff. And heck, even if you don't care about the direct market, at 99c you'll be screwing over book stores and Amazon as well, and it has yet to be proven that comic book companies can persist on digital alone.

I really think an unlimited rental agreement, easily accessed from an ipad, would either be horrendously priced or kill their market. Marvel has their Digital Unlimited sub now, but it's clunky and relies on Flash and is not accessible via the iPad as a result. It is also missing issues in the middle of runs, presumably to get you to go out and buy stuff. But if this was a tablet app, I might give up buying their comics altogether... since I really just want to read comics, and collect the stuff I know I'll re-read, which is a much smaller list than the amount of stuff I buy now.
You're probably right, but it just seems like price has to be the main reason why the market is so much smaller now than it used to be.

If kids can't afford comics, they don't grow up to become collectors.

And they're losing the adult collectors because of pricing too, imo.
Originally Posted by kgrogers1979 View Post
My biggest concern with going digital isn't the price, but rather the fact that you don't even own the comic. Even though my 25 long boxes take up a lot of room, I am still comforted by the fact that I own them and will always have them whenever I want to read them. Who knows if Comixology will even still be around in 10 years, and if Comixology goes out of business you lose your entire digital collection.
If that happens, I'm sure they would release an app/method to download all of your purchases. If not they themselves, someone would. Heck, hacks must already be out there.
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Old 04-10-12, 06:00 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
You're probably right, but it just seems like price has to be the main reason why the market is so much smaller now than it used to be.

If kids can't afford comics, they don't grow up to become collectors.

And they're losing the adult collectors because of pricing too, imo.
I don't think price is the magic cure-all, though. There's another thread where someone is basically giving comics for free to their relatives and it's still hit and miss. Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.
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Old 04-11-12, 11:17 AM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I don't think price is the magic cure-all, though. There's another thread where someone is basically giving comics for free to their relatives and it's still hit and miss. Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.
Agreed, as I mentioned in another thread, my 11-year-old son has access to 36 long boxes full of comic books. And while he likes superheroes and has read a few here and there, he's not really "into" comics.

There's absolutely nothing keeping him from reading them... except video games.
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Old 04-11-12, 11:25 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.
Absolutely.

These days we as an audience have a lot more info on what creators, editors and EIC's are like behind the scenes, and I can believe that certain fans buy (and leave) titles and companies based on that info more than they did in the past. I absolutely don't believe that every fan who says "Screw DiDio/Quesada/the $3.99 price point/etc. actually drops books, but I can believe that some do.

And there are some very different sorts of buyers out there. I had 300-400+ issue long runs of many long-running titles, and many of those were books that I wasn't enjoying, but didn't want to "break the run" on. On one level I knew it was silly to spend years buying crap I didn't like, but on another, print comics used to mean a lot more, and I took a lot of pride in having those runs that lasted decades. But Marvel's continuous renumbering stunts and the "nu52" broke me of that once and for all. Buying only what I actually "like" has meant dropping (many) dozens of titles a month and switching almost entirely to trades. I'm also much less willing to take a risk on new series.

My experience and buying habits were atypical, but if Marvel/DC really did succeed in alienating people like me, who were buying 100-150+ titles a month just a year or two ago, then I'm sure that those losses would be felt.
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Old 04-12-12, 12:43 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by Strapped4Cash View Post
Absolutely.

These days we as an audience have a lot more info on what creators, editors and EIC's are like behind the scenes, and I can believe that certain fans buy (and leave) titles and companies based on that info more than they did in the past. I absolutely don't believe that every fan who says "Screw DiDio/Quesada/the $3.99 price point/etc. actually drops books, but I can believe that some do.

And there are some very different sorts of buyers out there. I had 300-400+ issue long runs of many long-running titles, and many of those were books that I wasn't enjoying, but didn't want to "break the run" on. On one level I knew it was silly to spend years buying crap I didn't like, but on another, print comics used to mean a lot more, and I took a lot of pride in having those runs that lasted decades. But Marvel's continuous renumbering stunts and the "nu52" broke me of that once and for all. Buying only what I actually "like" has meant dropping (many) dozens of titles a month and switching almost entirely to trades. I'm also much less willing to take a risk on new series.

My experience and buying habits were atypical, but if Marvel/DC really did succeed in alienating people like me, who were buying 100-150+ titles a month just a year or two ago, then I'm sure that those losses would be felt.
This is getting a little off topic, but that was my rant when the nu52 came out... I had been collecting a bunch of DC titles monthly because I loved the characters, even when the comics themselves weren't very good (basically because I kept thinking that the new creative teams would be better than the old ones); when they took all that history away and basically reset, I lost my attachment to them. Marvel, I had stopped buying monthly once they decided to put everything they publish into trade form.

The thing with the nu52, though, is that it got new readers involved (or it motivated the current collectors to have a gotta get em all mentality). I read an article where the current average numbers on the DC titles are actually lower than two years ago. Granted, they have more titles now and they're still doing better overall than that time, but I really wonder how long they can sustain this. Can a new reader still jump in at this point in the DC universe? I don't know.

Meanwhile, Marvel resets the "status quo" of their universe every single year. Thor's dead, no he's not, yes he is; Fear Itself had so much carnage, but when I read it I wasn't shocked or astonished or anything like that, because you know what, those big events are going to be reset by the next big event. Heck, the X-men just broke up in Schism and they're already seemingly unified again against the Avengers?

But wow, 100 to 150+ titles every month? At the current prices? Geez.
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Old 04-12-12, 09:46 PM
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Re: Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
This is getting a little off topic, but that was my rant when the nu52 came out... I had been collecting a bunch of DC titles monthly because I loved the characters, even when the comics themselves weren't very good (basically because I kept thinking that the new creative teams would be better than the old ones); when they took all that history away and basically reset, I lost my attachment to them. Marvel, I had stopped buying monthly once they decided to put everything they publish into trade form.

The thing with the nu52, though, is that it got new readers involved (or it motivated the current collectors to have a gotta get em all mentality). I read an article where the current average numbers on the DC titles are actually lower than two years ago. Granted, they have more titles now and they're still doing better overall than that time, but I really wonder how long they can sustain this. Can a new reader still jump in at this point in the DC universe? I don't know.

Meanwhile, Marvel resets the "status quo" of their universe every single year. Thor's dead, no he's not, yes he is; Fear Itself had so much carnage, but when I read it I wasn't shocked or astonished or anything like that, because you know what, those big events are going to be reset by the next big event. Heck, the X-men just broke up in Schism and they're already seemingly unified again against the Avengers?

But wow, 100 to 150+ titles every month? At the current prices? Geez.
I agree with you about re-setting the status quo's, but I think that DC was doing it as well. The nu52 did get a lot of people excited and new people involved, but ultimately I think that at least a fair amount of it was poorly planned and executed. I think that it could have been a lot bigger and more sustainable if they had handled it differently. And one of the problems with losing customers like you and me is that I believe that we cared more about these characters more, and so were more willing to buy in the bad times (whether creatively, financially, or whatever else). If the new people aren't happy with the product then I'd guess that they'll be much more ready to leave DC, or cut back to only one or a handful of titles that they really wanted. The relaunch wasn't a bad idea, but I think that it's success or failure will depend on it's execution.

Yeah, comics used to be my main entertainment expense for a long time, even as the prices went up. Now that I've cut back I'm filling in a lot of holes in my movie/TV show collection, trying more "regular" books, etc.
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