How the New 52 saved comics

twitter How the New 52 saved comics0facebook How the New 52 saved comics0google How the New 52 saved comics0pinterest How the New 52 saved comics0tumblr How the New 52 saved comicsreddit How the New 52 saved comics0stumbleupon How the New 52 saved comics0email How the New 52 saved comics

201208171523 How the New 52 saved comics

It’s nearly a year later, and retailer Brian Hibbs is first out of the gate with an analysis of the New 52, a year later and he says it was good. An attached chart shows all the books up significantly for the year, and more importantly, as Bob Wayne promised at Comic-Con last year, the New 52 actually enlarged the pie with some new readers:

What most impressed me a year ago was the sheer number of “lapsed” comics readers coming back into the store for the first time in a decade-plus — there was tons of sampling being done, and a truly significant number of those new customers have seem to stuck. I’m sorry to universalize from my individual experiences, but I can’t think of a clear and unambiguous way to measure this in the national sales charts, but in my individual store, customer transaction counts (basically: every time the register is popped, to make a sale) are up 20%. I also have about 20% more subscriber customers than I did a year ago — and exceedingly few (like “I can count them on one hand” few) new “DC-specific” subs that were opened had to be chased down for payment or cancelled.

What I see is that a lot of new customers came into the market looking at the DC reboot, and they didn’t only buy DC comics — they saw the wide wide range of material that’s available, and discovered new favorites. The entire Direct Market is up, directly counter to the general experience of all other print media, and this at the same time that major expansion to digital was announced, providing virtually every comic on sale in print and on line at the exact same time. John Jackson Miller calculates that Direct Market year-to-date sales through July are up 18.5%. Can you name any other print media where this is anything close to true in the year 2012?


Hibbs admits he was wrong in his initial skepticism, and his analysis goes counter to our own Marc-Oliver Frisch who has generally been a half-empty kind of guy in his analysis of the ensuing sales trends. But I tend to side with Hibbs on this.

Even though the editorial roll-out was a rushed, jury-rigged thing, the marketing on the New 52 was incredible, and they basically sold the plan brilliantly. More importantly in what Hibbs writes, when the lapsed readers came back to the stores, they found a cornucopia of great new titles from ALL publishers, including the shelves bursting with new graphic novels from new creators. New new new!

The pie got bigger.

Now, Hibbs being Hibbs, he does have some reservations, mostly about there being too much weak product at the bottom of the charts, and also re the creep back towards crossover land:

I’m also growing a little concern at DC’s large push towards direct crossover stories — something beginning in “Stormwatch” and ending in “Red Lanterns,” or whatever, because while I recognize the “world building” nature of that, most customers really do resent being asked to buy multiple books in order to follow a story. I think it’s a trend that needs to be looked at very carefully, because it is dangerous directly crossing a 25k seller over with a 40k seller — you’re more likely to net lose readers than to gain, short of a lot of marketing muscle being put on a top franchise (eg: “Night of the Owls” in the Batman books).


Tom Spurgeon is first out of the box with analysis of the analysis:

There’s a little bit of rhetorical inflation there because the numbers to which Hibbs’ compares current and initial initiative figures are the really depraved numbers that DC had before the launch, but I think the general points hold true and from Hibbs’ perspective the actual numbers in the store are what count no matter how they got to where they were. If there’s an underlying theme to the analysis, it’s that fans and readers want to buy the work that’s important and that counts, which indicates in a way that’s been borne out a bit so far they’re not unwilling to go to an IDW or an Image if there are books that present themselves in a compelling way there, even if they walked into the door with money for t-shirt Superman or whatever.


Me? I think the books that are doing well are doing well because they have top talent on top characters; the books that aren’t doing so well have less than top talent. That’s pretty much how this comics game works. The way the DC game works now is keeping books on schedule with whoever is around, and that eventually leads to some attrition…we have yet to see how the comics market will evolve in an era where EVERYTHING is editorially driven.

But the bottom line, after all, is DC made a bigger pie. And for that they deserve a ton of thanks and praise.

Comments

  1. “An attached shart”
    burn

  2. LobsterAfternoon says:

    I always enjoy reading Hibbs’ stuff, and I think his point about how the lower tier stuff is dragging ass is something that DC should embrace. Why have 52 books a month if you can’t sell 52 books a month?

  3. Thomas Wayne says:

    The NEW 52 may have brought in a few new readers…but I still contend that you didn’t need a half assed line wide reboot to achieve this.

    What you need is good to great stories about characters we care about…the fact that a huge portion of the NEW 52 were cancelled before the first year ended and many more will see cancellation before year two just goes to show that the new readers who have been brought in are reading the same old thing….reboot or not.

    A lot of people speculate that the tv commercials helped big time..they ran at theaters as well…

    You didn’t need a reboot to run a commercia..just the will to say…hey…lets advertise on tv and at theaters…

    Essentially DC is selling a few thousand more books of the same old thing…has it helped…absolutely…but was it necessary to achieve the same outcome…absolutley not….

    What DC should do is start putting projects on Kickstarter…I predict both DC and Marvel will head that route eventually…get the fans to pay for creators and so on….just wait and see…it will happen…

    Not sure if fans want a new Mr Terrific series….okay…go the kickstarter route….this way you don’t produce stuff that people don’t want…

    And maybe…just maybe…we can get stories that happened before the reboot…which is what I am waiting on.

  4. Or, if DC wants to have 52 books, why not just rotate the bottom five to ten with other characters or minis that have a definitive beginning, middle and end? Why not split a slot between six issues of OMAC and six issues of a new Kamandi? Why not do a year of a revived Superman/Batman in the new continuity? They have the room to do short bursts for long-term gain.

  5. Kevin says:

    Speaking as a lapsed comic fan (I was only really buying older trades and Atomic Robo on Amazon) the new 52 got me into a physical comic shop for the first time in three years. To be honest, I dropped all of the nu52 after about the 3rd issue, no real reason (it might be that crossover issue, one of the main reason I stopped reading new mainstream superhero books), but have stuck around for other titles. Like Saga from Image, checked out the Valiant relaunch, and started checking out Image’s website for new series.

    Maybe that’s it with comics with me, like a good TV show, I want just one continuous story to focus on in one title. But again, I’m buying monthlies again and it was this event that got me in the door.

  6. Kevin says:

    Oh and just saying, Action Comics#1 was a hell of a first issue.

  7. jonboy says:

    @ Lobster
    DC needs to publish X number of books, in order to keep shelf space. If they reduce the number of titles, then stores will devote less space to them. (And that space would end up going to the competition.)

    @ Thomas
    Nothing better than armchair quarterbacking, huh? You never make a mistake. DC needed something. What that something was, us fans will disagree on, no matter what they chose. (Personally, I wish that they had done a more thorough reboot.)
    I do agree that the commercial advertising was a big kick to sales, and I wish that it was more common.

    @ Nick
    I agree.

    @ above article:
    I agree that ALL publishers (well maybe everyone but Marvel) benefited for this.
    And I also agree that I’m not a fan of all the upcoming crossovers for DC.

  8. I told you so.

  9. ;)

  10. Chris Hero says:

    I’m still skeptical there are any new readers. The retailer orders went up a bit, but Marvel’s have come way down. Also, if there are any new comic readers, they’re reading Walking Dead.

  11. Nate A. says:

    Wow. That’s a serious overstatement of Hibbs’s analysis. Saved comics? Seriously? It goosed the sales of superhero comics over the course of the year. That’s great, as far as it goes. But the numbers involved suggest that isn’t very far.

  12. The new 52 did not bring me back.

  13. Torsten Adair says:

    I started collecting comics in 1984, when Marvel did a mini-reboot of their line (Spidey’s new black suit hooked me, but there was also She-Hulk in the FF, Captain America quitting, Thor growing a beard…)

    At about the same time, the Direct Market matured. There were lots of shops, lots of titles, lots of creativity, and lots of readers. If you didn’t sell a copy immediately, you stuck it in the back-issue bins because there weren’t any trades.

    I bought Marvel off the newsstands for a year before I trekked to the local comics shop. By 1991, I had kicked that habit, and was reading a variety of titles.

    Now, the trade market has matured (with a manga boom and bust similar to the B&W implosion). The comics shops that exist, for the most part, know how to merchandise and market the product. There are few “Android Dungeon” stores out there.

    We’ve seen how television and movies can increase the sales of the paperbacks (Walking Dead, Watchmen, Batman) IF the story is compelling.

    We’re also beginning to see how digital comics are allowing curious readers the opportunity to sample titles at a moment’s notice.

    Digital is the big unknown… all we really know is what Comixology reports on their quarterly sales. No one is giving out any information.

  14. Yeah, NOT “saved comics”, ew ew ew ew ew!

    “I think the books that are doing well are doing well because they have top talent on top creators; the books that aren’t doing so well have less than top talent. That’s pretty much how this comics game works. ”

    I think it is pretty trivial to find comics with “top talent” that are doing ass in the market — SPACEMAN, anyone? So, kinda not?

    Conversely: SUPERMAN. That’s not “top talent”. Well, it was in 1992, but not today…

    -B

  15. “Digital is the big unknown… all we really know is what Comixology reports on their quarterly sales. No one is giving out any information.”

    That no one is giving information is, actually, information, Torsten.

    -B

  16. b.t.t.c. says:

    Yeah, there’s nothing in Hibbs’ article or in the analysis here to point toward the claim that the New 52 “saved comics”. Where is the smoking gun showing that the industry would be going belly-up right now if not for the DC reboot? Or where is the argument that the DC reboot bought the direct market 5-10 more years or life (or whatever the figure might be; I’m just giving an example).

    Personally I see Marvel coming dangerously close to a collapse right now. The Marvel Now stuff, like it or not, seems to be arriving just in time for the rising tide to lift all ships over there. So, since “If Marvel goes, we all go”, there’s a stronger argument to be made for Marvel Now “saving comics”, even though the New 52 seems destined to remain the far stronger reboot.

  17. Chris Hero says:

    My earlier comment reads snarkier than I’d like. I guess I should say for all the success DC appears to be having, it looks like it’s offset by the losses in Marvel’s share. I also feel Walking Dead’s incredible success deserves a lot of credit for helping to raise sales. I’m not qualified to speak on new readers, though.

  18. Chris Hero says:

    BTW…

    @The Beat – “Saved comics?” Isn’t that a bit strong? I don’t mean to pile on, but I feel that statement mitigates whatever success has been found by comics outside the realm of superhero periodicals.

  19. I miss the old DC.

    I mean the one from 1968.

  20. CagedLeo730 says:

    @ Thomas Wayne
    How does 7 cancelled books (JLI included) out of 52 constitute a “huge” chunk of the new52. Those issues cancelled with issue 0 count as year 2 cancellations.
    New52 didn’t save comics but it did give a boost to a drowning DC.

  21. Skyhawk says:

    I don’t know about “saved comics,” but I feel it gave DC a good house cleaning. Things were getting so convoluted leading up to and since Final Crisis. There’s also a generational shift to consider. I’m sure Julius Schwartz got flack when he revamped the golden-age heroes, and ushered in the silver-age we’ve known and loved.

  22. Isn’t it more like, “Saved DC’s 2012, Probably Some of 2012 Too”…?

    I read the charts analysis The Beat does every month, and it doesn’t seem like THAT many books are up THAT much that anything too tectonic shifted.

    The books that were doing well are doing really well now seems to be the big change…and how sustainable is THAT, exactly…?

  23. horatio weisfeld says:

    What you need is good to great stories about characters we care about…

    >>
    @Thomas Wayne:

    I’ve heard this said over and over (and over) again on this board, in different way – and sometimes I’ve even been the one saying it .. OK .. so how Exactly do you (we/me) think they should do THAT?

  24. Carlos says:

    Damn you, Brian Hibbs, with your evil advises. Three of nuDC best series are selling under 20K – I, Vampire, Demon Knights & Frankenstein. Stop giving Bob Wayne ideas.

  25. faustino perez says:

    The New 52 didn’t save comics for me.

    The only DC title I was buying was JONAH HEX. It was cancelled with issue 70 and ALL-STAR WESTERN featuring JONAH HEX was the sole place to read Jonah Hex. So I bout the first four issues. RELUCTANTLY. And hated them. Jordi Bernet was doing stellar work. He was replaced by an artist I’d never heard of, whose art I didn’t care for. Stranding Hex in Gotham City, having him in an “odd couple” relationship with Dr. Arkham, shoe-horning in the Crime Bible – all of these were bad decisions that cost them my hard-earned $. The old JONAH HEX series were one-and-done – other than a 3-part origin story, a six-part epic and a two part mystery, every other issue was self-contained. They might refer to characters and stories in the past but there was no elaborate continuity, nor need of it. The new ALL-STAR WESTERN could have been a great anthology book, featuring some of DC’s stable of forgotten Western heroes – not just El Diablo but Cinammon, Scalphunter, Firehair, Tomahawk, Bat Lash, the Trigger Twins etc – anyone BUT Jonah Hex. But this didn’t happen.

    To be fair, I picked up JL #1 and hated it. And Action #1. It wasn’t terrible, so I picked up #2. It WAS terrible and that was it for me ever buying a “new” DC comic.

    DC’s myopic short-term priorities are part of the reason I hardly buy comics at all anymore.

  26. MattComix says:

    I guess if you call DC blaming the characters for their own creative misfires, gratuitous gore, and trying to regenerate the 90’s through force of will “saving comics”.

  27. Synsidar says:

    so how Exactly do you (we/me) think they should do THAT?

    One effect of the “New 52″ reboot was to show that an ad campaign can create some interest. Recall all the coverage of the new first issues in USA Today, the New York Times, etc. However, advertising single issues of ongoing series, as currently published, is problematic at best.

    Aside from standalone digital issues that don’t use the 32-page format, the only alternative I see to the monthly serials is OGNs. Anthologies don’t work unless the price per page is low, because readers will invariably skip over some of the stories; some of the characters won’t appeal to them. Prose anthologies have the same limited appeal.

    I’d want OGNs to feature different versions of the heroes, e.g.: Peter Parker as divorced and 35, on the outs with his ex, and trying to make a mark as a fashion photographer; Tony Stark competing against a brainier sibling in the tech industry; Batman as suffering from a bipolar disorder, who’s at his best as a crimefighter during manic phases.

    There would be readers, of course, who don’t want heroes written as genre fiction characters; they’d prefer them as heroic archetypes, fighting standard comic book villains, regardless of a story’s length. But doing that limits a writer’s creativity, the ability to tout the creators of the piece in advertising, and the potential audience. Following a hero, with the identities of the stories’ creators being secondary, is like watching a soap opera. The attachment to a character can be intense, but the number of people who can have that intense attachment is small. One reason why new characters often fail might be that a new character isn’t “bad” in any particular way, but that the potential readers for that hero’s series already have their emotional investments and aren’t interested in making more.

    Doing OGNs would also have problems. Book publishers routinely have cash flow problems, and paying the creators in advance of an low-selling OGN’s publication would probably result in more money lost than would be the case with a prose novel. The hope would be that bestsellers could compensate for the low-selling books.

    I doubt that a superhero comic will ever reach as wide an audience as Whedon’s THE AVENGERS movie did. The differences between the material, the audiences, the money invested, and the money spent on promotions are too great.

    SRS

  28. @ Faustino… Most if not all of those characters have appeared in All-Star Western already…

  29. “Hibbs admits he was wrong in his initial skepticism, and his analysis goes counter to our own Marc-Oliver Frisch who has generally been a half-empty kind of guy in his analysis of the ensueing sales trends.”

    Actually, Hibbs makes the exact same points I’ve been making for the last couple months, with regard to DC’s comic-book business.

  30. Jesse says:

    DC and the New 52 is part of a pretty intelligent one year plan. (personally I hate them on a pathological level) The media blitz and “soft” reboot concept seems to work pretty well. However, the smartest decision here that is not mentioned is Before Watchman. Before Watchmen if nothing else seems to being making money and adding a second boost to DC sales. If one of you smarter folks could show numbers ex- Before Watchman it would be interesting. Overall the one two punch of New 52 AND BW has been financially smart. I just don’t see how it keeps going for DC what it the third step? I would be little concerned from a business standpoint.

  31. Synsidar says:

    Compare any of the DC and Marvel superheroes to Victor Newman on TV’s The Young and the Restless, played by Eric Braeden since 1980. Does Newman’s longevity mean that he’s one of the world’s great fictional characters, someone who should be studied in school by aspiring writers and used as a model for great storytelling?

    Or is he great only when compared to other soap opera characters and practically invisible otherwise? If he were to be killed off due to a contract dispute between Braeden and the producers, fans might mourn him for a while, stage mock funerals, etc., but I doubt that many fans would stop watching The Young and the Restless because of his death. And if they did, the producers would probably come up with a storyline saying that his death was faked.

    Comparing the basic Superman or Spider-Man to Heller’s Yossarian or Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom is a pretty useless exercise—the purposes of the stories the characters appear in are too different. But if a novelist were given a chance to use either superhero as he wished to, in a standalone story, there’s a chance that the resulting story could have a more lasting impact than any other story the hero has appeared in.

    SRS

  32. Brady Bonney says:

    It’s always a delight to hear what Mr Hibbs has to say, both in person and in the media.

    However, this headline is absolutely infuriating.

    DC saved nothing but themselves. It’s like saying that Warner Brothers saved movies when they made 42nd Street.

    If DC went under, comics would go on. I promise.

  33. Jesse says:

    Could you also say AMC and Walking Dead saved comics? 2011 was the best sales year right? What about all those folks who walked in for WD and bought something else.

  34. 1st world problems says:

    LOL

  35. Shawn Kane says:

    When the New 52 started, my LCS got a major bump in business and it has continued. The owner says basically the same thing that Brian Hibbs says and it’s not just DC that people are coming in and buying. There is alot of Dark Horse, Image and IDW (not to mention Marvel) being sold there these days.

  36. Shawn Kane says:

    “Saved” is a strong word but I do find it amusing that those who don’t like DC or aren’t reading the New 52 are almost offended by the term. It’s just a headline people! I’m not enjoying the majority of what Marvel puts out right now but if Marvel NOW! is a big hit and gets people interested and in stores again, I’m not going to pooh pooh it just because it’s not my cup of tea.

  37. DC should pull an Archie and just publish
    Batman and Superman Universe books along with a monthly JLA book to showcase thier secondary characters.
    It will be more profitable. 10 monthly Batman Universe books plus 6 Superman monthlys. This will make them lean and mean.
    respectfully “STAM”

  38. @Shawn that is a little bit of simplification of why people have a reaction to the New 52. Marvel Now is simply renumbering and switching creators on titles. New 52 and Before Watchman are a sea change in how DC treats it’s properties.

  39. John Warren says:

    @Jesse–It’s Before WatchMEN. You know, because it comes before Watchmen.

  40. Chris Hero says:

    @Shawn Kane

    I don’t think most people are pooh-poohing DC with the offense at the “saved comics” headline. I mean, good on DC for finding a way to sell more comics. I think the resentment is more…well, here’s an analogy…. If McDonald’s were to have a record breaking year, would anyone say they saved hamburgers?

  41. John Gregory says:

    (Insert inane comment here where I explain that New 52 is evil and I hate it.)

    Oh, I see you already made that post. My bad.

  42. The new DC 52 didn`t save comic books.
    The Walking Dead did.It has shown there is still life in the comic book industry.
    For every 10 DC multi event crossovers we get a great unexpected series like Walking Dead.
    respectfully
    “STAM’

  43. Jesse says:

    @John Warren thanks for the clarification I will have to go back and re-read everything.

  44. What disappoints me is that the nu52 showed that funded marketing really works, yet we still have to see any company, including DC, do it again.

    Maybe it didn’t produce enough revenue to justify itself. Does anyone know?

  45. Burrell says:

    Wait, I thought Bendis said that the New 52 was DC fucking the retailers in the ass?

  46. Thomas Wayne says:

    Caged Leo,

    The NEW 52 …as in 52 NEW series…within the first year TEN of the NEW 52 were cancelled…

    That’s nearly 20% of THE NEW 52 gone by year one….HOW DOES THAT NOT CONSTITUTE A HUGE CHUNK I DON’T KNOW WHAT DOES…that’s a nearly one in five failure before the 12 month mark…

    And they can add as many new books as they want to the current line…the original new 52 will never change…and ever other book from that first 52 that gets cancelled from this point will fall into that same group…

    I honestly think I’m stating the obvious…not the outragoues….

  47. Thomas Wayne says:

    What you need is good to great stories about characters we care about…

    >>
    @Thomas Wayne:

    I’ve heard this said over and over (and over) again on this board, in different way – and sometimes I’ve even been the one saying it .. OK .. so how Exactly do you (we/me) think they should do THAT?

    Horatio,

    I’m glad you asked…because I believe its simple…

    Stop trying to MARKET CHARACTERS to a specific demographic and just tell great stories….

    DC…MARVEL….whomever…all base their “product” on demographics and marketing research…not on storytelling…and storytelling is what we want…so they are blowing it big time before the books ever hit the writer’s page.

    Why a NEW 52? Marketing research told them to try for new, younger readers…so they reboot Superman (which may work for some but pisses off others) and make him younger and more brooding. Then make line wide changes…(except in GL and Batman which were selling well to begin with) and try a whole new strategy to get readers in…

    Why is Marvel revamping everything now?..their marketing dept. tells them DC got a bump..so do something similar and you to will get a bump…
    The main thing they are both missing is the one thing that works everytime out…
    the tried and true strategy of solid storytelling works every time.

    Doubt that? Just ask Robert Kirkman…Walking Dead has a fan following that has slowly grown to mega preportions…he didn’t have a plan except for writing great stories with characters HE cared about…there is no strategy other than telling great stories…

    There’s a lot of love out there right now for Snyder’s Batman. Great…but DC didn’t need to reboot Batman to tell that story.

    The Reboot was and will always continue to be a marketing tool…If sales start to slide in a year or two or five they will do it again and call it something else..THE NEW 52-RELOADED.

    When I was younger…a million years ago in the 1980s…DC and MARVEL both told great stories…with great characters…they made the characters great…
    Readers from my age will tell you that The New Teen Titans was totally friggin awesome in the early 80’s. Titans had been around since the 1960’s…never really taking off…it was a group of sidekicks and not much more…then Wolfman and Perez got ahold of them and made that group of sidekicks a family…brothers and sisters…people we cared about and couldn’t wait to read on a monthly basis…
    characters who could grow and expand.

    Mid 70’s to mid 80’s Xmen were the same way. Now Xmen is a brand (god how I hate tha term)…and marketed to as many people as possible…Wolverine has gone from the coolest bad ass on the planet to the most over used character in the history of comics or possible fiction, period.

    You want to know how to tell great stories? Stop trying to market to imaginary focus groups and just tell great comic book stories…it happened years ago and it can happen now.

    Sadly, I can’t think of any books right now that make me feel the same way Teen Titans and Xmen did in the 80’s. Its not because the story tellers aren’t as good or capable….its because they are pigeoned hold by corporate crap or characters the writers themselves care about.

    Kirkman has it right…all the Name talent should do creator owned stuff and let some new talent step in…jaded fan writers who want nothing more then to write the stories they haven’t been getting from the establishment.

  48. Todd Allen says:

    I’d say Walking Dead’s tpb sales were propping up the graphic novel side of things while DC was in it’s pre-relaunch death spiral. Take the Walking Dead numbers out of a few months in ’10 and ’11… wow, that would be uglier.

    Right now we haven’t *quite* swapped positions between DC and Marvel a year ago, but the weakness in Marvel’s non-Event material is somewhat offset by the resurgence of independent material. Did the New 52 drive new readers to the indie material? Did it drive off existing readers who switched to indie? Was it just a few creators deciding to do something different? (I don’t think Saga’s success has that much to do with DC or Marvel, and certainly the timing didn’t.)

    However, if DC blew the relaunch, there was an AWFUL LOT of retail capital tied up in those books. Let’s all be glad we didn’t have to find out what would happen if it hadn’t worked.

  49. Although I wasn’t a “lapsed” reader in the sense of collecting comics (I collected all my fav’s as graphic novels from Amazon), I was “lapsed” in actually entering a LCS and buying monthly issues…..DC’s “New 52″ changed that.

    Initially, I was picking up about 10 DC books out of 12 titles I was collecting. A year later; however, I’m only collecting 4 DC titles of the 12 titles I’m collecting. For DC this can be seen as bad, but for the Inde titles and my LCS this can be seen as good.

    DC succeeded in bringing me back to my LCS, but failed to keep me reading their titles.

  50. I didn’t read any DC before the New 52 because I didn’t know any of it. Now I pick up at least one DC comic a week – and with that came a whole new group of creators I didn’t know about, whose work I’ve followed across to other companies. The New 52 worked for me!

  51. FotoCub says:

    @Thomas Wayne:

    I don’t think it’s an issue that ten of DC’s books have been cancelled in the first year, as 15 of Marvel’s titles have been cancelled in the same period. It’s the nature of the business that not everything succeeds, but DC (in the case of the first 6 cancellations) rolled out 3 very profitable replacements – Earth 2, Batman Incorporated and Worlds’ Finest. THAT is a very good business sign. They’re taking chances on new concepts. Some succeed, some fail, but they’re learning as they go and making adjustments accordingly.

  52. Glenn Simpson says:

    @Thomas Wayne:

    There is no “just” to “telling great stories”. Telling great stories is a very very difficult thing to do these days. Very few writers are able to sell comics in high numbers just based on the stories themselves. That Kirkman can do it just means that Kirkman can do it – that doesn’t mean that the rest of them can.

  53. The DC 52 started the ball rolling as far as bringing in new and lapsed readers, and then did nothing to encourage them to stay, as reflected in sales figures along the bottom half plus of their line.

    I sure am glad that other publishers (Image, Valiant,Boom) have had success in picking up where the lack invention DC and Marvel are showing.

    The marketplace is too fragile for either DC or Marvel to collapse as they own 65-70% of the sales. No comic store can recover from a sales drop that heavy. It’s much better for the market to be spread among five or six players at least, keeping competition in the forefront for readers.

  54. Synsidar says:

    Telling great stories is a very very difficult thing to do these days. Very few writers are able to sell comics in high numbers just based on the stories themselves.

    The stories don’t have to be “great.” Just competent and worth the money spent to buy them.

    Even if the writer is good, basing all the stories on the lead character means that the majority of the stories will be plot-driven things, because character-driven stories are limited by the character’s complexity and connections. But a writer’s ambitions and skills matter more. At Marvel, Hank Pym’s one serious fight with his wife was turned into a character issue that was used by writers for years upon years–whether it was laziness or because they couldn’t think of anything else to do with him didn’t matter. The issue with Jan became a predictable bore. The Scarlet Witch’s power has become a writer’s version of Play-Doh: he can have the power be whatever he wants it to be, and do whatever he wants it to, for the space of a storyline. Then the power can be tossed back into a can when he’s done, and another writer, at some later point, can pretend it’s something else.

    At DC, WONDER WOMAN is good because Azzarello has constructed an Olympian power struggle, with vivid characters and surprising twists. BATWOMAN is good, IMO, because of interesting opponents and, again, good character treatments.

    It’s useless to yearn for a return to the ’70s, but if a storyline can be mapped out and compared to a prose story, the reader can hope that it’s good reading. If the story lacks a premise, or a plot, then it’s a slice of life piece at best, or a melange of character bits with the writer letting the artwork carry the story’s weight and hoping that the readers won’t notice the lack of substance.

    SRS

  55. It’s hard to get interested in DC books these days as all the interesting stuff published has low numbers and gets cancelled. It seems DC readers just aren’t interested in reading anything beyond Batman. Even Vertigo is a shade of what it used to be, surprising considering how strong the alternate market is these days. I mean even Dark Horse is getting into the horror market.

    As previous commenter has mentioned DC should just print Batman books and call it a day.

  56. jonathanstewart says:

    And it will continue all through 2013 thanks to an event that likely goes into some of 2014. More bitching and moaning in the pipeline. We all know bitching and moaning NEVER gets old on the Internet..

  57. Spurgeon said:

    “If there’s an underlying theme to the analysis, it’s that fans and readers want to buy the work that’s important and that counts”

    Possibly this is an accurate reflection of Hibbs’ piece, which I’ve not fully read yet.

    But whoever first had the thought, why is it so impossible that fans and readers might have bought the books because they found them interesting and exciting.

    Monocausal motives are never valid.

  58. BAJcomics says:

    I am currently enjoying the Batman line of comics of the new 52. HOWEVER, if you are going to “reboot” a story. You start from the beginning. Not “when the characters were the most interesting.” That is just showing us what we already have seen. I like the new stories and some of the new outfits. I think Wonder Woman has a great new outfit. I also COMPLETELY agree with the idea that you lose people by doing “crossover” events. The number one complaint I hear about people not wanting to get into my comics is because they don’t want to do that. It is true that you can world build or whatever that way, but I don’t see why you have to have crossovers all the time to do it. I keep my titles self contained and still manage to have one world they all take place in.
    The thing that I have the problems with in the new 52, is that all of the years we spent watching these characters become “the most interesting” is the whole reason we like them to begin with. We’ve seen what they have been through and that is what makes them legends. You don’t go back to that and expect a better outcome. All in all, I’d say I like the new artwork, the edgy stories and a few but not all of the new suits, but you tell the story. You don’t re-tell a story.

Speak Your Mind

*