Mark Millar: slow down on those downloadable comics

201101141343 Mark Millar: slow down on those downloadable comics
Over at his forum, 2010 bestseller Mark Millar urges us to put the brakes on for downloadable comics. This despite his WANTED topping comiXology’s sales list. I’ll take the liberty of posting his objections in full since what he has to say is pretty important:

Okay, I’m loving the fact that Millarworld books account for 8 of the top 10 downloads in 2010. That’s cool, but what superficially looks like a great deal for creators is less so under a little scrutiny. Yes, you’re eliminating paper, printing, comic store and distributor costs, but there’s hidden costs here I haven’t seen highlighted anywhere.

1/ Apple take 30% right off the bat.
2/ In the case of Wanted, Comixology then splits 50/50 with the publisher.
3/ Then the publisher pays the agent and creative team out of the remaining cash depending on their deal.

In hard numbers, the digital comic is normally half the price of the paper comic, but you have just as many percentages to pay out as a creative team to an electronic distributor and publisher. So effectively the creative team is getting half as much money. For creators, this isn’t great and for comic stores this is awful. I don’t mind paying thirty percent to a local store where my friends work and the guys care about the product. But do I want this money going to Apple?

In a nutshell, I’m very, very on the fence with this one. I don’t like the idea of digital replacing paper anyway, but unless sales more than double creators are going to be worse off and the lifeblood of the industry, the stores, are going to feel the pain more than anyone. Y’know, like, the guys who keep us in business? I know lots of stores who weather the economic busts we face periodically because they love comics and will always stick around. Would Apple do the same?

Also, and perhaps the most worrying question of all, how do we know what we’re selling? It’s quite hard to fake what comics are doing as you can check with the printers, distributors and a number of places. Official, quite accurate numbers are printed online. But I checked several sources last night and nobody could tell me what my download numbers were for these supposed record-breaking numbers of mine. Just their chart position. I’m really not liking this at all.

In other words, keep buying paper comics.


Millar’s warnings echo those of Chip Mosher who cautioned that digital comics are still the great white hype:

Right now, the best estimates I’ve gotten are that we have about 300,000 people reading comics in the Direct Market on a month-to-month basis. I think everyone is so wrapped up that we can now reach the other 99% of the U.S. population easier than we ever have been before, that they are missing that we still have a ton of issues to work through. Being a guy whose main currency is hype, the hype on digital comics is pretty astounding and, at least for me, has crossed the line into being counter-productive.

It seems to me, that everyone sees “digital comics” as having this massive change on the industry. “Digital is going to save comics.” Every 5 to 10 years, something comes by that is going to “save comics.” Trades were going to “save comics” before digital. The mass market was also going to “save comics.” To put it simply, this is a very Pollyanna-ish view.


Although we all know deep in our hearts we must be on all platforms, Miller and Mosher are correct to at least ask for some questioning. Every indication we’ve had of actual numbers of comics downloads is, to be blunt, underwhelming. This is an emerging, not a mature marketplace.

BUT, see the next post.

Comments

  1. Chris Hero says:

    I’m a believer in digital comics, but I think a lot of what we’re currently seeing won’t be the way business is done in a few years.

    For example, I think the cut taken by the electronic publisher will shrink below 50%. I think as more people enter the market, that will come down. Really, there’s so little manpower needed to make and maintain a digital comic reader that I don’t see how 50% will stay. My buddy and I made one of our own one weekend just for fun and, while it’s not exactly an award-winning program, it works, and that was just two guys fooling around one weekend.

    I think the other thing is which sorts of digital comics are the most successful – webcomics! The Penny Arcade guys make enough money to buy out God; XKCD is apparently doing extremely well; Chris Onstad dose pretty well with Achewood. We’re already reaching a *huge* market with comics, just not comics already sold in DM stores.

    I think as some more breakout hits develop and we all get smarter about the technology available, we’ll get a better picture of the future. Right now, I think it’s too early to say any one way is the future of digital comics.

  2. Darragh McGrath says:

    Warren Ellis points to a pretty interesting model put forward by Brett Jackson —> http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=11571

    The whole Apple cut of the pay isn’t something I think will be around all that long. It’s not sustainable, particularly for digital comics, as Millar alludes to here. And with this method (if it’s feasible), the creator/s will have content control AND see the actual number of downloads too.

  3. Oh, you’ve just posted that, do’oh! Synchronicity etc…

  4. Re: Millar’s discussion of the percentage splits – if that isn’t the biggest endorsement for creators to DiY then I don’t know what.

    Or combine efforts and expenses as a branded group of creators.

    In my own publishing company we see digital as a great lead-in for people to buy our collectible print editions. Digital comics and pulp are a key component for distribution and marketing.

    We MUST take a hint from the manga industry and start out cheap and plentiful and work our way up toward trades, collector’s hardbacks, toys, etc…

  5. The problem with digital delivery is that there is an expectation that it should be free or low cost, partly because there is no traditional printing or “manufacturing” going on of anything physical–people understandably often associate price with the cost of production. But people need to be educated that artists deserve to be paid for their ideas and intellectual property.

    Thus, getting people to pay for content at a fair price will require somewhat of a cultural shift.

    Comics, of course, are not alone. The music, film and news industries are all grappling with finding a balance between providing content for free and trying to figure out what people are willing to pay for and how much (assuming it’s not available as a free/illegal download somewhere else!)

    But this is definitely a case of the horse already being out of the barn!

  6. Wait, let me get this straight: it’s not enough that Millar’s comics (which are CREATOR OWNED!) are selling a lot of copies via digital distribution, he doesn’t like the idea because he doesn’t make AS MUCH money off of them as he would if they were print books?

    Are you F***ing serious?

    Here’s an idea, Mark: don’t sell them digitally! They’re YOUR comics. You don’t have to give anyone permission. It’s not like Comixology is STEALING them from you and selling them illegally. You get a cut of every sale, based on a sales model that you KNEW and signed up for!

    This is insane. So illegal downloads are wrong because they hurt the creators (which, by the way, I agree with) but now he’s saying PAID downloads are also wrong because he doesn’t make as much money as he’d like to? If his beef is with the percentages charged by Apple or Comixology, that’s not the fault of the fans. Renagotiate with those companuies,. or pull your product. Nobody is forcing you top…

    …oh, s***

    I see what just happened! There is no issue here. It’s yet another Manufactured Millar Controversy (TM) designed to draw more attention to him, toot his own horn, and sell even MORE books in the process.

    Well, played, Mr. Millar.

  7. Mike Stumbo says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m old school when it come to comics, I have been reading comics since 1980, and collecting them since 1985. I love the hobby but I can say that if all comics go completely digital in the near future I will be done with the hobby. I like to hold the books I buy and read them, reading comics on a computer screen for too long gives me a headache.

  8. Snikt Snakt says:

    Dara Naraghi may be my favorite poster EVER.

    Mike Stumbo, welcome to the 21st Century! Adapt or get left behind…

  9. He’s right about sales. As for percentage there are other options. I’m not only the artist/writer/everything else of my comic book, Future Kings, but the app creator. So I know exactly what the stats are ad there’s no secondary split. Obviously not all will be able to do this but there are solutions. I love print books bt it’s obvious we need both.

    It also should be pointed out that a big boon will come when there are viable android tablets sinc you don’t have to sell android apps throughthe android marketplace. Combine that with paypal micropayments and you have great potential.

  10. *pinches eyes shut with thumb and forefinger, chin to chest, shakes head balefully*

    Comics need to be sold in EVERY MARKET POSSIBLE. Every publisher needs to be selling via Itunes, via comixology, via brick and mortar stores, big box chains, mail-order. Everywhere. AS MANY MARKETS AS POSSIBLE.

    Unless Millar has a surefire, can’t fail, guaranteed plan that will put more people in a comic shop tomorrow than were in there today I don’t think complaining about not understanding a digital market is helping anything. Fewer and fewer people are going into the comic shops. It doesn’t matter how many you print or how much you love pamphets, if there is no one to buy them they are going to go away. Why is this hard to understand? Don’t bitch about the only potential growth market for monthly comics unless you can replicate that growth in the brick and mortars.

  11. Dara, Wanted is published by Image, Civil War and Kick-Ass by Marvel. I suspect Millar signed contracts allowing his publishers to offer his comics digitally.

    Civil War: $2.00
    Apple gets $0.60
    Comixology gets $0.70
    Publisher gets $0.70

    Publisher then takes a share to cover company costs, then distributes the rest to the creators.

    The comic cost $4.00.
    Diamond takes their cut for distribution… depending on publisher discounts based on volume and credit history… let’s say they 50%.

    Diamond sells the $4.00 comic to a store for $2.00.
    The comic book store makes $2.00 by selling the comic.
    Diamond doesn’t purchase the comic from Marvel, they distribute the comic, charging a service fee.

    If the cost of the comic gets doubled with each move up the chain, then the raw price is $1.00, which covers Marvel’s publishing costs and payroll (editorial and creative).

    This is all speculative. Does Millar earn the same royalty on digital and paper? What does it cost Marvel to prepare the file for digital delivery? Or does Comixology prepare it, including that service in the 50% fee?

    Millar does raise some valid points. Nice to see him acting sensible.

  12. Snikt Snakt says:

    William, you can sell comic books in every kind of store you want…but no one wants to pay $3+ for them (anymore) in a depressed economy.

    Look at the monthly sales from these last few months, they’re tanking across the board…

  13. Snikt Snakt – yes, I know. That was the basis of my screed.

  14. Matthew Southworth says:

    Jeez, Dara, relax. Just ’cause you don’t like Mark Millar doesn’t mean that he’s wrong about this or just greedy.

    He’s pointing out something very important. As readers, we want to get things as cheaply as we can. As creators, we want to keep creating. And no matter how much money Mark Millar has, he’s not saying “I need more” but saying “look at what ALL creators get from this deal”.

    For someone publishing a smaller book (like STUMPTOWN, which I work on), one might find himself making virtually nothing while Apple takes a third of the money. And that’s not to say that Apple doesn’t deserve something–but it’s important to look at the economics of it.

    If creators can’t afford to make comics, they don’t make comics and you can’t buy them.

  15. Al™ says:

    I think $1 seems like a fair price for a digital copy of a digital comic. All I get is 32 page electronic file to read and reread. It has no resale value, really, and it’s not likely to become part of my “estate”.

    Okay, maybe the creators are not getting much of that dollar. They need to create their own marketing and delivery system.

  16. Millar is wrong. This isn’t a problem with digital comics, or the price thereof, or the sales numbers (which is a whole ‘nother issue in itself). Every single one of those cuts come from outside influences–Comixology, Apple, the publisher itself. Millar chose to deal with those entities (or at least the publisher).

    He didn’t have to do that. He’s just now learning what Jeff Smith, Dave Sim, and every successful webcomics creator out there already knows: if you do it all yourself, you take a bigger risk, but your potential for reward is much greater than if you rely on a publisher (and in this case a digital distributor like Apple).

    The problem isn’t the format. If Millar wants to make more money on digital comics, he needs to break away from Marvel, DC, Comixology, and Apple, and do it himself. He could probably do it too. He’s a big enough name and God knows he’s really good at marketing himself.

  17. @Matthew: I’ll freely admit that my personal dislike of Millar’s obnoxious, media-whore personality made my post harsher-sounding than it should have been. And believe it or not, I do agree with the general concerns about digital publishing that you (more clearly) raised. But my problem is still with the passive-aggressive way he frames his supposed argument and twists it into self-promotion (“I’m loving the fact that Millarworld books account for 8 of the top 10 downloads in 2010…”) and empty pandering (“In other words, keep buying paper comics.”)

    I love print comics and print books, but even I see the reality of where all media is heading, whether we like it or not: digital. If anyone else had made the “support creators, buy more print comics” argument, they’d be called a luddite or a dreamer.

    As to the real issue of the profit-sharing inequities of digital distribution, etc. yes, there’s definitely a discussion to be had there. As a creator myself, I’m uneasy about how the shift from established print economy to nascent digital (under the ever-present shadow of pirated digital) will affect pay for creators. But I don’t want a self-aggrandizing shill like Millar as the poster child for the debate, because he carries zero credability with me. And despite his feigned concern, he can only muster a weak “I’m very, very on the fence with this one…” commitment. I understand how publishing decisions with his Marvel/Icon work may not be under his complete control, but surely the other creator-owned work is? If so, I’d like to see him put his money where his mouth is and pull those books until such time as the system has been fixed in favor of creators.

    In the end, I have infinitely more respect for a creator like you who would like to explore the complex issues presented here, than someone like Millar who plays the victim card and the activist card, while simultaneously promoting his digital work and benefitting from it more than just about any other creator.

    @tekende: I agree. This is 2011, not 1950. Creators are infinitely more aware of the benefits and consequences of the deals/contracts they sign. If Millar’s unhappy with his particular deal, he should take it up with his publishers. If, on the other hand, he really wanted to bring the bigger issue of digital sales tracking, fair compensation, etc. to the forefront of the discussion, he could have done it more astutely and succinctly than a BS “I care about comic shops, buy more print comics” message on his own message board. How about a well argued, well presented editorial on a comics industry site? After all, he’s a writer, right?

  18. I’m with William. :)

  19. HOLD UP, I’m with Mike Stumbo. Darn, wrong name first post. Sorry, William. (WHY can’t you delete a post?!)

  20. Wally says:

    I guess it’s time to renegotiate agreements with Comixology or begin selling digital comics via creator’s sites. If you want more $ from sales, cut out the Middle Men. Anyone with knowledge of Flash or InDesign can create digital comics.

  21. tekende is right. If you want to distribute your work as some sort of digital download, you don’t have to do business with any of those companies, publisher or aggregator. The time and capital needed to transform the comic into a consumer friendly form and distribute to an audience has dropped to the point where they are well within the range of an independent creator. You just do not need a publisher to take the risks of doing an entire print run. The downsides are that you get no advance on the work you do writing/illustrating it and that all the marketing is in your hands. So you end up with the problems of the average novelist, except you have a market that already considers independent creators a legitimate artist.

    The business question for a creator is if the cut those companies take hurts less than the extra work and risks you take. If digital downloads end up with the same relationship to the direct market that webcomics have with the newspaper syndicates, I’d say to expect to the digital download market to also be dominated by independents rather than publishers. Aside from having established properties, publishers just don’t bring enough to the table anymore.

    So, my money’s on Waid’s current project.

  22. Wow, I agree with Mark Millar. Guess there’s a first time for everything!

  23. So you have 3 middlemen for your digital comic and still you don’t own some sort of file?

    fail!

  24. Digital comics CAN save comics… here’s a MUCH better way to sell your digital comics http://bit.ly/sellcomics

  25. I promise not to buy any of Millar’s comics digitally.

    Or at all.

  26. Naveed says:

    Digital Comics suck and will kill the industry in the long run. How many creators and store owners will lose their jobs down the road? The industry is already in bad shape and growth in digital will only make things worse. We all know Digital comics will be pirated and illegally distributed, just like the movies and music. Look at those two industries, they have been crashing for years with no end in sight. They can still sustain the downfall as they are much bigger markets. No one will win in the long run, except Apple…..plus really who can claim that reading a digital comic is better than a paper copy? Maybe it is just me being too old school. (Collecting since 1990)

  27. This has less to do with Apple’s 30% cut (less than the % a comic shop takes, and the same amount Apple takes from music companies) but everything to do with comixology taking half of the leftovers. How DC & Marvel got suckered into a deal like this is beyond me.

    I thought the comics industry was following the disasterous digital approach taken by the music business, but I am wrong; they are doing it even worse and making more mistakes.

    The comics approach to digital is a joke, they are flailing around like the deck crew on the titanic, it’s time to grow a pair and take a realistic approach to a digital growth PLAN instead of clinging to an old model that isn’t going to sustain in a digital world. Every day they waste is a day they won’t get back and a day that sets them farther behind.

    Kudos to IDW who have their own app at least.

  28. Bill Scurry says:

    As a digital customer, how the book gets to my iPad is immaterial, for the most part. It’s incumbent on Millar to work out a better deal structure. I just want to read legal digital downloaded comics, don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

    I bought “The Hunter” and “The Outfit” as apps from IDW, a transaction I would have never made for a print artifact. Hey guys, I’m right here — the man with money to throw around on comics. Can we do business?

  29. Wraith says:

    The apocalypse must be upon us, because I agree with everything Millar said. I also agree with everything Chip Mosher said.

    I should also point out that a few months ago over on the http://www.bleeddingcool.com forums, retailer QCCBOB pretty much said the same thing about digital comics as Millar and Mosher said.

  30. CitizenCliff says:

    Not making much on sales from comics on the iPad you say? Well there’s only 7 million iPad users in the entire world thus far. Give it a few minutes, will ya?

    People are so concerned how little will be made per issue, that they can’t foresee the possibility of millions of new comic readers/fans as a result of devices like the iPad. C’mon, there’s not even any Android based tablet readers on the market yet. This platform is in its infancy.

    I’ve owned the iPad since July, and it is an amazing device. It has changed the way I read, get my news, and even how often I visit http://www.comicsbeat.com.

    But it’s a relatively expensive item — mine was well over $600. But by next Christmas we could see some tablets for as low as $300. If we get to a sub $200 tablet by around Christmas 2012, we’ll reach a point of mass adoption. Think of all the people who never bother to enter a comic shop, but with the convenience of the iPad, they can browse through countless copies and genres, a selection that could never be offered at a single comic shop. The beauty of the iPad and the other coming tablets is the instant availability of media. This will all take a few years, but it could be the most important event in comics history. Try to be patient.

  31. Millar’s complaint sounds reasonable but he’s actually overlooking a very important dimension. His basic complaint is that digital comics cost half as much as print comics, therefore the creator gets less money at the end of the day.

    Not necessarily true. The creator gets less money PER ISSUE. But if you cut the price in half, you ought to sell more units – therefore the creator may get more money IN TOTAL.

    It actually depends on how elastic the demand for comics is (i.e., how much the sales vary when you change the price). Since digital is presently an emerging marketplace selling to the sort of early adopters willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a iPad, Millar may be right about the situation right now – though even as things stand, I question how many digital sales are INSTEAD of paper sales, bearing in mind that most books have been out for months by the time they reach digital distribution. Even if he’s making less money per issue from digital sales they may still be additional sales and therefore more money in his pocket.

    In any event, I suspect that the economics will become more favourable as the market grows.

  32. Millar is a little short-sighted here. Most people that get their comics from a shop are still going to get them in print form (unless the prices get too high). People still want something tangible and digital is not their deal.

    Plus, unless a comic is collected in trade form, that stream of income is pretty much over in one month for that particular book as far as the creators are concerned. If that same book is put up on the digital site then it is there every day for someone new to purchase. An indefinite revenue stream.

    And some people even opt to buy the comic in print after they read it digitally if it is something that really appealed to them and they want it in that tangible form.

    Now I do agree with Millar that there needs to be more transparency with the digital download sales numbers. That is something that should be addressed by the creators with the publishing companies because they are probably getting the correct numbers.

  33. @ Ryan – I agree with the transparency aspect, I’ve been harping about that since the beginning. I have books on Comixology, too. It’s a dark hole of mystery beyond the *rankings*. Thus, I’m with Millar on that. Even if they put an old fashioned counter at the bottom of the download link it’s still subject to manipulation. As Millar said, if it’s printed you know what’s out there. There is nothing printed here.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the digital realm. As I noted in the The Beat’s year-end survey, I think digital will not save nor kill the industry — it will merely find its place on the totem pole and be yet another player on the field, not replacing it.

    That said, there’s no doubt it has hurt a percentage of retailers, and in turn, some creators might feel it over the long run. There will always be winners and losers, we just don’t know the balance right now.

  34. Darragh McGrath: “The whole Apple cut of the pay isn’t something I think will be around all that long. It’s not sustainable, particularly for digital comics, as Millar alludes to here.”

    Tell that to the music industry or the tv networks that have bigger industry muscle to flex and they haven’t been able to do much to move Apple. At best they have managed to get more control through alternatives like Amazon.

    That said, Comixology seems to be taking a really big cut and I can see that changing in the future. Also as others have pointed out more transparency. However, at the moment while sales are still small, I think Comixology would rather hide how much they are selling.

    Also Mark Millar and other creators need to realize that all of their content is available for free online. I know people who have hundreds of comics on their iPad’s and they haven’t paid for single one of them. There needs to be a push for digital and it needs to be cheap, otherwise you help the network of free digital comics grow further.

  35. Fair point, though I think comics have perhaps more lee-way right now in finding new ways of distribution than music does. iTunes is the default go-to for a lot of people who buy music online, that’s perhaps as much due to their interface/ease-of-use than anything else; Apple have the market pretty sewn up in that regard. The music industry was too busy suing Napster and wringing their hands about illigal downloaders while people like Jobs’ swooped in and carved himself out a nice chunk of their market.
    However there’s no one definitive place to go to for comics, at least one not universally known, at the moment (I don’t have an iPad, so I’m probably wrong!)

    Seems to me like Warren Ellis or others could undercut their own comics on ComiXology price-wise and sell straight to their established fanbase, legal issues notwithstanding. Maybe it’d only work well with creator-owned content or indie creators.

    Either way, I see no reason something like this couldn’t co-exist alongside the big corporations’ methods; it at least provides a new avenue for some brave souls to pursue!

    The comics industry should aggressively pursue all paths open to them in regards to digital distribution, rather than letting someone else do the heavy lifting for them and cornering their market or worse, doing what the music industry did and spend years battling against the inevitable instead of coming up with innovative ways to exploit a new medium. Comics are at an important stage right now, they should learn from the mistakes others made in the past. Digital could conceivably usher in a new dawn for comics, if they make the right moves!

  36. True, there’s no one definite place for comics, but those with iPads tend to go through the iTunes store, rather than buy elsewhere online. Alternative methods and stores will pop up, but I don’t think they will be as popular as apps through the iTunes store. That said, I’ve heard of the Kobo app (e-reader for books) who send users to the browser to make book purchases, to avoid giving a cut to Apple. It’s slightly less user friendly and means they have to break out their credit card rather than just buy at a click of the button. The result is fewer sales (likely from impulse buys) in order to cut Apple out.

    Also as others have pointed out, iPad is just the beginning, the CES convention had over 30 tablets coming out this year, mostly Android tablets. I imagine in time Android tablets will over take the iPad in sales, like Android phones are over taking the iPhone.

  37. The problem isn’t the format. If Millar wants to make more money on digital comics, he needs to break away from Marvel, DC, Comixology, and Apple, and do it himself. He could probably do it too. He’s a big enough name and God knows he’s really good at marketing himself.

    Highlighted for truth.

  38. I respect all creators who are putting together their own independent apps, but let’s be realistic:

    Digital music works because all of the music is available through a single digital store such as iTunes or Amazon. If I enjoy the melodic stylings of Gym Class Heroes, Bruce Springsteen, and Alicia Keys, I do not need to download three separate apps to listen to their songs. In the same way, I cannot imagine how much space it would consume on your digital device to have separate apps for Bone, X-Men and One Piece.

    Comics have a problem that music doesn’t: comics aren’t inherently in a digital format. Music has been in a pre-ready digital format since the 1980s with Compact Discs. This allowed the whole medium to “leap up” to the next stage in evolution with fewer hiccups. With comics, we are stuck in the quicksand of a middle-period in which the medium is trying to reach a consensus about both how to proceed and in what exact formats.

    Before I go, one more issue: promote discreet file ownership. Peace out.

  39. I get distributed by Comixology and Iverse and this is how it works:

    Apple get 30% for putting the comic on iTunes and handling the distibution.

    Iverse or Comixology is getting 20% for formatting the comic, submitting it to iTunes and doing some mild advertisement.

    I get 50%, so roughly 49 cents per download.
    And that’s not bad, especially for self publishing and a minimum of effort.

    On the other hand Mark Millar could sell his digital downloads at $2 (like Kirkman does) or $3, or more. Nobody forces anybody to sell at .99c an issue.

  40. In other words, keep buying paper comics.

    YES— keep printing them floppies!

    How else can I find out about the latest Big Event/ Major Changes in Continuity/ Great Inter-series Company Crossover of 4,5 years ago…

    If they’re no longer there to be picked up at those $.50/5-for-$1 overstock longboxes at Comic-Con??

    Keep Print ALIVE (if just for that reason?).

  41. I forgot to add that I get most of my comics (except for Marvel) off of the Comixology Droid app which goes through Paypal for payment. This cuts out that extra charge that Apple gets. Also the operating system for the Droid doesn’t crash like the Apple app does.

    Now I am sure that comic shops have been hurt this past year, but laying the blame solely on digital distribution is not right. I would say that the online shops that offer 40% and more off of the cover price and the economy excuse that give people a reason to quit comics have hurt stores more.

  42. Sad that some people get themselves so deep into a merchandising mindset that they are capable of thinking of a bunch of stores as the ‘lifeblood’ of an art form.

  43. Naveed says:

    Long Live Digital (Sarcasm….) a few of my friends just ripped off the entire Walking Dead series on Torrent (77 issues so far) while suckers like me are buying the trades (and will continue to do so). Le`s be honest, when Digital takes off and is accessible to the ‘7 millions pad users’ as one bloggers quoted, at least 6.0+ millions will be illegally shared/stolen. 10 years, there won`t be a comics industry at the rate it is going. I am in Quebec and we have limited access to retailers. I am lucky mine has been in business for 25 years is is one of the biggest here, when they are gone, lots and I mean lots of customers in Montreal area will vanish.

  44. Print comics aren’t going anywhere. If Marvel and DC have the numbers they do in one of the biggest recessions in history, then I’m sure the sales of hard copies will do even better when the economy turns. And when the economy does turn and unemployment goes down a few points, people will be surprised to see that digital was never the threat to print that so many thought…or hoped it to be.

  45. Le`s be honest, when Digital takes off and is accessible to the ‘7 millions pad users’ as one bloggers quoted, at least 6.0+ millions will be illegally shared/stolen.

    And that remaining one million will be ten times more sales than the majority of print comics are currently making.

  46. @Naveed: sure piracy will kill comics like it killed music, right?

  47. “10 years, there won`t be a comics industry at the rate it is going.”

    MP3 was released in 1993.
    Napster was released in June 1999.

    iTunes opened in April 2003.

    iTunes sold its 10 BILLIONTH (10,000,000,000) song in February 2010.

    FACT: Comics has a more robust, and respected, self-publishing community than other literary forms. It has a much more vibrant fan base, made of young, tech-savvy readers who are adept at finding obscure items. These fans then communicate online, in fora that date back to (at least) 1985.

    Once publishers figure out this new business model, it will revitalize the industry. There will be lots of “mom-and-pop” publishers out there, not unlike the self-publishers of the early 1990s.

    Print will not vanish, as physical objects make great selling tools, are readily accessible, and collectible. Periodical comic titles might disappear from the Direct Market, just as certain series disappeared from newsstands in the 1980s (Ka-Zar, Micronauts, Moon Knight…). Perhaps comics magazines will only be available by subscription, just like the latest collectible series from the Franklin Mint.

  48. The Dude says:

    The fact is Millar is either being lied to, lying himself, or whomever built the apps selling his comics is an idiot (which I doubt): these are computers which means there are EXACT sales numbers that no one can mess with.

    When purchases are made there isn’t just a “sales” bucket: each comic is logged and these reports are 100% available. All Millar needs to do is ask for a report.

    He even admits as much when he says he has 8 of the 10 top downloads of 2010… Well, if he can’t get numbers where do these come from?

  49. Marvelous America Comics says:

    Mark Millar. Another typically inbred backward british scum that America is supposed to buy to support its inbred backward island empire of dumb heinous nothing and its inbred backward personal practices and its inbred and heinous political and antiscientific crimes. Let’s get back into comics, shall we. I think so, and I’m not the only one.

Speak Your Mind

*