Something has to change: Views on Comic stores viability.
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On 1/6/2019 at 1:44 PM, Mercury Man said:

I keep going back to this, but I think Marvel and DC should scale back to about 10 total titles.  Marvel for example should have the following 9 flagship titles monthly:

Amazing Spiderman

Avengers

Black Panther

Captain America & The Falcon

Daredevil

Fantastic Four

Hulk

Iron Man

X-Men

Then the other 1 title  should be 6 issue mini-series (this would allow them to showcase 2 more heroes or teams per year).  Here they can rotate in and out whoever they want- Thor, Deadpool, Punisher, Defenders, Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel, Inhumans etc. etc.  When I look at the weekly release schedule right now, it's really hard to get excited about 75% of what they are offering. 

Lean and mean would help their readership and bottom line. 

When sales for core titles started dropping Marvel started creating additional titles to capture additional sales.  Ultimate Spider-man, Spider-man, Peter Parker etc are a clear effort to increase profits from a decreasing buyer base by creating additional books every Spider-man collector to buy.  Crossovers, story arcs are another attempt to push buyers into buying other runs and more of each run.  Generally I suspect dropping the number of titles they sell would result in a corresponding drop in sales and I don't see any benefit.  Dropping any title that's losing money would help but I think that's been their practice from day one.

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54 minutes ago, batman_fan said:

A lot of good points in your post.  Using the movies to introduce new characters is a way to reach a wider audience and test drive them.  Similar, you have the animated stuff to do similar.  I can't imagine it is real profitable doing the comic books for the publishers but when you are responsible for publishing comics that is what you do.  It is a very rare individual that would go to their management and say "we have tried to make this work but it isn't and we so no way of changing it". It more goes the path of coming up with some big idea that will take it to the next level and then when that fails, on to the next big idea.

Everything Mark Millar puts out now is basically a storyboard with dialogue and ready-made to be optioned into a TV series or movie. He just signed that big deal with Netflix. The only way I see comics surviving is for them to go digital and at reasonable price point ($1.99 or less)

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25 minutes ago, Krydel4 said:

Everything Mark Millar puts out now is basically a storyboard with dialogue and ready-made to be optioned into a TV series or movie. He just signed that big deal with Netflix. The only way I see comics surviving is for them to go digital and at reasonable price point ($1.99 or less)

Comicbooks suffer from the same problems as Sears and JC Penny, an aging demographic and no path to get enough younger customer to maintain viability over the long term.  JC Penny tried by hiring the guy from Apple to remake the company which was a failure and resulted in alienating the older customer base speeding up their demise.  Kids today follow what they see on Social Media.  Comics does not have a huge presence on social media, superhero movies yes, but comic books, no.

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On 1/5/2019 at 12:10 PM, aardvark88 said:

+1. The other problem this creates is cashflow to buy incoming SA, BA, CA back issue collection(s) that you may be offered each month. Could be high profit margin if vendor is able to buy a nice collection of say 2k to 4k comics each month for a reasonable price. Some LCS have stopped :shy: buying collections altogether for the last 4 years but will take the better back issues on consignment to spruce up their wall display. 2c

Please point all the LCSs you are aware of that have stopped buying back issues my way. Because if they're doing that, they are of the highest order.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, FlyingDonut said:

Please point all the LCSs you are aware of that have stopped buying back issues my way. Because if they're doing that, they are of the highest order.

I just find it inconceivable that they would tell people to go away no matter what unless they are incredibly ethical and won't give them a lowball for their Hulk 1 or whatever. Heck, why not see if anything is worth consignment? I understand some places just do not carry back issues, but if you do and are passing up the opportunity to pay pennies on the dollar? Maybe they think they are ethical and won't look if they don't have spare cash, but maybe the comics just go in the trash or yardsaled for 20 cents each and then one of us is having a party! But seriously, if you are a business that does not have $200 cash to make a reasonable offer on a beater X-Men 1 that walks in the door that you can flip for $1000 that evening, then yikes...

Edited by the blob

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3 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

  Generally I suspect dropping the number of titles they sell would result in a corresponding drop in sales and I don't see any benefit. 

I don't see the benefit of keeping titles (November Sales Numbers) like Weapon H  #126,  Ms. Marvel #142 &  Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #189.  Obviously the print buying public does't care about them.   Cut the fat. 

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4 hours ago, the blob said:

 I understand some places just do not carry back issues, but if you do and are passing up the opportunity to pay pennies on the dollar.  if you are a business that does not have $200 cash to make a reasonable offer on a beater X-Men 1 that walks in the door that you can flip for $1000 that evening, then yikes...

The problem is not in skimming the top 10 raw comics out of a collection. The problem is the amount of labor, space and time to turnover the rest of the 4,000 comic collection.

Also, the LCS proprietor has been trying to quietly sell his shop for last 3 years with no active buyer wanting to run a comic and gaming shop close to the suburbs. You can forget about the outrageous downtown triple lease rent (monthly rent, utilities plus property tax). Depends on the local economy of your state or province too: job creation, ageing seniors, demographics, lack of young families, recession, crazy rent or townhouse prices, shrinking home sizes so no space :boo: for long boxes anymore.

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7 hours ago, Mercury Man said:

I don't see the benefit of keeping titles (November Sales Numbers) like Weapon H  #126,  Ms. Marvel #142 &  Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #189.  Obviously the print buying public does't care about them.   Cut the fat. 

Absolutely, if a title is losing money cut it.  Marvel knows their sales numbers and I'm sure they've crunched the numbers and they've cancelled many titles over the years that weren't making money.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, aardvark88 said:

The problem is not in skimming the top 10 raw comics out of a collection. The problem is the amount of labor, space and time to turnover the rest of the 4,000 comic collection.

Also, the LCS proprietor has been trying to quietly sell his shop for last 3 years with no active buyer wanting to run a comic and gaming shop close to the suburbs. You can forget about the outrageous downtown triple lease rent (monthly rent, utilities plus property tax). Depends on the local economy of your state or province too: job creation, ageing seniors, demographics, lack of young families, recession, crazy rent or townhouse prices, shrinking home sizes so no space :boo: for long boxes anymore.

Seems simple enough to make a low offer. If accepted, if they really don't want to do the work, skim the top 10-25 books out of the collection and dump the rest here, on ebay, facebook, instagram, craigs list, whatever. if there is anything half decent left junior flippers will buy it. if there is a decent mix of 70s and earlier material in there they will probably pay more than $20 long box bulk prices.  The problem is not the lack of people willing to buy collections, it is the asking prices. Would I pay $400 for 4,000 comics if I saw 500 bona fide $2 books (like I would buy at a show) in there? Sure. And then I would bulk out the rest. And the next guy will skim the best 500 and bulk out the rest. And so on, until all we have left are copies of Turok 1 and other crapola that you donate to a thrift shop. I had a guy pay me $70 (I think it was $70, maybe $60, I told the story here already) for a long box of dregs at my last yardsale. This is the krap that is left after I have been dragging books out to my annual yardsale for the last 6 or 7 years. I used to have 3 long boxes. He was going to flip them out on ebay (he thinks). It just seems nuts to get a call and say no automatically. But to each their own. I get it, if someone brings in 20 boxes of totally unsellable garbage then they are put in a pickle of an angry person yelling at them when they make no offer, but they can tell them that possibility over the phone.

"shrinking home sizes so no space  for long boxes anymore."

I understand not having room for 40 long boxes, but I lived in a Manhattan studio apartment and stored at least 2,500 comics in a closet just on the floor and the shelves, I still had room in there for clothing. Do people nowadays not have Tetris skills like folks who came of age in the 80s have? Jeez, folks here have seen photos of the 1,000 or so comics I kept UNDER MY OFFICE DESK! 

Edited by the blob

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I'd think the store owners lack in current market knowledge over not wanting to buy comic book collections.  A successful store has to stock a multitude of items and be up to date on what is selling and exactly how many items they can sell each month.  If they are not E-Bay versed then maybe they really have no clue if a collection is worth getting especially if they are not paying $20 a long box.  With all the stuff they current shop owners have to deal with i can understand why they pass buying collections on to others.

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Of course, this is just my anecdotal evidence, so it should be taken as such, but I don't see kids buying new comics, like, ever. 

However, when there are 50 and 99 cent back issue sales, I see tons of kids buying comics.

Kids like these characters, kids like to read comics. But new comics are too expensive and their publishing too convoluted.

I think it's possible to get a new generation reading the books, and digital is likely the answer, but again, the price has to be right. I have bought tons of digital books, and indeed, it's my favorite way to read them these days. But I only buy sale books and Humble bundles and the like, because I'm not going to pay full retail cost for a physical item when I don't get the item itself. Like it or not, when you buy a physical comic book, the price you pay is for the story, sure, but it's also for the idea that the item you just picked up is "collectible" and may have some future value. So, to my thinking, digital comics should be half or less the price of a physical book.

But then THAT is a problem because you're undercutting retailers of physical books, who can't match that price on new material. So, again, I don't know how to solve that problem. There has to be a way to grow readership without punishing retailers.

Kids love superheroes, kids love collecting stuff. Look at blind box toys, Pokemon cards, etc. Comics have superheroes AND they're "collectilbe". It should be an easy sale. So, to me, the obvious reason for low sales has to be the cover price. But that genie is out of the bottle. How could you do a line-wide cover price reduction without killing the shops who now expect that $3.99 a pop for Batman every other week? Cutting the price to $2 may increase the readership over time, but would the stores survive in the meantime? Doubtful.

I also like the idea suggested above that the big two need to cut their publishing schedule WAY back to just the essentials. I've liked the idea for years. But like the cutting cover price scenario above, I believe the problem is that the stores have come to expect x-amount of sales each week from all of these titles due to the ever dwindling pool of dedicated readers who are keeping this whole industry on life support. Cutting the slates back may grow readership in the long run, but that initial cut to weekly income brought in by all of the extraneous "completist" books would likely be a death blow for many comic retailers.

I don't know what the answer is. But I know there is one. 

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I'd like to see the publishers intentionally short an issue here and there, just to maintain collector excitement.  Perhaps just meeting the initial orders, and then quickly moving to a second print with a different cover.  Yeah, it would be contrived rarity, but it would get the attention of collectors.

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On 1/6/2019 at 1:50 PM, the blob said:

Only to the extent that it is a good way to generate new stories, characters, etc. that may be used elsewhere. If it can pay for itself, even turn a profit (my understanding is that publishing still makes nmoney right? And did even when marvel went bankrupt. Of course, arguably 55+ years of publishing for marvel, etc has generated plenty of stories and characters, but heck, some of the recent movies (and future ones) and shows have new characters..  Miles Morales, Ronin, etc

There's not much incentive for creators to generate original characters for Disney/TW and get nothing off the use of the characters.  True, Marvel did put Morales in ana animated flick, but that is mostly based on the spiderverse story line, like CA2 was based on Civil War.  Moralies is a hybrid, not an entirely new hero, either.

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On 1/4/2019 at 9:33 PM, Mercury Man said:

Good read, but none of what he says will probably ever happen.  The old days were magic.  1 Spiderman title, 1 X-Men title etc.  As far as new #1's etc, Marvel bastardized this after Heroe's Reborn/Heroes Return.   DC seems to be following suit since the New 52.   Variants are a joke, and he hit the nail on the head.   My LCS has short boxes full of variants.  He is asking 1/2 price, and will soon be moving them to the $1 bins. 

One Spider-man title!?!? That WAS the old days... it was 1976, over 40 years ago, since the last time there was only one, new story Spider-man title every month. And if you count reprints... even longer ago... Marvel Tales, reprinting Spider-man stories, went monthly in the summer of 1972... much, much simpler, easier times...

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I have stated some of this before and I know that some if this is not popular, but some of the ideas I think would help the industry. 

 

1. Trim the monthly floppies to just core titles.  Things need to be simplified. So there would be 1 or 2 Batman books, Superman, Avengers, X-Men, etc. Each of the majors would be down to 20 books or less that were monthly. These books would be the must have spine of the universe. But few numbers of books along with other changes would hopefully promote better sales.

 

2. Non core titles and "mini" series should be released essentially as graphic novels and skip the floppies. The publishers and many readers keep telling us how well certain books do as graphic novels, and people like reading in runs so just give them to us in that format.  Or in the case of certain 2nd and 3rd tier books go to a 60 page quarterly release schedule.

 

3. Reduce prices.  The  books that stay as monthly floppies should be brought down to say $2.50 an issue. Part of what you are seeing is the classic death spiral.  Sales go down so you raise prices to keep revenues steady,  at some point this does not work.  The longer quarterly books would be priced at around $6, and the graphic novel in line with this thinking. They need to work on growing readership as a way to raise profits, not raising cost.  Also by trimming books and making adjustment to print schedules there is room to reduce their overhead.

 

4. Allow for a reduced price subscription plane.  Many places already due this and it could be very effective especially in the digital arena. For yes online subscription services build in savings if you get a yearly plan over just buying issues.  I know some digital outlets do this, but access to new books is limited or delayed. Open this up a bit.

 

5. Stop the reboots and number 1's.  I read and interesting idea about titles going on five or ten years plans where the companies would sign creators to extended contacts and give stories room to breath. Get away from highering a team for 4 issues then immediately replacing then with c-listers, then the book failing by issue 12 then rebooting. 

 

6. Increase distribution outlets. I like my LCS, I hope they stay around a very long time, I think there is room for specialized stores.  With that said by moving much of the publishing to longer formats and longer release schedules.  This should make it simple to sell books in places that are not LCS.  They would take up less room, and make purchasing simpler for the non specialized buyer. The Walmart idea has shown some success, it needs to be built on. The simple fact is as stores become fewer visibility decreases, and that needs to be reversed.  Furthermore, parents and casual fans often do not want to got, can't get to, or may not feel comfortable in you typical LCS.  They need better options.

 

7. Stop the chase variants, and forced incentive covers.  DC's multi cover model for regular issue is so much better than the Marvel ratio .

 

8. Allow back issue returns, as discussed.

 

I could probably keep going but this is getting long as it is.

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I think one point we all forget is that comics in the early days were written for kids and were cheap.  Your mom or dad wouldn't mind picking up a few issues.  Nowadays the paper quality is too good which translates to higher prices for books and more importantly new books are not written for kids anymore.

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On 1/6/2019 at 2:48 PM, Bomber-Bob said:

The selection of Back issues at most LCS are miserable. I used to buy new comics to have a 'shot' at some newly arriving back issues but it never happens anymore. I quit and I could honestly care less if they all close up their doors. It was nice while it lasted but the LCS is just another relic of the past.

Even my piddly collection is 10 times better, back issues-wise than both the large LCS in my area , they might have one long box of GA/SA (mostly funny animals. Dell and that type) between them

and even at that they are priced double what you could buy them for on eBay ...

their wall books are Bronze Caps ,.. priced at an amount so high that i would gladly sell them my issues at 30% of their asking price,... i don't even dare ask them because their business models are so absurd .. they have zero CGC books at either store.. don't they know they should at least have a couple CGC graded books in stock and on display at any given time ,?? 

just to let potential customers know they are legitimate ?? even if they pay full retail for those CGC books ,.. ???

 

Edited by 1950's war comics

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imagine going into a book store and looking around ,.. and then ask an employee "where are the back issues? all i see is new releases from the best seller list ?"??

and having the employee reply " oh we don't carry those"

store wouldn't be in business for very long imo

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42 minutes ago, 1950's war comics said:

imagine going into a book store and looking around ,.. and then ask an employee "where are the back issues? all i see is new releases from the best seller list ?"??

and having the employee reply " oh we don't carry those"

store wouldn't be in business for very long imo

I think part of this is you have to be a very active participant in your business by keeping track of what issues you are missing and trying to fill those holes. One of LCS that just went out of business near me and it was a case of whatever we got we got. They were very much passengers in their business.

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1 hour ago, 1950's war comics said:

imagine going into a book store and looking around ,.. and then ask an employee "where are the back issues? all i see is new releases from the best seller list ?"??

and having the employee reply " oh we don't carry those"

store wouldn't be in business for very long imo

 Two stores in my home city has been in biz with no back issues, one 13 years the other about 20  years

 

Edited by NoMan

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