'This could change the face of comics': Is coronavirus comic book shops' biggest villain?
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14 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

I don't know any 45-65 year old men who read todays Marvel and are entertained by it. Not that it can't or doesn't happen - I just don't see it.

You know, 40-50 ish  here, I still enjoy keeping up with the heroes I read in the 1970's.  Daredevil is good right now.   Immortal Hulk, as weird as it has been, is like Hulk never seen before.   I even picked up Falcon and Winter Soldier and read #1 and 2 yesterday, and was entertained.   It can be done.  

 

2 hours ago, wilbil said:

i think nostalgia may have something to do with it, but i don't think that age is the driving force, except the disposable income availability.

Definitely for me, as described above.   Except that 'disposable income' bit...what is that you refer to?!

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6 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

45-65 year old men collect it out of habit - I don't know any 45-65 year old men who read todays Marvel and are entertained by it. Not that it can't or doesn't happen - I just don't see it. Well I had a guy who was probably close to 40, who really loved Jason Aaron's Thor, but...

 

Roughly 15% of my subs are in that demographic. As am I. 

The popular titles with them are the same as with the other demographics over age 16. Immortal Hulk, Donny Cates’ Venom and Donny Cates’ Thor are all very well received by that group. HOX/POX drew latent mutant interest out of the woodwork but it’s honestly too soon to tell how many will stick around for the soon-to-be-dozen X-titles. The main X-Men book is still carrying more subs than any DC title including Batman. But the other five that spun directly out of HOX/POX are running half that many. (And they’re just not as good as HOX/POX was).

The first two volumes of Zdarsky’s Daredevil run were bringing lots of old fans back. But none of the other Silver Age characters are carrying an audience. Just Hulk, Thor, and Daredevil.

I’m gonna be selling the first few trades of Immortal Hulk the rest of my career. Five reboots from now I’ll still be able to grab that off the shelf and handsell it with a money back guarantee.

But Iron Man? Cap? Black Panther? ASM? Doctor Strange? Fantastic Four? Yeah, lots of stale potato chips out there. 

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1 hour ago, Chuck Gower said:

45-65 year old men collect it out of habit - I don't know any 45-65 year old men who read todays Marvel and are entertained by it. Not that it can't or doesn't happen - I just don't see it. Well I had a guy who was probably close to 40, who really loved Jason Aaron's Thor, but...

Before I sold my shop - the people who collected Modern Marvel's were almost all under 40... now DC was different - still had some older guys picking up those regular titles. 

The guys who WERE over 40 that bought anything from Marvel, either had that ONE title they couldn't give up because 'they've ALWAYS bought it', or they were ordering collected editions and reprints of old issues.

 

I think most people who buys these comics are either buying out of habit or because of speculator hype. They read them, complain online about how bad they suck, and buy the next issue. The entire industry is completely gimmick driven. Variant covers, crossovers, renumbering, characters dying and coming back to life. This is why Marvel doesn’t like the bookstore market, variants don’t sell 25 copies of the same TPB to a reader. We don’t know their MU or Comixology numbers but we can probably assume they control about as much of that market as they do the bookstore market, lack of speculation driven multiple issue sales really drops their market share. 

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1 hour ago, Mercury Man said:

what is that you refer to?!

i was on drugs and hunting down mercenaries. i screwed up. i am back now. its should have read "...wife's income availability". sorry.

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5 hours ago, wilbil said:

i was on drugs and hunting down mercenaries. i screwed up. i am back now. its should have read "...wife's income availability". sorry.

Oh ok.  I know what that is....just don't know the actual number.  It usually just shows up on the porch in Amazon boxes. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

I don't know any 45-65 year old men who read todays Marvel and are entertained by it. Not that it can't or doesn't happen - I just don't see it.

:hi:

There are some good titles, most having just been mentioned.

It's always been the same, even in the rose-tinted past, and I believe the saying is 'sorting the wheat out from the chaff'.

Edited by Ken Aldred

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7 hours ago, Ken Aldred said:

:hi:

There are some good titles, most having just been mentioned.

It's always been the same, even in the rose-tinted past, and I believe the saying is 'sorting the wheat out from the chaff'.

Bingo. You'd think, from reading these boards, that everything coming out of the Bronze Age was the height of fine literature when the reality is that most of it is unreadable. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ryan. said:

Bingo. You'd think, from reading these boards, that everything coming out of the Bronze Age was the height of fine literature when the reality is that most of it is unreadable. 

Yup. Absolutely. As much as I’m a Bronze Age fan, after visiting the Newsstand website many times to check out what was new in months back then, the gems are greatly outnumbered by lots of inessential chaff.  Quite eye-opening, once you remove the veil of nostalgia.

Edited by Ken Aldred

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On 3/28/2020 at 10:00 AM, october said:

Looks like Lee's Comics is an early casualty of the Covid economic fallout. 

I haven't been to his store, but I've bought a decent amount from him online over the years. He found the Palo Alto pedigree. 

https://www.mv-voice.com/news/2020/03/27/owner-of-lees-comics-pulls-the-plug-after-more-than-37-years

That is really sad.  While in the Bay Area, I mainly shopped at Heroes in Campbell but went to Lees from time to time and usually snagged a few older books when I went in.

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14 hours ago, Ryan. said:

Bingo. You'd think, from reading these boards, that everything coming out of the Bronze Age was the height of fine literature

I don't think anyone is saying that. 

14 hours ago, Ryan. said:

when the reality is that most of it is unreadable. 

Depends on how you enjoy reading comics.

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13 hours ago, Ken Aldred said:

Yup. Absolutely. As much as I’m a Bronze Age fan, after visiting the Newsstand website many times to check out what was new in months back then, the gems are greatly outnumbered by lots of inessential chaff.  Quite eye-opening, once you remove the veil of nostalgia.

I'm not disagreeing with you - I'm sure my nostalgia does cloud it - I mean, the Bronze Age stories are NOT co-ordinated into neat little 6 issue, trade paperback friendly segments, plotted out and editorialized meticulously... BUT, back in 1975, I didn't care. I bought an issue and wanted it to entertain me at that moment and those books did it every month.

Maybe it was my age - I was 10 in the Winter of 1973/1974, but the merging of art and story and the colorful characters, being handled by a bunch of hippies who grew up on classic Marvel, with very little editorial control - just seemed to entertain me then.

To me, that was the EARLY Bronze Age, which (again for me) is different than the LATE Bronze Age.

When I started reading in 1973/74, it was War of the World's in Amazing Adventures, Conway/Andru's ASM, Starlin on Captain Marvel, Steve Englehart's Avengers and Captain America, Buscema on Conan, Buckler on FF, Trimpe on Hulk, Englehart and Brunner's Doctor Strange, Romita's reprints in Marvel Tales, Marvel Team-Up for the cool of it, Morbius, Brother Voodoo, Shang-Chi, Luke Cage, Buckler's Deathlok, Black Panther, Iron Fist, and the Giant Size issues starting up... not to mention the Marvel Magazine's - Tales of the Zombie, Monster's Unleashed, Dracula Lives, Savage Sword of Conan, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Savage Tales... I never read more Marvel's than I did THEN and most likely never will again. In fact, I can still pick up a random issue of any of it, and read it and enjoy. I think that's maybe how comics were MEANT to be. To me, all of that stuff was VERY readable.

I'm not saying anyone else's way is wrong - I just think the less serious I take some of these stories, the more I like it. I don't NEED at 14 part Carnage story line.

But for the Bronze Age, by 1976/1977 things had changed - Starlin was gone, Barry Windsor-Smith was gone, Englehart and Brunner were gone, Trimpe wasn't on Hulk, Buckler was gone, Tales of the Zombie was gone, Len Wein was on ASM (ugh)...THAT's the Bronze Age I didn't much care for.

 

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Posted (edited)

I wish Marvel and DC would use this 'opportunity', to dissect what their business model is.  Do they really need to release so many titles?  Can they go back to basics and release 10-15 titles per month.  Yes there will be some job losses, but for the sake of the medium, they really need to cut the fat, the mega crossovers, and the terrible artists/writes from the que.   Lean and Mean can go a long way. 

Edited by Mercury Man

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I'm not sure how we got off on this path, but I'm going to try and tie it together.

When people come into a comic book store for the first time, it's an overwhelming experience. How do you get them to try something? You have to give them a trade paperback. Marvel's start at what, $24.99? I can get a brand new novel for almost 10 bucks cheaper, or something in a softcover that's been out awhile for less than 10 bucks, and really old paperbacks for $5-$7.

You can't pick up a new issue, because you'd be completely lost at what's going on. It's like an exclusive club that YOU have to study and work really hard to get caught up on in order to really enjoy it.

There are some exceptions, sure - but overall, it's a completely overwhelming experience for a lot of people when they first come in.

It used to be easy on the newsstand. Just pick up an issue. Enjoy the story. Most likely it had a page that got you caught up on things if it was in the middle of something.

I miss that. 

Reading massive tome Omnibus' of continued storylines... eh, not so much. To me, it's about the art. The story's have always been kinda dumb, except on very rare occasion when something rises above the mediocrity almost by accident. I just want to be entertained for 20 minutes and get on with things.

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4 minutes ago, Mercury Man said:

I wish Marvel and DC would use this 'opportunity', to dissect what their business model is.  Do they really need to release so many titles?  Can they go back to basics and release 10-15 titles per month.  Yes there will be some job losses, but for the sake of the medium, they really need to cut the fat, the mega crossovers, and the terrible artists/writes from the que.   Lean and Mean can go a long way. 

A long way towards what? Selling less comics? Why would they want to do that?

It's been 53 years since they've been as low as 16 monthly titles...

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51 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

You can't pick up a new issue, because you'd be completely lost at what's going on.

And that’s the problem with mainstream comics today. You know how I started reading X-Men, Batman, Spider-Man and so on? Picking up a random issue and catching on just fine.

 

Even worse, you could pick up a trade and be completely lost still, even if you have familiarity with the characters. It’s what happened when I suffered through the Dark Knight: Metal trade. Starts pretty much mid-scene from a story that has obviously been ongoing a while. And this one was required reading before I read The Batman Who Laughs, which is what I really wanted to read. It really is a mess, and it really used to not be. The only people they are marketing this issue to is people who bought the last 100 issues. 

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

A long way towards what? Selling less comics? Why would they want to do that?

It's been 53 years since they've been as low as 16 monthly titles...

Since the trend seems to be going away from the comic shop with its limited shelf space to the internet and its unlimited shelf space, there is no more need to publish hundreds of titles when 10-15 of them actually made money. The initial motivation was tying up shelf space and shop budget to keep competitors off the shelf. Doesn’t work anymore. Not outside the direct market anyway. Publish those 15 titles, isolate the plots, and market them to people who maybe haven’t been following along all along

Edited by dupont2005

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How would a shop pay the rent off of 15-20 monthly titles?

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41 minutes ago, dupont2005 said:

Since the trend seems to be going away from the comic shop with its limited shelf space to the internet and its unlimited shelf space, there is no more need to publish hundreds of titles when 10-15 of them actually made money. The initial motivation was tying up shelf space and shop budget to keep competitors off the shelf. Doesn’t work anymore. Not outside the direct market anyway. Publish those 15 titles, isolate the plots, and market them to people who maybe haven’t been following along all along

First... who says they aren't making money? The profit margin is a guesstimate, but it's consistent between the two examples...

Iron Man #145 - 1980 - total PAID circulation - 188,930 - @50 cents each - $94,465 - @40% profit = $37,786 per issue

Iron Man     #1 - 2020 - total Diamond Sales  -   54,624 - @$4.99 each      - $272,573 - @40% profit = $109,029 per issue.

If you take into account inflation (at a cumulative rate of about 214%), you're looking at having to hit about $118,621 in profit to meet that 1980 total today - which is just barely misses. And remember... for the 2020 book, we can't see Worldwide sales outside the United States or Digital Sales.

 

Second... this idea that going to 15 titles and isolating the plots and marketing them to people who maybe haven't been following all along will bring in... what? The average 57 year old who used to read comics weekly? C'mon man, the people who still give a care about it all are still reading. The one's who don't, aren't. Marvel would have to find another Gerry Conway to write ASM and get someone who draws just like John Romita Sr. to draw it and even THEN, I might only be mildly curious.  

Other than that, at $4.99 a comic, I can find better uses for my time. 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

... BUT, back in 1975, I didn't care. I bought an issue and wanted it to entertain me at that moment and those books did it every month.

We aren’t different in that respect. I can return to the best of early-to-mid 70s comics and find material that I still connect to, especially from the big list of classics that you mentioned.  I just prefer to do it from a detached, fifty-something perspective rather than try to ‘recapture’ my childhood, which for me wasn’t exactly a great time, and hence my reluctance for nostalgia. In my case, pursuing that seems a bit delusional and false.

Edited by Ken Aldred

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9 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

I don't think anyone is saying that. 

Depends on how you enjoy reading comics.

I was going to debate you on this but decided to stab myself in the eyes instead. 

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