Amph Are Comic Books Dead?

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by whisperjedi, Apr 8, 2008.

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  1. LordNyax113 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2007
    star 3
    I was more chagrined at the fact they lost my information. They're an organized corporation, not a small business using paper filing. Thus I could never get the issues or money back. [face_frustrated]
  2. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    That seems like the equivilent of refusing to consider getting a cellphone because Verizon once screwed up your bill.
  3. LordNyax113 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2007
    star 3
    Not really...why would I buy a subscription again with that AND the whole fact the comic books wern't that great and dragged out.
  4. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I recall a comic con interview with a marvel exec who was asked about complaints of the Big Evvent stories each year. His comment was that anyone who thinks that is basically asking him to make everything boring. So the Big Event stuff is here to stay.

    I can see a day where it is not so much everything going to web comics but instead you just print the comic right from your printer getting a copy exactly like the one you would pick up in a store. High quality paper sales will go through the roof and the comic book company profits with skyrocket.

    Right now though, if there is any reason comic book stores are closing it is because of a bad economy and world events. People are just not spending as much money on items like this.

    I should say too though, there is something nice about heading to the comic store and looking over the physical item rather than looking at the 'puter screen.
  5. Mikaboshi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2005
    star 6
    $25 is a lot of money? That is the standard sale price online for a 12 issue subscription, and has been for a while now. I subscribed to a bunch of Ultimate Marvel stuff a few years ago and paid right around that price.

    Hell full online price is only 48$ for a 12 month subscription, even that isn't a lot of money really.


    Marvel customer service sucks, big time.

    When I was subscribing through them they never knew anything, not only that but some of the representatives would talk down to you like you were some kind of nerd for asking about comics (OK I am a nerd, but still :p). I would call in and ask about upcoming ongoing series....at the time I was asking about Thor and Nova (which was advertised in previous issues and online)....and was told that Thor was a mini and that nothing was planned for Nova....a month or so later both came out as regular ongoing series.

    I found out later when I canceled my subscriptions through them (due to getting bad info and some comics not showing up) that after 5pm EST they use an answering service to field their late night calls, and these people obviously know nothing and aren't ashamed of giving inaccurate information. This does not let Marvel off the hook though IMO, if they are to provide a service to it's customers they should ensure that it is a quality service.

    Going through a comic store is a much better experience, and you can get some really good tips from the dude at the counter. I always get the guys opinion on comics I am interested in, and he is not afraid of giving me opinions of his other customers. Very rarely am I led to believe something is good when it isn't (I chalk up the times it happens to a difference in taste), and if I don't like something he even allows me to bring it back for store credit.

    What is the moral of the story you may ask: Don't subscribe online.
  6. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    The comic book store is good to pick up your monthly Wizard magazine and that will keep you updated and whats in and whats not in comic books. There's a new Brainiac storyline ("Metropolis in a Bottle") that is quite good to read right now; Batman and Superman is always rather satisfying to read. The new Marvel Girl is a good one, and I've been reading the new Wildcats. Aside from that, to me it's not really whats happening in comics now. But I've been buying some of the older classics in graphic novel format, like "Watchmen". The new infinite crisis is available in graphic novel format and is fairly recent.
  7. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    1) I have never heard a good story about comic subscriptions so I wouldn't hold that against them. There is a reason that many collectors turn to comic shops for their comic interests. They tend to be more reliable and usually pretty accommodating (setting up pull lists for you, helping you find the issues you need, recommending similar reading). Granted that's not true for all comic shops but at least you are dealing with a person not a voice on the other end of a phone line.
    2) Expecting that all comics should wrap up neatly in but a few short issues is a little naive IMO. Its a serialized medium that continually build off their own history. Perhaps they are not for you and that's fine if you prefer your stories told succinctly, but comics are an ongoing medium that depend on month to month sales. Part of the allure is ongoing story lines that take a while to unfold and even when a certain arc is finished there are lingering threads remaining for future stories to build off of. Its how they get readers to come back week after week and frankly makes for a more interesting story IMO.
    3) The story you are referring to specifically was one that has been unfolding from the very beginning of that particular series and may continue further later down the road. Its connected to a large tapestry of stories and characters that are all intertwined and connected in ways that are still being revealed. Its much to complicated to tell the whole thing a few short issues, but rather what you were reading is one small chapter in a much larger story.

    Again none of this may be of interest to you and that's fine but I would ask that you don't judge the medium and industry as a whole because of one collectively bad experience...there is a whole world of comics out there beyond Marvel and DC and surely there is something more to your liking.
  8. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Well, there are always trades that you can pick up. And even series that have a limited life span like "Sandman" and "Y: The Last Man", which have a beginning and an end to them. As to comic book stores, I cannot say for every store as I don't go beyond where I live. But we have several where I live. Both in the main city and in the surrounding area. A new one just opened about 30 blocks from where I live. Not the greatest store, as they're limited in stock. Both old and new. However, I have a couple others that I go to that are well worth it. And yes, subscriptions from dealers over companies are better. Plus, they offer more on discount. There are a couple online that have great discounts. Looking at their prices, it's almost like it was 1996 all over again. Back when they were cheaper than they are now.
  9. LordNyax113 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2007
    star 3
    Basically, I only read comic books, for free, if they interst me at Borders while drinking coffee. I won't be purchasing another comic book subcription anytime soon.
  10. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    You don't need a subscription to follow comics.
  11. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Definetly not. I'd go so far as to say that a vast majority of comic book readers don't use subscriptions. Trades are the way to go nowadays. Espcecially for new readers. You'll ususally get a complete story arc for the same price (if not cheaper) than buying the books individually. Plus, no ads!
  12. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I read a lot of comics, and I don't subscribe to anything. Also, there are a lot of great comics out there that don't involve superheroes, and/or that do have definite endings.


    I recommend, off the top of my head:
    Y: The Last Man
    Sandman
    Lucifer
    100 Bullets
    Pride of Baghdad
    Ex Machina
    Watchmen
    Conan

  13. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Add these to that list.

    Preacher
    Fables
    Walking Dead
  14. Sn4tcH Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 4
    Amazingly enough, Lando just named my three favorite comics!

    Here's the thing, movies have never EVER helped sell a single issue of a monthly comic. But they have helped in sales of trades. Now what I think DC and Marvel have to do is start making older stories more easily available in trade. There are great stories out there and people want to read them, and hunting down 20 year old issues that could fall apart just isn't a good solution anymore. There's a lot from the 70's, 80's and 90's that I want to check out, and just are not available in trade. Ever since the 90's collecting no longer matters, and with the change in direction that both Marvel and DC took in the late 90's early 00's there's been a certain importance laid onto the "arc" rather than the "issue". It's why "I'll read it in trade" has become such a popular saying. In fact, I don't read Fable or Walking Dead monthly. They're quick reads monthly, and read a million times better in trade.

    Now I'm not saying get rid of the monthly, I think that would totally kill the industry. What I am saying is they need to pay more attention to the past, and not just release recent stories. *cough*re-releaseBatman:Legacy*cough*
  15. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Marvel has a pretty good (but not fast enough) archival trade program going: their cheap b&W essentials, their regular-priced colored classics, and the occasional premiere hardcover of a story that is currently relevant again. But for Marvel (and some of DCs books too, I just happen to be predominantly a Marvel reader when it comes to superheroes), I have trades of nearly everything since everything started coming out in trades -- the last dozen years or so, and what I really enjoyed for older stuff was GIT Corps' DVDs, where they'd have every single issue and annual of a book from the beginning scanned on one DVD. I have Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Captain America in this format. They were going to release Thor and Daredevil this year, but then lost the license, because of Marvel's idiotic online comic "rental" service which is pretty terrible, because that really was the way to go, even with its flaws, to have access to hundreds of backissues without having to find space for dozens of longboxes of yellowing comics.

    Anyway, comic books aren't dead, but they, like everything else, are suffering from this economy, and also soon have to make some choices.

    With more and more people waiting for the trade, because it's cheaper, easier to shelve, more attractive, without the ads, smaller books are less likely to develop enough of a readership to survive, so they'll have to figure that out.

    Also, (and I should point out here that I have no patience for blowhards who go on about "the way comics are," especially given how young the form is and how much it's changed since its inception) we're now at a difficult point where comics are no longer just for kids. Kids read them -- as do the parents who grew up on them. Even with the occasional reboot as DC does and the rolling continuity that means maybe 10-20 continuity years have passed in the last 40-60 real years, characters should be getting old, their children should be growing up, and the publishers need to speak to both audiences -- and it can get ugly when they try to compromise, or when they go against one of those audiences, as you can see happened with the whole Spider-Man One More Day/Brand New Day business. There are those who argue that comics are cyclical, that characters will always end up back where they started and never really age; I'd much rather see the universe slowly age, with old characters being retired, passing on the mantle, and not necessarily having to go back. I seem to be in the minority on that one, but hey.

    I need to get back to work. Just throwing stuff out there.
  16. goraq Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    This might be a an inconvenient thread,but could someone recomand me a similar comics series like Losers.I am talking about the newes version.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Losers_(comics)
  17. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    What I would love to see would be either the Marvel or DC universe moving forward in real time, even if it's just in a splinter universe like the Ultimate universe. The Marvel Ultimate universe could have done it, that chance looks to have been completely wasted.

    If I were head editor over at DC, I'd start out by launching a new Batman and new Superman line. DC has proven that they can handle weekly comic publishing - do it via setting up a biweekly schedule for each book, so you get Batman one week, Superman the next. As the first year ends, start up a monthly title (World's Finest? The Brave and the Bold?) to act as a vehicle for other DC heroes - the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Zatanna, Black Canary, Green Arrow, etc. Each of those supporting characters would also get 4-6 issue miniseries introducing them. With the start of the third year, spin up a monthly Justice League book (initial line-up of Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Zatanna, Black Canary, Green Arrow). Keep it going like that, with a biweekly Batman series, a biweekly Superman series, a book for supporting characters, a Justice League book for the team, and two or three miniseries a year to cover other important new plot points for the secondary characters.

    Leave things there, except maybe moving Batman and Superman to monthly schedules. Let things move forward in real time, and may the chips fall where they may. Keep retconning to a minimum, don't let people come back from the dead - or if they do, it shouldn't become the standard, it should be something very major.


  18. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    That would be very interesting, and I might very well get on board with such a thing, but I'm more concerned with the existing continuity that I've invested a huge amount of time in -- I'd rather it progress rather than cycle back constantly to play to misplaced nostalgia and ideas about what "should be".
  19. YT-2400 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2008
    star 1
    I don't believe comics are dying. I do believe that the big publishers aren't taking full advantage of the huge success of the movies. Iron Man was a fantastic movie, Marvel launches a new IM title soon afterwards with Fraction and LaRocca, both popular and talented creators, and the title seems to be doing well. But then you have DC dealing with all the Dark Knight success by having a twisted storyline done by Morrison in which they may actually kill Batman. Go figure. But Hollywood has discovered a veritable gold mine in comics (Watchmen looks set to break all records) and I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon.

    The problem I see is that comics have grown up with their audience. The stories, the characterizations are more mature and adult as fitting to their audience these days. But in the process, they've lost the traditional younger audience that helped the industry endure for lo these many decades. I applaud both DC and Marvel for maintaining their youth-oriented title lines. I also applaud Roy Thomas for adapting classic lit books into comic form for Marvel. A terrific idea with a terrific result.

    I don't think digital comics are the future either. They're easy to downlaod, you have a ton of issues, yeah, but you lose something in the translation by doing this. Staring blankly at a screen instead of flipping through the actual pages you hold in your hand. Nope, don't like it all.
  20. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    The thing is Grant Morrison addressed this himself and Sn4ctH also mentioned it, despite what some may think, comics sales have never had a huge boost after the release of a film or a television series. Maybe back when the 1989 Batman film came out, but that was it. Otherwise, only trades have seen an increase in sales. "Watchmen" itself has seen an increase in sales following the release of the first trailer, back in July. That's why he was allowed to do "R.I.P." when you wouldn't normally think he would be allowed to. No matter how good the film is, like "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man", sales have not changed a whole lot. Not on the monthly scale. The trades all saw a boost.

    I don't think it's a problem to have comics that speak to kids. The thing is, I don't think they give a crap. They can get more value out of a video game than a comic. $2.99 buys you 10 minutes. $39.99 buys you a few months, depending on the game. I'm not saying that more family friendly material isn't helpful. I'm just saying, it doesn't matter too much in the long run. I've also seen comics put out in grocery stores a couple of years ago. They're not selling too well. There's hardly anymore at the local grocery store that I go to and I'm not talking about good sales. And if someone says that it's the price, look at how much a video game costs. A 12 year old can get their parents to buy him/her a PS/DS/XBoX/Wii/PSP game that costs twice as much as one would pay for a single issue of Green Lantern or Iron Man on a monthly basis. A PS3, which costs about $400, are snatched up left and right, while comic shops are only filled with 20 to 40 year olds.

    Do I think comics are dead? No. Do I think monthly comics are dead? No. But I do believe that they'll never be able to reach the levels that they once were, regardless of price and accessability. As well as being reader friendly.
  21. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    Without trades, I think that comics would be dead now. The amount of work it takes to create a comic means it won't get any great return on investment. Trades even things out.
  22. YT-2400 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2008
    star 1
    While that may be true, publishers would still be foolish not to take advantage of a film's release. It's another avenue of exposure and growth that wasn't availible till now, so why not take advantage of it? TPB sales are all well and good but with an ongoing title like Batman and Iron Man, what happens if the new reader tries to read the regular ongoing after reading a TPB? That's why I think Marvel was smart to start a new IM title, put good talent on it, and watch it roll which it has.

    Movies may also prove to be comics' saving grace. Through the huge success of them, comics have finally been accepted as a mainstream part of pop culture.

    I couldn't agree more. Between the Web, DVDs, games, iPods, and other tech, why should a kid sit down and actually read a book? (Any book, but that's another issue) That's where digital comics may come in handy. Myself, I don't like them (but I'm old-fashioned ;) ) but if the kids are already sitting in front of the monitors, having tons of issues ready for download and viewing could be a good thing. Then again, they would have to want to read them. Another event that is helpful (to a degree) is Free Comic Day. Free comic samples could help to promote new readership. (Of course the strange thing I've noticed is that some kids in this age range seem to read comics......manga that is. As long as it is comics, I guess that's good)

    Quite the perplexing issue, but I'm glad the industry hasn't completely forsaken this original target audience.

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