The "homework" required to get on board some comics may be off-putting, and I could imagine that would be one reason comic shops are closing. With constant renumbering and reboots, as discussed here previously, it feels like too much hard work.
I'd welcome thoughts on this. One could break this down in so many different ways.
First, comics are sold as serialized periodicals, and people don't want periodicals even if they like super-hero stories in other formats. So even if the popularity of super-heroes in other media inspired consumers to want to read more super-hero adventures, they wouldn't want them in serialized periodical format.
Destination niche retail shops are disappearing from the mass market in all areas because people do not want to have to go to specific destination retail shops, so all specialty shops, not just comic shops are a dying breed. So even if the popularity of super-heroes did translate into people wanting to read comics, they still wouldn't seek out comic shops to go buy them.
Comic shops are not everywhere. There are less than 5000 Diamond accounts in the U.s. overall spread over 50 states. In my local area, i.e. within a 45 minute driving radius, there are 17 Diamond retail accounts. Which means statistically, there has to be large areas not serviced by any comic shop, and there are. There are members here who have to drive several hours to reach their closest shop. This means there are vast numbers of customers who comic shops cannot serve even if those customers wanted to buy comics from a comic shop.
There is too much product for the shelf space in any given shop, and the non-returnable nature of the ordering system means shops cannot order product to display for casual customers (for if despite all the obstacles a potential new customer came through the door), which means sales are determined by preorders and shops tailor orders to pre-sold copies, meaning there is zero room for growth in the market because a shop that doesn't turn over its order will shut its doors because it will not have cash flow available to order new stock.
None of these have anything to do with content, numbering, reboots, relaunches, or having to do homework to get started, and all of them would result in comics shops closing even if such purported issues were the obstacles of success. They are irrelevant to the conversation.
You cannot sell product (no matter how desirable or not) in shops that aren't there, that people won't go to, or who do not (or cannot) order the product in sufficient numbers to have it on sale beyond the day (or week) it is released. The industry has to fix all of that before any fixing of content or trade dress (numbering) would even have the smallest impact on sales or the viability of comic shops.
The direct market was designed by Phil Seuling and his generation to sell comics to people who already know they want comics and which comics they want. It was never designed to bring new customers into the industry. Once the newsstands were removed from the equation nearly 30 years ago, there was no mechanism for reaching and creating new READERS (not fans of super-heroes but new readers of comics). There still isn't. Without new readers constantly flowing in to replace the readers lost to attrition (from aging out, death, loss of interest, changing financial circumstances, changing life priorities, or whatever) , the customer base will shrink and fewer shops can be sustained, no matter what the content, numbering, or reboots are in play or not.
Until the industry has a mechanism to create new readers, offers a product format that appeals to mass market customers, and sells them in places conveniently accessible to customers, comic shops will continue to close no matter how popular super-heroes are in other mediums. We'd be in essentially the same place even if all super-heroes maintained legacy numbering, never rebooted, and didn't have complex continuity issues. You could fix all that stuff, and comic shops would still be closing and mass market customers still wouldn't be interested in reading comics books sold as periodicals in specialty shops. Focusing on those things is focusing on symptoms not causes. Those things are happening because sales are falling (they are not what is causing sales to fall) and publishers are trying anything and everything to boost sales, except addressing the issues that are causing the sales to fall. And comic fanboys and lapsed fans continuing to harp on these these red herrings are only making it harder for publishers to do things to address the real issues the industry is facing. It is not 1985, and tactics that worked in 1985 are not relevant to the marketplace of 2019. Solutions to the problem have to address the realities of the 2019 marketplace, not try to make things like 1985 again.
"We cannot change the world until we change ourselves." -Christopher Wallace
"I see a comics culture that preserves and appreciates its past, but doesn't wallow in witless nostalgia." -Scott McCloud
“Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked” ― Buckminster Fuller
"Things happen all the time. Stories are how we arrange them to make sense of them." -Warren Ellis
And comic fanboys and lapsed fans continuing to harp on these these red herrings are only making it harder for publishers to do things to address the real issues the industry is facing.
How exactly are the ramblings of people like myself making it harder for publishers to do things to address the real issues the industry is facing? ;-)
This silly taxi driver here is an irrelevance to those making decisions at DC or Marvel.
It is not the ramblings, it is the buying patterns and the messages sent to publishers by fandom leading them to double down on the direct market, variants, events, etc. They react to the buying patterns. People post rant and rave about hating new #1, events and variants, but they buy them in higher numbers than regular issues, so the comics made reflect the buying habits of the Wednesday Warrior crowd. It doesn't matter what people post, it matters what they buy. The content that people rant about is the reflection of their buying habits for the past 30 years. Harping on things you are spending money on isn't the solution and only perpetuates the problem. Continuity, trade dress (in the forms of issue numbers) etc. are meaningless when it comes to the real problems the industry faces. Continuing to harp on those things only distracts people form the real problems, making it more unlikely something will be done to fix those issues. But if people harp on those things, than buy the quick fixes publishers trout out to try to fix things (new #1, events, variants, etc.), then they are part of the problem, not part of the solution and enable publishers to keep ignoring the real issues that need to be addressed. Buying into the cheap gimmick fixes that keep things afloat makes it less likely publishers will actually address the real issues. Keeping things focused on issue numbers, reboots, events, etc. gives people and publishers a scapegoat they can blame all the ills of the industry on without ever facing the real issues or doing anything to fix them.
Oh sales are down and fanboys are harping on issue numbers, let's try legacy numbering because that will fix things, and then it doesn't so lets go back to a new batch of #1s to get a sales boost (which goes away after 1 issue, so lets do one event, oh wait let's do six events this year (which I think is the current number of Marvel events for 2019) to keep them from complaining about issue numbers and reboots, and then let's try legacy numbering again and then...and ad infinitum in a vicious circle because all the attention is focused on things that are symptoms not causes by fans, and publishers who were once fans alike. And then when an initiative is taken by a publisher that could address some of the root causes, like say the Zoom and Ink imprints by DC, that get crapped on by fanboys because they aren't continuity or aren't targeted to comic shops and oh my god if they are popular the publishers will change my characters to reflect what is actually selling and is popular and all the other distractions and scapegoats that keep the industry from being able to focus on the changes that do need to be made. The vicious circle needs to be broken, but the more people focus on the irrelevant fan issues, the less likely it will be.
Post by taxidriver1980 on Apr 27, 2019 16:28:54 GMT -5
Thanks for the response. I do appreciate your insight and willingness to engage. When I ask people questions, it's to learn, not to be argumentative (I worry that much is lost in translation when writing, it feels like asking questions is being demanding).
What a pathetic headline. Not blaming you. But the “Millennials are killing X” headlines/stories are beyond played out. Also Gen Z teens are not the children of Millenials. The writer needs to find a new line of work.
I see at least 3 such headlines a week via Bloomberg.
There's at least one per day on LinkedIn.
Apparently, millennials are responsible for the demise of golf, canned tuna, and breakfast cereal as well, or so I've read.
"As a youngin' I used to share the colt 45 on the street corners with my friends. I'm not proud." - icctrombone
"If you are strong, be a protector. If you are smart, be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, so do not wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully. Be bigger than that." - Chris Pratt
Post by Slam_Bradley on Apr 27, 2019 20:47:12 GMT -5
Heaven knows that we couldn't blame the industries for not keeping up with changing demographics, desires, etc. It must be those awful Millennials plotting to kill industries. You'd think that a country that worships The Invisible Hand might have a clue about what drives business. But no. Lazy writing to the rescue.
Well, just my personal observation, and I'll be the first I to say I don't understand it, but despite some people liking the movies and tv shows, they will never read a comic book.
Like I said, I don't get it.
They can do it in the privacy of their own home.
They don't have to tell anyone they've done it.
I've lent personal copies to friends and relatives and hardly any of them have bothered to read any of them.
This, even from a brother who used to read them with me as children, won't read them now.
My son loves comics but more the idea than actually reading them.
It's alien to me and logically to anyone on these boards.
Even if they only read the best of the best, the best has some incredible stuff.
I'm sure we would probably all admit to guilty pleasures that don't tick off all the boxes that make something great, but we still enjoy them; for me, a few are from my reading growing up that I still have a soft spot for like Micronauts and Rom.
Not only sales of new issues are weak. Sales of back issues are probably way down too. Without new collectors entering the fray, the old collectors will have acquired what they want by now, except for key issues.