We’re going to start a new series of Friday events and see how long it lasts.

There is no doubt the comic book industry is in as big a crisis as the newspaper industry.  Fans are quick to point out the faults and foibles of each of the publishers out there, but few have ever come up with suggestions or ideas on how to rescue a particular company and increase the number of issues sold, beyond the typical “Fire INSERT EDITOR IN CHIEF NAME HERE!”

So here’s your chance to fix the industry, and here’s how it works:

  • The previous Editor in Chief has been fired, and the publisher is looking to hire a replacement.
  • In the comment section below, outline your ideas on what you would do to boost sales and improve the company’s bottom line.
  • In your comments you need to not only state the change, but why you believe the change would be for the greater good of the company.  For example, if your idea is to capture the young reader market (kids between 8 and 12 years old), how are you going to do it?  What needs to change?
  • Convince everyone that your ideas are the best direction for the company, by selling your idea.  Get us excited, get us fired up, and best of all make sure it is for the good of the company and the industry as a whole.

This week, we’re starting at the top of the comic book chart as named by Diamond Comic Distributors, with Marvel Comics. Joe Quesada is out, and you want his job.

The person with the best, most thought out answer will be named The Major Spoilers Fan of the Week, with all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

Keep it civil, folks.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. CF
    June 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    Well, I’ve basically stopped collecting all titles from Marvel Comics. For example, this week’s WRETCHED “Dark Avengers” 18 pages instead of 22 and the price was $4. Good-bye. That’s one title down. Now I hear that Uncanny X-Men is going up to $4 too. And if you heard the financial report of Marvel Comics to their shareholders you know that they’re just raising prices to see how much more they can squeeze out of their readership base. I would return the prices back to their $3 price point.

    I would add commercials about comic book titles to the various animated series that are being put out by Marvel Comics and in the commercial I would add information about how to locate your local comics store, including a phone number (automated).

    Marvel Comics Movies should have trailers for Comic Book Titles in them and the same information for how to locate a local comic book store.

    I would send free copies of comics to libraries in major cities.

    Get the Governments Federal and State to advertise in comics: State Lotteries should be particularly interested in getting addicted personalities addicted to gambling.

    Create educational comics that contain Marvel Characters that schools would pay for.

    When releasing a New DVD of a blockbuster like Iron Man, have the DVDs packed with a second DVD filled with comics of all kinds that you can see on your HD TV Screen or Computer – preferably cliff-hanger issues. Obviously, you include information as to how customers can get their hands on subsequent issues.

    • June 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm — Reply

      Some good thoughts cory. I like your idea about sending free comics to libraries.

  2. Gaumer
    June 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm — Reply

    How bout i go all digital and anyone who signs up for a subscription gets the ‘digital comic viewer’ (a cool one with my companies brand on it and everything) at a discounted price. The longer you subscribe and/or the more comics you subscribe to the more your discount on the viewer.

    I hate this as a plan but if you want fresh and different, this is it.

  3. June 5, 2009 at 7:44 pm — Reply

    First off, the graph show Marvel to be doing fine as far as sales. There is no excuse for increasing the cost of a comic by 33%.

    One of the biggest hurdles is cost. There are other issues also, but how to make comics more affordable is the big one.

    Ways to lower consumer cost.
    1. Reduce the SRP
    2. Reduce the number of titles
    3. Go digital
    4. Lower creator pay
    5. Make more off licensing

    The way I would suggest increasing readership is to reduce the number of titles and bulk up the size of comics. Instead of 4 different X-Men Titles, make one monthly. This one issue would be 80-100 pages (maybe 120 pages with ads) and cost $4.99. Cost of printing one thicker comic is much cheaper than producing 2 thinner comics. And producing a 100 page behemoth, would be more than producing a 22 pager, but not significantly. This plan would encourage readership by reducing the cost per story. This plan would deal with issue 1 and 2. This is the only method of increasing readership which I believe could work.

    Going digital would hurt (kill) comic book retailers if this was the only method of reading comics. Publishers would use their own websites to sell the comics and retailers would not be needed. However, this plan would reduce readership. (It would take me more than a couple of sentences to support this, but I do believe it.)

    As I don’t know what creators are being paid, I can’t stand on this too heavily as a viable way of increasing profits.

    Marvel is already making more off licensing than they make from comics (I believe this is right, though I don’t have the numbers in front of me). If the licensing is producing a decent profit, treat the comics as a loss leader, and sell them with the intent to increase box office, dvd sales, game sales, toys, etc.

  4. Morpheus
    June 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    First improvement would be increase readers. This can be done in a couple of different ways. One, advertise more. Like was previously said put ads for comic books in everything that is a marvel property, like movies, video games, cartoons, etc. This is what television networks do to increase the viewers of a particular show. Two, decrease the quantity of titles and increase the quality. More readers will come to the medium if the stories are good enough. And three, increase comics into the digital market, but don’t get rid of hard copies. Allow readers that purchase a hard copy to download a digital copy (with a free viewer). This will allow people to try out the digital copies without having to fork over money for a subscription. Subscriptions can be an option, but not mandatory to purchase digital comics.

    Another improvement would be tighter control of the stories that are told. I would put into place strict quality control guidelines that each editor of a title would have. This might make it harder to write certain stories, but this is what the writers are getting paid for. They will learn to work within the rules.

    Lastly, I would plugging everything as a long on-going series. Titles will be written and advertised as mini (5-6 issues) or maxi (10-12 issues). By advertising stories in chunks like this it will make it easier for a new reader to jump into a title. They can come in at the beginning of a “series” and will be able to be introduced to the characters and the plot without having to worry about what happened before. This is where the tighter control of the stories in a title can help in allow certain smaller plot points to bleed between “series” and keep readers wanting to read more.

    Now, how to continue profits is fairly straight forward. This might seem kind of vague, but I don’t know the specifics costs of printing comics, so this is something that would need to be adjusted if need be.

    1. By reducing the total number of titles and the number of issues that are printed this will help lower the operating cost of the company. Also, will look into ways to reduce overhead without eliminate the “culture” of the office. If writers enjoy working for a company they will produce better work.

    2. Determine the break even point at with comics need to be sold. Then increase that number by 5% and that will be the price of a comic book whether it is a hard copy or digital. This will prevent the comics medium from becoming a loss leader and will still develop the characters and titles for other mediums like movies, video games, cartoons, etc. Now, you are probably asking where the 5% came from. This number could be modified depending on the break even point, but my guess is that this would put comics at around $2-3. This 5% would also allow for some comics that sold better to make up for titles that performed poorly.

    3. I would not do second printings of sold out titles immediately if ever. By delaying the 2nd printing my hopes would be to increase demand and the values of the original comics. I feel that companies right now spend money on 2nd printings that gets wasted when that 2nd printing doesn’t sell. After a “series” has been completed then the company will re-evaluate the sales of the series as a whole before issuing second printings.

  5. shamon
    June 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm — Reply

    I have to pick Dan at DC comics he wanted to kill Dick Grayson ,said 52 was the worst weekly then went on at said countdown was way better .

  6. shamon
    June 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm — Reply

    I say lower the comic book prices back to 2.25 and in event books add more pages less ads and raise the price on those to make up for the loss in the regular lower priced books.

  7. Jerard
    June 6, 2009 at 8:32 am — Reply

    They better go digital and soon and not try to stick us by making them the same price you figuer they could cut the price to 99 cents – 1.99

  8. Galactoss
    June 6, 2009 at 11:23 am — Reply

    I’d make all comics $4.99 now raising to $5.99 in a year’s time, no exceptions,
    Increase price of trades proportionally, stop collecting those which won’t sell,
    Gradually kill current comic format by moving batches of titles online @ $3.99,
    Cut creator costs by producing lower quality artwork suitable for the web,
    Sell monthly 8-16pg $2.99 art-pamphlets of key scenes and splash pages by online title,
    Divide online subscriptions by device class, charging half as much again to e.g. “Add an iPod or Kindle to your Spider-Man (PC) subscription!”

    • June 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm — Reply

      Galactoss: That is truly disturbing, and of all the suggestions, will be the one Marvel goes with.

  9. Brainflow
    June 6, 2009 at 11:57 am — Reply

    More all ages comics, with solid story foundations. Get your best creators out there to create something that kids can get into.

    Create low cost digests (like Shonen jump) with ink and tone instead of expensive color. Manga is very popular among the children, folks.

    Lower number of titles. We don’t need five titles for every character or team.

  10. TheGoodTwin
    June 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm — Reply

    It’s probably important to distinguish between strategies that would pertain more to the major comic publishers (like Marvel and DC) than the smaller independent publishers (like Top Shelf). Their business models are just too different.

    It’s probably also important to distinguish between strategies that help the industry sell more comics, vs. help major publishers make more $$ (i.e. discussing licensing revenues vs. just increasing comic title sales makes this a more complicated discussion.)

    Helping the industry -as a whole- increase the sales of more comics will have a downstream effect on all other aspects of the business. In other words, the more people that are reading a comic are the more people that are apt to go out and buy the DVD or the Spider-Man toothbrush. This is particularly important as the key demographic for comic-buyers continues to age, and less kids are coming into the market. Here are some general thoughts:

    I see one very simple bottom line: increase the quality of what is being produced and sold. People only buy products when they perceive that they are receiving something of value, i.e. that the product will give them more benefits (pyschologically, or monetarily) than what it costs to purchase. Since the price of comics is and will continue to rise, the quality must keep pace. Too many comics today are schlock, with art that is less than stellar and stories that read like a third-grader wrote them. At some point, just as with foil covers, readers are going to catch on to the fact that they are just getting ripped off, and will go elsewhere for their entertainment.

    How do you increase the perceived benefits of buying comics? At this point, being a comic geek is becoming more accepted and even, to a certain extent, cool. Advertising that positions comics as the “cool” and “in” thing would help bring more consumers into the market. There’s a lot of free PR that could be had as well. If Stephen Colbert can interview the author of a new book every night, why can’t some of those guests be comic book authors?

    In addition, comic book stores, as a whole, need to be better managed. Most parents would take one look at a local comic shop and think “there is no way I’m taking my kid in there!” and most women are afraid to walk into a local comic shop for various reasons. Therefore, I think that the next step is for the major publishers to start opening up their own corporate-run comic shops. Just like McDonalds and Burger King run some of their own franchises, so can Marvel or DC. Imagine a clean and well-stocked, well-lit, clean and well-merchandised comic store with good signage and well-dressed employees.

    How do you increase quality? Well, typically as quantity goes up, quality goes down. It’s short-sighted to see an incremental gain in sales by adding addtional titles, when in the long run the kids that buy those titles will eventually grow up in a year or two and think “These comics suck!” and never come back again. Reduce titles and change the culture at major publishers back to quality. I don’t think it will happen based on the sales numbers, but the cross-over craze is going to burst, and bring down comics with it. If you produce quality material, and people know about it, then that will help the industry as a whole.

  11. Rodrigo
    June 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm — Reply

    TheGoodTwin sez: In addition, comic book stores, as a whole, need to be better managed. Most parents would take one look at a local comic shop and think “there is no way I’m taking my kid in there!” and most women are afraid to walk into a local comic shop for various reasons. Therefore, I think that the next step is for the major publishers to start opening up their own corporate-run comic shops. Just like McDonalds and Burger King run some of their own franchises, so can Marvel or DC. Imagine a clean and well-stocked, well-lit, clean and well-merchandised comic store with good signage and well-dressed employees.

    the problem with this is what happened back in the day with theaters, you’d end up with Marvel stores and DC stores, and they’d both try to gouge, trick and force each other to sell each other’s comics. In the end the costumer suffers

  12. jerrymichaels
    June 6, 2009 at 7:03 pm — Reply

    my reply , would be huh? there is no point in starting with DC and Marvel?
    as DC and Marvel’s publishing last year , showed the best profits in over 10 years.
    too many fans just look at the Diamond $$’s -and do not figure in the non-Diamond $$$’s –DC and Marvel $$$ in the non-Diamond markets have increased 1,000% in the last 10 years , that’s 10X everyone
    also the monies coming in from international distribution and licensing of the material has grown 20X in the last 10 years , and again this is not reflected in the Diamond charts)
    the doom and gloom from comic book fans (who just look at the Diamond numbers monthly) , just make me laugh
    are that many fans , that dense?

  13. TheGoodTwin
    June 6, 2009 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    Perhaps a third-party, like a major distributor (Diamond comes to mind) would see the opportunity to open up their own corporate store and expand the comic-reading audience beyond those currently willing to enter the run-of-the-mill comic shop. I travel a lot for my job, and have seen countless comic shops across the country. Perhaps 10% are properly stocked and actually ‘shoppable’ by the average consumer. It’s quite frankly that comics are as successful as they are given the lamentable state of comic stores today.

  14. Jerard
    June 7, 2009 at 2:07 am — Reply

    one of the reason comics don’t sell that much is cause there’s not that many comics shops out there(am guessing)ive moved around 8 times all to different states and only this last time has there been a comic shop closer than 50 miles from me even then you really think a parent is going to pick a 4 doller comic that takes about 15 minutes to read or a 9 dollar walmart toy that will keep there kid entertained much longer

    imagine how much easier and convenient it would be to just go to an itunes type place and buy spiderman, batman or buffy for around 1.99(hopefully 99 or 1.25) online but instead we get some half animation/comic for 7 bucks with pretty bad voice over work did dc really not have any money for a female actress(watchmen) give me one or the other not both mushed up badly to me its like their asking people to pay for cartoon storyboards that weren’t good enough for a full blown cartoon

    and for all the money their losing by bittorrent am starting to think they deserve it they really need to stop crying and evolve just like every other entertainment medium there’s really no way to stop the bleeding short of shuting down the internet

    music business handled it the best just do exactly what they did Marvel/DC/(insert any other comic publisher here)music has proved that you can have an artist full music catalog online(itunes/amazon)but still sell CDs the latest example would be Eminem’s Relapse sold 630K hard copies and still come in #1 in itune downloads both digital and hard copy had same release dates they made it so easy and cheap to get their music online most people rather just pay the 99 cents than downloading the bittorrent or go to an illegal site

    there’s no reason absolutely none that justifies why all comic publishers don’t have a 100% of there comics catalog online in some sort of from right now(well marvel dose but that service sucks balls)give me something i can download on to my HD and take on my psp or iphone and that i can come back to it weeks or months later on my own accord

    i said it before music proved it marvel, dc or whoever can and should have an online outlet and graphic novels , and the floppies all out at the same time and nicely coexist

    long story short GO F**KING DIGITAL and make sure to make it cheaper pretty please

    till nxt time peace

  15. Jerard
    June 7, 2009 at 2:12 am — Reply

    sad thing i wrote it up/\thinking some ass at the company’s was actually going to read it

  16. Salieri
    June 7, 2009 at 7:24 am — Reply

    No More Ongoings.

    That’s my big idea. The continually ongoing comic book, as a concept, is festooned with many troubling problems that seem without solution. Writers contradict each other. Numbering changes. Stories need to be edited to create sales. Plots are recycled over and over.

    So, simply cancel any and all ‘ongoing’ comics with a potentially infinite number of issues, and remake everything as a continual set of miniseries’ or extended maxiseries’. The stories will have beginnings, middles, and ends. You can have one or more series connecting chronologically (like, for instance, Morrison & Cameron’s Seaguy Trilogy), or as stand-alone stories. They can be set any time, any place.

    This way, individual ‘runs’ of a series are less likely to contradict each other; several different takes on one or more characters can run at once to cater to different tastes; audiences can enjoy the thrilling feeling of stories with closure, where you can be sure that the changes you liked will not be changed IMMEDIATELY, because the next writer’s story may be telling a completely different story.

    Imagine, for instance, if Morrison’s New X-Men was a maxiseries that finished with Magneto dead, Scott & Emma about to take over the school, etc. – then, rather than hand over the title and all characters involved to someone else, you have another series start that works in the same universe but isn’t necessarily a direct continuation – e.g., Peter David’s X-Factor. Wouldn’t that be, overall, better?

  17. OS Perry
    June 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    I posted this in the forums a while back:

    “I grew up in a small town, and if it wasn’t for the local IGA (grocery store) in town, I would never had discovered comics. They had a small rack. Now this was the 70’s and 80’s. So only your biggest titles… Spidey, IronMan, Avengers, Justice League, Marvel Team-up, Batman, Superman, etc. None of this Punisher War Journal, New Warriors, Thunderbolts, X-force stuff gumming up the racks.

    The only thing close to a comic rack/spinner is Barnes & Noble bookstores, that has a hodge podge of titles, some good some far from being good.

    Small towns, you can’t find comic racks in the grocery stores or gas stations anymore… its a shame. I agree with most everything Stacy B. said… characters like Batman… pick a team… Wolverine pick a team.

    And I touched upon it briefly… but 2/3rds of comic book art sucks, IMO. Like I said I’m no comic book artist, but if given the time/money, with my design degree… I could give a lot of so called comic book artists a run for their money. There are very good artists on some independents titles that most people never see. Why Marvel/DC both perpetuate sub-standard work is beyond me.”

    I think both big publishers, need to thin the herd, and put only their best writers and artists together, and perhaps make a cheap digest, for 2nd tier characters, and put up and coming artists/writers on them.

    Marvel/DC seems to be repeating what collapsed the bubble of the comics industry in the first place, multiple covers/gimmicks.

    Give me the big name superheroes/team books. Perhaps relegate these 2nd tier/3rd tier to a Vertigo type line.

    Too much crap to filter through each month, and I take too many chances on too many titles. If I knew A list writers/artists, that I could depend on month to month, I’d feel more condident, and have faith in the titles and probably be screwed a lot less.

    My suggestion… trim the fat deep. Dump the 2nd tier books/artists/characters/writers. Have these 2nd tier characters do cameos and do a few quarterly specials highlighting 2nd/3rd tier books and giving up and coming writers/artists a chance.

    Put a moratorium on Wolverine for Marvel. Dump his solo series, and only allow him in Uncanny Xmen, and only have perhaps on other X-title and dump the rest.

    No Tigra/Alpha Flight/Defenders/Dark this/Infinity that titles… No multiple Justice League books/GL books. Dump Booster Gold (as much as I like him) and all the extraneous Bat titles… Go to 2 Bat Titles… Batman and Detective…. No Supes Family titles… Just Action. Get rid of Titans/Teen or make it quarterly and charge 5 bucks for 64 page special.

    I’d get rid of about 2/3rds of titles at Marvel/DC and start putting them on racks in convenience stores/grocers in small towns, neighborhoods. I like the idea of advertising during say Brave and the Bold etc, on Cartoon network.

    Offer a bigger incentive to subscribe for 24 month minimum directly from publishers… say 50% off. If you knew you were getting the best writers/artists… not much of a risk. And get titles to Digital form quicker and evolve Digital comics quicker.

    Graphic Novels… great no change.

  18. MaximusRift
    June 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm — Reply

    1) Make comics for Drug-store/Supermarket sale. If possible, I’d shove the entire Marvel Adventures line into that. I’d make the books Digest-size, lower the paper quality a bit to lower cost and make this available for subscription. I’d also make a Marvel Super Squad comic for the same purpose.

    2) I’d end the current X-men line. All X titles will be either canceled or re-branded (X-Factor could be Heroes for Hire, for example). All X characters will be moved to other books or retired (example: I’d move most senior X-men into the Initiative and Avenger titles). I’d then start a whole new X-men from scratch completely divorced from current continuity. This X-continuity will feature mutants eXclusively (No FF. No Avengers. Just X-people).

    3) If it was in my power, I’d recall all Marvel IP’s from the studios and re-start the franchises under Marvel Studios.

    Well, that’s about it for ideas that I’d consider 100% constrictive. The next ideas… well, I’m not so sure…

    4) Wolverine will be turned into an actual wolverine. Animal Wolverine will be featured in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers and not be able to talk except for the word “bub”. Any book that uses Logan will now have to use the animal version. The actual Wolverine book will not follow this trend. Instead it will branch off into 3 major sagas. The first saga will have Logan in space defending an alien planet from ninja space rabbits with 6 other Wolverines from other dimensions. The second saga will have Logan in a magical kingdom where he must save a red headed princess from an evil sorcerer.
    The Last saga will have Wolverine join with the Ultraforce and become Ultraman Bub to fight gigantic monsters.

    5) The Avenger rosters will be changed. The ‘Mighty’ roster will consist of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, She Hulk, Storm and Ms. Marvel and will be a private group. The ‘New’ roster will consist of Cyclops, Sabra, Union Jack, Silverclaw, US Agent, Talisman and a new Crimson Dynamo and this team will be a UN sponsored one and will deal with world views.

    6) I’d organize a poll for fans to vote on storyline decisions. First poll would be on who should Peter start a relationship with. I’d include MJ and if she won I’d start undoing OMD.

    Okay. The last three are completely selfish and #3 is almost downright silly. However, I wouldn’t really be an EiC if I wasn’t a little bit selfish, right? ;)

  19. vistapa
    June 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm — Reply

    Two words, Go Global!!!
    No just online, Global online
    Hollywood collects an average of 45% of its profits on the international market
    Spider man
    Domestic: $403,706,375 49.1%
    + Foreign: $418,002,176 50.9%
    Domestic: $107,509,799 58.8%
    + Foreign: $75,225,483 41.2%
    Iron Man
    Domestic: $318,412,101 54.7%
    + Foreign: $263,618,427 45.3%
    Batman Begins
    Domestic: $205,343,774 55.1%
    + Foreign: $167,366,241 44.9%
    So, by going digital AND global easily the profits get a 30% bump.
    but please no digital the way DCU (marvel) does. Let me tell you a thing about me before going further, I’m from México (insert all your swine jokes here please) and if you think it’s hard to find a comic shop near your place, try here. Granted here you can find comics in any newspaper stand, BUT a year or two behind in continuity of you folks in the USA, and, in often at the same price of your brand new comics. And don’t get me start on the titles it’s all about x-men, batman, Spiderman and Superman here in the south, so if you want to read something different (irredeemable, Atomic robot, daredevil, GL corps, mouse guard, etc..) or read the current events you keep hearing in Major Spoiler Podcast and forum (get NOW you own F’ continuity T-shirt) well, you have two choices, travel to the nearest comic shop (there are a bunch in all Mexico) and I mean travel (a 30 min to 8 hrs trip depend on where you are) and pay roughly one day of salary for A comic (taxes, plus a very devaluated peso) , or grab your parrot, your eye patch and… well you get the idea.
    So if you go Digital and Global, same release date please, you can capitalize from the comic fans worldwide, but do it at a fair price $1.99 or $1, come on, the cost of a digital copy is far less than a hard copy.
    And for the retailers… there is a market for printed copies, just as @jerad said, I will just change the quality of the printing in the ongoing series to almost pulp comics and by doing this the price will drop and for those looking for top notch quality and willing to pay for it, make the trades all glossy and shining and the hard covers full of extra content.

  20. vistapa
    June 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm — Reply

    One more thing, make the digital comics aviable for download i wanna own the things i pay for, and please just comics plain and simple animation and sound belongs to another media

  21. smarterthenyouraveragecomicfan
    June 7, 2009 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    my one question is huh?
    look at the growth the US comic book market has had in the last 10 years

    2000 $255-275 million
    2001 $260-285 million
    2002 $300-330 million
    2003 $350-400 million
    2004 $420-480 million
    2005 $475-550 million
    2006 $575-640 million
    2007 est $660-700 million

    2008 $720 million

    the key to the rise is the one thing the comic book companies
    (esp DC) have done right , expand the non-comic book store market
    book store sales are thru the roof the last 10 years
    keep working the non-comic book store market
    and the $$$ will continue to grow

    • June 8, 2009 at 9:26 pm — Reply

      look at the growth the US comic book market has had in the last 10 years

      2000 $255-275 million
      2001 $260-285 million
      2002 $300-330 million
      2003 $350-400 million
      2004 $420-480 million
      2005 $475-550 million
      2006 $575-640 million
      2007 est $660-700 million

      That’s dollars. Note that the price of comics has nearly TRIPLED in that time. Let’s talk about units sold and readers kept, hmm?

  22. smarterthenyouraveragecomicfan
    June 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm — Reply

    “look at the growth the US comic book market has had in the last 10 years

    2000 $255-275 million
    2001 $260-285 million
    2002 $300-330 million
    2003 $350-400 million
    2004 $420-480 million
    2005 $475-550 million
    2006 $575-640 million
    2007 est $660-700 million

    That’s dollars. Note that the price of comics has nearly TRIPLED in that time. Let’s talk about units sold and readers kept, hmm?”

    2000/2001 most DC / Marvel titles were already $2.50-Image and Dark Horse were already at the $2.99 price point

    so we are not even close to doubling (and forget about tripling costs)

    as a long time sellers of comic books-i have been doing conventions (and supplying other sellers )
    for nearly 30 years
    there are more readers now , then there has been in the last 20 years
    we will never return to the early/mid 90’s
    but during that time
    the majority of books purchased were not read

    and staying in the framework of the last 10 years
    the growth has been tremendous
    now much of the growth has been in the TPB format
    but the singles still do well

    the “doomsayers” have been “making noise” about the comic book marketplace falling
    but never have any facts to back up their claims

    yes the market is changing
    single book sales will never equal what they did
    comic book stores may remain flat or decrease some

    but the health of DC and Marvel in $$$ generated
    is stronger then it has been in a decade

    • June 8, 2009 at 11:56 pm — Reply

      So it sounds like your answer is “fuck it all, keep doing what we’re doing.. nothing wrong here.. move along.” If I were the eic of a company I would most certainly be concerned why the highest selling coming sells 100,000 to 200,000 issues domestically, yet forty years ago, a single issue would sell in the millions.

  23. smarterthenyouraveragecomicfan
    June 9, 2009 at 8:13 am — Reply

    “So it sounds like your answer is “fuck it all, keep doing what we’re doing.. nothing wrong here.. move along.” If I were the eic of a company I would most certainly be concerned why the highest selling coming sells 100,000 to 200,000 issues domestically, yet forty years ago, a single issue would sell in the millions.”

    the last time a title
    sold 1-million+
    for many consecutive months was the 1960’s
    (Batman and Superman )
    Mad also made the mark during the 70’s

    40+ years ago
    there was not nearly the # of titles being published today
    the pie is just being split so many more ways
    (more titles , more titles featuring the same character/family, TPB sales , etc)

    a perfect comparison would be TV , during the 60’s 40 million people watched the Beverly Hillbillies each week , today Two and a 1/2 Men is the top ranked comedy with a weekly audience of 10-12 million , why? there are that many more channel options

    it’s interesting
    to just take a look at Battle For The Cowl
    and using Batman as an example
    so we can safely state BFTC did 100,000+ when non comic book stores are added in

    in 1981 Batman averaged 110,000
    in 1985 75,000
    in 1987 193,000 (Frank Miller year one)

    in 1997 59,000
    in 1999 49,000
    in 2003 145,000 (Jim Lee)
    in 2007 69,000
    (81,85,87 are the total sale #’s)
    (97,99,03,07 are the Direct market only) (i used January for each year to take a sampling)

    so all in all
    pretty consistent

    the new break even point for a monthly DC/Marvel title is anywhere from 7k to 25k
    depending on the talent involved
    a few things
    TPB sales
    sales in the non-direct market in the US (some of the Wildstorm titles sell 50 to 100k in the non direct market , alone)
    non USA sales of the material

    with the new math (and the new ways to sell comic book material-TPB’s , licensing the material to be sold out of the US) Marvel and DC
    produce 3 times
    as many titles a month as they have at pretty much , any time in their history

    it is the reason their publishing profits last year
    were at the highest levels in the last 10 years

    DC probably had more profit from just TPB’s last year then their entire line produced 10 years ago

    the market is changing
    and soon the Direct market (Diamond)
    will not be the biggest revenue generator for either DC or Marvel

    another comparison is this
    in the time frame of the last 5/6
    CD/music $$’s have decreased 60% (and this is with even factoring in legal paid downloading)
    general magazine $$$’s have decreased 75%
    general book $$$’s have remained flat
    newspaper $$$’s have decreased 40%
    that comic books total $$$’s have risen in the last 5/6 years
    is pretty amazing
    this totally goes against the grain of what is going on with their competition (CD’s , Newspapers , General Mags , General Books )

    all in all the Big 2 are in great shape right now
    people have to stop with “the sky is falling”

  24. crood
    June 9, 2009 at 10:26 am — Reply

    Simply put, the profitability level of comics does not support paying to advertise on TV. As yourself, when was the last time you saw a commercial for any magazine on TV. Yes, there was a time where Time, Newsweek, People, etc had the circulation numbers and ad revenue to support TV ads. Those days are long gone.

    Also there are rules in place about advertising during children’s programming. They can’t have commercials for Batman toys during a Batman cartoon. The same would apply for comics.

  25. jedhavok
    June 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm — Reply

    I think it would help the comic book industry if we have more comic book shops or retailers. And it would be a great if they could deliver their comics to those who cant come to their comic shops. I know they will ask for a delivery fee but i think thats it ok as long as the fee is reasonable and the shop would not increase the price just because they are delivering it. Also, I hope that the major comic book guys(DC/Marvel), would lower their prices just a bit. They have really overpriced their comics in my opinion. When i first started out reading comic books the prices were only $2.25 or $2.50 and the specials are $4.

  26. morpheus
    June 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    @ smarterthenyouraveragecomicfan ~ Are you saying that Marvel and DC should look to improve their situations or increase readership? IMO, if they were to stop trying to get more readers and improve quality then they will end up losing more readers. Just b/c they are making more money then they did 10 years ago doesn’t mean that they should stop trying to improve.

    Those that don’t persue perfection succeed in failing.

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