A couple of weeks back, I talked about the struggles retailers were having when ordering the books they would be selling. That included DC’s Convergence, two months in which titles would appear that might exist only during that time.
Well, as reported right here at MajorSpoilers.com, DC announced on Friday how they’re going to proceed after the Convergence event.
There’s been the usual reaction, some who have hated everything DC said to those who loved all that DC will be offering. There have been comments and controversy, much of which is to be expected. Some items I liked, others not so much, but that’s for another week. This time, I thought I’d share my general reaction to how DC will move forward.
When the New 52 was announced, there was quite a backlash from those who had been collecting DC’s product for years, even decades. Many felt that the books they owned were now invalidated, that the stories and characters they had loved so long were no longer “real” as far as DC was concerned. Many went online to say that they would no longer buy DC’s comics. (I did find that some fans were buying non-New 52 titles such as Astro City, though.)
On the other side, there were many folks who showed up in long lines during the few several Wednesdays that the New 52 hit the ground, and it was quite a success … at least, for a while.
But as the weeks progressed, the sales numbers diminished, and as I noted a few weeks back, Marvel had again regained the top spot on a very regular basis, although some DC comics remained successes.
When you’re coming in second week after week, you need to do something to revitalize your line of comics. Much like when the New 52 began, DC opted to keep several titles going while bringing in new books that would kick off on June 3, 2015. And let’s face it – number one’s ALWAYS sell better!
In the news release DC sent out last Friday, I was particularly intrigued by this: “This summer, DC Entertainment launches a bold new direction for the DC Universe (DCU) that is even more inclusive and accessible to a wider group of readers as the publisher continues to evolve comic storytelling for its next generation of fans.”
Then there was this: “Whether you’ve been a DC fan your whole life, or whether you are new to comics – there will be a book for you beginning in June.” This quote was attributed to Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher.
Comics companies have long held the idea that readership turns over every three-to-five years or so. DC went after the “new” reader in particular, hoping that a goodly portion of the long-time folks would also come along.
Now, they’re clearly saying, “If you’ve EVER liked DC, we want you to buy our product again!” I think that’s a smart way to go, given that the New 52 has lost a significant number of fans who didn’t come back as DC hoped.
We need to face the fact that while there are a lot of younger readers, there’s also a major group of comics buyers who are older than that “target” audience. The trick is, getting both demographics to buy into what comes out each month. That’s no easy trick.
THE OLD AND THE NEW
“DC Comics will be keenly focused on going back-to-basics with its legendary characters, like BATMAN, SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN, while also reinventing key characters, such as BLACK CANARY, BIZARRO, CYBORG and STARFIRE, with a new contemporary tonality to ensure a diverse offering of titles,” pointed out the release. “Top writers and artists, as well as emerging fresh voices, are on board to help create an expansive lineup of comics that appeals to a broad audience of fans.”
In other words, “We’ll be producing what has worked while trying to revamp the characters many love, but who haven’t really sold in numbers we’d like.”
I’m particularly fascinated by the upcoming Bat-Mite miniseries. One of the most enjoyable books I purchased in the last decade or so (Yes, I’m that old!) was called World’s Funnest. It featured Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk cavorting through the various DC universes, poking fun at some and loving others. My favorite sequence was when Lois Lane looked longingly at Superman while thinking, “I have to find a way to trick the Man of Steel to getting into a long-term, honest relationship with me,” or something to that effect. I still smile when I think about that.
I often think about the saying that goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” DC’s smart to keep the things going on that work. I regret that many of the experiments they tried didn’t fly, like Mister Terrific, Static Shock or any of the war comics. I still enjoyed them a lot, but I was clearly in the minority.
My hope is that DC won’t lose that penchant to take chances and go where few comics have gone … in the last several decades or so.
I think most of the choices of the books that will continue are wise ones. I do think, however, that DC shouldn’t restrict starting new titles to one specific month as they have recently. If something needs to be cancelled, just start up another comic as soon as you have a good idea and creative team in place. Just my thought, anyway!
THIS WILL HELP RETAILERS
This information will help retailers figure out how they’ll order books after Convergence. If I owned a store, I’d do what I’ve heard several shops are already planning to do – print out a list of the old and the new so your customers can choose what they want to buy.
After all, not every reader comes here to MajorSpoilers.com (although they certainly should!) in order to keep up with the latest news. I’m always surprised by how many fans walk into their local shops and are stunned to find out that things have changed! I think stores should keep their customers up to date as much as possible so they can keep clients as happy as possible.
I applaud DC’s facing facts and trying to appeal to as many fans as possible. Maybe both long-time and recent readers will be able to get to their local stores and keep the industry growing!
Of course, what’s to be expected next is for Marvel to release their plans for the future following Secret Wars. I expect them to blend both the “regular” Marvel U and the Ultimate Marvel U into one universe, with the most popular Ultimate characters joining “our” Marvel.
I think the Ultimate universe was a good idea, but eventually, it collapsed under its own weight. It’s impossible to put out a monthly comic these days that doesn’t have a continuity that expands from issue to issue. That’s what readers want, it seems like.
If I was DC, I’d forget “New 52”-style marketing. It’s temporary at best.
In my recent interview with Dark Circle Comics Editor Alex Segura, he talked about not using “events” to keep readers buying books. Instead, he discussed telling good stories. Hey, if the whole industry would go that route, I think we’d all be better off – fans and producers alike!
What do you think? Please post your thoughts below![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]