Could the solution to the current slump in comics sales be bringing back well-known creators?
During a recent video interview on the Thinking Critical channel, well-known comics creator Mark Millar discussed the current slump in sales and brought up one suggestion he had to help get the industry back on its feet.
While talking about his announced return to DC for a Superman story, Millar discussed his idea that at least 20 comic book “legends” should return to both DC and Marvel, committing to do a minimum two-year run that he feels would save the comic-book industry.
“There’s something weird going on right now where I really feel like guys like me and guys who’ve worked in the industry for a while and been very lucky, had a lot of big books and everything, we’ve got to man the stations.”
He further stated that he believes the industry is in “the worst state it’s ever been.” He noted that retailers are struggling, and some are dying. “All my friends and retailers are saying it’s never been, they’ve never known it as hard as this.”
He added, “Everybody’s got to come in and do a couple of projects and find an artist who’s as good as you can possibly get and just do some killer runs on something.”
Millar proposed that 20 big-name writers and 20 big-name artists should do “an amazing couple of years of comic books.” He feels that some excitement needs to return to Marvel and DC again. The reason for this is that those companies need to do well in order to drive creator-owned success. In the last 10 years,” he said, “there hasn’t been any real big, blow-up success in the creator-owned world. Saga was probably the last one that went crazy.”
He mentioned that some don’t want to hear promoting what some call “The Big Two” because “you’re making money for the man,” showing it up as a corporation. “But the honest truth is that creator-owned growth comes from Marvel and DC doing well.”
“I want to see people in that position again where they’re holding 20 bucks in their hands, but they need 60 bucks for the number of good comics that come out that week.”
REACTION TO THAT IDEA
Of course, fans and other comics pros had mixed responses to that notion.
One pro said, “It´s over! A lot of people, myself included, turned their backs on comics years ago. And return? For my part, I have no urgent desire to do so.”
Another responded, “Millar’s stuff contains a lot of the things that helped kill the industry.” That person felt that the so-called “legends” are gone, and now there are only third-generation guys such as John Byrne and Walt Simonson. He was also skeptical of a recent Jim Lee statement: “The movies will direct people to the comics shops!”
Someone else said, “I’m not a Mark Millar fan, but he’s right from a sales and creativity standpoint. And the big two are apparently intentionally making things worse.”
“Perhaps a better solution is for the legends to band together and form a new company,” another added. Sounds like what brought Image into being to me!
One person responded, “I agree with Millar, but I think they need to go back even farther and get series written and/or drawn by Frank Miller, Art Adams, Peter David, Mike Golden, Pat Broderick, John Byrne, Jim Shooter, Val Mayerick, Chris Claremont, Frank Cirocco, Larry Hama, Mike Baron, Jim Starlin, Terry Austin, Bob Layton, Steve Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz and others from the 1975 – 1985 era.”
Part of the problem is that there appears to be NO clear solution!
Honestly, at this point, I’m willing to try ANYTHING to keep this industry I have loved for decades moving forward. If “big names” return, even for a little while, it might help!
But then what? Do we return to where we are now? I’m very concerned that this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem! However, if this can happen, let’s at least try it!
Hey, I’m even anxious for MORE ideas from people involved in the industry! If there are other people with ideas worth trying, let’s give them a go, too!
Sadly, the people who run many LCS’s that I know are saying the same things. The weekly new comics sales are really down! We need to find ways to bolster that kind of thing so shops will stay open! I don’t want to go to downloading new ideas via FTP sites! I like reading my paper copies. As always, if that’s the only way to catch up or stay current, I’ll gladly buy digital versions.
As a fan, I do lament that many weeks, I read my weekly stash, but only one or two of them really stand out and make me want to read them again. Recently, Tom Taylor’s Dark Knights of Steel and Mark Waid’s World’s Finest and Teen Titans books sparkle, in my opinion. The whole “Knight Terrors” event had some interesting notions in them, but they didn’t stack up to the books I just mentioned!
We’ve seen the industry evolve over the years, with romance and western and monster stories all vanishing from the shelves. Will superheroes be next?
Last week, I again tried to send out an “all call” to creators who just might shake the industry up, make it better! That still stands! If the stories I’ve put together in my long history as a comics fan actually were even decent, I’d take a stab at it. But I know the difference between “okay” and “great,” and my imagination still is mired in “okay.”
So again, I say, I KNOW there are comics people out there with great ideas we haven’t read yet! Let’s try Millar’s concept, let’s try anything that could help at this point! I want the comic books I buy, take home, then read to make me excited once again! And I bet I’m not the only one who feels that way!
What do you think? Does Millar’s idea sound feasible? What other ideas should the industry consider? Would even a DC/Marvel crossover series help? Whatever your opinions, be sure to share them in the space below!