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Expanding Comic Book Audiences

ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
edited September 2009 in Graphic Violence
I think a small but fundamental fixture in the comic book industry that seems to be missing is a body of critical review. What I'm getting at is that, with the exception of the Comics Journal, I can't think of too many other publications, digital or otherwise that reviews, critiques, and gives editorial articles about the comics industry. Or atleast if there are, these publications don't seem very apparent to me.

There's IGN, and they only really cover mostly mainstream titles with some exceptions here and there. Does anybody know of any others.

Also, I'm looking for some counter-arguments, I guess. What do you think is more important to the widening of comic book audiences? Is it peer reviewed publications, advertising, or a change in public perception?

ScoobaShag on
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Posts

  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Are you just looking for reviews? Mentioning IGN seems to imply any review site will do (although I actually like their comic reviews, actually far better and less asskissing than their video game ones) for you. Are you talking like a Siskel and Ebert for comics that adds some kind of credibility to them by just reviewing them? Because that's not going to happen since 90%+ of North America still thinks they are for kids only. It's not a respected industry nor treated as an extension of literature or art, so wallows in the 'for kids only' genre, despite being the driving force for the movie industry for the past few years.

    If you're just looking for web site recommendations thread for reviews, editorials, etc, I think we have one floating around somewhere or you can just ask in the questions thread.


    As for the last question, the only thing that will expand the industry is a digital movement by the big 2 that puts free samples on people's iPhones, computers and other media devices because they are definitely not going into the comic shops. Buy the Iron Man DVD? Get a coupon for say Invincible Iron Man #1-6 in a downloadable (not shitty subscription thing Marvel uses wth that horrible, horrible reader they use) format. That's several hundred thousand (millions? dont know dvd sales) people that like Iron Man enough to buy a DVD and would never go to a comic shop gettin gaccess to the series in a digital format for free and if it converted even 1% of that to new customers, youve expanded the industry more than any advertising could possibly do.

    Wth people actually reading the comics, they now have a gateway drug that can change perception and show them it's not just for kids and fat nerds in parents basements with grilled cheese sandwiches. I still advocate an iComics like store that sells digital copies for 99 cents and mabye coupons for trades if you own all the digital versions. Could then give coupon codes in print versions that get people on the digital (say instead of reprinting a comic in a book, you put a coupon code for it in the book for digital version) and the DVD giveaways for select stories for the heroes on hand and so on. People arent going to comic shops out of the blue to start collecting. It's a digital world where they spend more time twittering or on their phones texting. Give them what they want and at reasonable prices and you'll sell to the masses again. Wont be a huge boom right away, but industry isnt exactly getting any bigger as it is.

    KVW on
  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Offer free beer at comic shops

    Me Too! on
  • TexiKenTexiKen I'm strong! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Lower price point would help. Especially on new #1's. Vertigo's $1 intros has already made me pick up two new titles (Unwritten and Greek Street) that I would have otherwise ignored.

    Especially companies like Marvel should realize sell a 40 page #1 for $2, take the loss, but the people still holding on for issues #2 and 3 will even that out soon enough (since comic sales basically operate on the premise of get big numbers out the gate, ride the wave down, then event-up and let the book ride a boost here and there).

    You have to first focus on getting those who read comics, but not your comic. Get those people first, since they are the easiest targets. Then expand outwards.

    TexiKen on
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  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    You're right about the move towards the Digital medium, but I hardly think the comic industry hinges on the actions of Marvel or DC. If either of those companies were to go sour in the near future (which I'm pretty sure they won't) nobody would be the worse off in my opinion. The reason comics are relegated to the kids section probably is connected directly to the way the print market works though.

    But back to my original question, as I said it's not the most important aspect for comics as a whole, but it is important. In a world where there's journalism for just about everything under the sun, how could there not be room for comic books? I honestly think the fact that there exists few venues for the mainstream public to go for information about what's going on in comics to be detrimental to its perception. People pay attention to the latest movies coming out because they're constantly being advertised, the creators are being interviewed on daytime talk shows, and there's a near constant stream of information being shovelled into the public eye. There's a long, long, road before that ever happens for any comic book, but you have to start somewhere.

    Anyway, I am still curious about other review publications.

    ScoobaShag on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    @ TexiKen

    certainly an aspect I hadn't originally considered. Print comics have gotten pretty pricey in the last couple of years.

    @MeToo!

    That's not a bad idea, just take it up a level. Comic book release parties, like a more laid back gallery open.

    ScoobaShag on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    @KVW

    I also see that you have a link to a review site, so that's atleast one more. I just never see or hear about any.

    Which is why I ask.

    ScoobaShag on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    IGN, Newsarama and CBR are the three biggest news, editorial and review sites. Broken Frontier, Journalista, Comics Bulletin, Comics Continuum, iFanboy, Indy Magazine, Comics Reporter, The Pulse, Wizard and more are all as mainstream as the comic medium gets.

    Like many other mediums, more and more people rely on blogs for information, reviews and thought pieces due to corporate ass kissing of the big sites and so on. The comics medium, in particular, seems to have sites dedicated to just about every character imaginable, some for mainstream, some dc, some marvel, some indy, general review sites, and everything in between. It's really hard to just recommend blogs since everyone looks for different writing styles or content and have different views on things. Some like hard lined snark, others neutral voices, others still like the blogger to like the same things (say a Marvel fan or a DD fan or selection of books).

    In all honesty, I typically avoid big sites for reviews due to the fact they have big ass advertisements from teh same thing they are reviewing and you always see stories about video games or movies with holding review copies and other draconian methods if they dont get good reviews and even threats of pulling advertising. Comics, being a small medium, sees more 'clubhouse' like reporting than most and Newsarama and the like come off with things like Ultimatum being great in their reviews when everyone and their mothers thought it was horse shit. I can rhyme off a dozen+ blogs if you want, though, but your milage will vary with each.

    KVW on
  • TexiKenTexiKen I'm strong! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    A good review site for X-Men/Marvel related books is If Destroyed, Still True. Originally it was The X-Axis, it's since been moved to his blog site for reviews. Paul's a Scott lawyer who has been a Marvel/X-Men reader for years, but also reviews the indie/Vertigo stuff. He has a really good grasp on comics and storytelling, and if I ever ran Marvel he would be one of my editors (and then I'd fire Brevoort).

    And Newsarama is pretty much dead now, or always one step behind CBR since co founder Matt Brady left. All they have left that is the Weekly Webbing with Wacker article, which is nothing but Steve Wacker being a complete asshole to the readers/opponents of BND. 20 Questions with Didio is so heavily filtered it's not even worth it. I haven't even posted there since Brady left, to be honest.

    Kirk's site is good with reviews as well, as his panel scans going with the review help the reader get a glimpse of where he's at in the review article. It's weird to say it but it shows the comic was read before it was reviewed. Oftentimes it seems like reviewers at Newsarama and CBR already have their review written before they read the book, as they are very vague and could basically be written off the free previews the companies provide every week.

    TexiKen on
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  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Lower price point, start pushing bookstores, grocery store lines etc as main place to buy comics, and most of all, stop making it embarrassing to have the covers in public.

    Fencingsax on
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  • The Lovely BastardThe Lovely Bastard Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    the best way to expand comics' audience is to give me free stuff

    give me all the free stuff

    The Lovely Bastard on
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The best way to expand comic book audiences is to make the existing audience fatter.

    Robos A Go Go on
  • TexiKenTexiKen I'm strong! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I was expecting you to write more swimsuit issues.

    TexiKen on
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  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Free beer night worked once why wouldn't it work at a comic shop

    Also the answer is always to send everyone a copy of Hellblazer

    Dangerous Habits to be specific

    Me Too! on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Well thanks a lot, y'all, my first question was thoroughly answered.

    @robos a go go
    Now that's lateral thinking, I like it!

    @the lovely bastard
    We should all get free stuff, but we live in an unfair world. But you should know that better than anyone having watched the Deathwish movies, I assume. Charles Bronson can only fix so many of our problems

    @KVW
    I take it you're extremely well read as far as review sites go. I'll make sure to give all of those a look.

    @Me Too!
    It's true.

    ScoobaShag on
  • The Lovely BastardThe Lovely Bastard Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    No I don't mean everyone.

    Only I should get free stuff.

    The Lovely Bastard on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Write your local congress man and maybe we can solve that problem.

    ScoobaShag on
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You know what I cannot believe hasn't happened?

    Ads before the comic-based movies.

    "Continue the adventure in: The Amazing Spider-Man!" or whatever. It's not fucking rocket science. Every 4 year-old I've seen who loves Spider-Man loves the movies. They don't even know the book exists. You could just tell them!

    durandal4532 on
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  • Bloods EndBloods End Blade of Tyshalle Punch dimensionRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Of course the Amazing Spider-Man book is hardly appropriate for a four year old.

    Bloods End on
  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I always thought it might be an idea to include a few select comics in those mens magazines such as FHM or Maxim.

    Ziggymon on
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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Bloods End wrote: »
    Of course the Amazing Spider-Man book is hardly appropriate for a four year old.
    Yeah, well, you'd put out Marvel Adventures or whatever. What I am saying is: this is ridiculous. Most people in the world have never seen Spider-Man in a comic, they've seen him in a movie. I don't know why they aren't trying to connect the dots.

    durandal4532 on
    Take a moment to donate what you can to the International Rescue Committee, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union. There has never been a more urgent moment to do so.
  • slacktronslacktron Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    KVW wrote: »
    IGN, Newsarama and CBR are the three biggest news, editorial and review sites. Broken Frontier, Journalista, Comics Bulletin, Comics Continuum, iFanboy, Indy Magazine, Comics Reporter, The Pulse, Wizard and more are all as mainstream as the comic medium gets.

    That's a great list. I usually get my reviews courtesy of The Onion's Comics Panel. They're supposed to update biweekly, but seem to have missed their latest deadline.

    I don't know if the Onion counts as the biggest audience expansion, but at least it's giving comics exposure to the fake-news-enthusiast crowd.

    slacktron on
  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Ziggymon wrote: »
    I always thought it might be an idea to include a few select comics in those mens magazines such as FHM or Maxim.

    I could see this. You even have western magazines like Monocle with a manga insert -- why not a western comic serial in a magazine? Hmm.

    desc on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    @ durandal and blood's end

    Marvel doesn't seem to care about the sales of their comics right now, which is kind of sad. Comic artists really can't depend on the bigger companies as of late. Though I do think it would be a good idea to send as a letter to Marvel, just as an inquiry. Because yeah, if you want to sell more comicbooks, advertise during the [email protected]#$ing movies!

    @ ziggymon,

    reaching out to the basic male demographic beyond the most immediate comic induced types is a pretty good idea too. Seems simple.

    Alot of these ideas seem simple, but for some reason they're just ignored. I wonder what it would take to get these ideas into peoples heads?

    ScoobaShag on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    It'd be great if Marvel or DC took an eastern approach of releasing comics weekly/bi-weekly instead of monthly, featuring nothing but original, self-contained properties that targeted a younger audience than the usual mid 20's/30's crowd. Something that doesn't feature guys dressed up in spandex costumes, but just superpowered individuals. X-men does not count at all.

    Then again, western comic industry is vastly different than the eastern ones, so even if you did that i'm sure the thousands of die-hard mooks out there would try and steam-roll it because they didn't get their latest issue of spiderman or whatever. Who needs change, right?

    Godfather on
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  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    I've thought about how cool that would be for some time now. However, I don't know what the odds are that the american print market will hold out long enough for something like that to succeed. At the same time it seems like something like that would be highly successful. Who wouldn't want their favorite monthly updated twice a month? Even if it was in smaller chapters.

    Actually for Marvel that would be perfect to have a magazine like that with their current franchises, especially with all their continuity obsession.

    Imagine if the Civil War storyline had been released as a set of chapters in a bi-weekly magazine? Actually seems like they could make more money running off of that model. Methinks a marvel executive's missing out on a golden opportunity here.

    ScoobaShag on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I know that manga around here is extremely frowned upon (and it's a justifiable claim to be honest), but you cannot deny at how efficient they are at marketing their comics and getting them out the door on time every time.

    Shounen Jump, for example, releases their comics on a weekly schedule, with each series cranking out a whopping eighteen/twenty pages a week. They aren't colored, but honestly that's something probably saved better suited for Volume releases.

    While other competitors release on a weekly basis, other magazines and companies will release on a bi-weekly or monthly schedule. Some series work out better in this format, so it's up to the creator to pick which format works best.

    On a side note, here's a breakdown of the Eastern male age demographic bracket for the 2009 fiscal year:
    Men:

    10-20


    1. ONE PIECE

    2. NARUTO

    3. Full Metal Alchemist

    4. BLEACH

    5. Hayate no Gotoku

    6. Hitman Reborn

    7. Soul Eater

    8. FAIRY TAIL

    9. D.Gray-Man

    10. To Love-Ru



    20-30


    1. ONE PIECE

    2. Full Metal Alchemist

    3. HUNTERxHUNTER

    4. NARUTO

    5. BLEACH

    6. Negima!

    7. Tenjo Tenge

    8. Black Lagoon

    9. Hayate no Gotoku

    10. Yotsuba-to!



    30-40


    1. ONE PIECE

    2. Vagabond

    3. PLUTO

    4. BASTARD!!

    5. Full Metal Alchemist

    6. Berserk

    7. HUNTERxHUNTER

    8. NARUTO

    9. Initial D

    10. Yotsuba-to!



    40-50


    1. ONE PIECE

    2. PLUTO

    3. Initial D

    4. Nodame Cantabile

    5. NARU

    6. Shacho Kousaku Shima

    7. Full Metal Alchemist

    8. Zipang

    9. Kamen Rider Spirits

    10. BASTARD!!

    That series at the top has only been around for ten years (long for an eastern series, a drop in the bucket for the american industry), and makes more money than God. The fact that it dominates the age groups from ten to fifty is something Corporate America could only dream about.

    Also, every one of these series are self-contained, easy to get into and are readily available.

    Godfather on
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  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Godfather wrote: »
    It'd be great if Marvel or DC took an eastern approach of releasing comics weekly/bi-weekly instead of monthly, featuring nothing but original, self-contained properties that targeted a younger audience than the usual mid 20's/30's crowd. Something that doesn't feature guys dressed up in spandex costumes, but just superpowered individuals. X-men does not count at all.

    Then again, western comic industry is vastly different than the eastern ones, so even if you did that i'm sure the thousands of die-hard mooks out there would try and steam-roll it because they didn't get their latest issue of spiderman or whatever. Who needs change, right?

    This post smacks of "manga is superior to your superhero funny books"

    Fuck yourself

    Me Too! on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Me Too! wrote: »
    Godfather wrote: »
    It'd be great if Marvel or DC took an eastern approach of releasing comics weekly/bi-weekly instead of monthly, featuring nothing but original, self-contained properties that targeted a younger audience than the usual mid 20's/30's crowd. Something that doesn't feature guys dressed up in spandex costumes, but just superpowered individuals. X-men does not count at all.

    Then again, western comic industry is vastly different than the eastern ones, so even if you did that i'm sure the thousands of die-hard mooks out there would try and steam-roll it because they didn't get their latest issue of spiderman or whatever. Who needs change, right?

    This post smacks of "manga is superior to your superhero funny books"

    Fuck yourself

    No, it doesn't.

    KVW on
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You know what I'm honestly surprised hasn't popped up? A Harry Potter comic book. Or.. I guess for that matter a Twilight comic book.

    Seriously, I think either of those two franchises could bring people in by the boatloads. Of course, you then got transition them to other books, but I think that (especially with HP), there's a lot of other things you can show a fan and go 'you liked this? Read this!"

    Or if you want to be mean, show them Gaiman's Book of Magic and go "wanna see what JK ripped off from?"

    noir_blood on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Twilight has a comic coming if I'm not mistaken.

    KVW on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Me Too! wrote: »
    Godfather wrote: »
    It'd be great if Marvel or DC took an eastern approach of releasing comics weekly/bi-weekly instead of monthly, featuring nothing but original, self-contained properties that targeted a younger audience than the usual mid 20's/30's crowd. Something that doesn't feature guys dressed up in spandex costumes, but just superpowered individuals. X-men does not count at all.

    Then again, western comic industry is vastly different than the eastern ones, so even if you did that i'm sure the thousands of die-hard mooks out there would try and steam-roll it because they didn't get their latest issue of spiderman or whatever. Who needs change, right?

    This post smacks of "manga is superior to your superhero funny books"

    Fuck yourself

    I only bother to keep up with one manga series.

    Fuck you.

    Godfather on
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  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Yeah, despite the fact that Godfather's post had nothing to do with manga superiority, the eastern market does what it does because they have a smart model that both exploits its artists but also makes them ridonculously rich (well, atleast the head artists anyway.) Something unheard of over here.

    Anyhow, there has been a major influx of comics based on books recently. Farenheit 451, Great Expectations, Dresden Files, Last of the Mohicans and the list goes on. Some of them are even being produced by none other than Marvel, which is a surprise to me, but I have an unfortunate bias.

    I suppose it's a step.

    Another one that I don't hear too many talking about is that "Bone" is now being marketed through Scholastic and that includes the catalogues that they send out to elementary schools. Kyle Baker is also trying the same thing with Nat Turner.

    ScoobaShag on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Also, One Piece is the bomb.

    ScoobaShag on
  • RingoRingo Stardust, Golden Caught in a Devil's BargainRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Marketing through Scholastic is a brilliant idea. That's how I started my Calvin and Hobbes collection as a kid.

    Ringo on
    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
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  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Same, however i haven't heard of any other examples beyond the previously stated. Though that's mostly due to the fact that I haven't looked into it for the last couple of months.

    ScoobaShag on
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Seriously, getting away from Diamond is probably going to be the biggest step, whether via digital distribution, or an actual publishing company.

    Fencingsax on
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  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Amen to that! Hopefully that possibility isn't too far away.

    ScoobaShag on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    One thing I don't like is seeing spinoffs drawn in a manga style. I went to my local library and saw they had a Sandman spinoff starring the Dead Boy Detectives. It was drawn out in thin lines, black and white, read right to left and was clearly bait to attract weeaboos to DC comics. I didn't care for it one bit!

    emnmnme on
  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    When I got first into comics I found quite a few of the industry aspects quite off putting. the biggest of these were the big Summer crossover events that span over every comic book to try and get the readers to buy into everything to get the full story. Or the constant delays to many books at the time can and has made a lot of people drop a series who were into comics let alone what new audiences would think to do.

    Ziggymon on
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  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited August 2009
    Me Too! wrote: »
    Godfather wrote: »
    It'd be great if Marvel or DC took an eastern approach of releasing comics weekly/bi-weekly instead of monthly, featuring nothing but original, self-contained properties that targeted a younger audience than the usual mid 20's/30's crowd. Something that doesn't feature guys dressed up in spandex costumes, but just superpowered individuals. X-men does not count at all.

    Then again, western comic industry is vastly different than the eastern ones, so even if you did that i'm sure the thousands of die-hard mooks out there would try and steam-roll it because they didn't get their latest issue of spiderman or whatever. Who needs change, right?

    This post smacks of "manga is superior to your superhero funny books"

    Fuck yourself

    settttttllllleeee down

    Servo on
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