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Marvel Comics Inc. to abandon comicbooks for motion pictures'

The usually mild mannered reseacher Bruce Banner just sent Father Geek the following alarming report... I hope he keeps his cool... once he gets upset he's a little hard to control...

Hey Father Geek, Bruce Banner here. I send this to you because I know you and Harry are interested in preserving all things geeky. We have this tidbit up over at my comic webzine site, at my lab, but we didn't know if you had seen this or not. It's pretty unnerving.

We're pretty bummed at the Marvel news. In case you haven't seen it I will post it for you here. I found it over at and it was also up at

It says Marvel's turning towards film and video games and that they're going to start moving away from comics.

So, because a bunch of suits (bad, stupid suits at that) decide to run Marvel into the ground for over ten years and run the company like complete assholes, the fans get to suffer.

You can read Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo's comments in the article below. As comics fans We're pretty bummed. And from a business standpoint... how does Marvel think they'll be able to support those movies and video games without a comic lines establishing and continuing the characters that have always existed IN comcs?!?

Damn! I've got to go now. The damn Beta Ray alarm is going crazy again...


Marvel Moving From Comics to Film

Marvel Enterprises will increasingly move into film and video games and away from comics, Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo told The Wall Street Journal.

With comic book sales flagging, company execs acknowledge that kids just aren’t ready comics that much anymore, according to the Journal. The newspaper says the company’s "only chance for survival is to leap--right off the page."

"The simple paper medium of comic books just isn't cutting it in the age of video's flashy special effects, explosive audio and interactive action,” the Journal said.

Despite the move into celluloid, Marvel’s Cuneo acknowledges that the company won’t get a cut of ticket sales for any ongoing movie project except for Spider-Man. "[T]he other deals were made by past Marvel CEOs that sold the rights to the characters for cash," Cuneo told the Journal.

Web only comics and interactive games at are also in the offing.

Plus, Marvel will try to make its characters more relevant beginning with Spider-Man (Peter Parker) who is (in Spider-Girl) "a 30-something married man with a daughter and prosthetic leg.” Peter Parker will become a "digital photographer for".

Carl Icahn, who owns 5% of Marvel, “has signed an agreement that essentially says he won't try to take over Marvel--at least until October 2002 when the accord expires," the Journal said.

Well. there it is. It's... enough... to get... my blood boiling!

I'm beginning to feel... like smashing stuff... lots of... big stuff, starting with... Marvel's... Executive... Headquarters... GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...


Why puny men in suits pick on Hulk?


Readers Talkback
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  • May 10, 2000, 11:50 a.m. CST

    "simple paper medium???"

    by Teko

    Did I just read correctly...a Marvel exec called comic books a "simple paper medium"?? I'd like to tie this fellow to a chair and force him to read Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics". Then he might get some inkling as to what this "simple paper medium" can achieve in the hands of folks who respect it.

  • May 10, 2000, 11:51 a.m. CST


    by Wbogard

    What Marvel REALLY needs to do is cut out all the silly little hacks and get some REAL talent back on the books. Slim down the crap titles, regroup, and then come back strong. I quit reading marvel many years ago cuz they just can't cut it any more as a whole.

  • May 10, 2000, 11:52 a.m. CST

    True, but not true.

    by riskebiz

    Just because an asinine suit makes a comment like that doesn't mean it's gospel. He doesn't hold a majority. It will be true that they do web based comics, but it's ridiculous to think of Marvel not producing comic books. If anything, it would be good news that they try to push for more movies and web based comics. I just don't think comic books will suffer. I could be wrong, though.

  • May 10, 2000, 11:53 a.m. CST


    by parker17

    that's the dumbest idea i have ever heard. fuck marvel if they are giving up on comics. they should just sell it and retire if they don't give a shit about comics.

  • May 10, 2000, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Wow, this really sucks...

    by superhero

    I gotta say Marvel has been pretty crappy in the past several years (besides the Avengers) but to get rid of comic books COMPLETELY?! Man, I never thought I'd see the day. Marvel used to be THE kickass comic book company. Now with DC nipping at their heels are they just abandoning ship? So much for the Marvel fighting spirit. While I find this incredibly shocking (if it is indeed what is going to happen) I can't say I'll miss a lot of their books. Lately they've been trying gimmick after gimmick to get people to buy their books instead of hiring great writers and giving them the creative freedom that they need. The Marvel stable has been suffering from editorial driven storylines that refuse to take real RISK with any of the characters and instead just tow the line. I knew they were killing the SPIRIT of their books I just never really believed that it would mean death to the house of ideas. I guess the optimist in me always believed that the glory days of Marvel would always return. That someone would get their head outta their ass and pull it all together. Too bad Marvel doesn't have anyone like Jeannette Kahn (Sp?) at their company. I bet SHE could get 'em to straighten up and fly right. Unless, of course, DC is next... Oh, man all this stuff is gonna make me puke.

  • May 10, 2000, noon CST

    NO WAY

    by BDDres

    There is no way in hell that this will ever happen. What Marvel doesn't understand is that kids stopped reading comics because they stopped being good! If you focused on your characters and storylines and created something that made sense, people would buy comics! Their lack of respect for the artists and the fans has led to the downfall of comic books... Truly a SHAME.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Hulk Smash!

    by Bluefugue

    This is nuts. Web-based comics? Of all the bandwagon-jumping... Why would I want to bug my eyes out reading a comic off a monitor? Maybe someday, when glare-free monitors are the norm... Is Marvel failing to turn a profit because comics as a medium are in decline, or simply because the quality of their own output has suffered over the years from poor management? What about D.C.? What kind of profits are they pulling these days? What about Manga and Independent comics?

  • May 10, 2000, 12:12 p.m. CST

    This is an outrage! Comic books are a medium that is unique to

    by superninja

    It is a part of our culture. Those fools. What they don't realize is that the love for comics will never die. The reason their sales are so poor is because of poor marketing and BAD PRODUCT!!! You can't tell me that most of their key titles haven't been poorly written and drawn for the last 5 years! Look at how they fractioned Spiderman and X-Men into a million different titles; look how they created so many confusing crossovers that the fans couldn't keep up with the storylines without buying half of the new releases, some TITLED THEY DIDN'T EVEN CARE ABOUT!!!! What morons...The entire corporate office at Marvel should be fired. Hell, at this point, I'd even take Stan Lee and Michael Jackson buying Marvel just to get it out of their hands!

  • May 10, 2000, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by hardboiled

    What are these dolts at Marvel thinking?!!! I have to agree with TEKO's post. Someone should lock these morons into a room and force them to read Scott McCloud. I am actually somewhat embarrassed for these gentlemen in that they have no idea about the medium that their company was founded on. I wonder...what does Stan Lee have to say about all this?

  • May 10, 2000, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Possible Explanation?

    by Shadowcat

    I wonder if such a plan (and if this guy actually said this to the Wall Street Journal, and he's the CEO) isn't mostly because the company is gonna start losing the rights to various key characters/titles in the next few years? Anyone heard anything about that? Even if they DO decide to move to 'new media,' I couldn't expect it to last too too long before people start realizing: "Hey, this isn't working out the way we wanted it to." Then they'll just spin themselves off as "Classic Marvel" and print comics again. :) I just love the quote: 'The simple paper medium of comic books just isn't cutting it in the age of video's flashy special effects, explosive audio and interactive action.' Book sales still seem to be going strong. Maybe, as so many other people have brought up, its the fact that Marvel has strayed way too far from its halcyon days and spends way too much time listening to trend-reports and marketing statistics instead of common sense and storytelling. Oh well.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:19 p.m. CST

    If Marvel believes comics don't sell, then please explain to me

    by superninja

    Comics DO sell. But only GOOD comics. Look at half the titles out there -- Image, Marvel and DC. It's either hyper-violent or T&A crap. They sell for about twelve issues (because of the ARTIST/WRITER), then the artist/writer is removed and the book starts to decline. DC and Marvel have American icons, ICONS, at their disposal, and no idea in hell of how to market them. Instead, they start crappy theme restaurants and sell the rights off for half-ass movies to be made.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Yeah, what DOES Stan Lee have to say about this? (NT)

    by Bluefugue


  • May 10, 2000, 12:30 p.m. CST

    This sounds...

    by Lobanhaki

    Like the usual corporate horseshit. This is what you get when the people supervising an artistic process only use the quality of the profits to make their decision. These folks should try and understand that people would come back to this stuff if given mature and interesting stories to look at. I think the rule of thumb is that you are on the right track artistically if not a lot of people mind your success and a whole lot of people complain when you're not doing good business. At least that's the kind of track the people at marvel should be on.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:39 p.m. CST

    sad, just sad

    by devil0509

    I hate to see public displays of ineptitude. The Marvel folks just basically said, hey, we can't get it done this way, so we're going to just give up. The above talkbackers are absolutely right - there are a ton of comics and comics companies that are selling perfectly well. I'm not upset by this news, however, despite the fact that my son, now 14 months old, may not be able to buy Spidey or FF comics when he's 6 or 7. The comics format is not going anywhere any time soon - boys will still love reading about guys with super powers and women with super bustlines. There are plenty of hungry young companies out there waiting to fill the gap that fat old Marvel is leaving open to them. There will be new classics - I mean, my father's generation never heard of the X-Men, Daredevil, or Punisher.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Of course. Marvel's had SO much success with their movies, I'd d

    by Cruel Shoes

    "Digital" photographer for WOW. NEAT! Those executive sure know what I, an 18 to 36 year old white male, want out of my comics. I'm glad I got this barcode that they could easily scan. This is the best idea they'd had since their plans to make Peter Parker a Crime Fighting Breakdancer in 1981, an Environmental Eco-Soldier in 1989, and a Cyber-VR Warrior in 1997. I hope they stick with this plan. If they try enough gimmicks, one of them will stick. I mean, I'm willing to patiently wait around and try each iteration. Keep Creatin' Stan.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:51 p.m. CST

    This is a goddamned shame...

    by Toe Jam

    I stopped reading comics a few years back, and even when I did read them, I was an Image and Dark Horse fan myself (so sue me!). But this is a goddamned fucking shame. In a way, this kind of a thing could be blamed on upstarts like Image (who decided to do all these shitty crossovers and holographic covers and other shit like that). And while it'll be damn sad to see classic characters like Spidey and others go in totally fucked-up directions, I think most comic fans stopped reading Marvel and took up Dark Horse and others a long long time ago.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:53 p.m. CST

    sounds like a corporate ladder shiteater to me

    by v3kt0r

    i collected comics from about 1982 to 1993 and have a collection of about 10,000 books going to back to some 1950's fantastic fours :) to the latest Valiant stuff in 93. The reason why i got out of it , is that i saw the direction they were going in. More style, less substance. I think the early to late 80's produced some of the best work. X-men, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man, Batman. All top-notch, interesting characters and stories. Then Todd MacFarland, Rob Leifeld and their ilk got huge and the suits said wow this is what the fans want! ART OVER STORY! thats why i left. Great storytelling is why people read comics. Get back to basics and we might come back.

  • May 10, 2000, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Relax people

    by Darth Bond

    Look, these news, if real, don't mean that Marvel is moving outta comics but EXPANDING outta comics; there is just so much money one can make doing comics and if a company wishes to continue growing and stay competitive then it has to grow into different sectors, medias, etc: Basic economies of scale here. Plus, if these news means that Marvel will try and improve their comic characters status in other medias then it's a good thing, right? Otherwise, if I'm wrong, then I want to eat Marvel suits with beans and a nice Cianti. -Check ya Later.

  • May 10, 2000, 1 p.m. CST

    comics in decline

    by Bluefugue

    Apart from the horrible mainstream crap (is Peter Parker a clone? He is! He isn't! He is!), even the most interesting '90s comics (Alan Moore's Supreme, Mark Waid/Alex Ross' Kingdom Come) have been either nostalgic pinings for the comics of old, or witty postmodern banter. Compared to the amazing work produced in the '80s -- the Claremont/Byrne X-men, Ronin, Daredevil, Swamp Thing, and of course Dark Knight Returns and the Watchmen, this has not been a great decade for the medium. What is needed is a really striking work of comic-art to shake the industry up again, rather than a competent but bloated and over-hyped swan song like Kingdom Come.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Already true

    by BatTat

    Check out The first page on the site only uses the word "comic" once - very tiny at the bottom of the screen. And the three titles featured prominently on the page are the three being produced for other media. Doesn't mean comics are going away in book form, but certainly shows a shift in focus away from paper.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Less Sizzle, More Steak (A Mantra For Life)

    by Shadowcat

    Again, let me say that I haven't read a Marvel title consistently for quite a few years... but what I've noticed from picking up the odd comic here and there (ala Dog Star, above), is the fact that it seems SO much more about the 'sizzle,' and not the steak. Like, the paper might have sucked back in the day, or the ink, or the color here and there.. but Gawd... at least you had a lot of panels to go through. Nowadays, it seems like you read a couple panels on one page, then *BAM* its a full-page panel of whatever character all buff, clothes shredded with one line of dialogue. Yeah, art is good... but its SOOO unbalanced that who cares anymore? And the thing is... is the art really all that fantastic? Its flashy, but.. at least when I started reading the X-Men... each of the characters looked somewhat distinctive. Maybe its me... but now that the chars may look 'different,' they aren't distinctive. They're all blown out, buffed up, snarling and snearing .. arrrgh. Bleah. rantrantrant. "Why... in my day.. yaddayaddayadda." What is the price of a comic these days, and how much of that cost comes from the quality of paper and whatnot? Ok, I'll shut up now. Grr. Darn "branding." Doesn't Marvel know that putting their 'brand' isn't worth as much as they think it is right now? That's all this is... branding.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:17 p.m. CST

    true fake...

    by school-glue

    this is totally untrue.... how could marvel have anything to base their moviesd on w/out comics. tehy would loose their fanbase and what are they going to do withh all the artists and just makes no sense

  • May 10, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Hey vtk3Or...

    by Wolvie6

    Funny you should say you have Fantastic Fours dating back to the 50s......since the first issue came out in 1961. Close enough huh? Just giving you a hard time,no harm no foul.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST

    v3ktOr,sorry got your name wrong

    by Wolvie6

  • I still buy a few books every month. Not avant-garde stuff, very traditional superhero fare. I like the Batman spinoffs (Robin and Nightwing), and I'm reading JMS's Rising Stars. I read Marvel in the 80's, but I haven't been able to stomach what they did in the 90's. Ever since they decided that talent wasn't actually necessary, the characters would sell the books themselves whether they were well written or well drawn. And now this. What sort of curse looms over that dysfunctional company? Why can't someone who knows what he's doing take over and turn things around?

  • May 10, 2000, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Stainless!!!=Retarded fanboy loser

    by Sam Spade

    Wow! I haven't heard a Geek preach a sermon like that in a long while! I fear any adult who is that passionate about comic books.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Avi Arad can kiss my rebel dick

    by Freaky Sneek

    Ever since slackjawed nipple squeezer got in the big seat, Marvels spiral downwards has picked up steam. He is the ONE and ONLY person I blame for the decline in marvel comics. Well, him and Rob Liefeld. What were they thinking?!?

  • May 10, 2000, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Last I heard...

    by Savitar

    It was the other way around. Marvel was hoping that the movies would increase interest in the comic books.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:44 p.m. CST


    by parker17

    i believe it was the marketing of comics as collectibles is what screwed up comics in the early nineties (among other things). notice no one buying a stephen king book because it has a a neat shiny chromium cover.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Sagging Sales?

    by mrbeaks

    Well, shit, why don't you Marvel boys just launch yerself another New Universe? Circulation soars, and I get to resume my hastily interrupted MERC collection. Failing that, make every month "Assistant Editor's Month." I'd love to see The Avengers make a return appearence on Letterman.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:57 p.m. CST


    by jigs

    Lets face it folks, nerds like us are a dying breed. Some comics still sell, but not enough to keep a company like marvel up and running. Even if the quality of comics is increased there just are not enough people that give a shit. tons of movies and tons of video games = less comics.

  • May 10, 2000, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Aaah, Don't Worry...

    by Eli Cross

    ...once Stan Lee gets wind of this, he'll strap on the bandeleros, lube up the AK-47 and pull a Frank Castle on the former House Of Ideas...budda budda budda. Peace, nonetheless.

  • May 10, 2000, 2 p.m. CST

    Stan's going to the Distinguished Competition

    by Harry The Hutt

    Marvel's had their heads up their asses for the last decade about their characters.No wonder Stan Lee's moving to DC.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:06 p.m. CST

    My God

    by Cowblaster

    Well, can't say that this comes as a complete surprise. Marvel's barely been able to keep their head above water ever since they ruined Spider-Man with the whole "Clone Saga." Sure, their movies are starting to get a little better, but that isn't saying much, comparing the Blade movie to the Captain America movie. . . or even that Fantastic Four flick. How could they get any worse? It sounds to me like Marvel is trying to blow-up the ship before the invaders get control of it. Isn't Stan Lee still trying to buy Marvel? Wouldn't it be in the CEO's best intrest to completely sink the franchise before letting someone else humiliate him by bringing it back to the glory days. . . something he could never do? Or, is this a last, ditch effort to rake-in as much money as possible before he looses the company?

  • ... including Shakespeare, the Philokalia, the Baghavad Gita, Tolkien, Plato's Republic, the Analects of Confucius, Augustine's Confessions, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Morte D'Arthur, Moby Dick, the Summa Theologica, the Prose Edda, the Arabian Nights, Don Quixote, the Enuma elish, and the Holy Word of God. I think there's still a little life in the ol simple medium...

  • May 10, 2000, 2:12 p.m. CST

    By the way...

    by Harry The Hutt

    Is't just a bit odd that Marvel announces this not too long after Stan announces he's going to DC? Did they make Stan leave or did he just get fed up?Looks like Marvel's trying to change their image for the new millenium.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:13 p.m. CST

    I am strong, I am invincible, I am consumer, hear me roar!

    by superninja

    I have recently started going BACK to comics and books, because I'm tired of multimedia and all its hype. I like having something tangible in my hands that I can relax with and pour over the pages without waiting for download time. Plus, as an aspiring artist myself, I am fascinated with someone creating the work with pen and ink, and not a mouse and computer. Am I alone here?

  • May 10, 2000, 2:17 p.m. CST

    The final, conclusive proof that the suits at Marvel are sublite

    by Ellie Sattler

    I don't even consider myself a big comics buff, but this is insane. Peter Parker is a 30-ish photographer for With a kid and a prosthetic leg? Have these people even been to a comic book convention? Have they seen the drooling geekery of the fans? Do they comprehend their devotion, their willingness to spend millions on these comics? This is absolutely ridiculous. If only people would start teaching their kids to READ again, maybe this wouldn't be a problem. If only the suits at Marvel weren't idiots. If only...Ah, screw it. I'm going to watch a loud, special-effects laden action movie. (sigh)

  • May 10, 2000, 2:19 p.m. CST


    by itchy pet pictures for the cutting edge, how internet freakin' lame.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Going for a bit of balance here!

    by mephisto666

    Couldn't be bothered to read all these, so sorry if omeones made this point already. I can see that if the comics aren't making profits then its not fair to expect executives to keep them out of love. HOWEVER, on the other hand, if they concentrated the quality and style into a few well chosen comics, and promoted them, rather than having a spattering of crap all across the board, then maybe they'd make more. Just a thought.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Maybe Marvel needs a big fall to get back on track.

    by superninja

    I can't imagine their comics division is costing them much in overhead. We all know they don't pay the writers and pencillers $hit. So may I ask what is so non-profitable about the comics division? Printing is not THAT expensive. Or perhaps, is it the OTHER divisions that are sucking up money and turning no profit? The merchandising group, for example: a bunch of low-quality toys based on the kids X-Men and Spiderman cartoons. Or their movie development group, that can't seem to get a decent product out. Or maybe their corporate suits sucking up big paychecks without any justifiable reason? Comics sales may have fallen off, but I fail to see how you could base the losses for a corporation of that size on dwindling comic book profits. DC, the SMART guys, have successful, high-quality cartoons of Batman and Superman that draw in the young audience. They have a succesful (albeit bad) Batman movie franchise that does great numbers overseas. They have critically acclaimed writers and artists doing several books a year. What is Marvel's problem?

  • May 10, 2000, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Help us Stan Lee! You're our only hope!

    by TVGuy Returns

    Stan Lee is trying to arrange a hostile takeover of Marvel. At this point, I'm afraid that is the only thing which will save our favorite heros. Excelsior!

  • May 10, 2000, 2:40 p.m. CST


    by Uncapie

    You think Corporate America gives two shits and a fuck about sparking some kid's imagination to do something great with their lives in a story or its artwork? Fuck no! All they care about is how much they can sell and if its shit they sell, even better! Its cheaper and more profit for them! Its called CORPORATE GREED AND THE CONSUMER IS THE ONE WHO TAKES THE FALL FOR IT! DON'T BE DUPED ANY MORE PEOPLE! STOP PLAYING YOUR VID GAMES AND START USING YOUR MINDS BY READING QUALITY BOOKS! GO TO A FUCKING LIBRARY, READ AND THINK, YOU IDIOTS!

  • May 10, 2000, 2:42 p.m. CST

    More reason to read DC

    by GoatLegEd

    Man, when I first started reading comics I was a total Marvel zombie. Over the past couple years I've found myself reading more and more DC. Reading Earth X has made me nostalgic for Marvel, and I was hoping to pick up a few more titles from them, but you know what, news like this reminds me of why I started to read mor DC in the first place. They don't seem to be quite so gimicky.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Marvel = comics? I don't think so.

    by Prankster

    We're sort of confusing the collapse of Marvel with the death of comics, here, and as a relative newcomer to funnybooks I don't see why that has to be so. I know Marvels' been a towering name in comics for decades, but for quite a while now it's been a sprawling, profit-oriented mess that has little if anything to do with the advancement of comics as an art form. And it *has* been advancing...I don't know about how sales are doing, but the Vertigos and the Dark Horses have been taking comics to a higher level, artistically, than anything ever attained. And people are (very slowly) starting to recognize comics as a real medium...see the aforementioned Scott McCloud comics bible for more info. So with these artistic advances flourishing, who cares if a bloated mainstream company of negligable creativity is going under? That's like proclaiming "the death of film" in 1999 because The Phantom Menace was a letdown.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Comics are waning

    by Integra

    Guys, the fact is that overall sales ARE dropping. Obviously to a die hard comic addict it will not appear so, but the comic industry is nowhere near what it used to be like. Remember that fanboy sales is nowhere NEAR enough to sustain a company. The real money lies in the regular 8 to 14 year old kid who plunks out a few bucks. Kids simply arent as interested in comics as us older-pre-net guys and gals were. Marvel is first and foremost a COMPANY, whose goal is to make profit. They are not doing a public service, they are making an entertainment product. If the product isnt selling (as it isnt in the overall market), then you have to adapt to survive. Its simple, a comic book isnt gonna sell, if a kid never even sees the damned thing. You go where your market is.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Comics to movies.. not quite what he said

    by adamwelles

    just read the article at and well, he never said that they would be getting rid of comics. He only said that they would be getting into film themselves rather than selling the rights to others.

  • May 10, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Marvel wont be missed

    by Strider171

    The reason we read comic books is to be entertained. Any true fan knows that all you need for a good comic is quality art AND a decent story. Great comic books only appear when you the reader is lucky enough to find get a great writer & great artist (whether they be one and the same as in Frank Miller's Daredevil or combinations such as Claremont & Byrne's X-Men) striking the perfect balance of action and pathos. The problem for Marvel in the last ten years has been the loss of talent and the overwhelming lack of any great comics. Let's face it, Spider Man stopped being fresh sometime in the mid-80's. I, for one, lost interest in Marvel's product years ago. Good riddance I say!

  • May 10, 2000, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Integra: Brass Tacks

    by Shadowcat

    Integra: I have no problem with them wanting to make a profit, and to expand themselves to attempt it. HOWEVER, if they can't put together a good product lately in a comic book form, why the heck is anyone supposed to think they can do the same thing in a film or "new media" form? Marvel has to know that their product is considered to be of a lower quality than that produced by DC or other presses. So... why don't they sit down and try to figure out WHY that is and fix _THAT_ before they decide to chase after this mythical Land of Milk and Honey which will plug their sinking ship? Companies constantly do this... avoiding the REAL problem, and instead going on wild goose chases. 'Course its so much cooler to be involved in "New Media." Right now.

  • May 10, 2000, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Spell Checker says... "What the heck?"

    by Spell Checker

    "With comic book sales flagging, company execs acknowledge that kids just aren

  • May 10, 2000, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Funny how no one has mentioned manga...

    by The Gline

    ...just wondering.

  • May 10, 2000, 3:23 p.m. CST

    I'd love to jump on the "Die Marvel" bandwagon, but there's a pr

    by superninja

    They've got my beloved Captain America, She-Hulk and Wolverine. All of which, I don't want to have to wait 10 years to ever see again. Sure, I'm a geek, but it's a product, and I want it. I also don't think it's a good idea for Marvel to focus on film development (unless they're going to steal someone from one of the studios), since all of their attempts to have creative control have ended disastrously. I JUST HAD A HORRIBLE THOUGHT -- WHAT IF JON PETERS GOES OVER TO MARVEL! NOOOOOOOO!!!

  • May 10, 2000, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Eternal is correct

    by jigs

    Like it or not marvel is in crises mode. This is not about fanboys. This is about staying in business. Comics just don't sell like they did in the past.

  • May 10, 2000, 3:39 p.m. CST


    by Stilt-Man

    HUGE (17+ year reader collector of Marvel comics) fan of Marvel, but (DAMMIT!!!) I expected this. When books are now 2.25 apiece, and many of the minis from Marvel start at 2.99, it was inevitable that this would hurt even the die-hard fans who tend not to drop books (like me) with price increases. Comics are officially too expensive today. When I can buy 4 comics or 2 paperbacks, or 3-4 magazines...each of which gives me many more hours of enjoyment than a 22 page comic, you know things are just too friggin expensive, and out of whack with the economic realities of what people are willing to pay for what is not that many pages worth of entertainment. Marvel comics is crumbling under the weight of the cost of their own books. I dread the day when Marvel stops publishing but...if they stopped for a while (years possibly), and then came back with a smaller, and CHEAPER line of books that is probably for the best. Maybe the day of a page of soliticitations for trade paperbacks only will overtake monthly solicitations for individual comics, and this could work...people have been saying for years that DC, and especially Dark Horse have actually made more money selling entire stories at once to fans in a compiled/trade paperback format. I think that day is rapidly approaching, and think it could work, no monthly fix... but even more satisfying when the trade shows up to read all 4, 10, etc. chapters of a story all at once. Many bookstores, on-line dealers (Amazon, Crown, etc.) tend to treat trades like books that get discounts of %20-30 for the bestsellers, so this would be another economic incentive for people to want to buy a story all at once (and with stores struggling to provide a %10 discount for individual books a %20-30 discount would look really good to the average comic fan). The eradication of Marvel comics on a monthly basis would destroy my local comic store owners business...but I think even he will not deny that the price of comics is now going to have a noticeable effect on the erosion of people willing to buy comics on a monthly basis. Even with Warners behind them, you have to wonder how the second largest comic company (DC) will handle things considering they are increasing their prices and obviously already have less customers in a rapidly dwindling market. The cost increase to comics has added $20-25 to my monthly bill, and as a college student that is becoming untenable for me to continue buying the same number of books. Instead of agonizing over what to cut, I would not mind if many of the series I collect stopped (or only got produced on a quarterly basis, when the equi valent of several months worth of stories was ready to read at one time). Less agony, and the days of paying twice cover price for a comic that is not even two months old because it is "hot/rare," would thankfully dissapear. My wallet could use the break, and I am ashamed that as a longtime fan I am advocating an elimination of monthly comics...but economic realities show the writing on the wall, which is that the time is ripe for comics to evolve from monthly to quarterly books that are essentially mini-trade paperbacks. Bottom line, I cannot justify monthly comics as a viable montly form of entertainment at their current prices. Marvel, I beg you...learn for once from Dark Horse (a company that you would normally want to crush under your heel) and go to trades (anything to salvage some classic LONG running titles)!!

  • May 10, 2000, 3:42 p.m. CST


    by Stilt-Man

    HUGE (17+ year reader collector of Marvel comics) fan of Marvel, but (DAMMIT!!!) I expected this. When books are now 2.25 apiece, and many of the minis from Marvel start at 2.99, it was inevitable that this would hurt even the die-hard fans who tend not to drop books (like me) with price increases. Comics are officially too expensive today. When I can buy 4 comics or 2 paperbacks, or 3-4 magazines...each of which gives me many more hours of enjoyment than a 22 page comic, you know things are just too friggin expensive, and out of whack with the economic realities of what people are willing to pay for what is not that many pages worth of entertainment. Marvel comics is crumbling under the weight of the cost of their own books. I dread the day when Marvel stops publishing but...if they stopped for a while (years possibly), and then came back with a smaller, and CHEAPER line of books that is probably for the best. Maybe the day of a page of soliticitations for trade paperbacks only will overtake monthly solicitations for individual comics, and this could work...people have been saying for years that DC, and especially Dark Horse have actually made more money selling entire stories at once to fans in a compiled/trade paperback format. I think that day is rapidly approaching, and think it could work, no monthly fix... but even more satisfying when the trade shows up to read all 4, 10, etc. chapters of a story all at once. Many bookstores, on-line dealers (Amazon, Crown, etc.) tend to treat trades like books that get discounts of %20-30 for the bestsellers, so this would be another economic incentive for people to want to buy a story all at once (and with stores struggling to provide a %10 discount for individual books a %20-30 discount would look really good to the average comic fan). The eradication of Marvel comics on a monthly basis would destroy my local comic store owners business...but I think even he will not deny that the price of comics is now going to have a noticeable effect on the erosion of people willing to buy comics on a monthly basis. Even with Warners behind them, you have to wonder how the second largest comic company (DC) will handle things considering they are increasing their prices and obviously already have less customers in a rapidly dwindling market. The cost increase to comics has added $20-25 to my monthly bill, and as a college student that is becoming untenable for me to continue buying the same number of books. Instead of agonizing over what to cut, I would not mind if many of the series I collect stopped (or only got produced on a quarterly basis, when the equi valent of several months worth of stories was ready to read at one time). Less agony, and the days of paying twice cover price for a comic that is not even two months old because it is "hot/rare," would thankfully dissapear. My wallet could use the break, and I am ashamed that as a longtime fan I am advocating an elimination of monthly comics...but economic realities show the writing on the wall, which is that the time is ripe for comics to evolve from monthly to quarterly books that are essentially mini-trade paperbacks. Bottom line, I cannot justify monthly comics as a viable montly form of entertainment at their current prices. Marvel, I beg you...learn for once from Dark Horse (a company that you would normally want to crush under your heel) and go to trades (anything to salvage some classic LONG running titles)!!

  • May 10, 2000, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Sorry for the double sigh... post!!! (N/T)

    by Stilt-Man

  • May 10, 2000, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Does anyone else think Manga bites?

    by superninja

    I hate Manga. I hate the convoluted storylines, cookie-cutter artwork and big bugger eyes. It's nice when they combine it with a Western style (like Gatcheman and Thundercats), but other than that, I can't stand the stuff. It's pop-culture schlock.

  • Look at what you are doing at this moment along with millions of other fanboys, kids, adults and everyone else! The internet! If you fanboys are so loyal to comic books then you would be reading them, not sitting in front of a computer talking about reading them. They are dying and will continue to die. It's natural selection, comics have become to week to survive on their own.

  • May 10, 2000, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Agreed, Stilt-Man. Hell, I say go back to newsprint and screw c

    by superninja

    All that glossy stuff bores the hell out of me. If I want to see "slick", I'll go on the internet. I love just pure pencils. I suspect a lot of other people do as well.

  • May 10, 2000, 3:58 p.m. CST

    The Sick thing is...

    by Giga-Nerd

    that even if DC said to Marvel "Let us have your titles, we'll almagamate the worlds together", Marvel still wouldn't go for it, even with roytalties, cause they're idiots.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:12 p.m. CST


    by Lyingman

    Maybe the astronomical raise in preces for comics in the 90's has something to do with the death of the medium. A 400% price increase is a good way to disgust any fan. That's why I stopped buying them. Put the price back to a buck or two and I`ll buy comics, and so will a lot of people. Why gouge a few people a 4 buck a comic, when you can sell millions at 2 or 1 buck. They should really do the math.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:13 p.m. CST


    by iamdeadfish

    Anyone who was collecting marvel comics when I was, saw this coming from a mile away. I'm surprised that it took this long. The only reason why I'm sad to see this is because it shows the state of comic books now-a-days by any company. While touring Todd McFarlane Industries, they made it clear to me that paper medium was on the way out... (I bite my tounge) ...I can't say what they have in store... just keep an eye on and I'm sure you'll see what it is soon enough.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:18 p.m. CST

    The reason less people read comics

    by cyrano

    They're too damn expensive, for one thing. For the ridiculous cover prices they are charging - especially beefed up with fancy covers and such - it's no wonder that the vertical market for comics has become more select. Second, I'm usually a fan of misyogny and gratuitous violence (half kidding), but it is so overboard with super hero comics with little realistic alternative that this has narrowed the market even more. They should address these issues instead of chucking out (or paring down) comics all together, so economies of scale can kick in as more people read comics in general.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Regarding the Death of Comics and So Forth

    by Lemmy Caution

    Y'know, I think a lot of you guys really owe it to yourself to check a few "alternative" comics (for want of a better term) along the lines of Dan Clowes' "Eightball" or "Ghost World", the Hernandez Brothers' "Love & Rockets", and Peter Bagge's "Hate" or "Neat Stuff" reprints, to cite only the most obvious examples. Take a few chances next time you're at the local comics shop, and you might be pleasantly surprised...unlike the "art by committee" stuff cranked out by Marvel and its ilk that's never gonna veer too far from its carefully-planned formula.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Marvel is the root of their own problem

    by monkeylucifer

    I agee with those of you who say Marvel has been their own enemy. I remember when comic books were affordable for kids and weren't all aimed at mature subjects. Now, I'm not knocking stuff like the Vertigo line from DC, I'm talking about all these gritty, bloody, mindless T&A comics that came out of the Rob Liefield generation. When Marvel started jumping on this bandwagon and jacked up it's prices it alienated the kids, and that's who comics are really for guys. I love comics myself, and started collected in the mid 80s, but got out in the late 90s because it the prices were ridiculous and every damn issue was almost nothing but splash pages (thank you Todd McFarlane for this horrible trend). Marvel also started the god-awful summer cross over tradition which fans quickly grew tired of, and the variant cover, holograms, trading cards, gimicky bullshit that pumped up the prices even more. I just one regular old four color comics on the the good cheap paper with artists doing just the art, and real writers doing the writing. Oh, and I want it to take me longer than 5 minutes to read an issue. Are these requests to much? I also think consolodation of titles is a good idea as well. Too many books flood the market, and they don't come out on a regular basis to boot!!! Well, enough ranting and me, the comic industry is dead until it gets a major kick in the ass from someone.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:26 p.m. CST

    This... is a joke.

    by Brundledan

    That whole article must be some kind of late April Fool's joke. Right? RIGHT? Peter Parker with a prosthetic leg?! As a digital photographer with ""??!! Jesus H. Christ. Also, if Marvel discontinues its comic books, they'll be stripping themselves of their source material FOR their vaunted movies. They can create as many web comics as they want; none of them will be able to create the kind of public interest necessary to become viable movie properties. If Marvel wants to kill itself quick, it's on the right track.

  • Marvel truly created the modern superhero, but they also drove the superhero genre into the ground with their greedy inbreeding (Running four or five "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" titles simultaneously? All those creatively bankrupt crossovers?). What's more, they've stubbornly refused to diversify beyond the genre. The truth is, all the creativity is coming from the independents and creator-owned comics, and that's been the case throughout the 90's. Nah, if Marvel abandons their source material, they'll eventually self-destruct, and I won't shed any tears. 'Course, that self-destruction might bring down the entire industry with it, but the industry has reached a point where things MUST change anyway. Right now, the central problem is that new readers aren't coming in - that is, comics are too highly priced and kids aren't finding the mainstream stuff compelling enough to divert them from movies and video games. Problem #2 is that direct distribution through comic shops just isn't working anymore. Comic shops are too insular - the only people there are longtime readers or folks with a high tolerance for geeks and exploitative T & A. Comics MUST find a way into bookstores to survive, and I'm not talkin' those couple of shelves at your local Borders that group "Love and Rockets" right beside the umpteenth "Batman" collection. Jesus Christ, how can that possibly attract a wider audience? No, there must be some kind of drastic shift, and almost certainly it'll involve dropping the overpriced 32-page format and changing sales techniques completely. This news about Marvel, IF it's legit, may precipitate some major changes. Maybe that's a good thing. Funny, though, 'cause Marvel has actually been hiring some decent talent on their big-name titles for the past few years. I'm surprised they'd be so quick to consider dropping them wholly.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:43 p.m. CST


    by Robertblood

    Since Stan Lee of course. Don't you all know what this means? Yes, Marvel may end up licensing its characters to a quality comics companies like DC or Image. Everybody shit their pants when they heard Stan the man was going to be writing for DC, so what's so bad about this? THREE CHEERS to the moronic suits! p.s.-Question: Would there be any movies or video games without the comics?

  • May 10, 2000, 4:46 p.m. CST

    empires rise and fall

    by darth_horibus

    remember pulp comics? of course you dont, their dead. now comics are dying, this is the end, and we all know it, yes it sucks but what can we do. ive alreadyy emailed stan and marvel venting my rage.

  • May 10, 2000, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Maybe Marvels Sales are dropping...

    by Twisted Mentat

    But alternative comics, ie not Marvel or DC stuff (not including Vertigo) are quiet stable. Stuff like Preacher, or Or Anyhting with Neil Gaimens name on it, to Manga's have been selling steadaly, at least according to a friend of mine who runs a Comic Shop here. Though ALot of retailers have said that Pokemon has kept them in the black recently. Marvel been on a stedy decline in recent years, and they've got too many freakin' titles! they'ere what...6 xmen titles? at $5 a peice (canadian) who can afford that? They're Big Relaunch of Ironman, Cap. America and the rest fell flat. Plus alot of readers were turned off by they're constant rewriting of history...freakin' clone Peter Parker? wtf? maybe the artists/writers that marvel has will not take this, and do something...

  • May 10, 2000, 4:53 p.m. CST


    by Dave_F

    In the end, manga is just the name the Japanese call their comic books. Potentially, it's as diverse as anything. In practice, though, I agree with you Superninja - I'm turned off by about...90% of the manga that makes it to the states. An author named Frederik Schodt wrote two interesting book on manga (the appropriately titles "Manga! Manga!" and "Dreamland Japan"), and in reading them, it was clear to me that there's some pretty wild diversity that we're not seeing. The imports we see in America tend to be the obvious sex and violence comics that are guaranteed at least some sales. In other words, we're not getting the best picture of what manga might have to offer. Incidentally, I can think of several manga titles that I do enjoy: "What's Michael", an utterly hilarious series of vignettes about cats and cat owners. Truly among the funniest comics I've ever read. Then there's "Gon", a surreal and insanely rendered comic about a cutesy little baby t-rex and his exploits in the natural world. It's hard to describe these visceral, wordless stories - they're both humorous and brutal, all the more so for the cutesiness of the main character. Lastly, there's "Nausicaa", Hayao Miyazaki's extended comic book adaptation of his anime from the 80's. Not only is it far more sophisticated than the anime, it's hands-down about the best graphic novel I've ever read. Of course, its influences are as much European as Japanese. Like I said, though, most manga leaves me cold. The stylistic affectations just don't grab my Western mind. Obviously, manga has found an amazing niche in Japan though, so the sales model, if nothing else, is something for us to consider in America.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Marvel's leavin the comics industry?

    by Radd

    Go pick up some comics from Antarctic Press or Radio Comix. You'll feel better.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Someone else mentioned that comics are no longer for kids.

    by superninja

    I agree with that notion. At first, I was drawn to the Frank Miller stuff, the Wolverine/Spawn-era, etc. Now, the older I get, the more I yearn for the golden age of adventure. I started picking up all the Marvel compendiums -- The Avengers, X-Men, Silver-Surfer, etc. because I miss that in comics today. The only person who is still writing in that style (IMHO) is Kurt Busiek on the Avengers. His stuff is still fun, high-adventure. What it comes down to is, "Do you love the characters" -- not how much blood they can shed, or how big their tits are, because once you grow up, that's not going to interest you anymore. I love the X-Men as Claremont wrote them in the old days, I loved Roger Stern's run on the Avengers and Gruenwald on Captain America.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:24 p.m. CST

    If You Think About It, Marvel Is Making A Really Good Decision..

    by AnxietyNY

    ...FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!!! Meanwhile, here's something creepy I've noticed in Marvel Comics...maybe someone can shed some light on this for me: I've noticed that all the characters with "Marvel" in their names have been changed, and that references to their old names have been reconfigured...Ms. Marvel turned into Binary turned into Warbird; the female Captain Marvel turned into Photon; the male Captain Marvel is...uhh...I forget (my geekiness has its limits)...and in an issue of The Avengers a couple of years back, someone says to Warbird, "I see you're in your old we call you 'MS. M' again?" And fer heaven's sake, you never even see the name "Marvel Girl" referenced in flashbacks anymore! Does it seem like Marvel isn't allowed to use its own brand name anymore?! I'm confused...

  • May 10, 2000, 5:25 p.m. CST

    stop and read

    by dark_pheonix

    Ok it's very rare for me to actually say anything. But I will be the first person to admit that I am not thrilled by the Marvel announcement but if you fanboy and girls took a moment to read what is actually said. Nowhere does it say that Marvel is walking away from comics totally - they are simply changing their strategic focus to mediums that allow more in the way of growth. They are a company that is a responsible to their shareholders and the simple truth is both Marvel and DC are not getting the revenue from comics they used to... so ergo they have to shift their focus to activities that should make them some money. They will still be printing comics or at least they should be. Which if you are really that upset about it rather than complain do something - start a petition - start an email campaign - make marvel believe that the fan base is against the whole idea... Use the power you have.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:30 p.m. CST


    by Project: 2501

    Sweet fucking Christ!!! The exec's at Marvel need to take their ass off their shoulders and stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Peter Parker, 30 something, digital photographer for What the fuck? Apparently they did not learn a damn thing from the....Clone Saga (I must pause to suppress the bile that rises). And to move away from comics to increase their income....apparently they're makin enough money from the comics to support the crack addiction that spawned this fuckin "brilliant" (please not the sarcasm) idea. If they're not satisfied by the number of kids reading comics these days, then maybe they should qiut their recent trend of latching onto gimmics and focus on their true product. Make something worth reading, and kids will read it. Leave to the brain-trusts at Marvel to cluster-fuck a franchise.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:32 p.m. CST

    What is my son suppose to read now?

    by Scruff_01

    Comics, are the greates thing to teach a kid how to read. I think this is some deep conspiracy to save trees. Oh well at least there is still DC.

  • ...though I may disagree with some of his particulars. It seems that whenever people bring up comics that might appeal to adults, "Preacher" and "Sandman" are the only names I ever hear. How about this - try stepping away from DC and Marvel *completely*. Step away from even Dark Horse and take a look around. The diversity is AMAZING. Creatively, comics are stronger now than ever before - it's just that whole collapsing industry thing that keeps getting in the way. Myself, I'm still pretty mainstream in my tastes, but mainstream work can be found outside the major companies, and it's a lot more exciting. Lemme offer a few recommendations that stand somewhere between superheroes and titles like "Eightball", which admittedly has never intrigued me. For fantasy buffs, I recommend Jeff Smith's "Bone", Mark Oakley's "Thieves & Kings", and Linda Medley's "Castle Waiting". If ya like sci-fi adventure, try Colleen Doran's "A Distant Soil". History buffs, check out Eric Shannower's "Age of Bronze", a realistic chronicle of the Trojan War. Surrealist types, get your hands on Tony Millionaire's beautifully-drawn "Sock Monkey". Chicks and lovers of soap opera melodramatics, try "Strangers in Paradise". And oh yeah, everyone needs to read "Concrete". I know, I know, Dark Horse publishes it, but it's still my all-time favorite running title. Buy one of the collections and you'll surely be pleased. I could name a couple dozen more titles that probably fall somewhere between the mainstream and stuff like "Love & Rockets", but the point is, there's enough variety for anyone who looks. Basically, check out creator-owned titles that interest you, and I promise you'll never feel betrayed as you do when Marvel or DC regularly swap creative teams. Unfortunately, looking means going into a comic shop, and that's not something that's a lot of fun. It's one of the main reasons why the entire industry MUST, MUST, MUST change sales techniques.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:37 p.m. CST

    well...not exactly

    by FilmScore

    Well, I kinda work for "the legend" of the industry, of which I just got a call from, and he said that Mr. Cuneo has been saying this in the press for quite a while. Now "the legend" I work for is a more than reliable source, and since I heard him speak it, I'd believe it. They should just be changing focus rather than just abandoning the comics medium. I can ask him some other time, if I get enough nerve, to see if it's really true... he'd be one of the first to know.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:39 p.m. CST

    Company Growth

    by Project: 2501

    Ok, now that I've let the child side vent a bit, I can address this with a clear head. Sure they can expand, but it still goes back to content. No matter what format a turd is put in, its still a turd. On-line comics...yeah that will fly well. With all the cross-platform, cross-browser, band-width issues they're lookin at probably 5-10 years before the web is stable enough to handle an equal and fast distribution. And, how many thirteen year-olds do they know that have credit-cards (minus young crackers) to purchase online comics? It doesn't matter how advanced we get in society, no child should be faced with the possibility of credit-card debt before they turn 16. And who is to stop child prodigies and other resourceful people from bootlegging and distributing their digital products? Smart move Marvel. Keep up the good work.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Hear, Hear Comorant! You are Absolutely CORRECT!

    by superhero

    It's true! I long for the days of the newsstand comic book. The reason that comics aren't getting to a younger audience isn't because of videogames or computers! It's because the current market of comic books EXCLUDES new readership! Kids can't go out and get something that isn't readily accessible to them. And the reasons they aren't accessible to kids are twofold: price and the fact that only COMIC BOOK STORES carry comic books! I don't know about you but my parents would have looked at me as if I were on crack if I had asked them to buy me ONE comic book that cost $2.50 to $3.00! The way to get new readers is to make sure that the younger generation can get their hands on the product! Prices NEED to go down! Comics NEED to be put in places that will make them HIGHLY VISIBLE AND AVAILABLE to the people that will buy them! Go BACK to newsprint! Get RID of 5 Spider-man and X-Men and Superman books! Give us one GOOD comic for a buck and you will SELL MORE COMICS AND MAKE MORE MONEY!!!!!

  • May 10, 2000, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Face the grim reality...

    by knox21

    ...comics are a dying industry. The numbers for the last6 years prove it. The average book sells about 20,000 copies, to give you an idea just HOW bad this is, Marvel used to cancel books (in the 80's and early 90's) that dipped below 100,000. Now any company would KILL to have just one book that broke the 100,000 mark. Why has this happened? Because comic companies (all comic companies not just Marvel) stopped cultivating the next wave of YOUNGER fans once the money shifted towards an older comic buying public. Dark Knight and Watchmen were really where it all started. The books got darker and grittier and the appeal moved from kids entertainment to young adults. Now, this in it's self should not have caused such a problem but, with comics making more money than ever on the "darker" books the tone of almost ALL the books shifted, leaving youger readers with very little to choose from. Comic companies thought that this BOOM was going to last forever and when it didn't and the dust settled, there was a huge void left as the older fans turned away in droves and there were no youger fans to take their place. Marvel during the 70's (under Stan Lee) were masters at the art of grooming the next wave of fans, this is why their books regularly out sold DC. As much as Stan used to brag every chance he could about Marvels appeal to collage kids, he knew the truth. That it was that next wave of YOUNG readers that were going to come in and stick around for 8-10 years that were the lifes blood of the comic's industry. This thinking was lost during the 80's and now with stiff competition from video games and the internet, comics as lost and will probably never get back it's audience. How often do you go into your local comic store and see someone under the age of say, 18 or 19? Almost never, and if you do they're probably buying Pokemon cards not the latest issue of Thor. Comic fans have either closed their eyes or are living in deep denial about the state of the industry they profess to "love". As long as they see movies and toys of their favorite characters flooding the stores and movie houses they're convinced everythings swell. Well the reason for the increase in toys & movie deals is to help off-set the losses (that's right most companies are LOOSING money in their publishing divisions) suffered by the dwindling comic sales. Some one posted that the companies are greedy and keep raising the price of the books (400% increase over so many years) Well the fact of the matter is, is that the price to produce a book has gone up almost twice that. The Image guys upped the ante in the Quality stakes and in order to compete all the other companies had to switch to better (more expensive paper) and computer coloring (also more expensive) so that their books didn't look like shit next to Wildcats or Spawn. This was actually a good thing for comics at first, it brought them out of the publishing "Dark Ages". It only became a problem when the money dried up and they realized that they'd opened up a "Pandoras Box". The fans had now become used to the higher quality and the few attempts to switch back to the cheper ways were met with even faster sales drops. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Comic fans can complain all they want that comic companies ruined comics, that they're not as good as they used to be but, Marvel nad the rest were just responding to what sold, ie- what the fans wanted, as any business would. So if comics turned to shit fans can only blame themselves. As for the alleged shift towards movies it's not surprising, comic fans seem to care more about that these days anyway. Everytime a new book comes out the first thing fans start doing is casting the movie. They don't even wait to see if the books going to be any good after the first 3 issues. Nope, lets get that movie made because that's cooler. This web-site proves that point, the minute some tid-bit on the Spiderman movie comes up, everyones itching to spout off yet, I wonder how many of those posting are actually reading that book, RIGHT NOW, ISSUE TO ISSUE. My guess is very few. You think this is crap or that I'm exaggerating? have you been to a convention lately? How much money did you spend on comics? how much on toys or movies or posters or t-shirts? They should change the name of the San Diego Comic-Con to the San Diego Movie, Toy, Original Art, Oh yeah and some guys who have few comics Con. The number of comic dealers at the US's biggest show of the year just keeps getting smaller and smaller. Why? Fans are not supporting the books. I hope (Ha! Fat chance) that this is a bit of a wake up call to all comic fans. I love comics and I still do everything I can to get the young people in my life intersested in them. That's the only hope this industry has. I'd love to say I'm optimistic but, I fear with all that competes for a childs attention these days,that it's probably too little too late.

  • May 10, 2000, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Well, at least we're agreeing on some issues in TalkBack for a c

    by superninja

    They need to lower the prices, period. I disagree about comic-book stores -- you can find one anywhere -- you can order comics off the internet. I grew up getting my comics from comic book stores when sales were at an all-time high. I've never bought comics from Barnes&Noble or Target. If they were smart, they'd start making comics which aren't pure filth and runs some promotions at public schools across the nation. If you give a kid the new issue of Avengers and his buddies see him reading in on the playground -- guess who's going to want their own to read? Guess who's going to go home to mommy and daddy and make them track down a comic book shop? Look at the Pokemon craze, people. Those kids are going to be moving past Pokemon real soon...perfect opportunity.

  • May 10, 2000, 6 p.m. CST

    Superninja - regarding kids' comics...

    by Dave_F

    There are tons of great comics for kids and young adults...there just aren't many in the superhero genre anymore. The reason for that, I think, is pure burnout. Superheroes, in all their good, bad, and ugly glory have just been done to *death*. Creatively, the concept is mostly dead (with a few exceptions, like Busiek's "Astro City"). Still, there're some great adventure comics out there in other genres, stuff suited to both kids and adults. "Bone" and "Usagi Yojimbo" are two all-ages titles that manage to provide a perfect balance of humor, serious storytelling, and great artwork. For teens and up, maybe "Hellboy", "Astro City", "A Distant Soil", or "Thieves & Kings." For the youngest readers, "Akiko" is great - a kind of sci-fi take on "The Wizard of Oz". Awesome art. I could name quality titles all day long, but I do think the heyday of superheroes (and especially superhero "universes") is simply gone, never to return. Oh, I'd like to see Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and the other icons remain to some extent, but I don't think they should dominate the market. The classic stuff will hopefully remain in circulation through reprints, but the time has come to move on to new adventures.

  • May 10, 2000, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Because no one learned their lesson with Batman!!

    by xtc

    How many times is this company going to drive itself towards the edge of a cliff? Jesus, are the monkeys who run that place getting sick or dying off. Stupid monkey!!

  • May 10, 2000, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Marvel's been sucking...

    by SonOfJorel

    Okay kids, first off, Dog Star, you're absolutely, 100% correct. Time-Warner owns DC. And you're also correct in the fact that Marvel should look at how DC's handling it's characters. They put out gecent cartoons like Superman, Batman and Batman Beyond. They put out great movies like the first two Superman movies and the first two Batman movies, good TV shows like The Flash and neat toy lines, like the Batman and Batman Beyond lines. Marvel put out a Captain America and Punisher movie, both crap. The original Fantastic Four movie was deemed so horrible that they wouldn't even release it. That one was handed over to ROGER CORMAN!!! Who the hell made that decision?!? That guy and his stable of "filmmakers" couldn't do a decent adaptation of Peanuts, let alone Fantastic Four. They nix good cartoons like Spiderman and X-Men for total bastardizations like The Avengers (the characters aren't even recognizable next to the comic) and Spiderman Unlimited or whatever it's called, which is horrible. They bought Toy Biz to do their toys. Toy Biz has got to be one of the WORST toy makers out there right now. Their figures are undetailed, misproportioned and all around crap. They had a good thing with Blade, but if they think that's a basis for a movie company, they'd better stop and think REAL hard. X-Men isn't even out yet, but they're acting as if they've already got the money from it in hand. Same with Spiderman. They need to realize that these movies will come out and boost the sales of the comics they're based on. Look at Blade. After that movie came out there was unbelievable demand for any and all Blade comic appearances, and he never even had his own title until the movie came out! Marvel needs to trim it's auxilery titles (most of which are in the X-Men line, no thanks to the Age Of Apocolyps [sp?] storyline) and stick to the originals, the ones that made Marvel great before. Spiderman, The Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, Wolverine, The Hulk, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, etc. Leave the side characters to make appearances throughout the other books. --Snoogans

  • May 10, 2000, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Comics are dead? Is that why DC and Dark Horse are making tons

    by Daredevil

    Could it be, maybe, that Marvel is losing money on comics because THEIR PRODUCT SUCKS!? They aren't selling comics because their competition has been making good, buyable stuff while they've been sitting on their heads. The last 10 years have been terrible. The X-Men hasn't been good since Chris Claremont left it, the introduction of Venom was the last good thing to happen in Spider-Man, and Daredevil, Marvel's best character, has been boring for a decade! Luckily Claremont's back and Jimmy Palmotti and Joe Quesada have breathed new life into some characters in the Marvel Knights line. They're getting Chuck Dixon back for some Punisher stories! Heck, Fantastic Four and Captain America are cooler than they've been in 20 years. Don't write the Marvel comics off yet you stupid execs! You just started making them good again! Wait 5 years and if your sales are still down, then maybe. If not, just sell out to Stan Lee and let him try to bring the company back on track.

  • Still waiting for decent Captain America movies and a mighty Thor live-action movie announcement.Sure I love good comic books,but I much prefer good live-action movies with my favorite Marvel heroes.

  • May 10, 2000, 6:41 p.m. CST

    I was there when it was all coming apart.

    by pumukl

    I was an intern at Marvel right about when their stock finally finished its trip into the toilet, and they were bought out by Toy Biz. I remember the day the Big Giant Heads came down to the bullpen to explain the new state of their world. I remember how the editors and staff used to walk around like the other shoe was going to drop at any time. I remember hanging out in the Spiderman office, listening to Ralph Maccio tell me how comics was a dying business, and that I shouldn't bother trying to get into it. I thought he was at least semi-joking. It all seemed so ridiculous back then. I mean, to me, the answer was obvious: Marvel had to stop putting out so much crap (a lot of that crap was slightly removed from me, personally, since I worked for Mat Idelson and Paul Tutrone, and mostly on Captain America. They were two of the best guys there, and great editors). And there was a lot of crap around me. Bad art. Bad writing. But worst of all was the lack of originality. Every second book was that same horrible imitation-manga style. The writing was the same predictable dialogue and plot format. This wasn't the case for everything, naturally--I mean, there was the Marvel Knights deal in the wings; just about anything Busiek or Waid wrote was wonderful; and you'd get great artists like the Kubert brothers or Romita Jr. who really had mastery of the craft--but it sure was true for a lot of it. ************************************************************************************ And now this. I can't say I'm surprised. Not really. There was no way the company could continue on forever this way. I made up my mind a long time ago that I wanted into the comics industry, but swore after my time at Marvel that it would not be there. Time has pretty much born out my feelings on this one. Marvel seems like a big giant chicken with its head cut off. It doesn

  • May 10, 2000, 6:46 p.m. CST


    by Babba-Booey

    People, you cannot bitch quietly about this. Now is the time that Marvel's publishing empire should be bought out if not by Stan Lee's group, then by the very people who love and appreciate the printed page. Maybe its time that Marvel Comics be spun off from Marvel Entertainment (or Marvel Characters or whatever the hell it is today) and get it in the hands of people who truly care about the characters and talents that go into creating good work. These execs in charge at marvel are trying to rape the properties for all they're worth without any regard for the fans. Damn, it'll be a dark day if they get away with this.

  • May 10, 2000, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Its all about the MONEY!

    by webslingingirl

    Is this the end of Marvel Comics.....oh say it ain't so! :-(

  • May 10, 2000, 7:19 p.m. CST

    The problem with comic prices

    by iamdeadfish

    In the old days of comic book production it was easy. Crank them out... slap on a little color and print them on the cheapest quality newsprint possable. BAM!!! You've got a comic for around $1! Them was the days... a $5 bill would get you 5 comics!!! Anyhow, I've already touched on the two biggest reasons why comics cost so damn much now. #1) Paper #2) Color! You might not have thought about it, but when was the last time you bought a comic that wasn't printed on a nice glossy stock? Also, it's not as easy as covering the entire area of Jean Grey's hair in an orange color anymore! Now as much (or more) work goes into coloring everything in photoshop as it does actually drawing the stuff. Actually, from what I saw at Todd McFarlane Industries, sometimes the pages look half finnished by the time the colorist get's them. With notes like,"Dup this pannel 6 times". --- !And Harry! --- Please explain the newest head!!!

  • May 10, 2000, 8:38 p.m. CST


    by NixKuroi

    Man, Marvel Execs suck! Do they even READ comics? It looks to me that these fuckers don't know or care about anything other than the bottom line! Haven't they payed attentioned to Marvel Knights? People are coming BACK to those books! Before this, who here gave a shit what was going on in Daredevil or Punisher?!?! They're into trends! Why can't they pick this up! Get good, high profile talent (not useless has-beens) and people will get interested. I'm practically salivating about Paul Jenkins taking over Peter Parker! There's such a huge potential fan base out there! I'd sacrifice glossy paper to have a cheaper book and better stories so that kids could actually afford to buy one. I remember when I really got into collecting in High school and they were $.60! Has the cost of production gone up THAT much in 12 years? They're $3 now! What's THAT about? </vent>

  • May 10, 2000, 9:13 p.m. CST


    by comixspaz


  • May 10, 2000, 9:45 p.m. CST

    I'm not surprised. I haven't read comics in years.

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    Mainstream American comics, that is. At least until last year when a friend turned me on to "Castle Waiting." Utterly magnificent. Until then it had been all manga, anime, manga, anime. Why? *Shrug.* Intelligent, well-written stories, a variety of different subjects, gloriously beautiful art, characters the reader could identify with and care about. Sailor Moon; Ranma; Sojo Kakume Utena; Perfect Blue; Ghost In The Shell; Neon Genisis Evangelion; Gunbuster; Macross; Macross Plus; Gundam; Gundam Wing; Rurouni Kenshin; Card Captor Sakura; Fushigi Yuugi; Slayers;--merciful Allah, the list goes on forever and I haven't even scratched the surface yet. But lately, there are some Yankee works out and about that can compare--Frank Miller's exquisite Hard Boiled, for example; the aforementioned Castle Waiting; Preacher; Kingdom Come even, though they may seem to some to be too few and far between. Still, they *are* there, and unlike Marvel which insist's on pumping out hackneyed crap, they are selling. DC, Dark Horse, Oni Press and Cthulhu only knows how many others out there are doing O.K. And anime is spreading in this country slowly but surely, and not just among fanboys and kids, either. So maybe it's not the death of the comics industry, after all. Perhaps it's just the death of an old way of doing things, and one company which refused to put quality over quantity. Sayonara, Marvel-san.

  • May 10, 2000, 9:53 p.m. CST


    by Sith Lord Jesus

    Shouldn't have referred to "Castle Waiting" as mainsteam. Still, my point stands.

  • May 10, 2000, 10:16 p.m. CST

    empty suits

    by Talons

    Ah... The smell of flatulence from a suit... It smells like... stupidity. As an owner of a comicbook store I can tell you flat out you can't make loads of money off of comics in this day and age. However, by no means are comics a dead medium... just ask the Japanese. The Marvel suits' problem comes from not reading or paying attention to the creativity of comics; they only pay attention to the bucks. All it would take is someone to: A. Physically pull said suit's head from his ass then... B. Hold up a shitty comic's sales (ie. Daredevil) from pre-Smith/Quesada era then show the sales from the current "hot" team Daredevil title. Oh look! Comics sell! Imagine that... Good stories *and* art equal sales... Durrr... Have you seen my baseball? For those of you who started your posts with: "I used to read comics..." or "Comics are just for fan boys anyway..." get up, step away from the computer, run, don't walk, to the nearest comicbook store and ask for the following books: Preacher, Authority, Planetary, Transmetropolitan, Top10, Daredevil, Punisher, Rising Stars, JLA and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Thats 10 comics that I guarantee without a doubt will make you say, "Holy shit! Comics are better than they were when I was buying them!"

  • May 10, 2000, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Yo, HULK!

    by Zone Zero

    Save some for me! I need to layeth the smacketh DOWN!

  • May 10, 2000, 10:42 p.m. CST

    new medium

    by swavill

    I always thought that both Marvel and DC should create a cable television channel featuring long running series based on their big name titles. These series should be high quality animated adaptations of the comics starting at the beginning. FF#1,X-MEN#1,spidey thor hulk the whole ball of wax.Hire good writers and top notch animators.Youve already got the basics there in the comic just develope the dialog and the characters and expand the stories. Not only would this breathe new life into the comics industry by generating new interest in the characters and comics themselves. but it would give them a perfect medium from which to spin off and promote live action or big budget animated feature films as well as online projects. Starting at the beginning would be crucial part of the reason for the drop in comic sales is the kids today did not grow up with these characters.

  • May 10, 2000, 10:45 p.m. CST


    by Zone Zero


  • May 10, 2000, 11:04 p.m. CST

    Marvel has gone downhill. No big loss.

    by JeffFarsh

    Most of the stuff marvel publishes these days are garbage. They seemed to have lost any form of originallity or creativity. All I can say is that if Marvel wants to abandon comics for other things, it is no great loss, no loss at all.

  • May 10, 2000, 11:26 p.m. CST

    by HouseCalls

  • May 10, 2000, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Stan to Buy Marvel

    by HouseCalls

    I heard Stan Lee was organizing A Hostile Take over of Marvel. He will use his cash from a StanLee Media .com IPO and some other investors. Reportedlyu one of his investors is the Michael Jackson, Hell he has to use his money for something

  • May 10, 2000, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Licence out to ther publishers?

    by nitekatt

    I'll bet money that MARVEL will shut down 99% of the comic line,except Spiderman and X-Men and then licence out the rest of the characters to other publishers. <p> Isn't that the whole point,not only to make films and other media,but licence the characters? Seeing FANTASTIC FOUR or CAPTAIN MARVEL at Wildstorm,DC or IMAGE may not be too far off the mark!

  • May 10, 2000, 11:58 p.m. CST


    by Jon Zajdel

    Look. This isn't the time for ALL CAPS. As adults you should all realize however much it hurts that Marvel can't make cost effective comics is because of a basic buisiness ethic: If you can make your money work harder for you in another theatre, do it. Case closed. i used to love my Spidey more than Jesus but those days are gone. Unless comics are readmited to the newstand and given a cheaper means of production, there is no way they will enjoy the popularity that they once had in pamphlet form. Be sure to check at Borders or some chaine book store for stand alone TPB's. That is where any future comics are headed. At least those with legal copyright owned by Marvel. Nuff said.

  • You said you wouldn't call "Castle Waiting" mainstream, but why not? To me, mainstream denotes accessibility, a counterpoint to underground, cult, and avant-garde works. Well, "Castle Waiting" may be published in black and white, and fantasy may not be the most popular genre right now, but I'd still argue that the title is eminently accessible. It's open to a wide variety of ages, features characters that'll appeal to both guys and chicks, and is helmed by a single cartoonist so the continuity and vision is always strong. To me that *should* be considered a mainstream comic. I mean, it just shows how backward American comics are, that muscle-bound men and women in brightly-colored tights are somehow considered more mainstream than anything else. ******* By the way, if you like "Castle Waiting", be sure to try one of the "Thieves & Kings" collections. The somewhat rough (though fitting) artwork bears some manga influence, and the story and dialogue are jaw-droppingly great.

  • May 11, 2000, 1:45 a.m. CST

    the demise of the house of ideas

    by cap'n stinkfoot

    This all started in the early 90s with all of those gimmicky enhanced covers, the rise of Liefeld,all of those supermuscular pyscho "anti-heros" with giant guns and no personality outside of loving to shoot their guns, Clarmont leaving the X-Men, the insane number of mutant titles and those god awful spidey clones. If you ask me it is probably for the best that Marvel ceases publishing the nightmares they have turned the heros of my childhood fantasies into. Sure Earth X and Daredevil are really good but 90% of the rest of the shlock they publish is really horrendous. I'd like to think that Stan would return to reclaim the throne but that is nothing but a wet dream. The suits of corporation land have destroyed the house of ideas and the heros of my childhood. It's all about theme restaurants, video games and horrible movie adaptations. The thing that really bothers me about this is that so many of us have been shaped by the exploits of the marvel heros. Even when we do not notice it we are being influenced by those comics we read as kids. Just try to imagine all of the artists that have read the adventures of the F.F. and have carried some of it over into their work subconsciously. No the suits of corporation land do not care and that is the real crime in all of this.

  • May 11, 2000, 1:55 a.m. CST


    by ELRIC23


  • May 11, 2000, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Comicbooks should be contraband

    by Bad Ass Ninja

    Remember the days when you had to sneak the things into your room as you would PlayBoy? That was when they were doing quite well. Now that they are accepted kids no longer feel the need to buy them to piss off the parents. Also, when was the last time you saw a comic geared toward the young kids? Long time eh? Except for Sonic, The Simpsons and PoKeMoN. Most these days are for the older generation. The wrong generation. They are all tight-arses, get the kids to badger parents for them and then they'll pay out. Look at the cigarette companies and the drug dealers, they have it down pat, hook the kids and the olds will be sucked in along.

  • May 11, 2000, 2:02 a.m. CST

    Dave's Not Here Man!

    by Bad Ass Ninja

    Marvel not in comics is like Microsoft not in software. Ludicrous

  • Talon, you listed ten comics that, as I understand it, you think could bring old comic book readers back into the fold. Since the titles you mention are largely superhero books, I can imagine that might happen, BUT...what the industry really needs is to bring in readers who've NEVER read a comic in their life. I know that if I'd never read comics, "Daredevil" under Kevin Smith would be just as indecipherable to me as "Daredevil" by Joe Hack. Most folks could care less about superheroes, even well-written ones. Superheroes are just a novelty to indulge in on occasion when they crossover to the big screen. Let's use movies as a hypothetical parallel. Say you're introducing someone to movies for the first time, and you're a big fan of Westerns (bear with me here). Westerns were practically *the* dominant genre in the 40's and 50's, and you've got a massive videotape collection to show your friend. You love 'em because you grew up with them, and the infinite permutations on themes of honor in an untamed land fascinate you. Plus, there were *so* many Westerns turned out in those two decades, that eventually some inspired filmmakers worked the genre and turned out a few masterpieces. Now...try getting this person who didn't grow up in that era to take an interest in your massive videotape collection, and it just ain't gonna happen. You might get 'em to watch "High Noon", "The Searchers", and "Shane", and maybe they'll even enjoy them, but chances are they won't convert to a Western fan once they realize how many other varieties of films are available. See, despite the fact that both Westerns and superheroes dominated their respective mediums for vast lengths of time, to the average person, they're just niche genres. New readers need diversity. They need comics as diverse as the types of movies they watch and the books they read. Women, for instance, lean towards sentimental stories (I'm generalizing here - no offense Superninja), so show them "Strangers in Paradise" or "Maison Ikkoku" or "Love & Rockets" or "Castle Waiting." But I think it's a total mistake to offer them "Rising Stars" or "Justice League". Well-written or not, there's just not much they can relate to. Only when the industry becomes less insular does it really have a hope of attracting a healthy new readership. The honest truth is that our desire to cling to and propagate the superhero genre is little more than a kind of unhealthy nostalgia. I know, because I feel it too. We have to turn loose of the obsession, though, or the industry will collapse under its own inbreeding.

  • May 11, 2000, 2:48 a.m. CST

    What's 1000 dead executives in the gutter?

    by saurionalpha

    A BAD START! <br> What money sniffing jackass thought this would be a briliant idea. They get two movies(one a HIGHLY disputed property the other not released yet) and suddenly they think they've found the motherload. Need we mention Punisher,Captain America, and HOWARD THE DUCK! You guys AIN'T SKG <br> X-men has become a sustaining income for Marvel and it's getting a resurgance but who it the nimrod $+!+ grubbing bootlicking SCHMUCK that sent out this edict. <br> I'm sure the folks at DC have pissed themselves with pleasure over this possiblity <br> SCORE ONE MORE FOR MARVEL No wonder the filed for chapter 11

  • Some of you seem surprised that Marvel only care about money. It does not surprise me... that is all anyone cares about nowadays. Marvel do not care about our opinions... they only want our money. Marvel created some great characters in the past... what has happened. They could sort the problems out easily but they do not recognize them. Comics are not selling because they are not as good as the used to be. BUT I BLAME POKEMON!

  • May 11, 2000, 7:51 a.m. CST

    come in alone

    by GodBear

    All of the stuff most of the people have said here about what is wrong with comics (esp marvel) is in an article Warren Ellis wrote for called The Old Bastard Manifesto. You should check it out, it's funny as hell. It's in the archives of their come in alone section, sometime in february or march. My problem with comics today is that the most of the independent stuff which tries to be more mature is just cynical, raunchy, bombastic crap. Theres no middle ground. Oh well. A did read one good Marvel comic last month. The first part of the magneto miniseries was kind of cool. How amazing! New characters, new settings. Peter Parker doesn't cut it anymore because he's been around 30 years and is getting boring. When was the last new really cool character this company came out with? Wolverine? Maybe punisher.

  • May 11, 2000, 8:34 a.m. CST


    by Street Hawk


  • May 11, 2000, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Too True

    by dougmac

    Nitekatt is right about the licensing off of characters but that may not be so bad. For al the Image slamming here, Iron Man and the Hulk and The FF never looked better than when Jim Lee took them over and the stories were good too. The same goes for the Marvel Knights line (Black Panther is still good because they didn't change anything when they brought it over to the main house. DC isn't much better than Marvel at this either. Nobody needs as many Superman titles as they have and they could cut down on Batman as well (though both characters are currently better than they have been in a long while)so it isn't just Marvel. Imagine going back to the day when stories only lasted one or two issues so they were consistently good because the did't have three filler issues between relevent story events in each arc?

  • May 11, 2000, 8:57 a.m. CST


    by Dave_F

    Good article from Warren Ellis you mentioned. Here's the exact address for anyone interested: (hope that long URL doesn't screw up the Talkback) ****** claim that the independents are too cynical and raunchy. If by "independents" you're referring to anything not coming from one of the big companies...well, that's a mighty broad generalization. In fact, I've been posting all over the place in this Talkback with recommendations for easily-approachable, middle-of-the-road independent comics. Go back to my post responding to Lemmy Caution's recommendations, for instance, and you'll see a specific list of approachable comics that bridge the gap between mainstream and the avant-garde stuff. Not a cynical title among them, I promise, and I could reel off twenty more, just like that.

  • May 11, 2000, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Comics, Rightous Anger, and Negitivity

    by V-Darn

    I was about to write another one of my "I'm mad as heck" tirades, but for some reason I just don't feel the worth in it anymore. I mean I hear the phrase "simple print medium" and I break out into a cold sweat and as it was so articulately put earlier, Hulk Smash. How could one say such disparaging things about the greatest medium in the world, the world of print. I love comics, I always have and I always will. Hearing someone in the medium say something that disparaging about the industry, or as I had inferred it, about the printed word in mass, makes me ill, I would give up much to be so close to the medium. In my hope of hopes, Marvel will lose the rights to its heroes during a hostile takeover and Spidy, Cap, Horn Head, and that Hulk end up in the loving care of Stan the Man or DC Comics. Ah wishful thinking, it warms the heart. You should try it sometime. Sadly, this is not the only thing that makes me ill. That brings me to the subject of that hideous slur of a word known as "fanboy". If you must label those who populate fandom something, call us geeks. We have the tact not call you no necked, mind numbed, feckless, mundane crotch monkeys, do we? Well, if you could be so kind as to pay us the same courtesy, we would be grateful. Here is a nifty activity for all you who like to anger people on line for fun. Why don't you go to a local tavern and ply your techniques there. Tell me how it went after you are able to eat solid foods again. It is a little more dangerous to do such things in the real world, now isn't it? So in that vain, why don't we just show each other a little kindness and respect for a change.As for me I shall abandon this futile attempt to change the hearts and minds of the populous, the negativity has begun to make my head hurt. I shall return to the simplicity of my old manual typewriter, and attempt once again to write that perfect Silver Surfer story. V-Darn out, for a while at least.

  • May 11, 2000, 9:20 a.m. CST

    product placement?

    by cncoyle

    If comics aren't making the suits enough money, why don't they follow big tobacco and do product placement in movies and TV shows? I mean, how many people notice "Ka-Zar" on "That '70's Show"? Why not use peer pressure towards something imaginative, creative, and productive like comic books?

  • May 11, 2000, 10:25 a.m. CST


    by iamdeadfish


  • May 11, 2000, 10:33 a.m. CST

    'Tis sad

    by abulafia24

    I read from the article that they were going to introduce such story lines into Spidey (which I dropped a while back due to bad story) as Peter Parker going to counseling. A little 90210 perhaps. They want to attract new readers, but that sort of story line appeals more to the Melrose Place watching teens than the young kids that should be the focus. What kid doesn't like to see Hulk smash? I would also like to agree with V-Darn. I read most of the talkback comments and I'm suprised at the amount of venom and contempt a lot of people have for each other. I especially love the person who informs us that Fanboyz [sic] are losers, et al. The fact that s/he would waste his/her time sending it in as opposed to taking that time and doing something s/he finds enlightening is sad. Perhaps Marvel should sell itself to a larger entertainment conglomerate. I have often wondered whether DC would still be around if it weren't for Time-Warner. And (though I may get flamed for this), maybe Marvel should cut some of the dead weight. I'd rather see a few great Marvel books than a truckload of bad ones. Get writers like Ennis, Smith, Ellis, Moore, etc., give us, the geeks, the comics we want to read and subsidize them with movies, video games, blow-up dolls, whatever. But, that's just my opinion.

  • May 11, 2000, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Kid's don't read comics?

    by herobot

    Maybe the problem doesn't rely on the kids NOT reading the comics. There might be a reason for that. Marvel should start looking at the quality that they are giving out there. Of course they have a couple of good and decent titles, but they are letting the other titles suffer. The penciler of Gambit is leaving because he can't stand to look at his art being massacred by non competent inkers and colorists month after months. Marvel puts all their money on the sellers and put less quality in the others. Even if they have a good penciller, not having a good inker and colorist will make the book look like crap. Hence, Yannick's leaving the book. So the question I ask marvel is: If you can't make good comics, how the hell are you going to make good movies. Because believe me, in the movie market, there's even less room for mistakes. -Herobot

  • May 11, 2000, 11:20 a.m. CST


    by bo_d75

    I wonder why they, Marvel, would throw so much money into making a X-Men movie and then the up-coming Spiderman movie...and then try and move away from comics. You would think that by pulling in non-reading fanboys with a good movie would only make them want to run out and purchase the comics. I praise all here who said good things about: Preacher, Kabuki, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Rising Stars. It's good to see that not everyone is a complete mindless robot...yet. Brian Bendis's 'Powers' & 'Sam and Twitch' are also great reads. Yeah, comics have gone up over the years but to some extent so has the quality. DOn't get me wrong there are some great classics...and as for the 'suits' calling comics 'children's reading', or whatever the direct quote was...Fuck off. Yea, I might be a fanboy...but at least I don't spend my time guzzling down wine, stuffing my face with cheese and doing whatever fucked up shit that the people in the three-piece suits do in their free time, fuck over people and absorb themselves in greed I imagine. Now, until recently I have read any Marvel Titles since my earlier days of collecting...but with good 'ol Kev Smith writing Daredevil they got me hooked...and then with Garth Ennis,(Preacher), writing the new Punisher mini-series...well fuck what am I suppose to do than to throw my hard-earned money their way. And as far as kids these days not having enough money to purchase comics....HAHAHAHAHAHAHa...come- the-fuck-on...they have money for computer/video games, Lara Croft posters, Pikachu, and whatever else the fuck these over-pampered shit get with the far-from-hard-earned-money. Yep, so go ahead kiddies rot your brains on whatever the fuck you want to because for does matter if a comic company ceases to exist. Nope, you wouldn't want to spend your money on anything with words in it would you? No. So go ahead and watch MTV to see what's cool, have dreams of Lara Croft, and don't'll still wake up tomorrow without an imagination. 'Cause the same fucks that are gonna probably slowly try and gear Marvel Entertainment away from comics don't want you to think for yourself. *DISCLAIMER* I need not say that this applies to all the youth out there in this day and age but...come on. Anyhoo, it's not matter of keeping Marvel around...fuck them. But, if they get the ball rolling who knows who it'll crush on its way down the hill. And hey, others might start stepping out of the race too. Others that would really get me upset. "You keep reading them...I'll keep writing them" Stan Lee~from 'Mallrats'

  • May 11, 2000, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Why pretend Marvel and DC are comic companies at all?

    by usagibrian

    Both big boys were swallowed whole by larger media companies ages ago. Even with all the licensing of the iconic characters, they account for a tiny (and insignificant) fraction of the mother corporation's earnings. Wait five more years and pick up your favorite icon on ebay when the monolith media company holds a fire sale on non-producing properties. Meantime, enjoy the really great stuff that's coming out like BONE, ASTRO CITY, WARRIOR NUN AREALA (the stuff Ben Dunn does himself, not the cheap T&A crossovers), THIEVES AND KINGS, CONCRETE and the most consistantly excellent book going USAGI YOJIMBO. Oh, and if you have kids/know kids/are an aunt or uncle to kids you want to get interested in comics and reading; the Carl Barks UNCLE SCROOGE's are still in reprint with brilliant new stories by Don Rosa interspersed periodically.

  • May 11, 2000, 1:14 p.m. CST


    by knox21

    You raise some good points but, they really don't apply to comics. As a matter of fact no other marketing stagedies can be related to comics because comic FANS are a niche audience themselves. OK, now I'll ask YOU to bare with ME. I've been reading comics for over 25 years and if there's one thing I've noticed is that (for the most part) someone's either a comic fan from their YOUTH or they're not and never will be. If I had a dollar for every friend I've loaned a comic to, that they read, and ENJOYED but, who never picked up another comic, I'd be a wealthy man. I had a friend who had a real wacky-off-the-wall sense of humor so I gave him an issue of Milk & Cheese. He loved it and thought it was hilarious. Did he then go out and try to find the next issue or any other Evan Dorkin stuff. Nope. Why? because he just wasn't a comic fan, comics had no connection to his childhood they way they do for most fans. I could tell another 10 stories similar to this but, you get the point. If you stood out on a street corner and gave away 1000 free copies of the first issue of a really great comic, to complete strangers (non comic buyers) how many do you think would THEN take the time to tack down their local comic store, (which is becoming harder and harder to do as they dissappear) drive there, and dig through the mountains of book to find issue 2? NONE that's how many. More likely they would give it to the friend they have that ALREADY collects comics. Now, if you stood on the same street corner and passed out free copies of a really cool video game to the same 1000 people, they'd play it, invite a friend to play it and that friend would then go out and buy it ect. ect. The comics industry has tried to do cross marketing in the past and it never works. Look at all the adds that have been placed in video game magazines over the last three years. Big full page adds that cost a bundle, that didn't make so much as a blip in the sales figures. Back in the early ninties Rob Lifield took out a double page spread add ( this cost him MORE than a bundle) in Entertainment Weekly in order to try to pull in non-comic fans into the comic market. Nothing happened! Sales for all the companies continued to slip the next month as they had the previous month. Someone posted that movies where the answer, that person should've done his homework first. With the exception of the first Batman flick, NONE (and I do mean NONE) of the recent comic movie entries did ANYTHING for the sale of their respective books. Spawn had a movie AND a TV show on at the same time and yet, the numbers contiued to drop. Where's the big successful Bade comic? Or the Men In Black comic? If any movie should've spawned a hit comic (since it started out as a comic) it was MIB. The idea that comics are in trouble because they don't want to "Let Go" of the superhero genre is naive and misguided. Comic companies want to publish anything that sells. That's what they're in business to DO. Every time they tried to publish something besides superheros in the past they took it on the chin. In the late 80's Marvel published a series of Horror comic (with Clive Barker's name attached no less) guess what? THEY TANKED. Almost nobody bought them. The Fans were not interested! And people always site Vertigo as the successful non-superhero publishing example. Well, check the numbers before you do, most of the Vertigo books make LITTLE or NO money. The superhero books (mainly through licensing) have carried Vertigo for years. You could never support a comic company the size of Marvel or DC on Vertigo numbers. The same thing with all those book you mentioned. The numbers on all of them are TOO LOW. Don't believe me, do the research ( I did) it's all there. Fans have never supported ( of course there are a FEW exceptions) non-superhero comics with enough readers to warrant a major market shift AWAY from them. Don't you think that if someone put out a Western or War or Funny animal or whatever, comic and it was a HUGE hit, that every comic company wouldn't follow suit and start publishing the same? Look at the early 90's with the whole Image thing. Books that were drawn in that style sold big numbers, so what happened, EVERY comic company started making their books look like Image books. You act like Comic companies are just sitting around fiddling while Rome burns, or that ALL they have to do is switch to publishing something besides superheros, this is also incredibly naive. If the solution was that simple don't you think that they would've figured that out by now and adjusted the publishing to meet the demand? Of course they would've. The problem is, is that there's NO DEMAND. If anybodies sitting around fiddling it's the fans, who seem to get more thrills out of standing around comic book shops bashing companies and creators, or casting some non-exsistant comic movie, then of reading the actual books.

  • May 11, 2000, 1:26 p.m. CST

    This reminds me of Deep Space Nine

    by moviet00l

    Strange, I know, but does anyone remember an episode (Major Geek Alert) when Worf asks the new Dax what she thinks of his problems with the Empire, and she says something akin to "I think the Empire has been dying for a long time now . . . and frankly, I think it deserves to die." This is probably true of Marvel. Let them go away. It won't stop me from re-reading my Claremont/John Romita Jr. era X-Men with any less passion. Let them disgrace the characters. With any luck, the truly great comic-creators of the future will make new legends for us to enjoy rather than try to fix what Marvel did to theirs.

  • May 11, 2000, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Off the page, into the crapper

    by Sorcerer

    I try not to immediately bash every announcement here, but still- what?! A company whose primary emphasis has been on comic books since its inception is going to relegate them to the back burner and move into fields in which they have relatively little useful experience? Yeah, that'll work. Comics don't have to die- if the conventional book isn't working, change to a graphic novel-oriented approach (more content, see), or just plain get better writers and artists! And ""? Surely I'm not the only one who thinks that sounds quite stupid. At this point I'm hoping for Marvel to go belly-up and all the rights to the characters to be obtained by people who know what they're doing.

  • May 11, 2000, 2:59 p.m. CST

    ATTN: ZeroCorpse

    by iamdeadfish

    Anime/Manga fad?!?! Bite your tounge! You've never even read or watched any have you? Admit it! Go out and get yourself some Ghost in the Shell comics or Dirty Pair or... anything! People like it because it's action-packed and different! I can agree that you can live on it alone... there are some other good titles like Mister Blank, Sin City, Grendel... and some that arn't coming to mind right now... but you just need to know where to look! And keep your mind open to other things dammit!

  • May 11, 2000, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Not so much lower prices as more content...

    by Sorcerer

    My major problem with comics is their brevity. I'm always a little disappointed with the lack of content and the obvious hooks for the next issue- it's particularly frustrating when you pick up an issue that has no real central plot of its own, just following up threads. Of course, there's already an answer to this- the graphic novel. DC does it, Dark Horse does it, lots of companies have done it, and there's a reason- you get a good long story at a reasonable price. Surely Marvel can figure this one out.

  • May 11, 2000, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Probably Everyone Else Has Said It Already, But This Is The Stup

    by Buzz Maverik

    They get one big budget movie that will probably suck and barely resembles their comics coming out, a Spiderman movie that could still not happen, and they're ready to chuck it all, fuck the fans and hit the big time. I can see Web comics, but to dump comics for movies is stupid. I suppose the only consolation is that Marvel rarely puts out any decent comics any more anyway. DC, Dark Horse and others have somehow managed to put out good comics, and still have movies actually made, some of which were actually good. I mean, BLADE was okay, but I hope I'm wrong about the X-Men.

  • May 11, 2000, 4:14 p.m. CST

    cut back on comics

    by 320sw

    I have read comics for almost 50 years. But, I dont enjoy them as much as I once did nor buy as many as I have in the past. Why? Because I dont find them a "good bargain" anymore. 2.25 and up to (for the most part) advance a story only a little is not good entertainment value to me. Price VS Product no longer seems to balance. Sorry.

  • May 11, 2000, 5:23 p.m. CST


    by knox21

    You're right the price of comics has gotten too high (I explained how this happened and why comic companies can't switch back in my first post on this board) and there are TOO many titles. But, niether of these problems are correctable with the state of comics as it is today. Companies started expanding the number of books during the BOOM several years back. And why not, the industry was healthier then ever and the demand for books was high. If one Punisher title sold well why not 2? After all Comics is still a business and the main goal for a business is the GROW & EXPAND. Where the companies got stuck was when the BOOM ended and the industry didn't rebound. They now needed to keep these books around to make up for the low numbers across the board. How do you think Marvel or DC could stay in business publishing one Spiderman or one Superman book when these books are selling at a fraction of what they once were. All of them are at all-time LOWS! Not to mention the effect such a drastic cut back would have on comic shops who need a certain amount of Marvel product each month to pay the bills. The number of titles sucks but, it's a necessity at this point. Unlike most fans I follow the numbers regularly, almost ALL the suggestions on how this industry can right it's self are naive and short sighted. As for Sorcerer's comments that graphic novels are the answer, I don't know how old you are but, but back around 84-86 the comics industry DID try to try to test the waters with graphic novels. Marvel put out a bunch during this period. A few did well but, for the most part they weren't exactly HUGE. And this was during a time when books were selling WAY better then they are now. I think what you are talking about aren't graphic novel but, Trade-paperbacks. There's a big difference. A Trade-PB is a collection of previously publishe material, this means that the people involved with it's creation have all been paid. So to collect it together and reprint it is relativly cheap and a way for comic companies to make a little extra dough on a project they've already paid for. This explains the reasonable price. A graphic novel features previously unpublished work. If Dark Horse or DC were to publish a graphic novel the equivlant length of a trade-pb, the price would be doubled or possibley even tripled. Plus, and I know I sound like a broken record but, Trade-paperbacks don't sell well either. A Hellboy trade-pb won't sell half what the mini-series will. And exactly how are comic shops going to stay afloat without monthly books? The shelves are PACKED with books as it is, and comic shops are still struggling. And would you be willing to wait for, one or maybe 2, Graphic novel sized books of your favorite character to come out EACH YEAR? Fans go into a panic and start bad-mouthing the companies if their favorite book is a WEEK late. It's hard enough producing a 22 page comic month-to-month, could you imagine putting out 4 or 5 times that number of pages? Comic companies would be publishing 10 books a year, and bankrupt in half that time. Again I advise you and all comic fans to take a little time away from AICN or what ever and do a litle research. I think you'd all be shocked and as I, a little saddened by exactly how bad it's gotten.

  • May 11, 2000, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Maybe not "graphic novels" strictly speaking...

    by Sorcerer

    I just took that term to mean anything longer than the traditional 22-page comic book. Marvel should experiment with new ways of putting comics material together- at this stage in the game, they've got nothing left to lose.

  • May 11, 2000, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Manga is a real alternative

    by GambitnRoguemiko

    Manga is growing in popularity because the stories are quality. If all you've seen is English dubbed anime, then you've seen nothing. (no insult intend to the folks who like English dubbed anime, when I became an anime fan 29 years ago- I'm a female in my mid 30's- that's all there was, no manga was availible back then in the US. Not in English or in Japanese. Most US manga fans start out on some English dubbed anime, I didn't see my first translated manga even until I was 17. But that's a story for another place. :) But something the previous promanga posters haven't brought up in several great posts was the HUGE popularity of manga in Japan. No decline in readership there. Here's some readership figures from Shodt's Dreamland Japan. Around 80% of all Japanese children and teens read manga. And over 50% of all adults (male and female) do. Here's some current sales figures as well: The largest selling manga zassi (comic magazine) Shonen Jump (boy's jump) sells 7 million copies a week. The largest selling girl's Nakayoshi (good friends) sells nearly 4 million copies. And there are even more comic titles in Japan than in the US. Not only are the stories quality and the cost of the magazines reasonable but they make comics for all ages, both genders, and even for niche interests. It starts out with comics for young elementary school kids (these are unisex comics typically. Then comes comics for later elementary-middle school splitting into boys and girls comics, although plenty of girls read the boys comics and some guys read girls too, Then you have comics targeted to middle school-high school kids, again both boys and girls (the pattern continues from later elementary comics onward) Then high school targeted comics, then college age, early career and/or young motherhood, and then lastly 30's upward. Senior citizen targeted comics haven't popped up yet but I'm betting they will as the oldest readers reach retirement age. Another factor for manga's continuing vibrancy in Japan and it's growing appeal here in the US (and around the world as well- Canada, the UK, France, Singapore, Korea, are just a few other countries that have substantial numbers of manga/anime fans) manga writers listen to and strongly respect their fans. Fan opinion can have a real impact on how a story turns out, and this is with the fact that manga creators have real ownership of their characters and the story itself- they co-own with the publishing company and if it becomes a very sucesssful manga and an anime is made, with that company too. The best selling manga creators are millionares. There's no crying about an end to an era in manga. I've read manga with so much depth of character and rich plots that I marveled (pun intended) at the writer's talent. This is especially true in manga for girls. Ms. Yuu Watase's Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres for example. I've read some good novels that didn't have nearly as much as Ms. Watase's manga does in those areas. And the fact that she could do this in comic form makes it all the more impressive, as well as that when the story was put into anime form it still is incredible. Even guys said they cried at some of the really sad points. (Fushigi, Ayashi no Ceres anime just started broadcasting in Japan late last month and I've not seen it yet.) I wish more US comic writers would write comics like this. I can only point to Terry Moore with his Strangers in Paradise and Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest that grabbed me the same way. It's plain bad writing that is killing Marvel, not anything else. The independent comics that are written well haven't lost readership. Oh and a note to the guy who lumped gozilla, anime, and manga all together and called it a fad and that it was all 13 year old boys liking it, you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Manga/anime fans unlike any other part of US comic fanship is gender equal and has fans ranging from 40's to preschoolers. All you have to do is go to one of the numerous (and growing)anime conventions and see for yourself. Anime and manga can be logically linked together but the live action shows like Ultraman, Gozilla, etc... have no more connection to anime and manga than the latest US action-adventure movie has to comics. Very marginal. Mostly a different fanbase, and that, yes, is dominated by young boys and a few nostalgic (mostly males)adults.

  • May 12, 2000, 1:20 a.m. CST

    Re: Cormorant & knox21

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    First, to Cormorant: I meant "mainstream" in the sense most (non-comic reading) people think of it--i.e., tired old superhero crap. To most people, sadly, "Castle Waiting" and even most anime/manga are not mainstream. To you and I, however. . .^_^. Knox21: some of the points you make are valid, but I disagree with your statement "someone's either a comic fan from their YOUTH or they're not and never will be." Now this is true--as far as the current comics milleu is concerned. But I believe that that is because the industry as a whole has never thought of itself as a valid medium that is sort of a cross between film and the written word, with stories to tell that can appeal to all demographics, not just kids and teenagers. And of course they have never really made a concerted effort to market themselves that way. If they did, the face of American comics would change overnight. I'm sorry, but if the Japanese and the Brits can do it, so can we. A big step in the right direction would be, as so many on this board have said, to just MOVE THE HELL ON from the superhero crap. It's a friggin' boat anchor around the entire comics world. Also, perhaps dumping the name "comics" altogether might help, since it's not really accurate anymore now is it? I prefer "Graphic Novels" anyway, and think that those and the manga-style "phone books" are the format that comics should be published in, not those thin, ad-ridden 32-page things you see today. By Belldandy's cuteness, I wish I had Bill Gates money! What I wouldn't do to the comics world today with US$60 Billion and a few thousand fanatical artists/writers (cue Wagner's "Ride of the Valkries"). . .

  • May 12, 2000, 2:13 a.m. CST

    childhood fans / manga

    by usagibrian

    10 to 15 books? When I was at my peak, I had 130 titles on my monthly subscription list! And y'know what... I enjoyed reading every one of them (granted a fair number were bi-monthly or way behind schedule). I've cut back (largely due to price, but it's a question of value; I'd plunk down twice the current cover for ASTRO CITY & you couldn't pay me to read X-MEN since they weaseled out of the end of the DARK PHOENIX storyline). To the manga bashers - broaden your horizons! "It's all the same story..." Why do you think SAILOR MOON & POKEMON are such big hits with young kids? The plots ARE all identical (with a few exceptions at pivital episodes); that's WHY kids love them. The specifics change enough to be interesting, but there's no risk because they know how it's going to end. "It's a fad..." The current popular push title in English may be a fad; shows that can have 200 and 250 episode runs (or 9 to 12 to 50 volumes bound as digests) have SOMETHING going for them (which you may or may not like). "All manga is the same..." You're not looking in the right places, or you don't care. That's fine, I never could stand Spiderman; I don't say that Spiderman is a bad comic or a bad character. I say that I don't care for him having read a few issues from time to time.

  • ...I just couldn't resist the chance to climb onto my pulpit and preach comic book idealism. Terminology *is* important of course. You mention dropping the term "comics" for "graphic novel", and it's not a bad idea. Obviously, not all comics are "comic" as in "funny", so it's misleading from that standpoint. What's more, to Joe Average, the term "comic" is more synonymous with the genre of superheroes than the medium as a whole. You say, "Do you read comics?", and they'll hear it as "Do you read superheroes?" because they're not aware of the diversity of the medium. Unfortunately, "graphic novel" is perhaps overly specific. I mean, I would describe the collected forms of "Nausicaa" or "From Hell" as graphic novels, but the term just doesn't realistically describe a 32-page serialized story. What then, Will Eisner's term, "sequential art"? Too technical sounding, I think. Maybe just something like "graphic stories" would work, reserving the term "graphic novels" for the extended stories that warrant it. To be honest, I've a feeling "comic book" will always remain the common term, and the followers of the medium will just have to school the public in the diversity that term encompasses.

  • May 12, 2000, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Knox21 - here's my expanded view

    by Dave_F

    You posed a hypothetical scenario of handing out 1000 copies of the first issue of a great comic free on a streetcorner, then question whether the recipients would take the trouble to find a comic store and follow up regularly on the title. You're correct that most wouldn't, but your scenario presumes that the recipients would have to go to comic stores to get the next issue, AND that you'd be handing out a standard 32-page comic that

  • May 12, 2000, 7:07 a.m. CST

    OK, People, Calm Down!! It's not that bad (YET)

    by Lestat1

    All of you people who having been posting messages, panicking about Marvel no longer making comics...RELAX. You misunderstood the article, I'm afraid. The suits in charge simply want to make lots and lots of money, and unfortunatly, one can't make millions off one comic book title they way they could in the early 90's. Marvel is still the #1 comics publisher. They own the top 20 books published, with the notable exception of Spawn and JLA. Until that changes, they are not going to stop making comic books. Maybe one day, but not now. What you people need to remember is that the "Boom Years" were pretty much a fluke. people who thought they could buy multiple copies of Superman#75 and Spawn#1, seal them up, and never read them in the hopes of "cashing in" one day were what made comics sell in astronomical numbers back then. People were not reading comics, just buying them. Creators (especially Image creators) were more concerned in making the next pop culture Icons in the hopes of making themselves millionaires, as opposed to just creating characters. I have been reading comics for 20 years, and I can tell you that the "Boom Years" may have been financially good, but they were creatively bankrupt.Just because the franchise approach worked with X-Men, Marvel and DC tried to apply that thinking to practically ALL their titles. Remember Avengers West Coast,War Machine, ThunderStrike and (Ugh) Fantastic Force? Or Justice leauge Europe, Team Titans, etc? Instead of focosing on making their core titles decent, they just chose quantity over quality, and it backfired on them. So now the comics industry is back down to Earth, the creators are not all Todd McFarlane style millionaires, and it is no longer a Billion dollar a year industry. But guess what? Comics are readable again! Avengers is better than it has been in nearly 20 years, as is Iron Man, Thor, ans the FF. DC continues to make great titles like JLA, Preacher, Batman:Dark Victory, and Astro City, to name a few. So maybe you people who are bitching that comics are dying because they all suck should maybe read some of these, and you may help save the industry in the long run. And if you have kids, or nieces and nephews, get them hooked on comics at a young age, insuring the future geeks of tommorow.Just because somrthing is not as huge as it once was does not mean it's going to be gone forever.

  • I'm not making all these long posts just to bitch and see myself in print. I happen to love the medium of comics, and I see it in steep decline. The thing is, comics have been on a downward slope since the 1950's (that's a looooong time, and an astonishing loss in readership numbers), and they're approaching a point where there's just not going to be enough profit incentive for companies to churn 'em out in the quantities we've know all our lives. Oh, the major companies won't dry up in the next year, but in several years, maybe a could easily happen. I mean, how can you honestly expect the industry to last another generation when so few kids are getting into comics these days? Those kids would be the next generation of readers...if they were going into comic shops. But they aren't. Video games, computers, and DVD's aren't going away, and every one of those relatively new mediums pull kids away from comics. Even if Marvel's foray into multimedia fails and they get 100% behind their comics again, the comic industry will still continue to shrink without drastic, industry-wide changes. The medium itself will never completely die - too many passionate readers and creators for that to ever happen - but the industry you know today could crumble pretty hard. You're right about one thing, though - introducing kids we know to the medium is one surefire way to at least help the problem. Just remember, the Playstation 2 is on the horizon...

  • May 12, 2000, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Digital photographer?!?!

    by damage

    Why do the ninnies at Marvel think that arbitrarily changing decades old details about characters like costumes, origins and whatnot will make for better stories? If their writers suck, they suck. Giving Peter Parker a peg leg won't fix that! Anyone remember Alan Moore's "Last Superman Story?" It was the last Superman comic before John Byrne "fixed" him. Well, he used all that "old, boring" Superman Baggage and wrote one of the best Superman stories ever. Take note Marvel.

  • May 12, 2000, 9:14 a.m. CST

    What in the names of Stan "the Man" Lee and Jack "The King" Kirb

    by photon_wordsmith

  • May 12, 2000, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Manga Debates and Pricing Woes.....Expanded!

    by IG_69

    Manga bashing is pretty narrow-minded, esp. when you glean most of th' comments posted here were borne of REALLY hasty generalization. Not ALL manga has SuperDeformed characters, big heads, nudity, ultra-violence, etc. etc. Hell, ALOT of th' really good shit barely trickles into th' States. Saying all manga sucks is like saying all American comics are thinly-veiled homoerotic pieces featurin' disturbed muscle-bound dolts who relish wearin' their undies on th' outside of their tights! If that's so, how does th' fine works of Jeff Smith, Colleen Doran, Terry Moore, etc., etc. fit into that mold Brainiacs? It doesn't! Besides, most of what hits our shores here are handled by th' more popular Japanese creators in th' US; hence th' perceived limits in style. But this is not so if you happen t'trot into your friendly neighborhood manga importer. "Neon Genesis Evangelion", "Eagle", and "Rurouni Kenshin" (amongst several other titles throughout manga's lush history) are certainly relished upon th' same tier as "Watchmen", "Sandman", "Miracleman", Alan Moore's "Swamp Thing", etc. all over th' world! And justly so, I might add. Re: Comics Pricing. Why th' fuck does it cost $3-$4 a month for a newly reduced-in dimensional size and page count comic book when "Maxim" and "Stuff" costs th' same amount? Their pages are glossy and I'm sure most of th' beauties in their mag receive tons of digital enhancements too! So what's with th' damned inflated prices? Comics execs claim that paper costs are rising; if that's true, boycott 'em for a month and watch 'em crumble then! I too, bought comics when they were a quarter; but $1 is all that kids oughtta pay for comics. Back in th' day, you were compelled to buy more comics because they seemed economical. In fact, comic sales were high mainly because kids could easily divert their allowances so that they could buy all their faves, plus have enough leftover for multiple copies of an ish they figured would do well in th' aftermarket. When was the last time you bought 10-20 copies of a number one issue? When was th' last time you bought every offering from an entire publisher since th' cheap cover price was enough to warrant taking chances on so-so quality books?! It's been 12 years for me.......

  • May 12, 2000, 1:30 p.m. CST

    More bread and circuses, please.

    by The_Tooth

    There was a time when comic books promoted literacy. Hell, I learned to read from Archie comics when I was four. Now, the PTB has effectively said there's no profit in literate children. Good or bad, Dark Knight or Dirty Pair, kids who read are better off than kids who don't. Pandering to those who don't so Marvel can get their allowance money makes me cringe.

  • May 12, 2000, 4:25 p.m. CST


    by J-Guy

    This is sad and pathetic. Do they obvioiusly think they're going to make a more substantial gain from producing crap movies and video games? Maybe comic titles have dwindled in the past few years, but that's no reason to abandon an American Legacy such as Marvel Comics. The way I see it, Marvel itself has a bad track record of failed movies. Yes, the did have Blade but what about Punisher, Howard the Duck and Fantastic Four(so bad it wasn't released)? That dumbfuck moron of a CEO can kiss my ass! STICK TO COMIC BOOKS MARVEL!

  • May 12, 2000, 4:38 p.m. CST


    by knox21

    Judging by your follow up to Lestat1 you, at the very least, are one of the few people posting on this board who really recognizes the true severity of the situation. That said, your follow up post to me still shows how little you understand about the business end of publishing comics and the nature of the AMERICAN comic buyer. The idea that (and you're not the only one to post this nonsense) "If Europe and Japan can do it so can we" shows this. Lumping Europe and Japan together also shows how little you uderstand about each of their comic markets, because even though they've both managed to bridge the child/adult gap, they coudn't have more different approaches. The VAST majority of Japanese comics are produced by LARGE comic studios, with dozens of artists working on the same book at the same time, all expected to draw/ink/letter in the same style. It's a factory system. Even big name artists like Otomo have these big studios. I think most Manga fans would be shocked at how much work from their favorite Japanese artist was actually done by someone else paid to mimic their style. How do you think these guys turn out the volume that they do? European Companies heve the exact OPPOSITE approach. They're only looking for the cream of the crop. They pay big money (usually up front) and publish only a few, expensive books a year. Some European companies are linked to other publishing houses so they can afford to put out a lower number of projects, because they have the other end of the company (paperbacks or magazines or what have you) will generate a more steady month-to-month income. The reason both these models work in their respective geographical locations is because of the MIND-SET of the people in those areas. There isn't any stigmatizim attached to reading comics, like there is in the US. I know what your thinking, If the US started producing comics to be more like books, that stigmatizim would melt away. I 'm afraid this just isn't the case, America has a huge book-buying population but, they're not going to be interested in a Graphic Novel, because no matter WHAT you call it, to Joe Q Public IT'S STILL A COMIC. And thus still carries the bagadge. Trying to capture the adult market in the US is what got comics into this hole in the first place. I've explained how in my first post on this page. I agree with you 100% on the visability point. The move out of Supermarkets & convenience store has been disasterous for sales. The vast majority of comics that I bought, from the age of 9 to 16 were purchased ON FOOT. I walked to local convenience store. I actually had 2 within walking distance. The importance of this can't be over looked, this is what allowed me to collect week-to-week and not miss an issue. Thus sustaining my interest in the story-lines and the characters. Now kids have to get Mom or Dad to drive them somewhere to buy the latest issues, and they're lucky to get there once a month. Not to mention that the comic stores have all but eliminated the "impulse buy". Now, where I DISAGREE with you 100%. the diversity issue. Comics are infinitly MORE diverse now then they were in the 40's and 50's. Vertigo, Americas Best, Love and Rockets, Hellboy, Cartoon Network Presents (for the kiddies), I could go on and on. There's a myth among comic fans that diversity is the savior, this is crap!Almost every time a company tries to publish something TRUELY unique, the fans ignore it like the plague. Take Dark Horse Presents, for years, there hasn't been a book with a more diverse publishing scope. well, I just found out from a friend that it's going to be canceled. This book was the height of HIPNESS and ORIGINALITY back between 87-90. The numbers were never great but, there were enough fans (plus dollars pouring in from ALIENS/ PREDATOR books) to keep it going. This is no longer the case. I'll even go as far to say that the fans that ARE still buying comics are even LESS interested in divesity then they were during the 80's. The incesestious nature of the most successful projects of the past few years shows this. Marvels, Kingdom Come, Earth X, to name a few, these projects are aimed at one audience. The long time comic buying fan. Do you think someone who's never bought a comic is going to pick up Earth X and have the slightest CLUE what any of this means? Nope. Then why do Marvel and DC keep doing SO many projects like this? Because, as I ve said before, that's the only audience really left for comic companies TO appeal to. I'd also be interested in exactly how the comic industry, which is completely looked down upon by the rest of mainstream media, is going to "pressure" them into "covering" comic as a legitimate art form? With what leverage exactly? MTV covered comics on it's news segment for about a year (93 I think) during the BOOM. The money comics where suddenly generating was what caught the mainstreams attention. Once the money started to dry up, the media wrote it off as a fad. You speak of some kind of catastrophic change, I'm saying that we're seeing that change and it's not working. The people who keep posting "who cares if Marvel dies, they suck anyway" are fools. If Marvel stops publishing then say good-bye to your local comic store. And if that store goes where are DC, Dark Horse, and the rest supposed to sell their books? There would be a huge ripple effect and Marvel would take a lot of companies down with them. Not to mention the effect it would heve on the distribution. You suggest that something like this is inevitable and would be good for the industry. A good house cleaning. With Marvel and most of the smaller companies gone who's left? DC? DC probably could survive because of TIME/WARNER but, who else would come along? Who in there right mind would start up a comic company when there's NO WHERE to sell your books. Let alone a comic ompany that's now going to put money into publishing Black and White, Manga style, phone books, or elaborate, painted, hardcover, Graphic Novels to an AMERICAN public that's not interested in either. American fans ARE not like Japanese or European fans, nor (as much as I'd like to say otherwise) will they ever be. Our cultures are vastly different and so are our opinions about comics, as well, and most importantly, our comic publishing markets. So to compare the two is ridiculous. Do you REALLY think just because a comic now looks more like a "regular" book and is called a graphic novel and isn't about superheros, and is sold in a book store, that suddenly large numbers of people, who've NEVER read a comic are now going to go, "Wow, I've got to start reading this stuff! If you do I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you. Frank Millers Sin City is the perfect example. The Trade-paperbacks are the closest thing out there right now to what you've described as the direction comics need to go. Non-superhero, grahpic novel, full stories, GREAT writing, sold outside of comic stores. Where are the HUGE number of fans Sin City sould be pulling into comics? Or for that matter where are the big SALES on the Sin City TPB's? I don't mean to sound so harsh but, I love comics as much as you and I'm so sick of comic fans blaming the companies for the lack of interset on their part, and unfortunatly I don't see the fans ever changing. How the hell are Comic companies supposed to sell to a dwindling fan base that views them with nothing but contempt and criticism. It's a loosing battle for any business.

  • May 12, 2000, 7:17 p.m. CST

    knox21--what's YOUR solution?

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    "It won't work!" "Comics are doomed!" "Americans won't buy comics!" etc. I'm sorry, guy, but from reading your posts it sounds like all you are selling is hopelessness disguised as "realism." Your attitude leads exactly NOWHERE. Marketing is marketing and customers are customers no matter where you go--you simply have to discover what motivates them to buy. Don't believe me? Then how come Madonna can get people to buy her mediocre CD's by the boatload and see her ghastly movies? How come Micro$oft can get millions of people and god knows HOW many corporations to buy and install their crappy, bug-ridden, crash-prone software while passing up better alternatives all along the line (Atari and Amiga way back in the day, Mac OS currently, etc)?! One word: MARKETING. You have to know how to SELL. And no, don't EVEN try to tell me that comics are somehow "different." People are people and a product is a product, knox21, and currently the comics industry has not figured out a way to mass-market them to Joe Lunchbucket. There IS a way, though, and I want to find it 'cause if I do I'll be a billioniare in like 10 friggin' seconds. I love the concept of telling stories through pictures and I believe that it is aviable concept. *I* will not give up. Maybe I'm a fool, but at least I will TRY. If we all listen to you nothing will get done, and then what?

  • May 12, 2000, 8:10 p.m. CST

    DC aquires Marvel

    by Ice Cold Fosters

    DC isn't afraid to publish comics, people. Think about it. DC will aquire Marvel before Marvel crashes the industry in their wake. For all you Manga lovers out there, Travis Charest, (Wildcats) will...kick ANY Manga artist's ass on shear detail alone. Have you seen any of his work for fucks sake?!!? Adam Hughes, CAN kick any Manga artist's ass on shear skill in drawing the human anatomy. No fucking watermelon triangle noses.... and no fucking saucer eyes! If you don't know who Adam Hughes is, crawl out from under that fucking rock you live under and pick up a copy of Wonder Women. The best artist in the world live right here in the USA. Geoff Darrow being the only exception here. SPEAKING of DETAIL drawing skill......yah Manga bitches!!!!!

  • May 12, 2000, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Sith Lord Jesus

    by knox21

    I'm glad you really love comics and will not rest until you've done your part to help them out. That's great and I wish more "fans" on this board were saying the same thing. The things I 've posted on this board are grim and I wish this wasn't the case but, I'm not pulling this stuff out of my ass. I have several CLOSE friends that work for some MAJOR comic companies. And,I'm not talkin' secretaries & stock-boy's. Most of what I've posted is stuff I've discussed with them over the past 6-7 years as the sales slipped. Comic companies have thought, and in a lot of cases, tried most of the suggestions posted here in one form or another, with little success. You ask me what my solution is, God, I wish I had one. I don't, and neither do the companies themselves. I have one friend who's a top editor at a big company who's worked in comics for almost 20 years, You want to hear depressing shit, let him talk to you about the sales numbers and the fans attitudes now vs then. You talk about marketing (something I already mentioned in an earlier post) DC has a half-hour commercial running every day featuring their 2 most popular characters, Batman/Superman. Marvel had the same with the X-men for YEARS. Marvel also had a Silver Surfer, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Ironman, Spiderman cartoon running at one time or another over the past 5-6 years. Both these companies have their characters EVERYWHERE. TV, Movies, toys, games, amusement parks, everywhere you turn you see either Superman or Spiderman. The exposure level of ALL these characters has NEVER, EVER been higher. But, NONE of this is enticing new readers for the BOOKS. Why? well, I've already been through that several times on this board. If you haven't read all my posts on this board then I suggests you do. It's more bad news but, it's everything that I've been told by people IN the industry since the slide started. I know that for some reason you don't want to believe that comics have a different appeal to the public then movies or books, the two art forms comics most resemble, but, it's true. If it weren't Comics would sell in the millions. I DO hope that you discover the magic-marketing bullet you speak of, and I hope some day you can write a post laughing at ALL the things I've written. But, if your looking at Madonna CD's and computer softwear sales as your jumping off point, then your screwed before you even start.

  • May 12, 2000, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Knox21, my man. . .

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    . . .thanks for the reply. I've read your other posts above and no, I don't think you're making any of this stuff up--if anything the situation is probably *worse* either of us know. And maybe you're right--perhaps comics are dead in America and over the next ten years or less will fade into history. But you mentioned DC and Marvel pushing their superhero comics on TV--as I said before, I think superheros are *dead.* I loved KINGDOM COME and all but, like, it's OVER. ^_^ When I talk about marketing I meant marketing the intelligent stuff (such as some of DC's Vertigo line, Castle Waiting, etc.) in an adult fashion to adults. In bookstores. I don't feel that that's REALLY been tried before. . .not in an all-out, hardcore, do-or-die way (correct me if I'm wrong). I also like the idea of going to ultra-cheap paper and cranking out 200 page "phonebooks" aimed at kids and teens like they do in Japan. I'm sure there are other methods. I'm gonna study marketing over the coming year while I hone my artistic skills, and if everyone tells me I'm high, I'll just hang it up and do commercial art. But if there is a glimmer of hope. . .if there is just the POSSIBILITY that I could end up as the Bill Gates of comix and have to spend time 20 years from now in front of the Senate explaining why my company "Big Giant Head Comix" isn't REALLY a monopoly ("We're just tryin' to innovate! Honest!") then I'm goin' for it. BANZAI!!

  • May 13, 2000, 12:09 a.m. CST


    by rurouni7

    Marvel lags because they pin their hope on stagnating figures and storylines. Wouldn't everyone agree that most people read comic books for either inspiration or as an escape from the day-to-day. In effect, readers WANT to be presented with something NEW when they read them. Manga grows and thrives for two reasons: 1)storylines that are outside the typical moral/ethical/social guidelines 2)storylines that actually come to an END! Perhaps killing off a whole bunch of their characters would be a start! No, I'M SERIOUS! In any case, they are definitely in a rut!

  • May 13, 2000, 2:01 a.m. CST

    OK, here is what I think....

    by Lestat1

    Look, I'm not saying that things aren't looking bad for comics, I'm just saying that I don't think comics are going to dissapear completly. I have been collecting comics my whole life, it is my favorite entertainment medium. I would HATE to see it go away more than anyone, believe me.I'm not sure that I have the solution. I say, like many others have posted, that advertising in other mediums COULD work. I don't really remember it being done before to any large extent, with the exception of the Rob liefield ads. The ads need to be creative, and they need to lure the right demographic. Making a TV ad for, say, The Sandman during an episode of E.R. would be costly and probably not create much new sales. But say you made a really interesting ad for Sandman and aired it during Buffy or X-files, and you may hit the right note. Lord knows that Time Warner has deep pockets. Someone said that Batman/Superman adventures were basically 30 minute ads for those characters, and yet sales did not go up. but what if they advertised the latest storyline, like NO man's Land, during the show? I really think the sales would go up. Remember the GI Joe comic in the 80's? They were one of Marvel's best selling titles in that time, and they had TV commercials.No coincidence.I'm not sure that diversifying comics beyond SF/Fantasy is going to help much.The reason people flock to super heroes over other story forms is that Super Heroes are done very poorly in other mediums, with few exceptions. If one likes, say, Romance, there are Soap operas, Movies, and supermarket romance novels to suit your needs. If you like Westerns, the same rule applies. Even non Super hero Sci Fi is very abundant in all the other pop culture art forms, from TV to movies to novels. But if you like Super heroes, well...except for the occasional movie, there is not a lot of other outlets for you, is there? Super heroes are the creation of comics, and will probably always be the mainstay. Not to say that Alternatives won't exist, just that they will always be just that- alternatives.Actually, I think that Marvel's "Groud Zero" line of upcoming titles is a GOOD idea (In case you have not heard, "Ground Zero" is the name of a new line of comics made especially for the mass market featuring fresh starts for SpiderMan and the X Men a la Heroes Reborn, although not actually replacing the current titles as they stand. kind of like a Marvel version of Earth 2, I guess) If these were placed on the newstand next to copies of Entertainment Weekly and such, and PROPERLY advertised, this might pay off. But only if Marvel is willing to go all the way with this, and really commit to the idea of getting new, younger readers.The next few years will tell us all if this pays off. End of Rant....For now.

  • May 13, 2000, 2:19 a.m. CST

    Knox21...must die!

    by Dave_F

    Just kidding. I appreciate your knowledge and candor, even if you seem a little condescending towards my take on the industry. Let me point out however, that my earlier post wasn't meant to say "this is THE solution to the decline of the American comics industry". Rather, I was attempting to bring up the major FACTORS I think must be addressed if the industry is to save itself and move towards becoming a mass medium again. The exact HOW of it all is admittedly pure speculation on my part. I mentioned the manga model as a potential solution. The European model might provide answers too. Maybe some hybrid of the two? Whatever. The fact that I mention both Europe and Japan doesn't reflect some ignorance on my part about their vastly dissimilar sales and distribution models - I mention them in the same breath only because they are both SUCCESSES to be examined. Why do you say that North American fans will never, ever accept comics the way the Japanese or Europeans do? When you presume the current insular, direct market model cannot be undone in America (ridiculous - anything can be undone in time), you're just dogmatically cutting off every possible means of resolving the crisis. You discount creative solutions like entering the bookstore market as avenues that have been tried and failed, but like Sith Lord, I think the comic companies haven't made a true concerted effort. They will though, in the next few years, 'cause when your neck is on the chopping block, you look REAL HARD for an available out. I agree with Sith Lord, too, that marketing can definitely make it happen. The reason that cartoons and toys are terrible marketing vehicles is that they DETRACT interest from the core product - comics! Visibility does NOT necessarily equate with good marketing. I love the Batman animated show, for instance, but I recognize that it's not gonna necessarily make some kid want to read a Batman comic. Why should it when he can watch Batman stories for free in his own home? No, comics need some SMART marketing strategies that really market COMICS. You mentioned "Sin City" as a failed example of format, quality, and visibility leading to new readers. That's not really a good example though, because at this stage, bookstores don't yet equal visibility for non-comics readers (and without visibility, format and quality are negated as selling points). But "Sin City" COULD sell to a wider audience if it were well-marketed. What if Dark Horse took out TV spots to promote the title? The precedent for advertising books on TV has been established (just saw Tom Clancy promoting some other guy's espionage books a few days back). TV promos could appeal to fans of crime fiction and, say, Tarantino movies. Or maybe the Clancy strategy might work - take a mega-star like Stephen King, a known comic fan, and see if he'd promote "Sin City". Coincide the TV spot with a well-placed stand-up display at Borders and you've got the beginnings of a campaign. What else? Solicit magazines that review books to review the promoted "Sin City" collection. Get Frank Miller to do a nationwide promotion and book signing. For Dark Horse, this might be a little much to ask financially, but DC, with their Time/Warner leverage, could almost certainly make a SERIOUS go at it. "Preacher" anyone? Hell, promoting that would ignite some major controversy, but one nice thing about controversy is that it can be great for sales. These are just offhand examples, but they seem viable to me, Knox21. You can even be more creative with a little thought. Example: everyone knows comics are an appealing way for kids to get into reading (IF they're exposed to 'em), so what if DC set up an educational arm to provide comics for schools? One of the finest comics I've read in recent years was the independent miniseries, "Clan Apis", which created a didactic narrative around the life of bees. Damned brilliant storytelling - it'd be PERFECT for a science class. I mean, can you imagine how many new readers would be generated if comics appeared regularly in schools? We have to start thinking creatively. You say the American public doesn't accept comics as they do books and movies. True...for now. But why on earth do you think that can't change? Again, I can only take that as pure cynicism, and that's one thing I KNOW ain't gonna help the industry.

  • May 13, 2000, 3 a.m. CST

    Some good ideas there, Lestat1

    by Dave_F

    I'm sure 99% of Talkbackers have given up on this thread with its extremely long posts, but for my money it's been one of the most intelligent back-and-forthings I've seen here in quite some time. Anyway, some very sharp advertising ideas, Lestat1 - a perfect example of creativity overcoming fixed notions. In my last post, I pretty much had it in my head that the "Batman/Superman Adventures" would never be a good means of luring comics readers, but your creative suggestion of promoting current comic storylines during the show proved me wrong. I'd forgotten those "G.I.Joe" comic book ads from the 80's, but thinking back, I remember SPECIFICALLY going to the store to buy an issue after seeing a cool animated TV spot. Take my story alone and it's just anecdotal evidence, but when you look at the how successful the "G.I.Joe" comic was for so long, you have to admit the ads worked. There are real solutions to the industry's decline out there. No single "magic bullet", maybe (to use Knox21's analogy), but with enough individual creative ideas, I think we can create a TRIANGULATION of fire and bring that bastard Kennedy down! the industry I mean! Okay, remind me to stay away from analogies.

  • Knox21, you pointed out that comics are more diverse now than ever, and yet to a large extent the diverse titles are ignored. Agreed. However, the reason they're ignored isn't that people in general don't like to read a diverse variety of material. It's that comic readers IN PARTICULAR have an unnatural devotion to superheroes EXCLUSIVELY. In fact, the main reason the modern comic diversity exists in the first place is certainly not because of demand. It's because the creators represent folks who grew up on superheroes, got bored with the genre, and decided to apply the craft they'd learned toward genres more meaningful to them. Of course they never gain readership under the current market! They can only draw from folks who came in on the superhero boat, hoping against hope to find more people who enjoy the medium but have tired of the superhero genre and are willing to experiment. Massively small audience, that. Knox21, I believe you'd agree with me here, but you'd argue that those are the cards we've been dealt and there's no drawing another hand. So, let me acknowledge that my argument that diversity is important IS contingent on bringing in new readers. ********* Now, if we presuppose that it is possible to bring in new readers, I can't imagine how you could argue against diversity of material. Why limit your buying audience? Lestat1, you're right when you say American comics hold a monopoly on good superhero stories, but that simply isn't an appeal to anyone who wasn't raised on such fare. You suggest that because genres such as "romance" and "westerns" are already well-represented in prose and film, comics should have nothing to do with them. But those are unnecessary limits. Comics can tell romance and western stories as well as any other medium, period (I've seen 'em - if you haven't, you just haven't looked hard enough). Consider: the romance and western genre had been covered in books before movies came around, but that sure as hell didn't stop movies from adapting the genres. And the immediacy of film DID bring something new to each genre, so folks who previously read westerns and romances still had cause to check films out. Comics have their *own* advantages, and they go far beyond the fact that it's easier to draw a guy shooting lasers from his eyes than it is to stage it on film, budget the F/X, etc. Comics greatest advantage is that they allow the cartoonist TOTAL control over all elements of staging a story, from placement of the "camera" to the flow of time to creating mood to perfect casting. Maybe books can do this too, but comics combine that total creator control with a unique visual hook. What's more, the great art of many comics is its own draw, another feature books and movies can't match. To sum: Comics can tell ANY stories told in other mediums. To me that's irrefutable. If the industry hopes to gain new readers, we must exploit the same diversity other mediums do. ******** Let me close with a few examples of the audiences comics could seek. Fans of Mickey Spillane and Quentin Tarantino might try "Sin City" or "Preacher". Fans of "The Simpsons" might try "Hate". Fans of Disney films might try "Bone". Fans of Melrose Place and chick flicks in general might try "Strangers in Paradise". News junkies and historians might try Joe Sacco's "Palestine". "Gladiator" fans might try Frank Miller's "300". And yes, I could go on ALL days with this... ^_^

  • May 13, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Last note to Cormorant

    by knox21

    I never said that comics CAN'T or SHOULD NOT be diverse, what I'm saying is that they already are diverse as they've ever been and it hasn't helped draw in ANY new fans. Diversity is not the answer to stagnant sales. I love the wide scope comics covers but, the fact of the matter is, is that (and you even admit this in your post) current fans don't support the non superhero stuff and non- COMIC readers are not drawn into comics BY them. Your list of which comics SHOULD appeal to which segments of the non-comic buying public is dead on. But, it's not gonna happen. I've already listed the multiple reasons why on this board so I'll refrain from repeating myself. You also mention, and I agree, that comics can tell ANY story as well as any of the more popular mediums. Very true. Then you state that it's easier and cheaper to draw cool stuff then to film it. This too is true, but the gap is closing rapidly. I've always felt that one of the appeals of Superhero comics for me, as a kid, was that you could see people doing things in a comic that they cold never do on TV or in the movies. In the last 10 years in particular, movies have been able to duplicate almost anything you could have a superhero do in a comic. So, alot of the appeal of superhero comics, the comics MOST likely to draw in younger readers, who will then GROW UP to become older readers and support the books YOU'RE talking about, is no longer there. No drawing of Batman is going to compare (in the mind of a kid) to ACTUALLY seeing a real Batman doing the same thing. Comic fans are always saying "Superhero's suck, they're dead. time to move on." Well, if comics were to abandon superheros, which books exactly, are going to draw in youger readers? The most valuable reader there is. The reader MOST likely to become a long-time fan. I've said this before but, it's the main source of all the current sale problems, comic companies ignored the younger readers for almost 15 years, now they're older and ignoring the comics indusrty. I love comics as a medium and as an art-form and I agree with almost ALL the things you say about what makes comics a wonderful and unique form of entertainment, And I would love to see hoards of Mickey Spillaine fans swarming around a comic store (or book store) to buy the latest SIN CITY yarn. I'd also like to see world peace and an end to poverty and starvation but, it won't happen in my lifetime.

  • May 13, 2000, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Manga's appeal is only partly the art

    by GambitnRoguemiko

    Sure the art looks nice. But pretty pictures won't sell the comic if the stories aren't good. All I see from the narrowminded manga critics are compliants about the art style. There's as much diversity in manga art as in western comic art. A remark on the huge studio comment- that's very inaccurate. Only the top artists can afford to hire assistants (and it's not huge studios either, I only know of one artist that has more than a couple of assistants, and some top artists have no assistants at all. They prefer to do it all themselves. Also guess what, some US artists use uncredited assistants as well. Usually totally uncredited here, while manga artist usually mention their assistants. The publishers usually don't list them, but it's considered "good manners" for the manga artist to thank them. That's why we the readers know about them. It's a door opener in the manga world, some assistant artists end up having their own manga published eventually.) But what the manga bashers I've noticed they never mention the stories, while the promanga people like myself all mention the stories depth, and incredible character development. What the bashers don't get is that it's the quality of the stories that holds manga fans interest. They also don't get that the manga artist is usually the writer of the story as well, a few artists work with a writer, and they are listed as cocreators. Such as the four women group- CLAMP, Nanase Okawa is the group's writer and Mokona Apapa is the main artist, Mikku Nekoi is the first assistant artist (and now occassionally is the primary artist with Apapa assisting- Nekoi's style is quite distinctive from Apapa's BTW. I can always tell what she did vs Apapa's) and Satsuki Igarashi- second assistant artist. There are even manga creators that I don't care for their art style but the story wins over the art. Like Yumi Tamura- she likes to draw in this semi Expressionistic style that annoys the heck out of me, but in spite of the art I liked Basara. Wataru Yoshizumi likes to give her female characters huge eyes (bigger than typical, it was most jarring in Marmalade Boy. Miki went from 16-18/19 in the story but the size of her eyes would have been the "normal" size for at most a 15 year old- yeah the eye size typically decreases as the character gets older- becomes less innocent. Just as there are "rules" of US comic art there are ones in manga too.) But in spite of this Marmalade Boy ranks amongst my favorite manga, the story overcame an art problem.

  • Diversity *alone* isn't the answer to stagnant sales, but I do think it's a very important part of the larger equation if comics are ever to attempt a return to being a mass medium. If the industry allows superhero comics to remain the standard-bearer, than it dooms comics to be eternally perceived as a children's medium. I agree with you, Knox, that this nationwide perception is probably THE single biggest obstacle comics would have to overcome to appeal to non-comics fans. But I see it as hypothetically possible. Hard as hell, but possible. ********* As to movies stealing comics' thunder as far as depicting over-the-top action and F/X...there's definitely truth to that. I'm not convinced that the advent of, say, "The Matrix" will WHOLLY negate the pleasure of reading Lee and Kirby's "Fantastic Four" or Frank Miller's "Dark Knight". But, yeah, no doubt modern F/X flicks will diminish the novelty hyperbolic adventure comics to at least some extent. So...doesn't that make the best case for the need to throw off the superhero albatross and create a diverse variety of kids' adventure comics? The razzle-dazzle novelty of superheroes is losing its appeal, so kids' comics must become like kids' books. Kids' adventure books, you'll note, haven't disappeared in the wake of movies. Kids still read the Narnia stuff or "A Wrinkle in Time" or even "Harry Potter". I'm sure video games, computers, etc. HAVE cut into book sales quite a bit, but a good story is a good story, no matter what the medium, and that's why the books are still read. Comics can do the same. You ask which comics will draw in kids if the industry abandons superheroes? Well, I listed several well-crafted kids' comics in some previous posts if you'll jump back and check. There's not enough of them out there to fill the void left should superheroes vanish completely (which, of course, won't happen anyway), but there's enough to be a good start. I have hopes that if Jeff Smith ever gets the "Bone" movie off the ground, it'll play strong in theatres, even against Disney, and possibly draw a lot of attention to the comic. And, for the record, I don't advocate a cold turkey dismissal of superheroes. That'd be silly, as they clearly remain the most tested recruiter of kids to the medium until some massive changes are made. They gotta be scaled back though if North American comics ever hope to gain public legitimacy. ******* Is it all a pipe dream? Well, imagining that it'll happen without turmoil is, but I don't think it's overly naive to recognize it's within the realm of possibility. I simply believe that with so many dedicated professionals and fans, it's a given that creative solutions will pop up as the situation worsens. I don't expect every company and title to survive the dark times on the horizon, but I absolutely know the industry as a whole will make it. Smaller than it is, and following a different model certainly, but it'll survive.

  • May 13, 2000, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Cormorant 3 Fair

    by knox21

    Fair enough. Thanks for the discussion. It's the best one I've had on these boards so far. Thanks to Sith Lord Jesus too. And I really hope you're right.

  • May 13, 2000, 9:43 p.m. CST

    The NUTS behind the wheel

    by Mr. Baggins.

    This is ridiculous. What happened to the people who understood comics. These characters mean something to people. And the people in charge of them now know nothing! First they're again raising the book prices. (Don't tell me they actually believe KIDS can afford to look at comics anymore, let alone collect them, now they're abandoning characters that have been around for 40, 50, 60 years, or more! These stories are a part of our culture. We could no more lose these stories, than we could lose the works of Shakespear or Charles Dickens. Somebody throw these SUITS to the street, and make our heroes great again!