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Five For Friday #31 -- Looking Toward the Future
posted May 27, 2005
From a Consumer Standpoint, Five Things You'd Like to See Happen to Comics in the Future
1. Serious effort made to save obscure older strips, perhaps by allowing publisher free access to whatever originals are out there.
2. Interest in old magazine comics and cartoons on equivalent level with interest in newspaper comics.
3. The Complete Crockett Johnson Barnaby
4. A model for on-line comics tied into other media that is as profitable for as many cartoonists as comics page syndication has been over the years.
5. Marvel and DC be more creative about giving credit and getting some money into creators hands and hands of their family.
Alan David Doane
1. All comics retailers adopt standards of excellence for the appearance and upkeep of their shops, to make the stores as welcoming to children, women and brand new readers of every stripe as most currently are to developmentally stunted Geoff Johns fans.
2. Stores that (admirably) carry a full(er) line of manga and alternative/indy/art comics actually mention that fact in their advertising and on the outside of their stores.
3. Retailers insist that their staff actually follow news in the artform and industry of comics, so that uninformed clerks can not look ridiculous to their customers who read newspapers and the internet and can actually, you know, take more of the customer's money when they are begging to give it to the store.
4. Retailers get out to Borders, Barnes and Noble and independent bookstores once in a while and see what their real
competition is doing to serve their customers in the area of comics and graphic novels.
5. Retailers stop wasting so much display space on superhero comics: The fucking things are nerd heroin. The nerds will find them. Better use the space to dsiplay, face-out, the graphic novels that are making news so that when the bored wives and girlfriends are looking around the shop, they actually recoginze something they might actually want to read -- and buy
1. Have books come out when they are solicited to. Late books hurt.
2. Print-On-Demand collections of Newspaper strips. There will never be a huge demand for some of the older adventure strips (if anyone wants to sell me a collection of Hammett/Raymond's Secret Agent X-9...), but POD is a realistic business model for these sorts of low-demand books.
3. Happy superheroes.
4. Better comic book writers. For every Moore or Morrison or Johns, there's 20 writers who just don't know how to write an entertaining comic book.
5. Better storytelling from artists. Some pages are just too damned hard to read, with horrible pacing and visual continuity. Don't put vertical panels on the right side of the page, geniuses.
1. Barnaby collection in a friendly format. You read my mind, Tom Spurgeon! I was just thinking about this last night as I squinted through a few more pages of the fifth Del Rey collection.
2. Friendly, informed, professional comic shop employees. As in, if I ask you for something by Lewis Trondheim don't say "What's THAT?" and sneer.
3. Frankly, the self destruction of all the lousy stores would be a consumer boon, but I guess that's too mean. How about the bad stores getting better all around.
4. A very easy way to find and read the best web comics.
5. Intelligent marketing to kids by comic book stores and comic book companies. Ha, ha! Good one, I know.
1. Better (read: Lower)
5. Pamphlets from the Big Two.
Better price points on trades wouldn't be unwise either. I know that it costs more to print in color than B&W and I understand that that is part of the reason why manga is price pointed so well, but it might behoove DC and Marvel to
a) switch to a digest format with a $6.99/five issue price point (see also the excellent RUNAWAYS collections)
b) suck it up and take a loss on five issue trades and price them at $9.95.
I also think $6.95 (or even $9.95) trades would work very well at 7-11/Target/WalMart/grocery stores/etc.....