August 30, 2013
Go, Read: Marc-Oliver Frisch On The DM's True Nature
Marc-Oliver Frisch does the analysis of the Direct Market approximations for DC Comics at The Beat
. His analysis tends to be admirably aggressive and pointed in a milieu that favors amelioration and glad-handing, so I tend those like those aspects of those reports even when I'm not totally on board. This week he goes after a notion
that Direct Market stores are a collection of content-driven business entities. He says, "No way."
I think he overstates his case. The New 52 effort from two years ago did have a content aspect, and certain comics were promoted and anticipated over others based on that content: the changes in the characters generally, the Grant Morrison efforts, rising star Scott Snyder on the main Batman
book partnered with Greg Capullo, two big guns of Johns and Lee on Justice League
, changes to characters like Wonder Woman, John Constantine and Grifter, and so on. I would suggest that the reason the stunt aspect of that line relaunch may dominate in memory is because DC failed to provide compelling content across a wide array of titles for a sustained period of time in a way that allowed them to keep the eyeballs that fell on them due to the successful stunt -- whether that's editorial overreach, the shotgun nature of the relaunch, the lack of creator development at the company for years now or what, that's all there to be analyzed.
The unfortunate thing about Frisch making such a sweeping statement is that it allows for that statement to be refuted in the extreme rather than in the main. Because there is certainly
a great attention to and buying-in where stunts and gimmicks and toys and collectible covers are concerned that works in kind of weird, not-always-beneficial partnership to the content-driven elements. That's the true tragedy, I'd suggest: that these two notions do battle and that those stores that would benefit in the long-term from content-driven, slow-growth strategies -- like Brian Hibbs' -- are constantly having to adjust to short-term gimmicks and stunts and the industry that warps itself around them.
posted 1:45 am PST
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