Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 6, 2014

The Great Thing About Predicting The End Of The World Is You Only Have To Be Right The One Time

Heidi MacDonald has links and no-doubt furious commentary discussion about someone predicting a doomsday scenario for comic shops: Marvel switching to all-digital. I've read the article and you can, too, by following MacDonald's links, but it doesn't seem like it's sound enough for me to want to provide them with traffic directly. Please forgive me.

It's never been likely but it's always been possible that a big company could do something like this. And yes, Marvel is the most likely culprit to do this not-likely thing presently. The thing is, you could write a version of this article at any time from 1951 to now. Mainstream comics publishing has almost petered out all on its own at least twice, and ending print publication has been on the table since the mid-1990s when it become more and more clear that the value of these companies is, as is the case with the no-longer-really-in-comics-aggressively classic Disney characters, in their licensing potential to more profitable media. You don't have to have six comics about you coming out every month to be a viable property. Marvel is indeed profit-oriented in ways that a place like DC isn't, and this would be a conceivable move in the direction of profits if someone say, were looking to cash out or make a case for a gig based on showing profits on the page.

But no, it's not likely. Things are going pretty well for Marvel.

As for Marvel trying to find its own way to offer up digital programs, or to collect their existing programs under one overarching strategy: they certainly are, they always have been, and so is everyone else that isn't a) dumb, b) overtaxed as it is. The success of digital could also be argued company to company as inducement to stick with print publishing because a) you get to compare actual numbers, b) the fact that they work interdependently would suggest that you might not get readers moving to an ostensibly more profitable digital version if the print comics were to disappear.
posted 2:25 am PST | Permalink

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