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Re: [ Thor Fans ] Comic shops

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  • drobbins
    Don said, ... You know, you have to wonder. Given the impact on the comic industry in general, were comic shops a good thing or an invite for disaster? David
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 27, 2006
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      Don said,
      > > Not even sure why comic shops get the short end of that action
      > figure business.


      You know, you have to wonder.

      Given the impact on the comic industry in general,
      were comic shops a 'good' thing or
      an invite for disaster?

      David
    • drobbins
      James said, ... readers--go manga style with an anthology. Don has been saying for a long time now that he thinks that will be the wave of the future. The U.S.
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 30, 2006
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        James said,
        > This seems like a great time to mention my long time idea of getting new
        readers--go manga style with an anthology.

        Don has been saying for a long time now that
        he thinks that will be the wave of the future.
        The U.S. market is certainly creeping in that direction,
        with more and more TPB's accounting for larger
        sales.

        Who knows.
        Maybe you will live to see the demise of the
        traditional comic in your lifetimes.

        David
      • Don
        ... Yes, on both counts. I don t think comics would be with us anymore at all without them, but the bigger companies rode the wave too long and too hard
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 2, 2006
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          --- In thorfans@yahoogroups.com, "drobbins" <drobbins@...> wrote:
          > You know, you have to wonder.
          >
          > Given the impact on the comic industry in general,
          > were comic shops a 'good' thing or
          > an invite for disaster?
          >


          Yes, on both counts.

          I don't think comics would be with us anymore at all without them,
          but the bigger companies rode the wave too long and too hard without
          looking beyond the direct market.

          Long story short, they bloomed in the late Bronze Age creating the
          next boom for the industry, but they also spawned the "investor"
          (better known now as the dreaded "speculator").

          And we all know the pain that caused, as artificially inflated print
          runs, shiny metallic covers and further attempts to flood the market
          with "collectible" editions pushed the industry to bust level even
          worse than the 50's or early 70's.

          Interestingly, we've heard more than a few people suggest comics are
          in another 'boom' era. I disagree. I think they certainly stopped
          the bleeding and that multi-media has made comic PROPERTIES more
          viable than ever. That said, the direct market, and spefically those
          comic shops, can't access all that multi-media cash Marvel and DC
          rake in.

          My local shop sells a handful of comic related DVDs, but they can't
          compete with the monster sized movie stores and online video
          sources. Same with toys, as we've mentioned, those are available
          elsewhere long before the comic shops, a couple lines are exclusive
          to Wal Mart as well.

          Honestly, I think a handful of chain comic stores will continue on
          for a while, as the mom and pop smaller stores falter more and more.
          As a side note, lots of these shops also added income with sports
          cards or hobby game cards (like Magic, Pokemon, Star Trek, etc), but
          that market has dried up as well.

          The future of comics could be online stores, online downloads, DVD
          and hardcover compilations and big bookstore chains. The back issue
          market isn't what it used to be with trade paperback libraries
          growing and providing cheaper access to classic material.

          Changes are in the wind, I just hope the comic book companies are on
          top of the next wave, and keep more options open this time, instead
          of painting themselves in a corner.


          -Don
        • drobbins04
          Don contemplatged, ... You don t think comics might have been more accessible at more typical retail outlets had the industry not focused so intently on the
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 2, 2006
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            Don contemplatged,
            > I don't think comics would be with us anymore at all without them

            You don't think comics might have been more accessible
            at more typical retail outlets had the industry not focused
            so intently on the comic shops? Before the shops came along,
            you could find comics most anywhere, from grocery stores to
            pharmacies. After the comic companies began channeling their
            product and efforts into the comic shops, the overall retail
            outlets dried up to a substantial degree. Do you see any
            correlation there?


            > Interestingly, we've heard more than a few people suggest comics
            are
            > in another 'boom' era. I disagree.

            They do seem to be experiencing a bit of a boom,
            though, don't you think?

            > My local shop sells a handful of comic related DVDs, but they
            can't
            > compete with the monster sized movie stores and online video
            > sources.


            I take it you agree with me that the status quo is patently
            unfair to the comic shops? Here they are, specializing in
            the main product the comic companies supposedly purvey, and
            they are being shafted at the business end by the very companies
            they exist to support.

            > The future of comics could be online stores, online downloads, DVD
            > and hardcover compilations and big bookstore chains. The back
            issue
            > market isn't what it used to be with trade paperback libraries
            > growing and providing cheaper access to classic material.


            My concern, and it admittedly is a personal one, is
            that comics as they have traditionally been for decades
            will cease to be, i.e., as Quesada predicted, comics
            in printed comic form will become as extinct as the dinos.
            Oh, sure, we will probably see collected trades at bookstores,
            but what about the disc versions? Do you see them supplanting
            traditional comics?

            There is a correlary. For over a decade, wags were predicting
            the death of the book industry. Books were doomed to be replaced
            by their electronic counterparts. But it has not happened. Yes,
            electronic book sales have bloomed, but traditional book sales
            are also quite healthy, and there has been no great public
            drive to switch. In fact, many of those same wags are now
            saying the electronic market has reached its saturation point.

            It could well be the worry over electronic comics entirely
            replacing paper comics is unfounded.

            David
          • Don
            ... Comics were still in all of those retail outlets at the time, but they were returnable, and it was killing profits, combined with overall lower sales. The
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 2, 2006
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              --- In thorfans@yahoogroups.com, "drobbins04" <drobbins@...> wrote:
              > You don't think comics might have been more accessible
              > at more typical retail outlets had the industry not focused
              > so intently on the comic shops? Before the shops came along,
              > you could find comics most anywhere, from grocery stores to
              > pharmacies. After the comic companies began channeling their
              > product and efforts into the comic shops, the overall retail
              > outlets dried up to a substantial degree. Do you see any
              > correlation there?
              >

              Comics were still in all of those retail outlets at the time, but
              they were returnable, and it was killing profits, combined with
              overall lower sales. The direct market grew so quickly, because
              Marvel and DC loved shipping comics to stores demanding a non-
              returnable supply.

              Some items these days, although rarely, are returnable, but only if
              the company delivers something not advertised (i.e., change of
              artist, or putting in a mature scene in an all ages book).

              Fans found these places fast and fell in love because they could
              actually find every title, every month, unlike the spinner rack.
              Throw in some back issue bins, and comics that weren't folded or
              mutilated from a subscription and the comic industry completely
              changed inside of a decade. That just doesn't happen, unless demand
              is so high for such places. As high as 10,000 North American comic
              shops at one point, tons of mail order places and then the dwindling
              retail availability logically followed.

              The irony is, Marvel and DC pushed as hard as comic fans in hopes of
              the direct market growing forever. However, when Marvel tried to
              distribute their own books, and failed miserably, it forced DC and
              Dark Horse to allign with Diamond, which set up the monopoly we have
              today. With only one distributor setting the rules and the prices,
              we lost 5,000+ comic shops in the decade after Diamond took control.


              > > Interestingly, we've heard more than a few people suggest comics
              > are
              > > in another 'boom' era. I disagree.
              >
              > They do seem to be experiencing a bit of a boom,
              > though, don't you think?
              >

              For Marvel last year they saw 1.1 percent growth in comics, 3.4
              percent growth for trade paperback sales. That isn't a boom to me.
              Any growth after the last freefall is awesome, don't get me wrong. I
              just don't see it as something to bank on, to suggest the industry
              is "back".

              A couple more books hit the 100K mark (10-12 titles a month), but the
              lower tier of the Top 100 are still in the 30-40K range...the same
              range that saw both Thor v.2 and Green Lantern v.3 canned.

              Also worthy of note, MOST of the growth for Marvel and DC has been at
              the expense of the smaller comic companies. The overall market
              volume is up only slightly, the Big Two are just getting more of the
              existing market share.


              > I take it you agree with me that the status quo is patently
              > unfair to the comic shops? Here they are, specializing in
              > the main product the comic companies supposedly purvey, and
              > they are being shafted at the business end by the very companies
              > they exist to support.
              >

              Absolutely agree. But there isn't much comic shops can do, other
              than diversify their product lines, and maybe sell novels, other
              magazines, T-shirts, in-store gaming, whatever they can to stay alive.



              > My concern, and it admittedly is a personal one, is
              > that comics as they have traditionally been for decades
              > will cease to be, i.e., as Quesada predicted, comics
              > in printed comic form will become as extinct as the dinos.
              > Oh, sure, we will probably see collected trades at bookstores,
              > but what about the disc versions? Do you see them supplanting
              > traditional comics?
              >

              I think U.S. comics will be more like Japanese and European comic
              book models and evolve into the graphic novel format. What I mean by
              comics still being in economic trouble are the 22-page seriel monthly
              format books we all discovered at various points in our lifetimes.


              > There is a correlary. For over a decade, wags were predicting
              > the death of the book industry. Books were doomed to be replaced
              > by their electronic counterparts. But it has not happened. Yes,
              > electronic book sales have bloomed, but traditional book sales
              > are also quite healthy, and there has been no great public
              > drive to switch. In fact, many of those same wags are now
              > saying the electronic market has reached its saturation point.
              >
              > It could well be the worry over electronic comics entirely
              > replacing paper comics is unfounded.


              True, but paper and production costs are higher for comics than
              novels. Books are comparitively cheap to produce, unless we're
              talking about the full color coffee table photo journal types.

              Large libraries of comics fitting on DVDs, well those could very well
              replace back issue collections, especially for younger readers. No
              clutter, no storage issues and tons of reference material in a handy
              format. DVDs and large file downloads are a greater threat to comics
              than regular novels, in my estimation.

              Costs will allow for more alternatives sooner in comics, but I think
              it will be at least another three decades before society is more
              digital than tactile.

              Although, one small comic book company last week started offering
              comic book downloads for .69 cents an issue. They gained some
              attention and some new readers, but the revolution hasn't quite
              started just yet.


              -Don
            • Hoang Thai
              ... gotta agree completely. I think they re a great opportunity for a new income stream and will have a market, however, I like to think of them as
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 3, 2006
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                > It could well be the worry over electronic comics entirely
                > replacing paper comics is unfounded.

                gotta agree completely. I think they're a great opportunity for a new
                income stream and will have a market, however, I like to think of
                them as complementary products to comics. Sure, some might migrate
                but I like reading my comic on the loo. ;)
              • riverskiedis@aol.com
                This seems like a great time to mention my long time idea of getting new readers--go manga style with an anthology. The mags would be in standard magazine
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 5, 2006
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                  This seems like a great time to mention my long time idea of getting new readers--go manga style with an anthology. The mags would be in standard magazine format and would sit nicely next to Heavy Metal and Mad.

                  Let's take Marvel. Make the stories self contained or two parters a la Silver Age and highly accessible with the most iconic version of the characters. Then, start the line conservatively with two magazines centered around the most popular heroes and feature other heroes as back ups.

                  Ex. Spider-Man Magazine with a 30 page feature story, and two 15 page back-ups featuring the Fantastic Four and the Hulk respectively. The other mag would be X-Men Magazine with Daredevil and Iron Man.

                  If the idea proves successful, you can then begin to expand the line--maybe FF would get their own mag and feature Thor and Capt. America as back ups, and so on, while Spidey's mag could start featuring the Avengers in the FF's place.

                  Take it easy, JAMES

                  "It is compassion rather than the principle of justice that will prevent us from being unjust to our fellow man."--Bruce Lee


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: lundonj@...
                  To: thorfans@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 9:14 PM
                  Subject: Re: [ Thor Fans ] Comic shops


                  --- In thorfans@yahoogroups.com, "drobbins04" <drobbins@...> wrote:
                  > You don't think comics might have been more accessible
                  > at more typical retail outlets had the industry not focused
                  > so intently on the comic shops? Before the shops came along,
                  > you could find comics most anywhere, from grocery stores to
                  > pharmacies. After the comic companies began channeling their
                  > product and efforts into the comic shops, the overall retail
                  > outlets dried up to a substantial degree. Do you see any
                  > correlation there?
                  >

                  Comics were still in all of those retail outlets at the time, but
                  they were returnable, and it was killing profits, combined with
                  overall lower sales. The direct market grew so quickly, because
                  Marvel and DC loved shipping comics to stores demanding a non-
                  returnable supply.

                  Some items these days, although rarely, are returnable, but only if
                  the company delivers something not advertised (i.e., change of
                  artist, or putting in a mature scene in an all ages book).

                  Fans found these places fast and fell in love because they could
                  actually find every title, every month, unlike the spinner rack.
                  Throw in some back issue bins, and comics that weren't folded or
                  mutilated from a subscription and the comic industry completely
                  changed inside of a decade. That just doesn't happen, unless demand
                  is so high for such places. As high as 10,000 North American comic
                  shops at one point, tons of mail order places and then the dwindling
                  retail availability logically followed.

                  The irony is, Marvel and DC pushed as hard as comic fans in hopes of
                  the direct market growing forever. However, when Marvel tried to
                  distribute their own books, and failed miserably, it forced DC and
                  Dark Horse to allign with Diamond, which set up the monopoly we have
                  today. With only one distributor setting the rules and the prices,
                  we lost 5,000+ comic shops in the decade after Diamond took control.


                  > > Interestingly, we've heard more than a few people suggest comics
                  > are
                  > > in another 'boom' era. I disagree.
                  >
                  > They do seem to be experiencing a bit of a boom,
                  > though, don't you think?
                  >

                  For Marvel last year they saw 1.1 percent growth in comics, 3.4
                  percent growth for trade paperback sales. That isn't a boom to me.
                  Any growth after the last freefall is awesome, don't get me wrong. I
                  just don't see it as something to bank on, to suggest the industry
                  is "back".

                  A couple more books hit the 100K mark (10-12 titles a month), but the
                  lower tier of the Top 100 are still in the 30-40K range...the same
                  range that saw both Thor v.2 and Green Lantern v.3 canned.

                  Also worthy of note, MOST of the growth for Marvel and DC has been at
                  the expense of the smaller comic companies. The overall market
                  volume is up only slightly, the Big Two are just getting more of the
                  existing market share.


                  > I take it you agree with me that the status quo is patently
                  > unfair to the comic shops? Here they are, specializing in
                  > the main product the comic companies supposedly purvey, and
                  > they are being shafted at the business end by the very companies
                  > they exist to support.
                  >

                  Absolutely agree. But there isn't much comic shops can do, other
                  than diversify their product lines, and maybe sell novels, other
                  magazines, T-shirts, in-store gaming, whatever they can to stay alive.



                  > My concern, and it admittedly is a personal one, is
                  > that comics as they have traditionally been for decades
                  > will cease to be, i.e., as Quesada predicted, comics
                  > in printed comic form will become as extinct as the dinos.
                  > Oh, sure, we will probably see collected trades at bookstores,
                  > but what about the disc versions? Do you see them supplanting
                  > traditional comics?
                  >

                  I think U.S. comics will be more like Japanese and European comic
                  book models and evolve into the graphic novel format. What I mean by
                  comics still being in economic trouble are the 22-page seriel monthly
                  format books we all discovered at various points in our lifetimes.


                  > There is a correlary. For over a decade, wags were predicting
                  > the death of the book industry. Books were doomed to be replaced
                  > by their electronic counterparts. But it has not happened. Yes,
                  > electronic book sales have bloomed, but traditional book sales
                  > are also quite healthy, and there has been no great public
                  > drive to switch. In fact, many of those same wags are now
                  > saying the electronic market has reached its saturation point.
                  >
                  > It could well be the worry over electronic comics entirely
                  > replacing paper comics is unfounded.


                  True, but paper and production costs are higher for comics than
                  novels. Books are comparitively cheap to produce, unless we're
                  talking about the full color coffee table photo journal types.

                  Large libraries of comics fitting on DVDs, well those could very well
                  replace back issue collections, especially for younger readers. No
                  clutter, no storage issues and tons of reference material in a handy
                  format. DVDs and large file downloads are a greater threat to comics
                  than regular novels, in my estimation.

                  Costs will allow for more alternatives sooner in comics, but I think
                  it will be at least another three decades before society is more
                  digital than tactile.

                  Although, one small comic book company last week started offering
                  comic book downloads for .69 cents an issue. They gained some
                  attention and some new readers, but the revolution hasn't quite
                  started just yet.


                  -Don






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                • Don
                  ... getting new ... Or your lifetime too, you ain t that far ahead of me on the Tree of Life. Just a few branches ahead is all. My local comic shop is setting
                  Message 8 of 8 , Sep 6, 2006
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                    --- In thorfans@yahoogroups.com, "drobbins" <drobbins@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > James said,
                    > > This seems like a great time to mention my long time idea of
                    getting new
                    > readers--go manga style with an anthology.
                    >
                    > Don has been saying for a long time now that
                    > he thinks that will be the wave of the future.
                    > The U.S. market is certainly creeping in that direction,
                    > with more and more TPB's accounting for larger
                    > sales.
                    >
                    > Who knows.
                    > Maybe you will live to see the demise of the
                    > traditional comic in your lifetimes.


                    Or your lifetime too, you ain't that far ahead of me on the Tree of
                    Life. Just a few branches ahead is all.

                    My local comic shop is setting up a special trade program for
                    customers, since they are competing with book stores and Amazon.com
                    types for business. I get 25 percent off trades from the bigger
                    companies. I just need more bookshelves. And a bigger house.


                    -Don
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