I've changed the title of this thread from "Comic Book Sales Trends in 2016" because I keep coming back to it.

My friendly neighborhood comics shop, Fantom Comics of Washington, DC, breaks down what sold at the store in 2016. This information, of course, applies only to the one store, but it's still interesting reading: "2016 In Review – A Comic Book Shop Talks Comic Book Sales Trends"

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I was keeping up with SDCC online to take notes for my column, and my wife said, "You wish you were there." And I suddenly realized, and said, "No, I don't."

Google "stand in line Hall H" for an idea why.

An effect of superhero movies, perhaps? I assume stars etc. make appearances.

That's the thing that gets to me every time there's a "new direction" or a "reboot". It's the same guys creating the stories as it has been for years. Why should comics fans expect anything better?

Detective 445 said:


It's hard to see how Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are the guys who are suddenly going to figure out the problem and fix it. They've both been around for a long time. If they really know how to fix these type of problems then why are they just now getting around to it?

My first con was the Disneyland Hotel one in 1971. I started going to SDCC in 1972. It was easy to get tickets and usually a room wasn't a problem. Some time in the early 80s I stopped going. I had stopped buying comics in 1979 but kept reading Comic Buyer's Guide until the end.

When I got married in 1989 we saw the first Keaton Batman movie and my wife realized I wanted to go back, so we did. It was still fun then and she, not a comics fan, enjoyed it too. I bought my first comic in ten years at the Con, Legends of the Dark Knight #1 and then gradually got back into buying comics in a limited way. You used to be able to buy tickets for the following year while at the Con at a discount, no less, and hotel rooms were pretty easy to get close to the event. That went away. So today you have to buy the tickets early before you know if you can get a room. That's fine if you're local, but we're 100+ miles away. Over the years since then, the Movie/TV industry has taken it over to such an extent that the sheer number of attendees causes the dealer's room to be an exercise in shuffling your feet, not walking. Since WonderCon moved from San Francisco we've been going there, but it is also getting crazy because all the people who can't go to San Diego go there.

Con size is a tricky thing, it has to be big enough to reach critical mass so it seems as if you are surrounded by fans but not so big that instead of being surrounded by fans your drowning in fans.

I prefer "shows" (just dealers) to "cons" (with guests).

Here's some thoughts about Marvel Legacy, entry #261 in the "Tilting at Windmills" series from Brian Hibbs: "Marvel Comics and the Deck Chairs of the Titanic"

The solicits for August 2017 Marvel comics have finally been released – the start of “Marvel Legacy” – and I think it is now fair to ask if Marvel actually hears or heard any of the criticism of their line over the last few months.

People have complained about (among other things) the lack of “the real” Marvel characters, about over-expansion watering down the line, about tired creative teams who should be replaced, and about a reliance on gimmicks over substance. And, based purely on the solicitations, Marvel does not immediately appear to have taken virtually any of these points to heart.

What I don't understand is that if all of this stuff isn't working why is marvel still doing it?  Is it working and they just aren't telling anyone?

The guy who wrote that doesn't understand it either. And I don't. 

For example, if the lenticular covers are big sellers, why make it so hard for retailers to get them? Why not crank out a lot of them and make them easily available to the stores? After all, a lenticular cover is something people can't get with a digital version of the comic, so it's something the stores can offer that people can't get elsewhere. That makes the store owners happy.

That makes sense to me. Why doesn't it make sense to Marvel?

I think they tie the orders for lenticular covers or other highly collectible covers to the dealer ordering a large quantity of regular editions of the same book. So the dealer either has to be able to move a large number of regular editions or jack up the premium price of the highly collectible cover book even higher to cover the comics he can't sell.

Artificially increasing the orders for the regular edition makes it look like they have more buyers than they do.

  I guess it looks great for the sales charts but unless the relationship with upper management is like Sgt. Bilko and Colonel Hall I don't see how it keeps working.



Richard Willis said:

I think they tie the orders for lenticular covers or other highly collectible covers to the dealer ordering a large quantity of regular editions of the same book. So the dealer either has to be able to move a large number of regular editions or jack up the premium price of the highly collectible cover book even higher to cover the comics he can't sell.

Artificially increasing the orders for the regular edition makes it look like they have more buyers than they do.

It’s an interesting dilemma. I was trying to think of something Marvel could do that would really get me excited about a bunch of their titles. I can’t really think of anything specific. It seems like there are always a few titles here and there that I enjoy to some degree.  Eventually, all of these new characters will probably have a fan base. I remember how resistant I was to Kyle Rayner back in the day. Now I keep hearing about readers who are younger than me who prefer him.

I wonder if the problem has more to do with talent. When’s the next Frank Miller going to come along and reinvent Daredevil and show us something we’ve never seen before? Where is the next Anatomy Lesson going to come from? Or the next Hard Traveling Heroes? Who will be the next Claremont/Byrne and take over a title no one really cares about and capture an audience no one knew was there?  Is there another Marvels waiting in the wings? I think there are some talented people working for Marvel but are any of them game changers?

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