http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=23952

Interesting article...what do you think?

Views: 515

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

suedenim said:
Even Batman supposedly was in danger of being canceled prior to the "New Look" revamp.

If you'll pardon this late quibble, sd, I see from Wikipedia Bob Kane claimed this, but it's doubtful. According to the statements of ownership, sales from 1960 to 1965 averaged as follows (the New Look started in 1964: DC didn't run statements for these titles in 1963-64)

Batman
1960 502,000
1961 485,000
1962 410,000
1965 453,745

Detective Comics
1960 314,000
1961 325,000
1962 265,000
1965 304,414

In comparison

Superman
1960 810,000
1961 820,000
1962 740,000
1965 823,829

Action Comics (DC did run a 1964 statement for this one)
1960 458,000
1961 485,000
1962 435,000
1964 518,026
1965 525,254

I could buy that Detective's sales dropped towards cancellation, but not Batman's. Maybe the guys in the offices were saying "If it keeps dropping like this we'll have to cancel it." To be fair, sales don't tell the whole story, as in those days an important consideration was the percentage of copies sold. The figures are from www.comichron.com .
Chris, would you know where Busiek made his argument? It’s not there in the post that the article links to.

Regarding Skyrocket, is the reason she didn’t become more popular that readers were too attached to those other characters? Or is it rather that Power Company didn’t do all that well, DC hasn’t used her much, and she’s not all that inspired a creation? I’ve not read the series, so maybe Busiek characterised her very well. But the “Skyrocket” name strikes me as on the weak side, and she doesn’t appear to have had a very striking or original gimmick.

Conversely, back in the Silver Age Marvel simultaneously ran titles starring the Two-Gun Kid, the Rawhide Kid, and Kid Colt, Outlaw. A company can support more than one of a particular kind of character, if there’s enough demand for that kind of character.

DC can commit to and emphasise a character, but that won’t by itself make the character successful. It has done this with Wonder Woman, and as Dagwan says, she isn’t really all that popular. Black Canary became a prominent character because she was added to the JLA to replace Wonder Woman when the latter was depowered. The result is DC has used her lot down to the present day, but she still isn’t all that popular either.

In-story, only one character can be the world’s fastest man, the world’s greatest hero, the most dangerous man on the planet, or the world’s greatest detective. One might argue that a creator can’t create a world’s greatest detective for DC as that place is already taken by Batman. But a creator could create a new detective hero for DC; and if he proved more popular than Batman, he could take over the mantle of the world’s greatest detective, or DC could have two characters with a claim to that position.

Any character gets the spotlight in his own series, any character can go up against Doctor Doom or the Joker in his second issue, and any new character can be added to the roster of the Avengers or the JLA anytime. So I don’t buy that new characters have to be introduced out of the spotlight.

Is it the case that readers like a particular kind of character from a company, and won’t accept characters from that company that fall outside that mould? Well, New Teen Titans was outside the existing DC mould when it started, and it was a big success: Marvel had no horror heroes before the ones that came along in the early 70s. I think it’s more likely that the market is just generally resistant to new characters and franchises these days.

Is it the case that, once a universe is established, readers resist adding new characters to their mental list of the company’s top characters? Well, Wolverine and the Punisher made it onto many people’s lists of the top Marvel heroes by being successful in the 80s, although the Punisher’s success hasn’t really lasted. Miller’s run on Daredevil also raised that character’s cachet. No Marvel U or DC U character introduced in the last fifteen years has been a great success, so why should we add any of them to our lists of Marvel’s or DC’s top properties?
Chris, would you know where Busiek made his argument? It’s not there in the post that the article links to.

Here, it's from a Newsarama article about "creating characters for someone else's sandbox."
Luke Blanchard said:
suedenim said:
Even Batman supposedly was in danger of being canceled prior to the "New Look" revamp.


I could buy that Detective's sales dropped towards cancellation, but not Batman's. Maybe the guys in the offices were saying "If it keeps dropping like this we'll have to cancel it." To be fair, sales don't tell the whole story, as in those days an important consideration was the percentage of copies sold. The figures are from www.comichron.com .

Late reply:
I actually agree with you, but I have seen the "Batman books were almost canceled" story from several sources. For instance, Carmine Infantino actually quotes publisher Irwin Donenfeld saying in a meeting with him and Julie Schwartz, "The Batman books are dying and you two have six months to save them or, very simply, it's over." (quoted in TwoMorrows' "Batcave Companion.")

My guess is that a lot of the story is hazy memory, exaggeration on Donenfeld's part at the time, or both, but it does turn up a lot.
Dagwan said:
Martin Gray said:
The businessman Luthor has 'unstuck' - he's back to the nutty scientist, hurrah!

No it hasn't. Superman: Secret Origin has established the scientist/ businessman role as being in current continuity.
Yeah, but he's far more likely to appear as mad scientist first, businessman a pale second these days.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to WOXY.com, it's the future of rock-n-roll!


Currently, villainous scientist is his status quo. However, that is after decades of businessman/ scientist. His presidency is still in continuity as well.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to WOXY.com, it's the future of rock-n-roll!


There's a new article/interview over at Comic Book Resources about this.
Responding to it:

When he was doing Supreme’s feature Alan Moore wrote a story in which the character meets an artist who has passed into the world of ideas, and is clearly supposed to be Jack Kirby.(1) The artist calls Supreme a “Wylie”: “Ah, it’s after this guy Phil Wylie, wrote a book called “Gladiator.” Sorta introduced the whole Superman archetype. That’s you, incidentally.”

I don’t think this stands up. Supreme is a Superman imitation. Wylie’s Hugo Danner didn’t fly, wear a maskless skin-tight costume with a cape and boots, or fight crime. Superman seems archetypal partly because he’s so familiar, and has so often been imitated. (Incidentally, I’ve read that Siegel denied having read Wylie’s work.)

To be fair, Superman also seems archetypal for another reason, the basic nature of his name and powers. (“Superman” is the most generic of superhero names: super-strength and an ability to fly are straightforward powers.) It’s plausible that this is part of the reason he struck a chord with people all over the world. Yet it isn’t the case that the more generic or simpler the character, the more interesting the character. Wonder Woman is more interesting than Amazona, although the latter lacks her quirks (and appeared first).(2)

I once read something that pointed out the composition of the cover of the Tintin volume The Seven Crystal Balls arranges the characters in a circle. As I recall, Herge was asked about this, and said it creates a structure. But the cover wouldn’t be more interesting if it consisted of a pure circle form on a plain background. By analogy, the most popular superheroes might be such because they succeed at being archetypal and distinctive simultaneously. But I’m not sure this is correct.

Now, characters we read about as kids have a special interest for us. I suppose telling adult stories about these characters allows us to revisit the pleasure of reading about them as we experienced it when those other stories were age-appropriate to us. I think we also have an interest in seeing how an “older”, more sophisticated take on a feature differs from the “younger”, more naive take we first knew.

In the past I’ve argued that Captain Marvel hasn’t succeeded in recent decades because the style of the Fawcett stories is a key element in their appeal. Perhaps, instead, the correct analysis is as follows. The fantasy of a magic word that changes a boy into an adult superhero doesn’t have the same meaning for adults as for children. To children it’s a fantasy of becoming an adult right away. Adults look upon this fantasy from the other side. So the most original element of the character doesn’t have the same appeal for them, and if the whimsy of the feature is wholly jettisoned in favour of darkness, violence, realism and intensity, what you have left is a Superman imitator whose cape has yellow flowers and who wears yellow booties. I think some modern creators have played up the notion that he's really still a child. That approach sets him apart from Superman, but the concept "a hero as strong and invulnerable physically as Superman, but mentally a child", doesn't appeal a large audience.

It could be argued that Captain Marvel hasn’t found a central place in the modern DCU largely because the place he might take is already taken by Superman, but I think it would be more correct to argue that he hasn’t earned a central place in the modern DCU by winning a substantial audience. If the Sentry isn’t as popular character as Thor, it’s not because Thor already has the place in the Marvel U he might occupy,(3) but because he’s not a character readers have a childhood connection with, and he isn’t as interesting a character to most. When Gravity was cancelled it was selling only a few thousand issues less than Invincible (to be fair, Invincible had been running longer). Was Gravity as well-written? If not, mightn’t that be the lion’s share of the explanation of why its sales dropped lower?

(1) I know about the sequence from this Jack Kirby Collector interview, which includes the quoted page. This doesn’t say where the story appeared, From what I can tell it was Supreme: The Return #6.
(2) It might be objected that Moulton’s Wonder Woman was more interesting because his writing was more interesting. But I think Amazona has less interest as a character: there’s not as much to her.
(3) Note that Steven Winthrow, in the interview LJ links to, argues against the notion that Thor occupies the territory the Sentry might: "he seems to me to be a different archetype, the incarnation of an actual god". I think if the "space in the pantheon" argument were correct they'd be in competition.

The link not only doesn't work it threw me out of the internet.
 
Chris Fluit said:

Chris, would you know where Busiek made his argument? It’s not there in the post that the article links to.

Here, it's from a Newsarama article about "creating characters for someone else's sandbox."

It's a link that's over four years old, likely deleted by Newsarama.

Detective had been around since 1937. Having it cancelled would have been a big deal. It also would have meant Batman couldn't sustain more than one title. I assume the cancellation of Adventure some years later wasn't done lightly.
 
suedenim said:

Luke Blanchard said:
suedenim said:
Even Batman supposedly was in danger of being canceled prior to the "New Look" revamp.


I could buy that Detective's sales dropped towards cancellation, but not Batman's. Maybe the guys in the offices were saying "If it keeps dropping like this we'll have to cancel it." To be fair, sales don't tell the whole story, as in those days an important consideration was the percentage of copies sold. The figures are from www.comichron.com .

Late reply:
I actually agree with you, but I have seen the "Batman books were almost canceled" story from several sources. For instance, Carmine Infantino actually quotes publisher Irwin Donenfeld saying in a meeting with him and Julie Schwartz, "The Batman books are dying and you two have six months to save them or, very simply, it's over." (quoted in TwoMorrows' "Batcave Companion.")

My guess is that a lot of the story is hazy memory, exaggeration on Donenfeld's part at the time, or both, but it does turn up a lot.



Ron M. said:

The link not only doesn't work it threw me out of the internet.
 
Chris Fluit said:

Chris, would you know where Busiek made his argument? It’s not there in the post that the article links to.

Here, it's from a Newsarama article about "creating characters for someone else's sandbox."

Try this link.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Groups

Latest Activity

Lee Houston, Junior replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"I remember in the letter columns Lois Lane was the obvious fan favorite for Mrs. Superman with Lana…"
1 hour ago
Philip Portelli replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"Giant is one of my mother's favorite movies! She's a big Rock Hudson fan."
5 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion All in Color for a Dime
"Jeff of Earth-J said: And that is the end of All in Color for a Dime. I am awaiting a copy of The…"
6 hours ago
Captain Comics posted a discussion
6 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man's discussion What Comic Books Have You Read Today?
"THE BATMAN FAMILY: In anticipation of the upcoming release of the Silver Age Batman Omnibus, I…"
6 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion All in Color for a Dime
"Unfortunately, I will not be able to provide a substitute, either xxxx There are 42 issues of…"
6 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
""But it's way too long to enjoy!" Tracy and I watched The Alamo for the first (and…"
6 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"Jeff of Earth-J said: GOOD AGAINST EVIL (1977) Unbeknownst to her, many of the people in her circle…"
7 hours ago
Philip Portelli replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Not only is Magneto confronting his children, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver but there is also…"
7 hours ago
Philip Portelli replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"The mothers were never named or clearly seen. Their faces were always kept in shadows!"
7 hours ago
Steve W replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"And I'm guessing this would come as a bit of shock - to find that that someone you had…"
7 hours ago
Steve W replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"So, given that Supes took his son's powers away in the previous issue, it's not too…"
7 hours ago

© 2022   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service