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  • irishmoxie: Life with Kevin is really good.
    April 24, 2017, 11:04:41 PM
  • Asdfghjkl: Meant to say that I am so hyped for "Over The Edge" in Archie this May
    April 24, 2017, 12:53:36 PM
  • Asdfghjkl: Sorry auto correct typed in the wrong thing
    April 24, 2017, 12:52:45 PM
  • Asdfghjkl: Switch
    April 24, 2017, 12:51:52 PM
  • BettyReggie: But it will be worth it.
    April 24, 2017, 12:23:45 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: 267 days !?!   It's like torture!!  :tickedoff:
    April 24, 2017, 10:43:19 AM
  • BettyReggie: I preorder Life with Kevin Vol. 1 from @amazon & it's Arriving Jan 16, 2018, 267 days & 14 hours & 16 minutes & 40 seconds away.
    April 23, 2017, 09:44:51 AM
  • Mr.Lodge: Erin Moran (Shortcake) - R.I.P.  :'(
    April 23, 2017, 02:07:54 AM
  • irishmoxie: Welcome back Kalell!
    April 22, 2017, 11:16:44 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Not committing to any definite longevity also saves the publisher from the perception of cancellation-shaming if they can claim it was never intended to be anything but a limited series.  ;)
    April 22, 2017, 10:10:38 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Other publishers like Dynamite Entertainment are known to be cagey about announcing a definite status or 'ongoing series' or 'miniseries' when soliciting or announcing a new title, taking a wait-and-see approach based on how the initial issues sell.
    April 22, 2017, 10:06:02 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: The 5-issue trial miniseries fits with what I know of ACP's general cautious approach to things like Life With Kevin, and with prior decisions like the quickly-reconsidered ongoing status of Reggie and Me after preorder numbers for the issue #1 solicitation became known to ACP.
    April 22, 2017, 10:02:35 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: This fits with ACP
    April 22, 2017, 10:00:01 PM
  • Vegan Jughead: Also, the subscriptions being sold on ArchieComics.com are for five issues only.
    April 22, 2017, 11:42:30 AM
  • Vegan Jughead: Dan Parent told me on Twitter that it's a 5 issue series, ACC.  He said he hopes for it to be extended or another series in the same vein to follow it if this is successful.
    April 22, 2017, 11:42:05 AM
  • Archie Comics Collector(Kalell): Your Pal Archie looks very interesting and as far as I can tell will be a monthly series. The 5 issues only mentioned by another forum member is due to the first 5 issues having a variant cover that will form a huge image of Pop's Chocklit shop. But nowhere did I see that it was being limited to 5 issues, possibly only if sales are not there but as of now should be longer than 5 issues.
    April 22, 2017, 08:42:25 AM
  • irishmoxie: Zodiac Starforce coming back yay!
    April 22, 2017, 02:26:40 AM
  • BettyReggie: Midtown Comics has the Archie July 2017 Solicitations & it's better to buy there because Comics are 35% off.
    April 21, 2017, 04:27:26 PM
  • JonInIowaCity: Reminds me of the recent tabloid news of Jon Gosselin becoming a stripper and it turns out that he just punked the media for his 40th birthday/April Fools Day.
    April 21, 2017, 03:34:47 PM
  • JonInIowaCity: I'm starting to wonder if someone is actually going to die. What if Reggie just gets badly injured/permannetly disabled? Relooking at the promo info and Waid's interview, I'm starting to wonder if we're asusming that they're building towards a death, but they're not.
    April 21, 2017, 03:33:58 PM


Author Topic: Marvel says forced diversity ruined sales. Maybe Archie should pay attention?  (Read 2556 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.


To bring this back to the main topic...

Some further thoughts related to the comic book marketplace, the audience, or potential audience, for comics as a medium in general, and the diversity of that audience occur to me. These are very basic assumptions that readers of comics never seem to consider or question. Why is the audience of comic book consumers less diverse than the audience of consumers for movies, television, video games, or novels? The comic book industry is dependent on motivated readers. People who have decided for whatever reason that "I WANT to read comics." Reading comics is no longer a casual experience as it once was many decades ago when it could still be called a mass medium. It can't be strictly about the limits of content that the current comic market is offering. That doesn't explain why millions of people would spend their disposable entertainment budget money on seeing a Batman movie or playing a Batman video game, but less than 1% of those same people are willing to spend $3 or $4 for fifteen or twenty minutes worth of entertainment reading a Batman comic book. How does someone go from never having ever read a comic book to one day reading a comic book, and then reading more comic books, until it becomes a desire and then a habit? What makes someone decide that the money spent on a comic is a good return on their entertainment dollar, and therefore worthwhile? There are social factors as well those related to an individual's personal life history, and I would submit those factors are one of the biggest things limiting the diversity of the comics audience. A long time ago almost every kid in America was likely to have read some kind of comic at some time in his or her childhood, but that hasn't been the case for years. If they're not familiarized with the medium at a young age, a person is less likely to ever acquire the habit. Just a few of the things rambling through my mind here.


1. In the past few years, I tried a couple of times to read superhero comics. I picked up some DC and Marvel issues on Free Comic Book Day, just to try them out. But I couldn't get into the stories. Some of them were continuations of previous issues that I hadn't read, and some of them were just not that interesting. Either way, none of them compelled me to continue. Even without that experience, I probably wouldn't have been able to get into superhero comics, though. They all have overarching storylines, and readers need to be familiar with the characters and events of the previous comic in order to fully enjoy the current one. I think that this is a part of the reason that comic sales, in general, are on a downturn. New fans, who may want to get into comics after watching the latest Batman movie, won't be interested if they can't understand what is going on when they begin with Issue #49.


2. I wouldn't say that comics are unknown to kids nowadays, but it is probably true that they are no longer the primary consumers of comic books. Even newspaper cartoons aren't read by kids- there are less of them appearing, the quality seems to be lower than it used to be, and they aren't really targeted at kids. Archie seems to have realized this, and is trying to adapt by aiming for a teen/young adult demographic with "Riverdale" and New Archie, while also trying to keep the kids and older fans with Classic Archie. So far, the TV show (which I started to watch, and surprisingly am enjoying) has been attracting attention from the right demographics. If the comics continue being published regularly, hopefully they will too.

DeCarlo Rules


1. In the past few years, I tried a couple of times to read superhero comics. I picked up some DC and Marvel issues on Free Comic Book Day, just to try them out. But I couldn't get into the stories. Some of them were continuations of previous issues that I hadn't read, and some of them were just not that interesting. Either way, none of them compelled me to continue. Even without that experience, I probably wouldn't have been able to get into superhero comics, though. They all have overarching storylines, and readers need to be familiar with the characters and events of the previous comic in order to fully enjoy the current one. I think that this is a part of the reason that comic sales, in general, are on a downturn. New fans, who may want to get into comics after watching the latest Batman movie, won't be interested if they can't understand what is going on when they begin with Issue #49.


2. I wouldn't say that comics are unknown to kids nowadays, but it is probably true that they are no longer the primary consumers of comic books. Even newspaper cartoons aren't read by kids- there are less of them appearing, the quality seems to be lower than it used to be, and they aren't really targeted at kids. Archie seems to have realized this, and is trying to adapt by aiming for a teen/young adult demographic with "Riverdale" and New Archie, while also trying to keep the kids and older fans with Classic Archie. So far, the TV show (which I started to watch, and surprisingly am enjoying) has been attracting attention from the right demographics. If the comics continue being published regularly, hopefully they will too.

But how do those observations relate to selling Archie Comics in comic book stores?  YOU don't like superhero comics, which is fine, but do you realistically think that someday the main consumer base in comic book stores will be anything else but? The entire existence of a retail store dedicated to selling comic books is built around three things: the monthly floppy comic book format, collecting, and superheroes. Those three things are intimately intertwined with the very existence of comic book stores. At least in the US and Canada. Most people just aren't going to be motivated to drive to a special store to buy something like a comic, unless they are already committed, in a very focused way, to it as a hobby. For some reason the superhero fans/readers/collector as a group just seem more motivated than readers of other genres. Or at least they are by far the most numerous of the motivated consumers.


But how do those observations relate to selling Archie Comics in comic book stores?  YOU don't like superhero comics, which is fine, but do you realistically think that someday the main consumer base in comic book stores will be anything else but? The entire existence of a retail store dedicated to selling comic books is built around three things: the monthly floppy comic book format, collecting, and superheroes. Those three things are intimately intertwined with the very existence of comic book stores. At least in the US and Canada. Most people just aren't going to be motivated to drive to a special store to buy something like a comic, unless they are already committed, in a very focused way, to it as a hobby. For some reason the superhero fans/readers/collector as a group just seem more motivated than readers of other genres. Or at least they are by far the most numerous of the motivated consumers.


My point was mostly that there may be a downward trend in comics as a whole- not just Archie comics, but comics in general- because of two of the things I discussed above. New readers (like myself in terms of superhero comics) get discouraged and don't make a habit of reading comics when they can't understand the story because they missed the first dozen issues. And comics are no longer popular with kids the way they once were. I'm not saying these are the only reasons comics aren't being sold at the high numbers of the past, but I do think these are two big reasons.


I realize that a multi-issue storyline, and mature comics, and superhero comics in general, are all part of what makes people enjoy comics in the first place. I'm not saying these aspects should go away, especially if they have committed fanbases. I was just stating my observations, as someone who wants comics as a whole to continue being successful (though I only read Archie comics.)

irishmoxie

I hope non superhero stories keep getting published. I think there are a lot of girls out there who are hungry for slice of life type comics or even Image/Saga type stories. I've tried reading superhero stories but none have hooked me yet. I'll read DC Super girls or whatever it's called if it's free but it's not the first thing I reach for or look forward to each month. I like that there's a variety of stories in comics nowadays. To reach girls, EMET has been doing well with posting webcomics on Tumblr. EMET has also had a few successful Kickstarters.

DeCarlo Rules

I hope non superhero stories keep getting published. I think there are a lot of girls out there who are hungry for slice of life type comics or even Image/Saga type stories. I've tried reading superhero stories but none have hooked me yet. I'll read DC Super girls or whatever it's called if it's free but it's not the first thing I reach for or look forward to each month. I like that there's a variety of stories in comics nowadays. To reach girls, EMET has been doing well with posting webcomics on Tumblr. EMET has also had a few successful Kickstarters.

What I'm trying to get at is that there's an inescapable tyranny of numbers in effect when it comes to the ordering of titles by comics retailers, because once ordered and paid for (before he resells those comics to his retail customers), the comics a retailer orders belong to him -- he's stuck with them if he can't sell them. There are hundreds of titles in every monthly order catalog from Diamond Comics Distribution, so most retailers (unless they have a large chain of stores, or one very large store located in a major metropolitan area) can't afford to order even ONE copy of each and every title offered. Variety is a good thing for a store, but there are realistic limits to that variety based on the retailer's financial resources (he pays for all his comics before he's even sold a single one), so his ordering patterns are dictated by an informed knowledge of his customer base's buying patterns, and some speculation on his part. For the most part, he's got to be careful and not take too many risks that might cause him to wind up with a lot of unsold comics at the end of the week or month, because the more time that goes by, the less likely he is to sell those comics.

This is where the domination of the superhero genre is coming into play, because that's a large part of what's informing his ordering decisions. He knows he can sell certain titles, and other titles/publishers/genres are much more of a gamble, so he's got to be somewhat conservative, or he may wind up out of business. He just can't afford to have a lot of slow-moving (or totally unsellable) stock in his store, and he's got to service his most regular and biggest-spending customers first, and worry about the people who might buy only a few titles or genres that are less popular afterwards. If, at the end of any given month, a retailer adds up all of his bills spent for new product from Diamond Comics, and compares that figure against all the money taken in at the register that month, and checks his inventory to see what product he was invoiced for that month that remains unsold, then the money he spent on purchasing those unsold comics has to be subtracted from whatever profit he made on the comics he was invoiced for that month that he DID sell. But of course the remainder doesn't equal the profit he actually made that month until he then subtracts his overhead costs for employees, monthly rent or mortgage, utilities like heat/air conditioning and electricity, phone and internet bills, etc.

Kickstarters and webcomics are fine, but that only relates to print comic books that your retailer orders far down the line (if at all).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 05:48:29 AM by DeCarlo Rules »

irishmoxie

I hope non superhero stories keep getting published. I think there are a lot of girls out there who are hungry for slice of life type comics or even Image/Saga type stories. I've tried reading superhero stories but none have hooked me yet. I'll read DC Super girls or whatever it's called if it's free but it's not the first thing I reach for or look forward to each month. I like that there's a variety of stories in comics nowadays. To reach girls, EMET has been doing well with posting webcomics on Tumblr. EMET has also had a few successful Kickstarters.

What I'm trying to get at is that there's an inescapable tyranny of numbers in effect when it comes to the ordering of titles by comics retailers, because once ordered and paid for (before he resells those comics to his retail customers), the comics a retailer orders belong to him -- he's stuck with them if he can't sell them. There are hundreds of titles in every monthly order catalog from Diamond Comics Distribution, so most retailers (unless they have a large chain of stores, or one very large store located in a major metropolitan area) can't afford to order even ONE copy of each and every title offered. Variety is a good thing for a store, but there are realistic limits to that variety based on the retailer's financial resources (he pays for all his comics before he's even sold a single one), so his ordering patterns are dictated by an informed knowledge of his customer base's buying patterns, and some speculation on his part. For the most part, he's got to be careful and not take too many risks that might cause him to wind up with a lot of unsold comics at the end of the week or month, because the more time that goes by, the less likely he is to sell those comics.

This is where the domination of the superhero genre is coming into play, because that's a large part of what's informing his ordering decisions. He knows he can sell certain titles, and other titles/publishers/genres are much more of a gamble, so he's got to be somewhat conservative, or he may wind up out of business. He just can't afford to have a lot of slow-moving (or totally unsellable) stock in his store, and he's got to service his most regular and biggest-spending customers first, and worry about the people who might buy only a few titles or genres that are less popular afterwards. If, at the end of any given month, a retailer adds up all of his bills spent for new product from Diamond Comics, and compares that figure against all the money taken in at the register that month, and checks his inventory to see what product he was invoiced for that month that remains unsold, then the money he spent on purchasing those unsold comics has to be subtracted from whatever profit he made on the comics he was invoiced for that month that he DID sell. But of course the remainder doesn't equal the profit he actually made that month until he then subtracts his overhead costs for employees, monthly rent or mortgage, utilities like heat/air conditioning and electricity, phone and internet bills, etc.

Kickstarters and webcomics are fine, but that only relates to print comic books that your retailer orders far down the line (if at all).


Makes me miss my comic book shop in Missouri which was run by a female. It had all the superhero stuff but also girlie, animal, and tons of kids comics. She actually made most of her money from selling figurines. And had tons of leftover Archie variants (guess she made the wrong bet on those) that she always tried to sell me. I discovered EMET comics there before seeing it on social media.


Female comics will probably never be the mainstay in comic shops and that's fine. I only hope to see more of these comics in places where girls like to be i.e. bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Kindle, tumblr, etc. Hopefully they will start generating more of a profit.

DeCarlo Rules


Makes me miss my comic book shop in Missouri which was run by a female. It had all the superhero stuff but also girlie, animal, and tons of kids comics. She actually made most of her money from selling figurines. And had tons of leftover Archie variants (guess she made the wrong bet on those) that she always tried to sell me. I discovered EMET comics there before seeing it on social media.


Female comics will probably never be the mainstay in comic shops and that's fine. I only hope to see more of these comics in places where girls like to be i.e. bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Kindle, tumblr, etc. Hopefully they will start generating more of a profit.

And of course the one thing I failed to mention in that equation that involves a retailer's purchasing decisions are that these are choices that the retailer makes, based on many factors such as what kind of comics the retailer likes or doesn't -- any comics retailer is also a comics reader, as well, so they are mentally picking and choosing not only the comics that will allow them to remain profitable and stay in business, but also they tend to want to promote and see succeed the kinds of genres and titles that they themselves enjoy as readers.

While it's unlikely that a retailer is going to be so influenced by their own personal tastes that they're going to ignore the obvious consumer demand or lack of demand when making their ordering choices, they can choose to actively promote less-popular (or newer) titles that appeal to them personally, and that's where the retailers' tastes in comics are going to affect which titles they choose to stock and make available to their customers. It's the kind of thing that can be done by eye-catching displays, in-store promo posters, and word-of-mouth recommendations at the register. Many stores have a little display of "store picks" or "staff picks".

It's an unusual type of retail business because it isn't like selling widgets where it's all accounting and what sells or doesn't -- where there's a gray area of "Will it sell, or won't it?", the retailer is prejudiced by their own sense of what makes for "good comics" according to their own personal definition. It could also be a source of frustration or disappointment for retailers when their own personal choices of "good comics" are not embraced by the store's clientele -- along with the more real and painful financial loss of money invested in non-returnable stock which fails to sell. The latter idea is also applicable to other levels of the comic marketplace -- what publishers, editors, or distributors like and think are good comics are not always successful. Steve Geppi, CEO of Diamond Comics, is a fan of classic Archie comics, but he can't get retailers or consumers in the direct market to purchase the comics he likes as opposed to the comics they really want.

To the degree that comic shop consumers have more than one comic shop to choose from among those that are within reasonable traveling distance to shop at, any individual store tends to attract those consumers whose tastes agree with the retailer's, but consumers are also realistically limited by the location of stores to which they have convenient access, and they're limited by their own budgetary constraints in picking and choosing which comics to buy, so they choose to purchase the comics most important to them that they can afford. If their comics budget is less constrained, they can often afford to be more eclectic in their choice of what to buy.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 01:54:36 AM by DeCarlo Rules »

 


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