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  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Woman Scorned": [link]
    May 19, 2018, 08:03:52 PM
  • Tuxedo Mark: Cheryl's jacket is red, because she's Cheryl M.F. Blossom, and she can wear whatever custom-made clothes she wants, thankyouverymuch. :P
    May 17, 2018, 09:16:50 AM
  • BettyReggie: I want know why Cheryl's serpent jacket was red? Everyone else coat was black. And near the end of Espoide where were Jughead & Betty at? Was that a hotel?
    May 16, 2018, 09:41:30 PM
  • BettyReggie: I made 3,000 posts .
    May 16, 2018, 07:43:26 PM
  • BettyReggie: 21 Minutes to the season finale of Riverdale.
    May 16, 2018, 07:39:28 PM
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of Betty and Veronica: Vixens #6: [link]
    May 11, 2018, 11:17:28 PM
  • BettyReggie: August 7th 2018 - 87 days till Season 2 of Riverdale comes out
    May 11, 2018, 03:34:05 PM
  • BettyReggie: They have the free Comic Book Days Comics on Midtown Comics. I order 7 of them.
    May 07, 2018, 01:40:00 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: That's pretty much the whole point of having an internet -- it connects you to entertainment, information, and people who would otherwise be too far away from you physically, or would involve much greater effort on your part to connect with. And although there are some advantages for comic book collectors inherent in the direct-market dedicated comic book shop system, the major BIG (obvious) DISadvantage is that only a few thousand of those shops exist, compared to the huge number of retailers who used to carry comic books along with their other products back in the days of the "newsstand distribution system".
    May 07, 2018, 03:35:40 AM
  • Tuxedo Mark: The only "local" comic shop within "reasonable" distance of my house is 18 miles away, in the next county. Yeah, no, I'll continue getting my comics digitally.
    May 06, 2018, 07:39:36 PM
  • DeCarlo Rules: @Archiecomicxfan215 - FCBD comic books may be free to you, but the retailer has to PAY for those comic books he gives away for free. The publishers of the FCBD comics make no profit off them, and they're distributed to retailers by Diamond Comics for free, but they have to charge comic shop owners money for them, because paper and printing costs money. Your local comic shop owner loses a small amount of money with every FCBD comic book he gives away. Of course the whole idea behind FCBD is that sampling those free comic books will create interest in customers actually BUYing the retail versions of those FCBD comic books later on.
    May 06, 2018, 01:50:26 AM
  • BettyReggie: On Monday Midtown Comics has the free comics on their website.
    May 05, 2018, 05:11:46 PM
  • Archiecomicxfan215: I brought some comics too. Got my first Sabrina comics for my collection today
    May 05, 2018, 12:49:55 PM
  • Archiecomicxfan215: This year at the comic book store near me I was only allowed to choose 3 comics. Previous years it was 5. My boyfriends local comic book store he was allowed up to 5 comics free. Don’t know why it changed near me.
    May 05, 2018, 12:49:14 PM
  • Archiecomicxfan215: My boyfriend went to a comic book store near his house and picked me up Die Kitty Die and Riverdale
    May 05, 2018, 11:35:02 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Don't forget to pick up the FCBD issue of DIE KITTY DIE: I Love You to Death! by Dan & Fernando from Chapterhouse Comics! Oh, and I guess if you care about that RIVERDALE thing, you could pick up the FCBD issue where Pop Tate eavesdrops on all the conversations of his teenage customers (makes him sound a little creepy, if you ask me...) Doesn't an adult business proprietor have more important things to worry about???
    May 04, 2018, 03:48:05 PM
  • Archiecomicxfan215: Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow
    May 04, 2018, 10:15:27 AM
  • BettyReggie: I got a Riverdale Poster at 5 & Below.
    May 03, 2018, 02:03:55 PM
  • BettyReggie: Kevin's boyfriend was on Riverdale last night .
    May 03, 2018, 04:52:50 AM
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "The New Archies": "Incredible Shrinking Archie": [link]
    May 02, 2018, 09:44:18 PM


Author Topic: Marvel says forced diversity ruined sales. Maybe Archie should pay attention?  (Read 7136 times)

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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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