Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It all goes back to #1

So, by now you’ve all heard that DC Comics is doing a re-launch of every single title in their line. That is to say, they are resetting the clock back to #1 on every single title. We have been assured that they are not “re-booting” or “retconning” the line, but just resetting the clock back to #1 on the comics so that today’s readers will feel that they are getting in on the ground floor with the comics. DC further indicated that there will be some “upgrades” to some of the heroes histories so as to clear out some of the junk in their pasts. Also, the digital versions of the comics will be released on the same day as the print versions.

Well, there are quite a few things going on here, and some of them were covered by Beau Smith in his blog, but there are a couple of things that I would like to add:

Specifically (in my humble opinion), all of the reboot, renumbering, re-costuming that both DC and Marvel tend to do with increased regularity, is for naught if the writers can’t write compelling stories about characters  about whom the readers can care. Still, it is not all about the writing (or even the art), if the companies’ marketing departments, can’t get the message out to people who aren’t already reading comics that there are compelling stories being created about interesting characters dealing with compelling topics, or if the distributing department can’t get the books (either digitally or in dead tree editions) into the hands of people who aren’t currently reading comics, then all of this smoke and mirrors is simply re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced that the publishing houses in question are capable (or even interested), in doing any of those things. Comics are still the only industry that doesn’t essentially no advertising of its core product (the comics themselves) outside the industry. Yes, yes the DC story was picked up by numerous non-comics outlets, but again, if marketing and distribution can’t get their message and the actual books out into the non-buying public, all of this hoopla is worthless.

This is so not a case of “if you build it they will come” this is more of a case where you can’t just lead the horses to the water, you actually have to deliver it to their doorsteps and then convince them that drinking it is a really good idea. Comics need to forget about all of the gimmicks and actually advertise in non-comic media, then start pumping out compelling stories that people will want to read. For more of my thought on this topic, check out articles on Media Connection.

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