The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

My responce to Brian Hibbs

In his latest NEWSARAMA column, he discusses why comics sell so poorly.

While I agree that there are too many comics and too few outlets for comics, I think there are two other major points that keep comic books from selling as well as they did in the 70's (when comics professionals were saying that the business would be dead in 5 years), let alone the 60's:


There isn't any. Not only is the marketing inside comics horrid, pushing books they already know will be successful so that the people who came up with the ad campaign can say "Look how well we did", but the marketing outside comics is just as bad, if not worse. If you were to ask DC for an ad you could run on TV, all they have is the old ad from 1992 that ends with Lobo saying "These ain't your daddy's comics, fanboy." Not even comics fans give a damn about Lobo anymore. The few ad slicks DC gives retailers are the same ones they run in CBG, Wizard and...well that's pretty much the only place comics publishers run ads anymore.

I always use the "Coke-RC Cola" analogy to how comics are marketed. You see ads for Coke everywhere, they sponsor things, and they run ads during just about every kind of TV show, movie, whatever. Do they advertise because people don't know what Coke is? Nope, they keep their name out there, and in everyone's face. Most people who drink RC Cola feel it tastes better and is a bit cheaper, but does it sell even a significant fraction of what Coke does? Nope. And they don't advertise people don't think about it, and when they are in the grocery store, they simply go for the Coke.

I remember in the early 90's when Malibu took their Image money and bought all kinds of ads for a couple of months, and then said "See! Advertising doesn't work." Does anyone inside of comics see what is wrong with that? You don't just flop a bunch of ads out in the market for two months and expect people to come running and remember you for ever after that.

It is really apparent at DC how bad they are at this when you look at their manga or Eurocomics lines. They were given a write-up in Previews, maybe an ad in Wizard, and then just dumped on the market. They are aimed at non-traditional comics fans and people who don't go to comic shops, but they are put out with very little outside marketing, and now everyone is scratching their heads, wondering why sales are poor. No matter what "Field Of Dreams" told you, you have to do a bit more than build it for them to come.

Comic shops themselves:

Your writing about comics shops pointed out what I think is the biggest problem with comic books now. They are by fans, for fans and sold by fans. Shonen Jump sells a quarter of a million copies a month, yet only sells about 8,000 through comic shops, and that number is dropping pretty steadily. Why? Most people in comic shops are aging comics fans who don't like that manga stuff, and would rather read about Spider-Man vs Doc Oc again. The shops, most of which are on limited budgets and depend on subscription services to keep afloat, don't do much of anything to reach out to the kids who are buying to Toykopop GNs, the people who read about Jack Cole in "The New Yorker" or see that this new Sin City movie might have something to do with a comic book.

Last year, on Free Comic Book Day, I did a bit of wandering around Minneapolis St. Paul and saw that all but two comics shops were treating it is "Here's a bunch of free stuff. It's on the table over there, so take one of each." I saw no ads for it, no media coverage (and let's face it, if you can't free media on one of the local morning news shows that have two or three hours to fill, you haven't learned how to use your fax machine) and no outreach at all to find new customers. Here was a great idea in getting people to know about a comic store, and it was just a way for comics fans to get something to put on eBay that day.

Home video didn't take off until Big Chains started forming, because they could hire people who knew marketing and did advertising. As long as comic shops are small hobby stores, and the industry depends on them for their primary sales, all we are going to see are 40 X-Men books, 20 Spider-Man books, and books that could sell to a general reader like Nightmares and Fairy Tales" or "The Walking Dead" will hover at the fringe of profitability, while the fifth relaunch of the Avengers sells 300,000 copies.

Friday, March 11, 2005



Test one two. Test one two.

Yeah, just like at a rock concert.

Test one two.

Friday, March 04, 2005

'N' Word Causes Papers to Drop Two 'Boondocks' Comic Strips

'N' Word Causes Papers to Drop Two 'Boondocks' Comic Strips

Part of this is a test, and part of it is something that makes me think that no matter how far we think we've evolved, we still think that a collection of letter to just too much for some people to see.