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November 08 2006

Talking Shop: Non-traditional comics. Buffy and Angel get brief mentions in a discussion of non-superhero comics bringing new readers into comic book stores.

Yes, I would have never thought it, but I am a new face in the comic stores...or at least I would be if we had a comic store within 100 miles of my place, as it is I order them on-line. Not only the Spike comics, which are my favorites, but also Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show and others. I am sooo excited to see that Stephen King's The Dark Tower is coming out! Will definitely have to get that.
Hey Luvspike--I haven't actually read the novels, but the comic is being scripted by Peter 'Spike Vs. Dracula' David with art by the amazing Jae Lee and Jose Villarubia, so I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that if you like the novels, you'll love the comics. :-)
Wow, they have soap opera comics. I never knew.
Well, there's some good superhero stuff out there (e.g. 'Planetary', 'Ultimates', 'Wanted', 'Runaways', 'Batman's pretty good right now, AXM etc.) but I can understand the prejudice against them cos a lot of it's pretty simplistic too.

As the article mentions though with most of the high profile titles (e.g. 'Dark Tower' - which i'll be getting as a fan of the books from way back) people just buy that and then stop so i'm not sure if they're helping long term. High profile writers are slightly different because fans will check out most or all of their comics and then maybe move on to similar types of title but I still think that a lot of the people reading AXM right now and 'Runaways' in a while for Joss will probably stop when he does.

That said, probably 90% of the monthlies I get are non-super-hero titles with a few that are borderline ('NextWave' is more an anti-super-hero book and all the funnier for it and 'Ex Machina' is about an ex-super-hero turned Mayor of New York) so there's some great (IMO) stuff out there which should appeal to a wide range of tastes (currently liking 'Wasteland' a post-apocalyptic western, 'DMZ' about Manhattan as Beirut style war zone, 'The Great and Secret Show' adaptation and getting others in trade like 'Y: The Last Man' and 'Queen and Country' an espionage book quite closely inspired by 'The Sandbaggers' from 70s British TV).

Maybe the trick is to make comics look less like comics and more like books ? A lot of folk think monthly comics could be on the way out and it'll all be trade paperbacks in the future, maybe that combined with selling in more mainstream locations will make a difference ?
They came out with some new Battlestar Galactica comics recently which are pretty good. Even the art seems right on for once.

Most of the comics I get do seem to follow the superhero path. DC mostly. X-men(and only becasue of Rogue and Gambit)is the only marvel I read. But with DC the currents good stuff includes Birds of Prey, Nightwing, Wonderwoman,Superman/Batman and Teen Titans. I think one of the most incrediable superhero titles right now is Alex Ross's Justice. It is really top notch writting and artwork.

I doubt the monthly comic will ever lose ground to the graphic novel simply because of the time and money that it takes to make it over one monthly comic. TP are lready sold in most book stores and actually tend to be more for collectors or those who want to get the whole series at one time. I think for the normal comic jumkie, monthlies will always be the quick fix.
TP are lready sold in most book stores and actually tend to be more for collectors or those who want to get the whole series at one time. I think for the normal comic jumkie, monthlies will always be the quick fix.

Yes but that's speaking as a comics fan Donna Troy. The article's point (and mine about TPBs) is to attract more mainstream readers and to mainstream readers 6-7 minutes of a particular story a month is a waste of time (really big numbers for comics are say 100-150,000 with the vast majority of monthlies coming in well under that but if a mainstream audience could be tapped those numbers could rise into the millions).

Add to that the stigma of being seen as kid's stuff, the element of delayed gratification AND the extra hassle of picking up ongoing titles on a regular basis (not to mention keeping track of cross-overs etc.) and it's not surprising most 'normal' people aren't interested (especially given all the other forms of entertainment vying for our attention). As things stand comics aren't just another form of mass entertainment (as they were before direct sales and the speculator boom/bust) they're more of a hobby or past-time (like battlefield re-enactments or role-play-gaming).

Also, trades are more expensive because they're usually around 100 pages with firm bindings and higher quality print compared to 22 pages with paper bindings and if the cost of e.g. 5 singles is added up I reckon the price and production costs of most trades would compare pretty favourably so that's kind of a moot point, IMO.

Or maybe go the other way and produce more weekly titles, a la '52' ?
Well, there's some good superhero stuff out there (e.g. 'Planetary', 'Ultimates', 'Wanted', 'Runaways', 'Batman's pretty good right now, AXM etc.) but I can understand the prejudice against them cos a lot of it's pretty simplistic too.

I don't think it's so much about prejudices here as it is about simply getting people into comic stores to see everything that's out there.

Then once you're there to pick up The Dark Tower, you might see Peter David's Fallen Angel and X-Factor or Jae Lee's Inhumans on the shelf, and if The Dark Tower is looking good, you might decide to start picking up those as well.

Like the article said, it's the comic shop clerks' jobs to act as dealers and get you hooked while you're in there. ;-)

TP are lready sold in most book stores and actually tend to be more for collectors or those who want to get the whole series at one time. I think for the normal comic jumkie, monthlies will always be the quick fix.

Well, I'm certainly of the junkie variety, but in most cases, I do prefer trades. But I agree that the singles are not likely to be going away anytime soon.
I don't think it's so much about prejudices here...

Wow, most of the non-comics fans (and even a few of those) that I know think super-heroes are mainly for kids. Maybe i'm hanging around the wrong people Telltale ;).

(just to clarify my previous comment, i'm not saying their prejudice is justified just understandable because of what they've probably been exposed to in the super-hero genre. Agreed though, the aim should be to change their minds by showing them what comics - super-hero or otherwise - can do when in the hands of talented writers, artists etc. and a good shop assistant should be able to do that)

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