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"Because it's WRONG."
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August 05 2004

Astonishing X-Men sales figures - a concern for Marvel? Comic.Con's The Pulse looks at the seemingly massive drop in readers by issue 2.

The comic industry is suffering all over, most comic book readers are the older ones that have been collecting for a long time, they are not attracting many new readers,the cost of comics compared to other forms of entertainment I think is the major factor.

The Marvel movies X-men and Spiderman have helped sales, and got Marvel out of Bankruptcy, I believe most drop off once the movie excitment has worn off.


I hope comics survive, I no longer collect them, but I still have many I have kept over the years, and still have a love for them, I hope the industry continues, but I am not sure it will.
I've been wondering if the comic book industry has suffered with people downloading comics using the likes of Kazaa etc.

I've read many arguments about why the comic industry is in the state it's in. Focusing on adults and not children, as you've mentioned too expensive to buy and the whole variant debacle of the 90s.
I just assumed the drop for issue #2 was due to speculators, who buy issue #1 of any major comic as an investment.
Basically if the comic industry is to survive the big guns are going to have to do something that is way too revolutionary for them to ever grasp.

Make comics affordable again!

The average comic these days costs three times what it did when i stopped collecting about ten years ago and from what i have seen the quality of the majority of them has not increased proportionally. Obviously prices have to increase due to inflation but there has to be a realistic limit or they become way too expensive for the kid in the street to think about collecting.

The reason comics were so popular back in the eighties and ninties was because they were a relatively cheap form of entertainment but these days if you want to just collect all the X-books you are looking at £25 to £30 per month when you include specials, limited series and various one shots.

When i was still collecting i was able to buy every single Marvel comicbook each month and still have change from £80. Nowadays if i wanted to get their complete range (X-books, Spidey, Avengers etc) i'd be looking at well over £100 and that would only take into account ongoing series.

Bring the prices down and more kids will be willing to give them a go again. Right now it just isn't worth the money.
I've been collecting comics for 24 years now, and I've seen many ups and downs in the industry. The speculator nonsense of the 90's is the easiest to point to, and therefore the near-death experience most often mentioned. But truth be told the industry has ALWAYS been "in trouble". It's pretty much a given that issue #1 of a series will outsell issue #2, partly because of the speculator market, but also because print runs and retail orders for premier issues are always larger than for subsequent issues. Of COURSE the first issue sold more copies... there were more copies to sell.

As with anything, statistics can be used to say whatever you want them to say. The superhero genre seems to be taking a hit lately, despite the upsurge in public awareness and interest via Hollywood. But the smaller, independant and "underground" genres have really never been stronger since the late 60's. It's all just numbers, and pundits on either side can claim salvation or damnation all they want. Comics aren't going anywhere.
Hey guys, miss me? No? Oh, um...remember me? Also no. Okay. So, uh, let's move on to the rest of my post, then, because this is swiftly becoming like just about every conversation I've had since I graduated high school last year.

While I know next to nothing about comic sales figures (aside from the always hilarious $86.7 million America paid for what, Alaska?? Methinks somebody should have shopped around on Ebay first...), I'm living proof that bringing well-known writers/super-geniuses into the industry is a great way to get more people interested in comics. Because while I just got into comics with Astonishing X-Men, I've discovered quite a few other series that I enjoy now (Seaguy, anyone?)

See, I've always wanted to get into comics, but the amount of choices out there can be very intimidating to the uninitiated. I mean, I knew I like the X-Men, but what to read? The Uncanny? The New? The Ultimate? What if I made the wrong choice? Who are all these writers? What ungodly spandex shortage has led to covers that look more Maxim than Marvel? But in hiring Joss, I could finally walk into a comic book shop with confidence that what I was about to purchase would not, in fact, suck. So, thank you, Joss, for finally releiving me of my comic book virginity.

Oh, and for any Alaskans reading this, I was just kidding up there. You guys rock.
I used to read Uncanny. Loved it. Also, the Unlimited series with it's incredibly beautiful art and very adult theme. My comic fan ardor has cooled enough to wait for Joss' trade paperback, but I AM looking forward to it, and trying to remain unspoiled (a first for me!)

I went crazy for Elfquest when I discovered the big tpbs in the eighties. Does anyone know whatever happened to that movie? I know Ralph Bakshi was in talks to get it done...also does anyone else think that Elfquest was very Jossian in theme? I do.

And VSLOLOLGI, I was born and raised in Anchorage. Left when I was 25. Appreciate the disclaimer! ;) Welcome back!
Course I remember you VampiresSuckLOLOLGetIt , you have one of the best names at Whedonesque :).
I doubt the comics industry is taking a hit from P2P.

If all you wanted to do was read some comics you could spend an afternoon in your local comic shop. Issues are small and the workers (at least in the indy shops) wouldn't kick you out for browsing.

Comics are a collectors thing. People who spend money on comics do so because they want to own it. These are the bulk of buyers. People who don't want to own it browse at the store or read their friends'.

Someone would be hard pressed to blame the decline of comics on P2P. (Although I have no doubt someone will try, its The Modern Scapegoat™)
I think P2P is having a (small) effect.

I know a few comic readers - there aren't that many overall anyway - who only read the .cbr versions of comics, rather than buying them. In fact, everyone I know who reads comics reads the scans except for me!. They simply don't want to spend the money if they don't have to... AND their collector mentality is still being satisfied by their 20 gig collections of comic's they'll never read.

OTH, my sister is reading Astonishing X-Men and until then, she's never read a comic in her life. For me, Fray is what got me back into comics. However, I'm not going to bother with the other X-Men titles simply cause I can't be arsed sorting through them. I prefer non-superhero stuff anyways.

But cost is a huge issue. Borders sell TPBs here for $40, Kingscomics sell em for $22... and then there are cheaper volumes like Losers (which is great imnsho) which sells for $13. $13 is a movie ticket, so its a no-brainer in terms of 'yeah, why not?'. $15 is a lot more reasonable than $20-40.
The trade paperbacks are having a greater effect than whatever P2P is (I'm assuming that's an online download source). There's a growning number of fans (myself included) that much prefer to have the bookshelf format collected trades, the ones that will look nice on a display in the library, than the single issues tucked away in a box. I've been collecting for years and I have over 30 boxes of bagged and boarded monthly issues taking up a MASSIVE amount of space in a room of my house. It's so much nicer to have the collections displayed on bookshelves.

Unfortunately, that's having an impact (though not the life-threatening one everyone seems desperate to predict). More and more people are forgoing buying the titles as they come out monthly, opting instead to wait a few months for the trade. However most titles are only collected into trade format if the title is popular, i.e. sells well on a monthly basis. It's a catch 22.

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