You’re Creators…So Create Already!

You know, I realize that I am just a single comic book fan, who is fortunate enough to have a forum like Comic Book Daily, to blab on about what is on my mind regarding comic books in general. I have been a fan since the Silver Age, and that is truly where my love of comics are centered.

Marvel Comics revolutionized the way comics were done in the decade of the 60s. A creative powerhouse that ushered in arguably, the greatest creative explosion in sequential art history.

Between Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, pretty well the entire Marvel Universe was born! I hardly recognize what is going on anymore. This will be, hopefully, my last rant on this subject, I am just so disappointed in Marvel!

The brilliance in the creativity of the Silver Age, shines through all the way to the silver screen with the biggest blockbusters of the last decade, primarily being as a result of the Silver Age explosion of colorful and interesting characters.

All the while that this admittedly enjoyable boom in Marvel movies has been going on, sales in comic books has been on the decline.The success at the box office has not translated in a boom in comic sales.

Now why is that? Is it the saturation of different modes of entertainment being available, literally at your fingertips? Probably has something to do with it. Is it the lack of reading skills? Probably has something to do with it. Is it a lack of honoring your fan base? Probably has something to do with it. Is it constantly killing off characters …and then bringing them back to life? Probably has something to do with it. Is it reboot after reboot after constant frigging reboot! Vol.1, 2, 3, 4,…! Probably has something to do with it. Is it changing the history, the 50 plus years of history, of established characters to satisfy the whims of political correctness? Probably has something to do with it. Is it multiples of the same character? Two Spider-mans, two Captain Americas, two Thors, two Nick Furys? Probably has something to do with it  Or is it aligning the current comic book universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of the other way around…to quote Stan Lee, Aaaargh.

I think when you take a look at the above paragraph, a lot of truths ring out!

If you want to satisfy the whims of current political social awareness, then here is a novel idea. Create new characters!

Quite messing around with the established foundation of the Marvel Universe. You are alienating a very large portion of your base.

Create Already!!!

Continued Happy Collecting

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Dennis De Pues
Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.
Articles: 260

76 Comments

  1. Yes! My thoughts exactly! I remember well when years ago, an event was referenced, a note would say ” * See issue 28″, and it would excite you enough to find that story and read it! It would reference something my older brother read 5 years earlier, showing that these characters are THE SAME ONES who came before! There was a connection from year to year. I understood as a kid that comic book characters aged 1 year for everyone 7 or 8 of ours, and it never bothered me.

  2. I’m with you all the way here Dennis. Because of constant restarts I have pretty much lost interest in the current Marvel and DC universes. For me, the best seems to be behind them. I derive far more pleasure from reading my old comics these days, although I have made a bit of a foray into Image (one of my old stomping grounds) since dropping the others. I think the creator-owned books show far more innovation and originality than the big two. Titles such as Outcast and Lazarus are head and shoulders above anything Marvel and DC are cranking out these days. I’m just happy I was lucky enough to be there in Marvel’s glory days.

    Excelsior!

  3. That continuity, referencing as you say issue 28 helped stoke the fires of collecting.All of the constant tinkering i.e. vol.1,2,3,,rebooting to number one,then going back to the correct sequencing at a later date is destructive to the collecting philosophy.”See Vol. 3 issue 28″ is not only confusing, but makes collecting a complete run a negative rather than a positive.

  4. I am not buying any Marvel Comics either Mel. I may pick up a TPB here and there but I have none on a pull list.I have one more issue of All Star Batman by DC left on my pull list because that completes the John Romita Jr. run , and I love his storytelling, even though the story hasn’t really done anything for me.I am buying mostly IDW stuff these days and am looking forward to the upcoming Conan issues by Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg.
    The creator owned books are definitely where I am spending my “new books” money,
    Long Live the Silver Age!

  5. Agree 1000%. the day will come; likely too late. Currently, we lack creators who are willing to put aside their self-indulgence and understand that they are privileged to take a turn at advancing a decades-old legacy. One day, Disney will realize and clean house. Political correctness, however, they will be happy to leave in place. But the value of continuity and accessability of characters for readers of all ages will one day resonate.

  6. There are talented writers and artists working today, mostly being creative away from the Big 2. If you look at any of the characters that were brought from the cinema screen to the comics, say Coulson from Shield.The series went knowhere, and now the Nick Fury as we Silver Age fans remember is knowhere to be seen but being replaced by… Nick Fury Jr. Who looks surprisingly like Samuel Jackson.We live in an alternate universe I think!

  7. Marvel’s latest fad of changing gender or race on older established characters does little more than dilute their long and storied history. Female Thors, Captain Americas or black Nick Furys just serve to confuse the readership, and returning to original numbering so that Daredevil #119 is followed by #500 makes it problematic deciding what kind of run you want. How long will it be before the new Daredevil series returns to the original numbering and, more importantly, who’s left to care?

  8. Scott, you are probably right about the demographics of the commentators, but that in and of itself is no reason to rewrite history.It also does not change the fact that re-writing history does dilute the richness of these beloved characters and in the end does not change the history at all, it just ignores it. By using the age and race of the commentators who have helped to contribute to this long history, with their time and hard earned dollars, seems to imply that the age and race of the commentators are prejudiced to race and gender. Who cares about race and gender.My point was that create all the politically correct characters you want, knock yourself out as a matter of fact .Let the market decide what it wants to support by whatever demographic you want to aim for. With the low sales numbers that these books are now showing, it seems that the changing of history is not working,so it alienates us long term supporters and is not creating a positive sales model at all.
    It is great to try and add numbers to sales but I am old enough to remember the old adage” Dance with the one that brought you.”
    Good stories and characters are the lifeblood of the industry, so once again I say “Your Creators…so create already!”

  9. I always seem to be the opposition to conventional thinking here so I was trying to refrain from commenting on this post but Scott is right of course. For the same reason we don’t listen to our parents music or wear their clothes… at some point, we have to let go and pass on the reigns. We had our moment… now it’s time to support and encourage our youth.

  10. I would suggest that most of the people who are making all these changes to the historically significant characters spoken of earlier in this post are closer to the age bracket of you or I Charlie.I agree totally with “supporting and encouraging our youth”.I am encouraging them to write and create to their hearts content! That however has nothing to do with ignoring and re writing history, or for that matter the discussion here.You are a numbers guy.So why are the numbers so dismal in regards to the changing of well established history? I am the first to admit that hey ,I could be wrong here, but I have not seen any improvement in sales as a result of all these changes.

  11. We can get into the nitty-gritty but the simple answer is that things change. Depending on when you feel modern comics began (for me the Marvel Universe ended with the 1980’s) there actually has been lots of development and “creation” since, including it’s history. See the contradiction?

    There is a whole business side to this topic of course, and the declining sales or readership has more to do with macro economic forces more than any thing else. Emotionally I’m with you guys, but practically speaking… how do you get people maintain their landlines when the allure of a shiny new smartphone is so enticing?

  12. There has been a lot of creativity Charlie, that is true, but the shiny new cell phone analogy doesn’t make Spider-Man 3 a good movie or that organic webbing, because it was a “shiny new cell phone” made the story better.It didn’t. But if you created another character with Spider powers that were organic , then you had something to work with.Part of the allure of Spider-Man was that he was a regular guy that got bit by a spider and had the proportionate strength of a spider.The webbing was the part that Peter created using his God given intellect.Take that away and you don’t even have the “land line”.

  13. I kinda agree with everyone here. Damn if I didnt like the Daredevil movie and Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin….but I was offended as hell when they changed the Green Goblins costume in The Spiderman movies.
    I dont even mind them changing the current day Marvel Universe take on things, but please, dont keep going back and forth on the new numbering of series to the old.
    In hindsight I better understand DC’s efforts to rationalize the DC Universe back in the day with Crisis on Infinite Earths. Brilliant.
    Thanks for the fun Dennis, Charlie,Scott,Mel, Readcomix, and Afta comics.

  14. And that kind of is the point.It can be off putting.Comics are an inherently visual medium.If you are a movie fan who never followed the comics it would not be an issue as that would be your reference point.But if you are part of the base, that grew up with them,which is probably a large part of the recoup on investment fan base, it makes a big difference .The comic and the movie universe are intertwined.If the changes make sense because of the difference of the two mediums ,so be it. I never did understand in the Dr. Strange movie why they cast Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.To me , that is just an exercise in some form of Politcal correctness.One , quite frankly, I don’t get even though she did an admirable job.Just strange tinkering.

  15. Scott
    Just because I’m a white male doesn’t mean I’m boneheaded enough to only want white characters in comics, but in the old days, if you wanted a black character in comics, you created Black Panther. You didn’t change Nick Fury into a black guy. At least when Kirby created the Black Panther it was a new and original character, not a retread. I think that inherent lack of creativity is the point Dennis was trying to make here. Let’s not muddle the discussion with finger-pointing about race, gender and age.

  16. I’m not Mel. I’m saying everyone here is from the same basic age group and as such isn’t the target audience. There’s no finger pointing. I made one clear and concise statement: these changes are not meant to be embraced by anyone commenting here. There’s not much difference between what’s happening now and what Julius Schwartz did to start the silver age at DC, reusing what parts of the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Aquaman and others to suit their needs and changing those characters for a new audience. Or were they just a retread and a lack of creativity?

  17. I did a quick google search just to see about the age of some of the writers in todays comics.The average seems to be around 50 just as a point of interest.
    The last couple of lines in my post really sum up what I was trying to say,

    “If you want to satisfy the whims of current political social awareness, then here is a novel idea. Create new characters!

    Quite messing around with the established foundation of the Marvel Universe. You are alienating a very large portion of your base.

    Create Already!!!

  18. That is certainly a fair point Scott but as far as the target audience goes, I think we can probably all agree that sales are really quite low,and that the demographics that are being sought after are not the age of the average commentators on this page.It is also quite apparent that the same commentators would love to be buying more new comics , but the changes being made don’t appeal to us, so we don’t buy the new books.
    This narrow casting doesn’t seem to be having any success in any real target or non target demographic. The commentators comments also seem to confirm that they are spending money at Image and IDW and some of the other publishers because of interesting new creator owned stories.

  19. So creators are creating, and people are buying those exciting new books from Image, IDW and Dark Horse. And you’re speaking with your dollars, buying what appeals to you. Then that sounds like the market is working as it should.

  20. Or perhaps the time of comic books is coming to a close. If the average age of the creators and readers is over 50 then there’s not much impetus to keep it rolling for a new generation.

  21. I think Golden age comics were not only larger in size and volume, they were very wordy. No five minute reads there. ( Unlike todays average comicbook) Its a good 30 to 60 minute commitment to read a Golden age Comic.
    Robert Kanigher typically would type a 3 to 5 page outline for a plot.
    I think the Marvel way of writing hurt the credibility of comic writer, and certainly turned the Artist of the title into the real creative genius.
    Stan Lee and Roy Thomas would write a paragragh or two for a plot. Sometimes a paragragh was as short as two lines. The Artist would basicly flesh out the entire story and character development.
    I recall when a page Tales of Suspence Captain America page was left with no Dialogue, and it was such a thrill at the time.
    Now the reverse seems to be true. Illustration supported by almost no verbage.
    Light weight reading for a generation that doesnt seem to have the ability or attention span to do the same.
    Im a lightweight reader too. Despite having only a grade school education…My mother and father read a book a week, Sometimes more. My brother a book a day.
    Is this contributing to less creativity ?
    I like your point Scott, about the Reboot of the Golden age characters….I had forgotten that.
    I grew up reading Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan, and the Johnny Weissmuller movies were nothing like the books…yet both were uplifting quality entertainment.
    I understand Dennis’s frustration, but Ive also seen quality work when original source material was changed or modified.
    God we are fortunate to have lived in a century were such entertainment exists.

  22. Yes that segment of the market is working Scott. I was talking primarily about my disapointment with Marvel, which perhaps I did not make clear, where the rewriting of history is the most annoying.I am glad that the smaller publishers have continued to give us unique and innovative products and that is why I support them and tip my hat at the creativity they are still introducing to the marketplace. .

  23. Tarzan and Johnny Weissmuller all in the same sentence! Gotta love it! I will certainly survive my frustration Dave, and yes we are fortunate indeed.It is sad that reading does not seem to be empathized any more.Nothing like the magic of a great read coupled with your own imagination to create unique and exciting worlds.

  24. What bothers me about this discussion is that there are a lot of assumptions being made, some of which are simply false:

    • There is no correlation between the age of creators with the direction of the content. These guys are hired to do a job and are simply trying to make a living.

    • If our generation kept on buying comics, I’m sure Marvel and DC would be happy to maintain the status quo. But it’s BECAUSE we left, they realize that changes needed to be implemented in order address the shift in demographics.

    • I recently read the Infinity Omnibus to get caught up on Thanos and I hated it. There were lots of NEW characters who I wasn’t familiar with, existing characters had new roles or abilities, new relationships had been formed which I didn’t recognize like the Skrulls and the Kree working together.

    You see… a lot has been CREATED. It’s just that our generation does not like the CHANGE. Not liking something is very different than not creating, much of which is subjective due to our bias… like our age.

    For the same reason fashion, music and things like cars change, entertainment media like comics also need to evolve to reflect current times. As I wrote, we live in a diverse culture:

    http://www.comicbookdaily.com/columns/nut-shell/diversity-part-1-dragon-hollywood/

    The generation behind us do not want to wear their parents clothes, listen to their music or drive old looking cars… let alone read paper material. If our generation never left comics, it would be business as usual. But with such a mass exodus… what choice do the publishers have? Keep moving or get left behind.

  25. The only reason I brought up the average age of the creators at 50 was in regards to your comment about supporting and encouraging our youth.
    Discussions are often based on assumptions.Yours included.I assume you will disagree.No one is saying that we don’t live in a diverse culture.That goes without saying.
    I am not assuming Marvel(which was what this topic was about in the first place) is messing with the history of Iconic characters ,they are.I would much rather see the “diversity” come from new and hopefully exciting characters rather than just muddying the waters and satisfying no one.

  26. I think another point that’s being missed here is the fact that now that there’s so many creator owned opportunities that why would you create a new character for Marvel and have the rights owned by Disney when you could go to IDW or Image and own it yourself. Why create “Hellboy” and give up a potential franchise when you could just tweak the current character that you have no rights to anyway? I think that’s why there’s so much creativity in content with some of these “alternate” publishers while (some) people creating for the “Big Two” are just going through the motions.

  27. That is a great point Alex, and goes a long way to addressing the divergent points being made in this column.
    Thanks for the succinct observation.
    That is what makes this forum so enjoyable.And also thanks to everyone for the civil discourse.The passion that is evident shows just how much we love this great hobby!

  28. Dennis
    I think that civil discourse is largely thanks to the gentleman sitting in the host’s chair. Your contribution to Comic Book Daily has long been one of the highlights for me, and I hope you’re at it for a good long time to come. And, seriously, I don’t think comics are any more in danger of a total decline than real books, vinyl, or even the ever-faithful landline.

    cheers, mel

  29. Thank you Mel. You know I always feel encouraged that everytime I go into a Chapters or Indigo, there are always a good cross section of people paying hard earned money on books.They all have a massive Graphic Novel section as well, and they wouldn’t be giving up that much shelf space if they weren’t selling.The numbers of monthly books may not be what it used to be but at $4 or $5 each it will probably continue for a good long time.Let’s hope so.

  30. The difference is that my conclusions (try to) follow an existing narrative. Thinking critically is about making connections to actual events. It’s not that I’m a “numbers” guy, it’s that I approach things from a logical stance.

    We can itemize all the new characters and changes that Marvel has made in the modern era. From this birds eye view, I’m sure even you will have to admit that a lot has been “created”. In which case, the issue is not a lack of “creation” but simply that you don’t like what’s been created. This is opinion based so you are NOT wrong, but as opinions go… it’s highly subjective.

    Cause and effect is a much bigger topic. To suggest that the lack of new characters is one of the reasons for the decline of comics is simply false. As Alex points out, there are real reasons for this. Yes, we can speculate, but it should be based on facts that we can point to.

    I don’t think comics are any more in danger of a total decline than real books, vinyl, or even the ever-faithful landline.

    Depends on how you define comics and what you mean by “total”. Art and stories have been around since the dawn of man and will continue to exist, just like music and photography. But if the absence of film and vinyl records in the market place isn’t the definition of “total”… what is? Yes, this stuff is still available, but you have to make a concerted effort to find this stuff. The only thing propping up Marvel and DC is licensing. Make less on the monthlies in order to maintain the brand and make money off toys, movies and other merchandise. In the beginning, Pepsi corporation set up Taco Bell. Not because taco’s were big business but sugar water was much more profitable and it was a way to sell more Pepsi. Same reason Apple invests so heavily in the education market. Less money… but sow the seeds for the future. Brain wash those kids and get ’em hooked early ^_^

  31. Sheesh Charlie, you sound like Bill Clinton.”Depends on what the the word is, is”. My comment about you being a “numbers guy” was meant as a compliment , because you obviously are an analytical guy.
    And for the record heres a little fact for you,I don’t have any problem getting vinyl.Not just vintage but new releases.The most profitable and fastest growing segment of the music business is the vinyl market.Has been for the last 7 or 8 years.That is a perfect example of the market listening to us old guys instead of just looking at the latest shiny new object. Check out the growing chain called Sunrise Records! Or take a look in all the HMV stores as well.

  32. Its great following everybodys comments here. But sometimes your conversations are way above my pay grade.
    No wonder I loved Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan, Dennis.
    Zandra, white princess of a lost civilization, comes to Tarzan for help when Nazis invade the jungle with plans to conquer her people and take their wealth. Tarzan, the isolationist, becomes involved after the Nazis shoot at him and capture Boy: “Now Tarzan make war!”
    Now this I understand. *:) happy
    This also may explain why its so easy to for me to hang around Durajlija.

  33. “Art and stories have been around since the dawn of man and will continue to exist, just like music and photography.”

    I have tintypes and ambrotypes, and I can’t imagine either having been around for that long. Since the dawn of man?! Surely you jest!
    I thought you were a fact-based kind of guy. Me? I’m with Dennis on this. Just an opinion, but everybody has one, just like…

  34. Hey David, everything here is above my pay grade.All of us contributors do it for the love of the medium.
    I’m surprised Walt hasn’t stepped into the fray!

  35. The most successful comic book character ever has to be Batman. Same character written differently to speak to different generations. There has to be a lesson there somewhere.

    I love Alex’s point that characters are continually being created but not just in the Big Two publishing model so while the times have changed the business model they have not changed the public’s appetite for new concepts and new characters, so you create well and they will come.

    I’ve also noted before that the distribution mechanism for comics is lousy. In 1965 there were probably 200,000 place in North America where you could go buy a comic, today there are 2,000 maybe. Today for many people it is simply too much of a chore to drive out or bus out to buy a comic. Other vehicles for reading these characters have by necessity come into play namely graphic Novels through the big box book stores and on line shopping. Perhaps the movies themselves quench the thirsts for these characters and that hurts monthly comic sales to a point.

    I remember an economics prof tell me in the early 1980s what the glaring difference was between the stagnant US economy and the vibrant Japanese economy of that time. He said America was at that redistributing the wealth it created in the past through lawsuits, mergers, brand name changes for existing products etc while Japan was creating new wealth through efficiencies and innovation.

  36. I liked him better when he was into Jungle girls from Lost tribes… 🙂

  37. There seems to be much lost in translation… I don’t find anything that’s been said here offensive. I state that I’m not a “numbers” guy as a matter of fact, not in defensive of any thing. I’m analytical, yes. But math, no.

    This is exactly the kind of statement I’m referring to:

    The most profitable and fastest growing segment of the music business is the vinyl market.

    I’m not sure what compels you to make such statements but I find it mind boggling. If you truly believe this, we are living in different realities. The HMV’s I’ve visited looks more like a comic shop these days with more than half the store filled with pop culture merchandise as means to try and survive the digital age. YES, vinyl still exists and I know many audiophiles who prefer it, but for all intents and purposes, it’s been phased out of the MAINSTREAM market… at least on my planet. If not a “total decline”, pretty close to it by my definition… not sure what Mel was referring to.

    Since the dawn of man?! Surely you jest!

    No… I do not jest, Mel. Pick up any art history book and in most cases, it will feature cave paintings right up front. Before language, before formal communication… pictures were one of the most fundamental ways that primitive man transferred meaning and information. I’m surprised that I’m having to even mention this to a self-professed fan of comic art, considering that a sequence of cave paintings is often used as an argument to justify the importance of comics as a medium to the point of being a cliche.

    Before schools, before formal education… people learned through stories expressed visually, as well as sound (music) and movement (dance). In fact, the English language is based on pictograms that used to be scrawled on to Mesopotamian slabs of rock. The letter “A” is an upside down representation of an “Ox”. This is why elder’s were so valued. They knew all the stories (wisdom), which would be told over and over again to children. Not just as entertainment… but this is how they learned and transferred social values (morals. ie; good wins over evil). This is why “printing” was so HUGE when the press was finally invented during the 1400’s. It was bigger than computers or the internet… Think about what this meant: The bible could be massed produced and distributed… and think about the INCREDIBLE influence this one book hand on the whole world. Blah, blah, blah… the rest is history.

    Anthropologically speaking, people have an insatiable need for stories and ways to express them (think about what the whole world does during their leisure)… and so I repeat: Art and stories have been, and always will be with us, because it is what makes us human.

  38. Good to have you weigh in Walt.The distribution point is one we have spoken of before.Wow, is it really only 2000 outlets?That is staggeringly low.Your last paragraph on the redistribution of wealth vs creating new wealth through efficiencies and innovation is an overall lesson we can only hope is duplicated.

  39. BTW, Walter. I think we all know by now that the vibrant Japanese economy turned out to be false as it all came crumbling down. It’s been decades but they are still trying to recover from it. This doesn’t mean they weren’t innovative or efficient but it was all over blown, much like the Chinese economy is today, although I think the Chinese government is more aware of this. It just goes to show that nothing is ever as good as it seems, nor is it as bad as it seems. So… keep calm, and carry on.

  40. Hey Charlie, about 8 years ago when perusing Q magazine, which is a British mag similar to Billboard only more Pop culture interviews and such.It stated that surprisingly, vinyl was making a comeback and that it was the most profitable segment of the music market.I said “Whaaaat?” Well the rest of the music business went bust because of illegal and legal file sharing but the audio file market for vinyl was booming.The trend into North America took about another 2 or 3 years to reach here and about 3 years ago I went back into vinyl.The people I am in touch with at retail are ecstatic about the resergence and profitability in vinyl.
    All kinds of classic albums as well are now being re-issued in 180 gm heavy duty quality.
    And perhaps there are more realities than we are aware of…

  41. Dennis, I think you have to put that into context. If I buy an X-Factor #24 for $100 and sell for $200, that’s a 100% gain. However, if I buy an X-Men #1 for $4000 and sell it for $4500, that’s only a 12.5% gain. The 100% looks good on paper but I’ll take the 12.5% any day. There probably was a resurgence of vinyl but after being decimated by digital, and CDs prior… even a 100% resurgence is not very meaningful relative to vinyls former self.

    The rationale is simple. If the vinyl market was truly “the most profitable and the fastest growing segment of the music industry”, why wouldn’t all the producers, labels and distributors jump on this? Especially if there’s money to be made? The problem with trade magazines is that they like to hype up their respective industry… for obvious reasons… THEIR EXISTENCE DEPENDS ON IT. If this sounds like Overstreet or Wizard…. heck YES! Step out of these respective industry bubbles, and you’ll see a very different picture. Those types of write ups are the print equivalent of “click bait”. By their nature, FANZINEs or fan-sites exist to promote their hobby. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. It’s only natural that if you think Jack Kirby was great, you’d want others to appreciate him too… However, just don’t run out and make any investment decisions based on these sources alone.

  42. We’ve gotten off topic, but for anyone who is interested.These from parallel vinyl universes.

    From Forbes- Vinyl (mostly LP) revenues are the fastest-growing segment of the industry .

    The Music Industry Made More Money Selling Vinyl Than From …
    http://www.ibtimes.com/music-industry-made-more-money-selling-vinyl-youtube-revenue-...

    Vinyl Generates More Revenue Than Ad … – Digital Music News
    http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/…/vinyl-generates-more-royalties-than-youtube-vevo-sou..

  43. I agree about cave paintings being pictures, but I can’t agree that they’ve been around since the dawn of man and will continue to be, “just like music and photography.” Go back and read what you said Charlie. And i don’t think I’m the only person who would profess that I’m a comic book fan. Sheesh!

  44. Hey Dennis
    I think “off topic” may be an understatement, but I think you may have reached an all-time high for comments on any post. It’s just a shame so much of it is tinged with sarcasm. Keep the faith, buddy.

  45. I think what it gets down to is they are trying to expand their characters diversity, but they aren’t willing to actually dedicate time, money and resources into more diverse characters. They just slap on the Iron Man suit or make one the Hulk and think they can call it a day.

    What Marvel needs to do is actively create new characters…AND devote the best writers and the best artists to those books. While always a minor Bat-Man fan it wasn’t until the combined writing of Scott Snyder and the art of Greg Capullo that got me to regularly pick up that book.

    There are artist and writers that I would follow anywhere or at least give more of a chance too, but too often the newest characters are not given the best artists because Marvel seems unwilling to go all in on investing in new characters. They throw relative rookies at their minor properties and in turn they never take off and they say, well we just have to concentrate on our core heroes! And so new books get started and then killed while Spider-Man continues to sell regardless of art or story. So they make Spider-Man a girl, also hispanic, also a robot probably.

  46. Certainly no arguments from me Dane.Another annoyance to me is the many multiple Avengers titles , or X-men titles ,Spider-Man etc.On and on.It has become almost common place for a story arc to not even have the same creative team ,let alone take a long run with the same creative team.
    I have absolutely no problem with diversity, just make it new characters not what they are doing now.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  47. I remember the time when there was a total of eight Marvel titles each month. Now, if you want to follow Spider-man or the X-men, there are generally about ten or twelve different titles covering that character, sometimes with multiple crossovers. If you’re an art fan like me, the diversity of artists on the various different titles covering one character can be genuinely off-putting. Marvel needs to rein in a few of those and simplify the continuity or lose a lot of readers. And, changing gender, race or age, they must realize, dos not make for good continuity either. Thanks for taking the time to listen!

    cheers, mel

  48. I would add that the large data sets are far more reliable than the rather narrow amount that one person can observe. I can assure everyone here that as surely as Marvel’s foray into political correctness and slavish devotion to an ideology is killing their profitability in the comic book market vinyl is the fastest growing music medium. Vinyl accounted for $416 million dollars in sales, while to put it in perspective the web streaming model generated $385 million (paid internet radio not accounted for because it isn’t solely music.) The observation of one individual in a store may not be aware of it but it is nonetheless true. Large amounts of accountable data will always be more reliable then the observation of one person, in one store, in one geographical location. If I walked into a busy comic shop in New York City I may be under the impression that the comic book industry is doing very well. But of course we know that isn’t the case, because one person observing one store in one geographical location is getting a skewed impression based on what information is observable.

    Marvel needs to stop pretending that changing the gender, race or sexual orientation of a much beloved and historically significant character is creating. It isn’t. It’s riding the harbored good will of consumers have\had toward that character for a quick sale. But we the consumers weren’t fooled for long and now they have the incredible difficult task of needing new customers for a condescending and preachy product nobody wants. The old adage is true, it is easier and more profitable to keep a good customer than to find a new one. And it isn’t just you self proclaimed ‘old guys’ that have ditched the monthly funnies. I’m thirty, which I don’t think is terribly old, and me and my friends who were knee deep in comics dropped pretty much all of our books at around the launch of New 52. I mostly collect raw back issues, original art and comic strip collections now. Two of our group of five now only read the odd TPB of a classic story a couple of times a year. All the political correctness driving narrative has to stop. There is only so long a reader can drag a cheese grater across their face and pretend to like it, and that’s what is feels like reading a social justice driven Marvel comic these days.

  49. Excellent! I couldn’t have said it better! It will backfire at some point (Actually it already has) But I do wonder: Will Marvel figure it out?
    And you’re right, 30 is not old at all..not even close. But you are wise beyond your years my friend.

  50. A falling rock may certainly bounce Charlie,but a failing argument falls flat.For an industry that did fall flat it has and is certainly rebounding.Long Live Vinyl!

  51. It is never going to cross the two billion mark because, thanks to how easy it is to steal music digitally, the number of people willing to buy music is much smaller than it was in the 1980’s. What’s important is to look at market share, and vinyl is really starting to dominate market share, especially considering the margins on vinyl are superior to digital margins. Same with comics in many ways but tragically in the other direction. They push rehashes and social justice preachy nonsense that isn’t creative and lose market share in an already rapidly shrinking market. It’s a perilous place to put yourself as a business, and I have to wonder how marketing and editorial haven’t sat down sometime in the last eight years to have a serious conversation about whether or not their content in the problem. Whether or not Disney steps in and attempts to somehow fix it remains to be seen, but from creative to pricing to distribution and retail comic books are in a disastrous place right now. And both DC and Marvel have a very steep hill to climb to gain readership back and win over new customers in the next decade. I find it funny that Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen was cancelled for having low sales. Those low sales numbers from 1978 would easily put it in the top 5, if not number 1 spot, in today’s sales charts. How times have changed…

  52. I don’t think comics as an art form are going anywhere, but I think comic books are pretty much finished as mainstream media. They face all the challenges of newspapers with none of the built in house distribution methods and sales channels newspapers do have. It’s disastrous because it means there is an entire generation that doesn’t consume media in their paper and staples medium and won’t seek out the few outlets that actually carry their product. Super difficult to overcome those kinds of market challenges. But I’m very optimistic about the medium. It’s never been easier for creators to reach out directly to their market and I’m more than happy if that is the future of the medium. A bunch of creative and talented people with no other editorial than the free market reaching directly to their audience. No company mission they don’t want, no editorial breathing down their neck about gender issues, no having their creations outright stolen and no syndicate with a death grip on distribution. Despite all the struggles the traditional comic book is facing, what a time to be alive as a comics fan.

  53. Robert, can’t you see that you’re supporting my argument. If you know that vinyl will never reach 2 billion, then why would you expect comics to regain their former glory? And if you agree that comics also wont, doesn’t this suggest that the criticism is misdirected?

    Long Live Vinyl!

    Does this seem like someone who can accept change?

  54. Robert, thanks for the input.I don’t expect $2 billion either but it is nice to see that there are enough audiophiles who appreciate music to be buying the warm sound of analog over the highly compressed digital sound that is more annoying than listenable.I came back to vinyl about 3 years ago as I found myself no longer enjoying music, and i have killer audio and video gear.Nothing, in my opinion, rivals the warm sound you get from quality vinyl and the expansion of the sound field which has become indistinguishable in mp3 and highly compressed CD’s. Comics I feel are much the same.They take 5 minutes to read , and as you say, the social justice narrative has become more than annoying.

  55. Sorry Robert… I missed this:

    I don’t think comics as an art form are going anywhere, but I think comic books are pretty much finished as mainstream media. They face all the challenges of newspapers with none of the built in house distribution methods and sales channels newspapers do have. It’s disastrous because it means there is an entire generation that doesn’t consume media in their paper and staples medium and won’t seek out the few outlets that actually carry their product. Super difficult to overcome those kinds of market challenges.

    That pretty much sums it up and directly supports Scott’s statement.

    “We have shown that creativity is enhanced following all types of sarcasm, from sarcastic anger and criticism to sarcastic compliments and banter,” the researchers said. “All forms of sarcastic exchanges, not just sarcastic anger or criticism, seem to exercise the brain more.”

    Source: Huang L, Gino F, Galinsky A, et al. The highest form of intelligence: Sarcasm increases creativity for both expressers and recipients. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 2015.

    Sarcasm is hardly stupid…

  56. Dennis I’m jealous but I’m also encouraged. As you know I lost a bunch of hearing when I was younger. The frustrating thing is I love music and I’ve all but resigned myself to listening to songs through my crappy car speakers or through my laptop via headphones, two options not kind to hearing aids.

    I think I’ll invest in a quality home system and get myself a nice turn table. You might have to lend me a few albums!

  57. Another definition of sarcasm is the building up of oneself by tearing down someone else.But to use your definition , it must be awfully hard on your neck to carry your massive brain about on your shoulders. It may not be stupid but it wears thin very quickly.

  58. Heyy Walter, as you know I can relate with the hearing loss as well.I blew the high end frequency out of mine from playing in too small areas for band practice.I really have lost my ability to sing like I used to but at least with the use of hearing aids and vinyl I can once again enjoy music when I am either reading or working on my drawing board.I will not only lend you some albums but I will show you some of my haunts for Used and new vinyl.There is a ton available.You may be familiar with Cheapies for one ,in downtown Hamilton!

  59. Robert, what a breath of fresh air! Your argument is reasoned and well-articulated and puts many of us old farts to shame. Thank you so much for your input on this post, and I’m sure we all look forward to hearing much more from you in the future. Yours is he kind of voice needed in a civilized debate.

    As for the benefits of sarcasm, I think Charles’ input says a lot about the credibility of that argument.

  60. I should add that it was thanks to this post that I discovered http://www.superherocorner.com and enjoyed even more of Robert’s insights. Any fan of Comic Book Daily owes it to himself (or herself) to see what else Robert had to say for himself. This guy is a talent to watch!

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