I want to take a break from Daily Life this week and talk about Comic Book life. While at the Baltimore Comicon, Jim, Comic Store Owner (CSO), and I had a long discussion about the state of comic industry. Jim was arguing that 95% of the modern superhero stories were dull and repetitious. In his opinion, superhero comic books had become stagnant. I argued that the more superhero books stagnated, the more people would just read indies.
CSO made an excellent, if not depressing point, “It's true that superheroes are using the same stories over and over but it doesn't matter. People aren't going to ever read indies in any great numbers because 95% of the fans read superheroes. And, superheroes are never going to change because the fans don’t change.” It was such a simple concept that is unfortunately very true.
While I understand that superheroes are the lifeblood of the hobby, I always hoped that people were actually reading other books besides superheroes. Part of why I do the Indies post is so that people will see all the great things out there besides superheroes. And, I always assumed that older readers, such as Jim and myself, read superheroes AND other books. Apparently I was wrong.
CSO gave an incredibly depressing story about Buyer Y. It turns out that Buyer Y is a busy professional who likes comics but doesn’t have time to pick them out. CSO pulls $50 worth of books every week and Buyer Y gets them. No questions asked. It doesn’t make any sense to me either but at least Buyer Y still reads. Recently, Buyer Y needed to trim a little because of time commitments. CSO suggested keeping some Vertigo books, Northlanders and Madame Xanadu, and dropping the unreadable Ultimates 3. Would you like to guess what Buyer Y dropped? That's right, the Vertigo books. Buyer Y didn’t have time to try “new books.” He’d been reading X-men and Superman for so many years that he can’t read anything else.
I quickly pointed out that one person doesn’t make a trend and it could just him. CSO, to prove his point, also gave an example about Buyer X. The other week, as Buyer X was reviewing his books, he asked CSO how he was going to like them.
CSO, never short on opinion, stated “It’s the same as last week. What do you expect?”
Buyer X, “Seriously, I’m not sure the books this week are any good. What’s your opinion?”
CSO, “OK.” Flipping through the stack, CSO continues, “Well, let’s see, X-men, fine, Captain America, fine, Ultimates 3, junk but you know that.” Buyer X nodded his head in agreement. CSO continued on “Red Hulk, junk. So you’re right, it’s not that good a week. If you want something good, put Ultimates 3 back because you know you won’t like it and go get the DMZ trade.”
In the end, Buyer X, didn’t change a thing. He bought Ultimates 3 even though he KNEW he wouldn’t like it.
That’s the problem with the hobby and that’s why nothing will change. People don’t try new things. I love Indies and I think my love of them has slowly been wearing Jim down because I noticed that he is getting more and more of them. But what about everyone else?
Have you read anything new this year? If you haven't, try something new and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get better superheroes.