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Author Topic: Title Relaunch Readership Research  (Read 1881 times)
IMJ
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« on: March 25, 2016, 12:20:26 AM »

There's so much I could say about the marketing-driven new comic book market that we've seen in place since the Avengers: Dissassembled era.  Sure, by that point Iron Man had already been relaunched twice, but volume 2 was intended as a one-year bridge book from the beginning and, in turn lead to another fully realized Iron Man volume. Volume 3 was a solid run, but when that went up, and let's be honest, the whole Iron Man series (along with many other Marvel titles) became a continuity and numbering mess.

Extremely liberal editors at Marvel argued that relaunches made the books more accessible, but that can't be further from the truth. I started reading Iron Man with volume 1's issue 246, and diving in so late in the series actually made a collector out of me. Sure, it was 246 issues of material to hunt down, but the numbering made sense and I picked issues up here and there as I went.

I'll sticky this thread for article links related to the effects of the constant relaunches on the market.

Marvel's 2015 Re-Launch Stumbling Out Of The Gate
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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2016, 10:50:39 AM »

Marvel can put whatever spin they want on the "relaunch" business, but I agree that it's not helping. They inflate first issues sales with 100 variant covers and the promise of something new and original. As the article states, it generally doesn't last, or make a long-term difference. Nobody is fooled by this nonsense, and overall, I think it actually hurts the consumer.

"I just got Amazing Spider-Man #1!"
"Oh? Which one? There's been four now..."
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IMJ
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 01:39:13 AM »

I felt this was relevent here too, although in this case I believe that the regular relaunches are only one component of the greater whole regarding Marvel's current sales status.

Bleeding cool looks at Marvel's absence from the top 10
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 12:42:45 AM »

Not to dismiss any criticisms concerning Marvel's current direction (I mean pretty much every X-book is crap right now and there are a lot of them), but this top ten list is severely misleading.

Yes, DC is practically running the table, but it's because of relaunches.  Every book they have on the list is a relaunch.  When Marvel does a line-wide relaunch, they end up with the same result time and time again.  Honestly, this list kinda says relaunches work.  You must also keep in mind that DC is shipping all of their major titles twice a month while Marvel typically sticks with once a month which means that issue #7 of Wonder Woman is pretty much the equivalent of say issue #3 of Avengers if it were relaunched at the same time.  DC is pumping out as many issues as they can with multiple covers before the newness wears off and readers move on.  I bet three months from now, DC is going to start slipping.  So far, most of their books have been pretty solid, but truthfully, aside from the Superman books, none that I have read had a strong or memorable first arc.  The New52 may have ended up a flop, but it started much stronger than rebirth.  There were a number of standouts. 

Again, Marvel is hurting because the majority of their books are poor or mediocre right now.  I don't feel that has anything to do with their new "diverse" approach but rather just a line wide slump.  Guardians is meh right now as is the Avengers line and the X-line and the Inhumans.  They will probably bounce back at some point when they find a direction.  DC has that right now, and it's working for them.           
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ADour
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 05:41:32 AM »

Also worth mentioning that for the first couple of issues of their series, DC allowed retailers to refund unsold comics, encouraging them to order more than usual, which are the numbers seen on the charts, and not those of comics sold to readers.

However, I disagree that Marvel's current output is overall mediocre, I can't really recall a single book I just outright stopped reading, and there are quite a lot of gems: any book written by Al Ewing (New Avengers and Ultimates), Mighty Thor, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Spider-Man/Deadpool, Black Panther, Vision and Silver Surfer. Additionally, as superlative and outright dumb Totally Awesome Hulk and Unbelievable Gwenpool seemed, respectively, they were pleasant surprises and solid books. While Extraordinary X-Men has been "meh" I have particularly enjoyed Uncanny X-Men as a continuation of Bunn's previous Magneto series (in spite of Land, blergh) and All-New X-Men as it focuses on old-school fun superheroics instead of being permeated with the "Terrigen Mists are killing us oh noes!" angst from its two sister titles. Amazing Spider-Man has also mantained a good level of quality, and even the unnecessarily controversial Captain America: Steve Rogers has been intriguing, even though we all would just rather have good ol' Steve back instead of Hydra Steve. I've also heard great things about titles I haven't checked out like Old Man Logan, Silk, Ms. Marvel, Power Man and Iron Fist, Mockingbird and Spidey.

Most of these titles will carry on into Marvel NOW!, so I'm not entirely too worried about the future, with the exception of the batch of Mercs for Money spin-offs like Solo, Foolkiller and Slapstick. But, considering they're extremely obscure characters, they're going to get cancelled before reaching issue #7 even if each outing is Eisner worthy.

Even Marvel's upcoming December mini-event Monsters Unleashed looks like it's gonna be old-fashioned fun, consisting simply on a parade of Kirby monsters punching and getting punched by heroes. It definetely seems like the perfect medicine against all the Civil War II nonsense.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 05:51:20 AM by ADour » Logged

IMJ
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2016, 11:52:39 AM »

Some good discussion here about this, guys....
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IMJ
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 01:58:42 AM »

Bleeding Cool Bestseller List November 2016.

As reported by the following retailers:

G-Mart Comic Books– Champaign, IL
    Rodman Comics of Ankeny, Iowa
    Issues Needed Comics, Apple Valley, Minnesota
    Dr. No’s Comics & Games Superstore of Marietta, Georgia
    Yesteryear Comics of San Diego, California
    Fat Jack’s Comicrypt of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Famous Faces & Funnies of West Melbourne, Florida.
    Graham Crackers Comics – 11 locations in the Mid-West


Some highlights.....

Quote from: Bleeding Cool Independent Retailer
Don’t let the October sales charts fool you, it’s definitely still DC dominating the charts when it comes to actual sales to customers and our November orders are much more in line with actual sales than our October orders were.

Quote from: Bleeding Cool Independent Retailer
We are seeing NO interest in Riri as Iron Man so far, and I think Marvel screwed up announcing all this four months ago.  I am only ordering about a third of our orders for issue 1 for the second issue and even that might still be too high unless the next few days really bring some people in for it.

Quote from: Bleeding Cool Independent Retailer
Marvel can’t get out of a death spiral, apparently: even their two big launches of the week (Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows and invincible Iron Man) failed to crack our store’s top 10, coming in at 14 and 15 respectively.  It’s time for some serious house-cleaning at Marvel–they really need to find someone who has a clue about what readers want to see.

Quote from: Bleeding Cool Independent Retailer
Really need Marvel to correct the direction they are going. DC sells well and now Marvel is completely the opposite. I keep thinking Marvel has hit bottom sales wise but I keep getting proved wrong. Which means we are losing money with Marvel product.

This last quote was very interesting to me as it's something that I've talked about for years when it was coming to Iron Man's perceived popularity in print (based on sales that is)....
Quote from: Bleeding Cool Independent Retailer
Since we didn’t qualify for unlocking the variants for Marvel’s Now Invincible Iron Man #1 it barley cracked the top ten for us. So Marvel needs to crank out tons of variants to take market share..Kinda of sad!

Given this thread's focus on the effect of constant relaunching, it should be noted that DC Rebirth books are still going pretty strong (according to the Bleeding Cool reports).  With that said, I'd guess that the comic consumers are finally sensing that relaunches are a cash grab, but are still willing to give them a shot if they feel that the publisher is behind them as the new long term storytelling device. DC still has some goodwill left in it with only two major linewide relaunches basically ever. The New 52 and now Rebirth.

Marvel has relaunched and renumbered to the point of frustration and exhaustion, IMO.
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IMJ
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 05:25:33 PM »

Cosmic Book News elaborates on 2017 Marvel Comic's cancellations and jaded readership.  

Marvel Comics Cancels Ghost Rider; Possibly Dozens More

Quote from: Cosmic Book News
It remains to be seen if Marvel Comics will be able to get any of the fans back, because as it stands now, Marvel comics barely last six issues.
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ADour
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 12:06:40 PM »

Hard to take seriously an article that reports that two series that aleady ended are in danger of getting cancelled (one of them being a mini-series with a set number of issues). This article also seems to be focusing solely on Diamond charts, sales figures that don't include digital releases. I mean, even if I hate it, the new Invincible Iron Man volume is in the top 10 in Comixology while the physical copies don't get that far up in Diamond's charts.

All of these series that have gotten the axe prematurely featured B and even C-list characters. This type of series has always struggled. It's not that suddenly nobody wants to read about Foolkiller now, nobody did to begin with. What I've noticed has changed is that Marvel doesn't wait for lesser known series to pick up .Years ago, a struggling series could at least reach 12 issues. Now you can know if a series will get cancelled solely based on the first issue's numbers. Bad move in my opinion. Maybe the series finds it audiece after the first trade, or maybe the book finds it footing a couple of issues in.
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IMJ
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2017, 12:20:27 AM »

Hard to take seriously an article that reports that two series that aleady ended are in danger of getting cancelled (one of them being a mini-series with a set number of issues). This article also seems to be focusing solely on Diamond charts, sales figures that don't include digital releases. I mean, even if I hate it, the new Invincible Iron Man volume is in the top 10 in Comixology while the physical copies don't get that far up in Diamond's charts.

All of these series that have gotten the axe prematurely featured B and even C-list characters. This type of series has always struggled. It's not that suddenly nobody wants to read about Foolkiller now, nobody did to begin with. What I've noticed has changed is that Marvel doesn't wait for lesser known series to pick up .Years ago, a struggling series could at least reach 12 issues. Now you can know if a series will get cancelled solely based on the first issue's numbers. Bad move in my opinion. Maybe the series finds it audiece after the first trade, or maybe the book finds it footing a couple of issues in.

So then, your opinion here is that Marvel's publishing model for the last several years would be continuously viable and in good form if only they held onto books longer?
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ADour
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2017, 01:19:53 AM »

Hard to take seriously an article that reports that two series that aleady ended are in danger of getting cancelled (one of them being a mini-series with a set number of issues). This article also seems to be focusing solely on Diamond charts, sales figures that don't include digital releases. I mean, even if I hate it, the new Invincible Iron Man volume is in the top 10 in Comixology while the physical copies don't get that far up in Diamond's charts.

All of these series that have gotten the axe prematurely featured B and even C-list characters. This type of series has always struggled. It's not that suddenly nobody wants to read about Foolkiller now, nobody did to begin with. What I've noticed has changed is that Marvel doesn't wait for lesser known series to pick up .Years ago, a struggling series could at least reach 12 issues. Now you can know if a series will get cancelled solely based on the first issue's numbers. Bad move in my opinion. Maybe the series finds it audiece after the first trade, or maybe the book finds it footing a couple of issues in.

So then, your opinion here is that Marvel's publishing model for the last several years would be continuously viable and in good form if only they held onto books longer?

Maybe, if that was combined with other changes here and there. The thing is that publishing decisions depend a lot sometimes on creative decisions, so sometimes it's a blurry line when it comes to determine if something happens because of a story-making model or a publishing model.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 01:22:11 AM by ADour » Logged

IMJ
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 01:44:51 AM »

Maybe, if that was combined with other changes here and there. The thing is that publishing decisions depend a lot sometimes on creative decisions, so sometimes it's a blurry line when it comes to determine if something happens because of a story-making model or a publishing model.

Hm.  I feel like Marvel's publishing model has been one of forced, leftist social justice which hasn't actually added diversity to the books, but rather contained elements of cultural appropriation and opinion shaming if readers didn't buy into it.

As a matter of fact here is a March 31 2017 article wherein David Gabriel (Marvel's Senior VP of Sales) blames comics buyers for low sales, stating that we don't want diversity (hence, shaming and phony causality) - Late ’16 Sales Downturn Told Marvel ‘People Didn't Want Any More Diversity’ - UPDATED With New Marvel Statement.

Here is Marvel's Senior VP of Sales words on the sales downturn:
Quote from: David Gabriel, Marvel's Senior Vice President of Sales, Print & Marketing
We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against

Then, after the article was published, Marvel's Senior VP of Sales, David Gabriel reaches out to Newsarama to correct his statement with less volatile, accussational words stating:
Quote from: David Gabriel, Marvel's Senior Vice President of Sales, Print & Marketing
Discussed candidly by some of the retailers at the summit, we heard that some were not happy with the false abandonment of the core Marvel heroes and, contrary to what some said about characters “not working,”

David Gabriel's first, volatile comment regarding buyers "turning up their noses" is endemic of the culture of appropriation and disregard at Marvel that has permeated the comics for sometime now. And then after receiving backlash for those evidently revealing comments, he backtracked with different language about "false abandonment" of IP's (which is, ironically still pretty incriminating, given the problem).  

All we need is more time and words from Marvel about the issue, especially as sales decline, before we'll finally be able to state outright what has really been going on here at Marvel under Axel Alonso.  I would argue that Marvel's last few years of publishing model are not indicative of inclusive diversity because, via cultural appropriation, the changes have come at the expense of a particular, single demographic.

Diversity is a great thing in real life as well as in media and related apocrypha.  However, it should come as an inclusive addition rather than by wiping out and replacing an existing culture, which is in fact what Marvel has been doing via their social justice publishing.  And when the traditional readership doesn't like being put on the back burner for social justice, staff at Marvel has had a history of shaming them by twisting the issue and stating that the readership isn't open or for diversity.  It has been my experience that this kind of behavior is strongly correlated with extreme leftist shaming, manipulation and agenda bolstering lies.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 01:48:11 AM by IMJ » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2017, 10:59:08 AM »

Cultural appropriation? I don't see how the inclusion of other races and cultures can be considered cultural appropriation.
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 02:36:55 AM »

Cultural appropriation? I don't see how the inclusion of other races and cultures can be considered cultural appropriation.

It is cultural appropriation if it has come at the expense or supplanting of another given demographic of characters and to put the core of the culture elsewhere, which in this case has manifested as the removal, replacement, or downgrading of white, male characters.  And this was on such a scale across the line, in conjunction with one of the most vocal leftist crazes that this country has ever seen, while employing shaming tactics on readers who didn't like how this was being done, that in hindsight appears to be agenda-driven appropriation rather than actual diversity building.

Diversity does not mean supplanting the old status quo, but rather it means to develop and add to it with variation. Some of your conversation here makes me believe that you haven't recognized this, or have other reasons for not recognizing it.

Adour, Marvel has been replacing white male characters with other demographics in the hopes that those demographics would take off in sales to continue forward in those titles. Do you agree with that form of publishing model as opposed to one wherein diverse characters stand side by side with traditional characters rather than supplanting them?

I think Marvel should be furthering diversity by creating characters that stand side by side with traditional Marvel characters rather than traditional character's books appropriated for a diversity-agenda.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 02:45:05 AM by IMJ » Logged

ADour
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2017, 04:06:15 PM »

Cultural appropriation? I don't see how the inclusion of other races and cultures can be considered cultural appropriation.

It is cultural appropriation if it has come at the expense or supplanting of another given demographic of characters and to put the core of the culture elsewhere, which in this case has manifested as the removal, replacement, or downgrading of white, male characters.  And this was on such a scale across the line, in conjunction with one of the most vocal leftist crazes that this country has ever seen, while employing shaming tactics on readers who didn't like how this was being done, that in hindsight appears to be agenda-driven appropriation rather than actual diversity building.

Diversity does not mean supplanting the old status quo, but rather it means to develop and add to it with variation. Some of your conversation here makes me believe that you haven't recognized this, or have other reasons for not recognizing it.

Adour, Marvel has been replacing white male characters with other demographics in the hopes that those demographics would take off in sales to continue forward in those titles. Do you agree with that form of publishing model as opposed to one wherein diverse characters stand side by side with traditional characters rather than supplanting them?

I think Marvel should be furthering diversity by creating characters that stand side by side with traditional Marvel characters rather than traditional character's books appropriated for a diversity-agenda.

I understand your disgruntlement with Marvel's approach, but that still doesn't qualify as cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation involves the elements of a culture being used irresponsibly by another one, and results in damage to the culture whose elements are being used. Marvel isn't a culture, it's a worldwide company. And what they're doing is bringing characters from other cultures and not simply its elements. That's the difference between, say, Ms. Marvel and Iron Fist. One has a Muslim character who practises her culture (and is written by somebody who practises Islam, as well), the other is an white guy whose lifestlye is greatly influenced by Eastern cultures. Ms. Marvel is also the only case I can recall which deeply involves a culture and its elements. Characters like Sam Wilson, Jane Foster or Riri Williams aren't influenced by any culture, they're simply American, but black, a woman, and black.

As for my stance on Marvel's approach to diversity: I haven't really talked about that in here a lot, it's not like this is a very active forum either. I recall expressing here and there my issues with Riri Wholliams (and boy, they are many. I can post a rant if you want to), but not much else.

Now into my stance on this matter:

I don't blame Marvel for replacing classic heroes. Minority characters are hard to sell, and so are new characters. So new and minority characters are a though sell. "We could have had a Sif series instead of Thor being replaced by a woman" Well, the last series Sif starred lasted for 10 issues. "Falcon could've gotten his own series." Let's be honest, Falcon wasn't really that popular until he became Cap. Minority long-established characters who weren't house-hold names also struggle. Storm couldn't hold an ongoing series. War Machine hasn't been much luckier either. Black Panther is doing fine, but the popularity boost due to the upcoming movie helped a lot. Shang-Chi was probably Marvel's most popular Asian character up until Ms. Marvel and Silk came along, but that says something.

A character's name is a big seller. That's why a character named Ironheart is starring a book still named Invincible Iron Man. Even Kamala Khan cashed a little bit in the Ms. Marvel monicker in spite of being mostly an original character who could've been named in a different way. Even G. Willow Wilson considers that her book hit the jackpot when it comes to its success.

In essence, I see the replacement of classic heroes as a necessary evil. In an ideal world, Marvel wouldn't need to take this approach. But in an ideal world, Al Ewing would be writing Iron Man and my computer wouldn't have broken last week.

Still, that doesn't mean I'm a-okay with the replacement waves. There are certain torch passing I believe feel natural. Wolverine is the best example. When Logan died, there was time for his death to settle in before X-23 took up his mantle, not to mention all the history between Logan and Laura. There are others towards which I feel neutral. Amadeus Cho becoming the Hulk was unnecessary, but I'm really enjoying it. Then there's the side of the spectrum opposite to where I place Wolverine's replacement, that's the side where Riri Wholliams is. Ironheart is the complete antithesis of what happened to Logan. It's a entirely unknown and new character with no relationship to the hero they're succeeding, and her filling that hero's shoes doesn't simply feel forced, it is.

I also have an issue with the fact these new legacy heroes appeared in an extremely brief period of time. They're oversaturated.

So, to answer your question: No, I do not agree with the current creative model regarding diversity. However, I do not fully disagree. There are things I find okay, and there are things I don't like but understand why they're being done. I don't stand on one side, but neither on the other.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 04:08:33 PM by ADour » Logged

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