Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Okay, so yesterday, I was disappointed at the news that DC Comics had discontinued its line of graphic novels reprinting strips from 2000AD. Today, I'm in a better mood, because, according to 2000AD Review, Rebellion (the company that publishes 2000AD) will be continuing the books on their own.

However, realizing just how much the possibility of the 2000AD books ending upset me has caused me to think even more about the comics I currently buy. And I don't want to fault DC here... okay, yes I do. This situation with the 2000AD and Humanoids (a French comics publisher distributed in the US by DC, also dropped due to low sales, which, until recently, were not promoted at all by DC) is pretty irritating. DC claims they're ending the deals with Rebellion and Humanoids because the books weren't selling. Well, as I've said, they didn't promote the books at all. I didn't see them reviewed in trade journals (not the ones we get at the library, anyway; obscure journals like Publisher's Weekly and Booklist and Library Journal), I didn't see ads aimed at bookstore stock buyers in those journals... Hell, I didn't even see ads in other DC comics. I mean, call me crazy, but since most of the big-name writers working for DC's Vertigo line got started in 2000AD, perhaps advertising their early works in Vertigo comics might have been a shrewd move? But no, they opted to not tell anyone that they were publishing these books--at the rate of three a month, mind--and then were surprised that sales failed to materialize. And then, instead of trying the bold step of attempting any marketing campaign, they canceled the lines.

(To be fair, I had seen house ads for the Humanoids books lately, but obviously, too little, too late.)

So what this says to me about DC is that despite being better than Marvel (the other big company in the US) at publishing diverse material, they don't actually know how to sell anything besides superhero comics. Which would be fine, if sales figures didn't indicate that the audience for superhero comics is shrinking, and that new readers aren't coming into the market. But what bothers me is that they're not willing to try to figure out how to sell other kinds of comics; they're apparently willing to just continue marketing a specific genre to a shrinking audience.

Well, maybe I've just done too much growing up in the past few years, but I'm no longer interested in superhero comics quite the same way I was, not even a year ago. So I'm pretty much dropping every ongoing DC superhero title I was getting. Not every single one; I've been a fan of Legion of Super-Heroes since I've been reading superhero comics, and it's finally good again, so I'lll keep reading that. Ditto Birds of Prey (huge Black Canary fan). And Gotham Central, the comic about the police department in Batman's home town, is still pretty keen. So is Superman/Batman, but when writer Jeph Loeb leaves the book in seven months, I'm going with him. But every other ongoing DC superhero comic I was getting is pretty much off the list, due in a large part to the fact that they've pissed me off. That, and these are the comics that just aren't exciting me the way they used to. Other comics from other companies seem new, exciting and different, while DC is making a big deal about restoring old characters to their old lives in really bad stories (yes, Green Lantern: Rebirth, I'm talking about you). They aren't telling stories about characters any more, and, more importantly, they don't seem interested in even trying. So, I'm out.

(Of course, there are exceptions. I'll keep getting miniseries from them, because those, by their very nature, are story-oriented, and finite. I'll keep getting stuff from their Wildstorm and Vertigo imprints, because those tend to feature new ideas, or non-superhero ones. And if it lives up to the previous work of the creative team, I'll get the new Supergirl comic, because I like the creators, and I've always liked the character. But that's it.)

Sorry if this is rambling a bit. Got some other stuff going on in my real life that I'm trying to distract myself from.

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