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Monday, September 26, 2011

Comics are Dying and Its Easy to See Why

Have you seen the splash page of Batman and Catwoman doing the nasty from the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe?

I'm a fan of comic books. Always have been. Always will be.

The comics industry is facing two crises. The first is the continued fall of print products. Print anything, its just not selling as well as it used to. We've all seen what happened to Borders, Rocky Mountain Times, etc. Comics is not immune to this. In reaction there've been a number of missteps. In some cases, prices go up. In others, page counts go down. And still in others, digital copies of the comics are finally being released day and date, though still at full print price.

The second is the continued aging of the average comic book buyer. Comic books, particularly print comics, simply don't bring young readers in how they used to. The reasons are many and not really worth going into here, but the fact is the average comic buyer is getting older and older.

So in response to both of these problems, DC launches the New 52. Reboot almost every character, some reboots are major, others minor. Let's bring in new readers by releasing the comics in print and digitally! Throw out a lot of the incestuous continuity that hampers the comic buying experience. There's a reason Iron Man the movie can make half a billion dollars and there is nearly no uptick in comic sales: its too convoluted.

So DC reboots everything, modernizes the characters for a new audience.

Then Batman and Catwoman have a near pornographic sex scene in the reboot. This is the type of thing that sells to the older comic buyer, the recluse, the social outcast. The exact people that DC is trying to NOT market to. Yet they not only go back to the same old shit, they turn it up a notch and make it even more off putting for a non comic reader to get into.

This is what the mainstream comics industry has been doing to itself for years. They claim to be creating a "jumping on point" for casual consumers who may not buy comics. Then Batman and Catwoman fuck, right there on the page in a medium that is traditionally associated by said casual consumers with children.

Then again, perhaps this was planned all along to get people talking about DC comics. "Just get the name right!"

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