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Wednesday, May 15, 2013 

Huffpost writer won't admit superhero comics are still in ruin

A writer for the Huffington Post says:
If you've ever thought about getting into comic books, then I can tell you: as both a huge fan and as a retailer, now is the time to start reading. In response to heavy success at the box office, comics publishers are doing everything they can to get neophytes interested in their periodicals and graphic novels. As a result, the climate of what is normally a dense continuity that most new readers would find difficult to jump into is currently pretty friendly to people that might want to dip their toes into the adventures of your favorite superheroes. [...]

The results are hard to argue. Many new fans are turning up, and feel like they can jump into both universes at once with little worry for dense, prohibitive continuity getting in the way. If you've ever been interested in the ongoing adventures of Batman or Iron Man, of the Avengers or the Justice League, then as a geek and a comic book peddler I can tell you: now is the time. The companies are trying to appeal to the uninitiated in a way not seen since at least the 1980s...
If only, but that's not so. Despite the rebooting of DC continuity, for example, the climate remains solidly insular and stuck on some of the cheapest ideas like pairing up Superman and Wonder Woman, while eschewing Clark Kent's romance with Lois Lane for much the same reasons that Marvel got rid of Spider-Man's marraige to Mary Jane Watson. If the guy's a retailer, he noticeably didn't provide any statistics to back up his argument. The ICV2 charts show that a large majority of series from both companies sell below 100,000 each. If new readers were really flocking in en masse, I'm sure the numbers would be a lot higher. But they're not, and he doesn't seem very enthusiastic about giving us the exact figures.

Interestingly enough, Age of Ultron has fallen below 100,000 units sold, which will hopefully signal that readers are beginning to tire of company wide crossovers like those and recognize that they're a waste of financial resources. But something also has to be done to persuade addicts who buy these stories no matter what that they won't have the monetary value they're hoping for and that above all, they're not and no longer are good storytelling.

And the Huffpo contributor isn't doing a favor for the medium by sugarcoating it.

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Looks like HuffPo runs paid ads as journalism. The language, in particular, 'great jumping on point,' obviously is coming right out of the comics industry. DC probably sent HuffPo the copy and they just had to change a word or two.

There are probably as many fans jumping off as "jumping on," because it is hard to maintain interest in a series when you expect it to be retconned and rebooted (i.e., changed beyond recognition) every few months. And, before long, the new version will build up its own complicated continuity, and everything will be as confusing as before, necessitating yet another reboot. And today's sales figures are not impressive. In the 1960s, sales below six figures would have been grounds for cancelling a comic. And sales are now inflated by speculators investing in comics that they think will become expensive collector's items.

And don't bother jumping on to Legion of Super Heroes or Dial H. Those titles have already been cancelled.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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