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Friday, December 13, 2013 

Wall Street Cheat Sheet's weak perception of how movies impact comic sales

Wall Street Cheat Sheet wrote a list of several comic series that are hot properties in Hollywood, but not very hot back on the home turf for pamphlets. Alas, it's the kind of report that relies on very flimsy research, and doesn't take into account that, even if a movie does boost sales for comics, it's for a pretty short time. The weak spot that stands out the most is what they have to say about Spider-Man:
Spider-Man’s overall sales of $144 million actually places the property at number two when it comes to overall sales in the ten-year period — a fact that demonstrates the kind of decline the superhero has been experiencing in recent years. Spider-Man’s decline comic book sales actually began in 2005, a year after Sam Raimi’s well-received Spider-Man 2 hit theaters, and continued to trend downwards in the years after. Surprisingly, comic sales did not experience a huge downturn in the aftermath of the poorly received Spider-Man 3, instead experiencing a slight rise year-over-year. Instead, comic book sales slumped after 2009, perhaps having more to do with the uncertainly over the film franchise.

The chart for Spider-Man comic sales doesn’t paint a simple picture of cause and effect like some of the other entries on this list do. If anything, Spider-Man’s popularity over the past 10 or so years seems to portray a comic book character that is simply not as popular as he once was as other comic book characters experience surges in popularity. However, it’s important to note that 2012 saw a modest gain year-over-year and depending on how 2013′s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is received Spider-Man could be on its way to the top once again.
Boy, they sure are oblivious to the happenings on the homestead, aren't they? There's no mention of the Sins Past storyline by J. Michael Stracynski, one of the reasons for Spidey's downfall in recent times, and no mention of how One More Day led to a decline in sales soon afterwards. Perhaps it has more to do with the uncertainty of where Spider-Man's headed now in comics, with awful writers like Dan Slott at the wheel?

In fairness, uncertainly over the films could describe the situation surrounding the reboot. I sure didn't get much of a kick out of it when I viewed it over a year ago, because it was mostly the same thing all over again. And it's not easy to get enthused for more when the comics publishers have no interest in bettering the comics.

One of the repliers to their article said it better than they could:
What is killing Spiderman aren't the movies but the story arcs. Brand New Day placed him in the coffin and the Superior Spiderman drove the nails in the coffin. I wish writers stop experimenting with the character so much and go back to what made him popular.
Exactly. Another one said:
The same is the case for X-Men. The events of Schism and AvX, and their collective fallout, has alienated quite a few fans. If the forums are anything to go by, readers are getting sick of Cyke and Wolvie's pissing contest and that's driving them away from the series.
Why does that not occur to WSCS's staffers? These internal battles are also getting out of hand, becoming more like a childish popularity contest aimed at favoratists. But they can't count on the clash resulting in a draw, and even then, I don't see why some hardcore readers are so comfy with heroes locking horns with each other and not concentrating on stopping villains. And even with villains, they've long stopped trying to think of clever ideas for any. They don't even have any idea how to come up with a perfect plot. Why are Marvel and DC still owned by conglomerates if they have no interest in ensuring their properties are in good shape?

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Hey dude, what do you think would be the greatest possible booster SHOTS (that's with an S at the end) for the comic book industry at this point so that they can reap the rewards all of their movies in the home material?

My idea is for the medium to change to paperback format with stories that could come out just 2-3 times a year. They could vary in length, but would be a lot easier to find in bookstores, and a lot less vulnerable to company wide crossovers. Also, the big two's publishing arms should be sold to different ownerships with better ideas for how to market to wider audiences.

By paperbacks, you mean TRADE-paperbacks, right? That and graphic novels, of course?

Yes, of course.

I think that's the best way to go, because pamphlets are outdated and no one is buying them in droves like they once were. The industry only exists now because of their movie and TV departments.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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