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Sunday, September 12, 2010 

Brian Hibbs feels the big two are going in the wrong direction

Brian Hibbs, the owner of the ComixExperience LCS in SanFrancisco and blogmaster of The Savage Critics, has posted his latest Tilting at Windmills column on CBR, and makes some great points from a business perspective about how the big two are going nowhere fast. He even points to the following commentary by Kurt Busiek, who says:
I get all the DC books free, like Steve, and don't read most of them.

Part of it's that they're just not aimed at me — there are a lot of line-wide stunts that seem to affect all the books, which makes it hard to follow them as individual series, but at the same time there's no apparent interest in building or maintaining a coherent universe. So whether you're looking for self-contained series or want to wallow in the peculiar glories of a shared universe (and I like both), they're presented in a way that messes up either thrill. At least for me.

Add to that the tone of the books, which seems to be overwhelmingly grim, cheerless and bleak, and it's a sandbox I don't much want to play in or read about. But like I said, they're not aimed at me.
I guess he too has had to agree that their editorially mandated direction has only led to disaster, and lost readers in the process, and as Hibbs tells, his own customer base's interest in Marvel and DC's output has dwindled drastically. Sales for X-Men, for example, have gone down, with the new adjectiveless series getting a very small percentage of orders. If that's how it is at his own store, it could be that way at a lot of other LCS across the country too. The price rise to 4 dollars certainly isn't helping.

Until now, I hadn't thought to look much at Hibbs' writings, but now, I think I'll need to give him a try more seriously, to get some insight on how bad it's become for comics sales today. He does seem to have some good insight on just what's gone wrong with the industry, particularly the mainstream.

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