Sunday, June 22, 2008

Steps that DC Comics Can Take to Stop Its Sales Slide and Increase Market Share

Things are so bad at DC Comics that even Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood Daily is writing about it. But things don’t have to stay bad, if only the following advice, offered as a free service (you get what you pay for), is heeded:

1. Stop doing “event comics.” Only the most fannish of all the fanboys can keep up with the minutiae of the “DC Universe.” So in order to keep up with everything that happens in the “event comics” a person has to read hundreds- sometimes thousands- of other comics spanning years to know what’s happening currently. Meaning that no new reader in his right mind is going to start in on the latest “Infinite Craptacular”. This would be fine, if the event comics were compelling storytelling. Are they? How the hell would I know? I won’t pick them up, because I’m in my right mind.

2. Make the “event comics” bigger and more important than ever before. The fan base for monthly comics is shrinking every day, leaving for the most part an audience of obsessive fanboys who are willing to devote the time and energy necessary to study in detail every aspect of every panel of every issue of every “Event Spectacular” and its attendant “crossover” issues. So use that to your advantage. Create compelling events that demand the diminishing readers’ time, money, and energy, so they are living breathing dreaming and thinking DC, DC, DC, DC.

3. Sell DC comics online. It’s pathetic that if a person wants to purchase a comic book he has to get the freaking number from Diamond Previews three months ahead of time and leave the comfort of his or her own basement and head to the comic book shop and tell the owner to please order a copy of “Event Craptacular 9: The Washening” or whatever. In the age of iTunes and etc I should be able to pay a monthly fee to “subscribe” to the comics online- perhaps a program in which a person would pay a set amount per month for online access to every comic published in a given month (necessary, given the fact that “Event Craptacular” crosses over with every other comic published that month), and the ability to download, say, ten full issues to keep indefinitely. In this way, you’ve ensured that your readers will read or at least sample every damned thing you published that month, leading to a readership that will live breathe dream and think DC.

4. Boost your relationship with the retailers. The comic book shops are like your agents in the field. Get them talking about your books and get them selling your books by offering comic shop-only exclusive incentives, like “Event Spectacular” bonus issues, possibly with embossed foil covers. Reward those shops that reach certain sales figures on your books by offering deep discounts on the wholesale prices of the books, and bypass Diamond completely.

5. Kill Batman. I men really kill him off; don’t just pretend to kill him, or kill him and then have Dr. Fate go into the Phantom Zone and fetch his soul back or have it turn out that it was actually the father of the Robin of Earth-7 wearing the Batoutfit or some BS like that. I mean really kill him, brutally and horrifically. The way he was meant to be killed off. Something to get the mainstream press talking.

6. Don’t kill Batman. Think about it. He’s DC’s most popular character. He’s the only one who currently has a movie franchise- all their other characters are stalled thanks to overwrought, dull movies (Superman) or development problems (literally every other character). Killing Batman would be the stupidest thing they could do.

7. Hire me to write your comics. One need only peruse the story below to see that I would be the perfect person to write a story featuring superheroes.

8. Don’t hire me to write your comics. The despicable story below should be warning enough.

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