Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Follow-Up Thoughts (Slightly Foggy)

I spent some more time trying to sort out my thoughts on the topic last night. It occurred to me that the reason so many people do superhero books when they create their own comics (in addition to it being what they know) is that they are trying to take the superheroes in directions that the Big Two can't. I'm thinking, in particular, of AiT/Planet Lar and Boom! Studios, who took the concepts further and better than a lot of others who have tried.

As Elayne points out in the comments of my last post, DC and Marvel have to keep their characters somewhat stable, as they are licensed properties more than characters now. This is one reason I was really behind what Kurt was doing with Aquaman. At the end, if he'd finished, we would've had the best of both worlds. In my opinion, of course. But time got in the way, as it too often does.

I wish DC (and yeah, Marvel) would take some of their more innovative but low selling books to the web. Publish them a page a day as webcomics, then release collections on a regular basis. It works for a number of other outfits. Why not Aquaman? Why not Chase? Heck, while I'm dreaming, why not Chronos? Girl Genius is doing extremely well as a webcomic with print collections. Dreamland Chronicles is doing well in that format. Powers is releasing back issues in the format, and it seems to be helping sales. Why can't one of the big two take a risk?

That pulls me into the cost issue. With manga, I get 6 different comic books in one of the anthologies (Shonen Jump or Shojo Beat). At subscription price, the anthologies, which tend to be 250-350 pages, are THE EXACT SAME PRICE as a DC title, which has 22 pages. Hikaru No Go, the reason I get Shonen Jump, tends to run about 40 pages per issue of the magazine. At 40 pages, it alone is worth the cost of the subscription. The only disadvantage at all is the lack of color... and frankly that matters very little when the story manages to be so engrossing.

I would buy a monthly DC anthology, even in B&W, if it featured at least one character I liked and was at a price I considered competitive with the manga books. But I've been told repeatedly by DC editors that anthologies simply don't work. Well, funny, Shonen Jump has pretty good sales. I don't buy the DC editors' arguments. Anthologies work if you do them right. DC doesn't know how to do anthologies anymore.

Ah well. My brain is stuttering to a stop, and I've got to get to work very soon. So I'll close this one out. I think that if DC and Marvel stopped looking at only the content of manga to try to fix their own problems, and started looking at the marketing and format of manga as well, they might be able to break out of the trend they are in. But then, what do I know? I'm just a brain-fogged fan.