YouTube CHANNEL of the Day: PROFESSOR THORGI & Why Marvel and DC Comics are not selling!

Stop by Professor Thorgi’s channel and check out his review of new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. As someone who with rare exceptions no longer gets monthly comics from the major comic publishers, me being interesred in anything new from DC or MARVEL comics… is rare.

The excellent coverage YouTube channel Professor Thorgi provided today on series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK has me interested.

I really want to rush out and buy this series from DC Comics, however… I will not.

DC has recently followed Marvel in pricing their comics at S4 a book. The cost of hiring Bendis perhaps. Whatever the reason, for me that translates into both companies charging more for new comics than they are worth. $4 cover price at a minimum, with many of the books being even more expensive at $5 and up. 

I can spend that money to buy bronze age back issues that will hold their value as opposed to new issues, that 99% of them will be in the surplus dollar bins in a couple months. WHY ON GOD’S EARTH WOULD YOU PAY $4 for A NEW COMIC , when you can get a classic fantastic four or kubert comic for the same price?

Our Army at War #254

Fantastic Four #104

Fantastic Four #133

Buy Back issues here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com?&AffID=200301P01

That pricing for new comic books is just pure greed, from two companies that are backed by billion dollar parent companies. Unlike smaller publishers, these companies have the infrastructure and scale to support bringing in these books at $2.50  or at least hold the line at $2.99.

I feel the companies inability to do so, and in the case of Marvel, unwillingness to do so comes down to greed, short sightedness, and mismanagement.They would rather try and price gouge the same aging customer base of about 70000 readers to buy multiple copies of overpriced issues, than price the issues at an attractive $2ish price point, to try to sell to millions rather than just thousands.

Contrary to the minority of loud but wrong right wing nuts, comic fan pretenders, screaming against creators and against diversity, as the failing of comics, comics are, in terms of creativity,  in a golden age.

Comics as someone who has been reading these books longer than most of the vocal minority have been alive, comics across the board have never been better in terms of writing, art, stories, creativity, diversity of genres, etc.(with minor exceptions such as Nick Spencer’s racist Nick Fury Jr idea. Really?? That is your idea? I don’t think so. :). Just have the Black Nick Fury be the black Nick Fury. Don’t hamstring him with some insulting, denigrating  and moronic story about him being the ‘son’ of the White Nick Fury. Just stupid and insulting on so many levels. An example of the movie division just being better and  smarter and less racist than the comic book division. And who would have thought that? 🙂 )

But that one caveat aside, the reason the comics are not selling is they are overpriced. Bottom line. And the big two publishers are over saturating the market to try to get their few readers to buy a lot, everything, to keep up.

Newsflash… people can not afford to get a lot, much less everything, especially at $4 a book.

So they choose, like I choose, to either severely limit their consumption or get nothing at all ( I get from DC only one $4 book, Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE, and their few remaining $2.99 books.  However with DC poised to ruin the good work Priest has done on DEATHSTROKE, by putting the character in the JLA, hampering Priest’s ability to write for the comics unhindered, I see me dropping even that title. And according to the rumor mill the $2.99 books are going away. As far as Marvel, I  get nothing at all.)

The fact that Marvel is not legitimately selling millions of copies of Ta-na hesi Coates or Donny Cates or Al Ewing or Mark Waid or David Walker has nothing to do with those creators, those creators are doing their job;  but marketing and management and editorial mandates are failing these books.

I will definitely be reading Coates Captain America run, or the latest Moon Knight. But not monthly, Marvel and DC have taught me that they are not good or affordable publishers of periodical material and to rather wait for the collected edition and read it for free at the library, and the ones worth buying, to purchase in collected form, at a substantial discount over the individual issues. That is just smart shopping in this day and age, and for periodicals to not adjust their price point and marketing plan to make their product more attractive to an audience with a glut of choices and demands for their time… is to be bad at your job.

Marvel and DC’s periodical publishing arms… are bad at their jobs. People in charge of getting these numbers up and selling these books, should be given a deadline to turn things around and make improvements. And if they don’t  maybe what Marvel Upper Management needs is to sweep out the old under-performing and stagnant comic selling paradigm that has taken root at Marvel and DC and replace it with fresh faces, with fresh, innovative ideas for moving product, and winning readers. Do mail order subscriptions at a discount through Amazon, like Entertainment Weekly and other magazines do. Even selling the books as a loss leader, by increasing your subscriber base to millions rather than tens of thousands, you dramatically  increase what you can charge for ad space. But it takes change to make positive changes.

 

Now on the other hand, companies that are worth supporting in periodical form are ALTERNA, CHAPTER HOUSE, they provide inflation friendly comics, that allow you to pick up great books at a sub $3 price.

Also IMAGE, DARK HORSE, IDW, even though they are in the $3 and $4 range, they give you a lot more for your money than DC and Marvel do,  The smaller companies offer you a better periodical experience, they give you more pages, less ads, on better paper, and with additional content such as letters pages and special features.

All that creates a very simple take away for where and how I buy comics in the 21st century:

  • These days when I buy comics, I buy them via pre-order courtesy of MY COMIC SHOP. COM, at a sizable discount off of cover price. I am an affiliate for My Comic Shop, so when you use these links you earn a few pennies for this blog.
  • But the reason I am an affiliate, is because i use and love the service, so it becomes easy for me to hawk them. I have tried other mail order services, and have been pretty disappointed and felt pretty ripped off by them.
  • My experience with MCS has really kept me from quitting the hobby all together. They have been that good for me, and you may find them similarly for you, an easy on-road to a medium, comics, that seemingly has more off-roads.
  • They let you read synopsis of the many, many companies out there.
  • And I get these great books mailed directly to me in great condition.
  • And generally speaking…  I am not buying Marvel and DC. And I have to tell you my reading experience has never been better, and my wallet thanks me.

Use the link below, and your wallet can start thanking you as well:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice?&AffID=200301P01

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PODCAST OF THE DAY : BOOK RIOT #138 YEAR IN REVIEW


#138: Year in Review
from Book Riot – The Podcast (01:15:26)
This week, Jeff and Rebecca look back at the year. The coolest, most frustrating, most interesting, and most notable stories from 2015.

Good episode that highlights President OBama’s interview with Marilynne Robinson, Hugo beating off the attack by Right-wing front, Sad Puppy, and some of the best books and most intriguing publishing stories of 2015.

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MONARCHS OF MAYHEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH L.R. GILES

L. R. Giles is a three-time contributor to the Dark Dreams anthology series edited by author Brandon Massey for Kensington Publishing (Dark Dreams, 2004; Voices from the Other Side, 2006; Whispers in the Night, 2007), a recipient of the 2006-2007 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and a Top 10 finalist in the 2009 Tor UK and SciFiNow War of the Words competition. He resides in Chesapeake, VA with his wife.

L.R. Giles is also one of the authors paving the way for this new e-book phenomenon. Specifically I’m speaking of his support of the e-book format. You can find his e-books available on SMASHWORDS (which supports the popular and industry standard Epub format) as well as on AMAZON.

Or if you are like me and still enjoy having the real book in your hands go here.

Okay enough with the public service announcement 🙂 onto the interview…

HT: Hi LR, First Welcome to Heroic Times. And second, a big thank you for taking the time out of your booked schedule to answer these crazy questions. So taking that into consideration, we’ll start with an easy one. What is your favorite genre or genres?

LRG: This one is tougher than you think, so I’m going to cheat a little and say it’s a tie between fantasy and horror. I grew up on both, and a bit of science fiction, too. See how I snuck a third one in?

HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?


The Shadows Gallery

LRG: There’s a story called “The View” that’s part of my indie published short story collection THE SHADOWS GALLERY. It’s about a man who opens a window to Hell so he can confirm his wife’s dead murderer is being properly punished. I wanted to play with the idea of divine justice and pose a question. Can a need for vengeance ever be truly satisfied? It’s one of my darker stories. Difficult to write. That’s probably why I like it so much.

HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?

LRG: Poe (for “The Tell-Tale Heart), Shakespeare (for many works, but *MacBeth* in particular), Lovecraft (mostly for “The Dunwich Horror”),Nathaniel Hawthorne (for “Young Goodman Brown”), George Orwell (for ANIMAL FARM). With the exception of Lovecraft, I think I just gave you the reading list from my sophomore year of high school. Nevertheless, that was a formative time for me and those writers/stories stuck.

HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered and blew you away.

LRG: Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes, they’re a husband and wife team who write an incredible mystery series starring a former male prostitute turned detective named Tennyson Hardwick. The first book in the series is called CASANEGRA and I HIGHLY recommend it.


Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel (A Tennyson Hardwick Story)

Charlie Huston’s fiction really impresses, particularly THE SHOTGUN RULE.

And I recently read DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor; it’s incredible and I can’t wait for the upcoming sequel.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone

HT: Going along with the above name an author or authors (either new or old) who you think don’t get the attention they deserve, and everyone should be reading.

LRG: I have to go with Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes here. They’re veteran genre writers (horror, fantasy, and sci-fi), but people may not know how incredible their mysteries are. Reading their series inspired me to take a crack at the mystery genre, the resulting novel is WHISPERTOWN, a book I sold to HarperCollins last year. I can’t sing their praises enough.

HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories

LRG: I’ll try not to borrow from my previous answers, though I certainly count those. For the sake of freshness, let’s say “The Barrens” by F. Paul Wilson, “The Man in the Black Suit” by Stephen King, and “The Yattering and Jack” by Clive Barker.

[I couldn’t find any of these stories available online, but you can listen to a different F. Paul Wilson short story here.— ht]

HT: Anthologies are usually theme based, so you have your Poe anthologies or Lovecraft etc. If you could do a short story for such an anthology, if you could decide/choose, what would the anthology be about.

LRG: Lovecraft, for two reasons. 1) The concepts of the Old Ones and universes running parallel to our own fascinate me, and I’d love to play in that sandbox. 2) Given some of Lovecraft’s musings on (human) races different than his own, I’d like to think that if he were still here, I could help show him we CAN have mutual respect for one another despite having different backgrounds.

[I love that take on Lovecraft. A writer I myself have very little love for :). But I do acknowledge his imagination and influence.–ht]

HT: Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.

LRG: I could probably give you 50, but here we go:

BLADE – Say what you want, Wesley was a badass and, sadly, one of the few heroes of color to grace a genre film and survive. This will always be at the top of my list.

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – I could recite lines from this film all day.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS: DREAM WARRIORS! Don’t wanna dream no more!


Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

TERMINATOR 1 & 2 – Cameron just knows how to make entertaining films. Period.

SEVEN – I still squirm at the end, and I KNOW what’s in the box.

HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers of color producing genre fiction:

LRG: I think the first thing we need to do is keep discussing the image systems that dominate novels, comic books, and scripts that become television shows/feature films. Writers of color* producing genre fiction?
Believe it or not, there are tons of them. The problem is there are few opportunities for them to showcase their talents when they’re writing about characters *who look like them, *particularly lead characters.

This is nobody’s fault, per se. There’s nothing productive about pointing a finger at Hollywood, or Big Publishing, or ‘The Man’. Numbers talk, and major successes for writers/characters of color have been few and far between.

If we want more writers of color making names for themselves in genre fiction, we have to reach a point where the general buying public is more open to the variety of stories such writers bring to the table and start voting with dollars. The great thing is, I think we’re getting closer every year.

Time will fix this. I want to be clear, when I say color I don’t just mean black writers. There are many stories to be told, and many writers who want to tell them.

HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 10 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?

LRG: Other than THE AVENGERS? 🙂 I’m just looking forward to finishing up a couple of writing projects and meeting more authors and readers. That is, by far, the best part of this gig. I hope to be doing it for a long time. 10 months +.

HT: LR, Those are great answers! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to introduce me and the HEROIC TIMES readers to not only your work, but great work from writers old and new. Thanks again!

****

Well I hope everyone enjoyed that! Please swing by LR’s blog here and support and purchase his current work and upcoming work WHISPERTOWN (I’ll post a link when available)! Thanks!