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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

X-Men #1

X-Men #1

Publishing | Direct-market comics sales fell 12 percent in July versus the previous year, with only Marvel’s X-Men #1 breaking the 100,000-copy mark, thanks to incentive covers and heavy marketing behind a series relaunch. The sixth issue of DC Comics’ summer crossover, Brightest Day, came in at No. 2 with about 94,600 copies.

The news is better in the graphic novel category, where sales climbed 3 percent, buoyed by strong performances by all six volumes of Scott Pilgrim — the final book in the series debuted with sales of more than 21,000 — and the 12th volume of The Walking Dead. Overall sales declined 9 percent in July. [ICv2.com]

Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con kicks off Friday in Rosemont, Illinois. Guests include Brian Azzarello, Art Baltazar, J. Scott Campbell, Gary Friedrich, Michael Golden, Mike Grell, Greg Horn, Joe Madureira, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jill Thompson and Ethan Van Sciver. [Daily Herald]

Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has named Robert Corn-Revere as its new legal counsel. [press release]

Baltimore: The Plague Ships #2

Baltimore: The Plague Ships #2

Creators | Author Christopher Golden discusses Baltimore: The Plague Ships, the Dark Horse miniseries based on the Baltimore illustrated novel he wrote with Mike Mignola: “I spend a lot of my time looking at the old myths and the old folklore. I try to find the things that seem a little silly to me and expose them as silly, and then turn them into something fascinating. What we try to do in Baltimore is remind people that most stories have dark predecessors, grim folklore tales that are really creepy and entertaining.” [USA Today]

Creators | Jeffrey Brown talks about his newest collection, Undeleted Scenes, the upcoming Cats Are Weird & Other Observations, Incredible Change-Bots and more. [TFAW.com]

Peepo Choo, Vol. 1

Peepo Choo, Vol. 1

Creators | Deb Aoki interviews Peepo Choo creator Felipe Smith about making manga in Japan, the grueling deadlines and his next projects. [About.com]

Creators | Chuck O’Donnell profiles longtime Archie Comics cartoonist Fernando Ruiz, who’s drawing “The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.” arc in Archie. [NorthJersey.com]

Creators | Veronica cartoonist Dan Parent chats about Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first gay character. [Kentucky.com]

Comics | Rich George and Jesse Schedeen rattle off their picks for the best indie comics and the best Vertigo titles. [IGN.com]

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Remember the old days when comics sold BETTER in the summer? Not any more! Just one more sign that this business is in HUGE trouble. All you fanboys who think the industry is doing just fine can stay in denial all you want, but the numbers don’t lie.

Comics have become a service industry serving the interests of a rapidly aging fan base and no more. At some point and time the movie well is going to dry up as well just like any other film trends of the lt century or so. Don’t think Disney or Warner will continue to pour resources into comics if this happens either, cause their shareholders won’t allow for it. Time to figure out how to bring in new readers and soon or else it will be loss of sales through attrition and nothing else.

As for IGN’s indie list, I’m not sure Icon titles belong with “Indie”, actually the closest to an actual indie title on the entire list is the Killer. But hey to me Indie means more DIY write, draw etc (Top Shelf, Fanta, D&Q, the late Buenaventura Press, and Picturebox are indie to me). Not that there aren’t fine books on the list, in fact the only one I don’t read in any form is GI Joe, but it would have been nice to see Echo, Tales Designed to Thrizzle, or Mome on the list.

You have to put out better product to entice new readers.

One of the ‘only’ reasons why comics are still selling is because the aging fan base is the only group who is still buys them… and they’re buying them not because they are good but out of habit. But even the habitual readers have standards and the big two are putting out such bad material, even the collectors are dropping the hobby like a bad habit.

The first place to start attracting readers would be to begin telling stories that a) do not talk down to your audience and b) are not insulting to a person’s intelligence, neither of which the big two are capable of achieving under current management.

PS. Joshf,

If comics were an industry that existed to serve the interests of an aging fan base, the product would be of a much higher quality. They wouldn’t tell stories that have been told ad nauseum because writers and editors would know their audience wouldn’t let them get away with it.

The problem is that industry management doesn’t care about readers at all. Comics have become an industry that serves no audience except those who work in their offices. They exist only the live out the bad adolescent fanfic stories of current management, which is why most of the stories are so bad, they make sense only to their writers, editors and assistants.

I’ve been hearing this “comics are doomed” talk for 20 years and they’re still here…

Have there been any studies on the impact digital comic distribution has had, regarding new readership? I guess it’s still early- I know they’ve been around awhile, but I look at the iPad release/Marvel app release as a starting point because it received a lot of coverage.
The reason I ask is because I don’t really see digital distribution having a big impact on bringing in new readers. I understand that the ease of downloading comics is attractive, but I just can’t see comics standing out to an audience that has netflix, youtube, hulu, video games, and whatever else at its fingertips. I guess they fit in with books, but even with the acceptance of “graphic novels” (I hate that term), the larger book industry seems to look down on comics. Would “graphic novels” ever be available on something like iBooks, or are they stuck in their own app? I know that comixology has received great reviews for its comic reader apps, but it’s an app that customers have to choose to seek out and choose to download and use- whereas iBooks could potentially recommend certain comic book stories to readers of other genres or long form novels. Wouldn’t it be great if something like The Walking Dead was listed as a recommendation to someone who has purchased World War Z from iBooks?

Feel free to ignore this post, but that’s my thoughts on finding new comic book readers. I could have done a better job of getting my point across.

Wood burning cars still have a fanbase too. There isn’t much money in producing them but some people still like them. So, technically they’re ‘still here’ too.

Wood burning cars? Really?

If I could expand upon what Jay said, I’ve been hearing comics are doomed for 40 years – and it still ain’t happened. They said the same thing about radio when TV hit, BTW.
It may well be true that downloads will outsell physical comics. It may also be true that a lot of shops will lose business or even shut their doors, but comics will (IMHO) never die.

Comics exist primarily because the damned things are so expensive, though. At what price point will we all quit is the pertinent question to me.

@ Brett – good point, guess the old drug dealer habit analogy works best of all eh?

Not to say their aren’t excellent books out there, but I feel the 3.99 price point, and flood of pure crap from the big two (which harkens back to the early 90′s) is going to really show how much damage has been done.

Joe Shmoe is right, the numbers don’t lie.
Comics are doomed, and have been for a long time. The reason their demise hasn’t already happened is because the direct market came along and made it possible to profit from really low sales. I think we’re close to hitting bottom though.

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