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Old 2011-04-12, 10:44   Link #21
Tsuyoshi
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Stan Lee himself's taken an active interest in manga. Food for thought
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Old 2011-04-12, 10:52   Link #22
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I haven't noticed any sort of decline in the comic book community. In fact, it seems that fewer people were buying them due to the fact they were trying to push regular series titles into the $3.99 an issue range. DC Comics lowered their stuff back down to $2.99, which is a much easier price to swallow. Marvel Comics promises to put out fewer comics, which I have yet to see them do.

How many of you are aware of the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics? There are oh so many awesome titles on that imprint.


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Old 2011-04-12, 14:03   Link #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delirium View Post
How many of you are aware of the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics? There are oh so many awesome titles on that imprint.
I love the Vertigo imprint. A lot of great creator controlled titles there. Literally all of my top 5 comics except for Kingdom Come were published under Vertigo (Flex Mentallo, Transmet, Preacher, and The Invisibles in that order)
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Old 2011-04-12, 14:25   Link #24
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Originally Posted by scraggy View Post
I love the Vertigo imprint. A lot of great creator controlled titles there. Literally all of my top 5 comics except for Kingdom Come were published under Vertigo (Flex Mentallo, Transmet, Preacher, and The Invisibles in that order)
My favorites are Shade the Changing Man, Hellblazer, The Sandman, Lucifer, and The Dreaming. They are fucking awesome, after all. American comics today are not stagnating. The 90s were as great a time as much as it was a bad time. It went haywire at one point and characters were all too buff and their powers were undefined, but it was only for a time. There was a craze among would-be comic collectors perpetuated by the amounts of money certain comics were going for at the time, and some publishers, such as Marvel, fed into it with insane special covers and the such. One such variant cover type were holofoil covers.

But to say that it ruined the comic industry? No. It is only from nostalgia can we say such things. The older generation of comic fans hold onto what comics were like when they got into them.

The Golden Age was the time when modern comics were first published. It's generally thought of starting from the late 1930's and into the late 1940's or mid 1950's. Some of the most popular characters, such as Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Wonder Woman were created in this period.

The Silver Age of comic books is commonly known to have started in the early to mid-1950s and ending around the 1970s. The publishers implemented the Comics Code Authority to regulate comic content in response to allegations of comics promoting juvenile deliquency. Characters that were created during this time are the Flash, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. Many of the Golden Age super heroes underwent a change in background story to what we generally recognize as being their origin stories today.

The Bronze Age of comic books is commonly accepted to have begun around 1970 and into 1985. It retained many of the characteristics of the Silver Age comics, with brightly colored super heroes remaining the most popularity comics. Darker plots and more mature storylines featuring real-world issues started to appear around this time. Issues such as drug use, alcoholism, and environmental pollution began to appear, setting the stage for the next age of comic books.

The Modern Age of comic books has many names. Some call it the Iron Age of comic books, or the Dark Age of comic books. It is commonly accepted to have begun in the mid-1980s to present day. Comic book characters generally became darker and psychologically complex. Independent comics flourished, and larger publishing houses became more commercialized. Titles such as, 'The Dark Knight Returns" and "Watchmen" were the early successes of this age. Other comics, such as Claremont's run on the X-Men, the event "Crisis on Infinite Earths", and "Batman: Year One" would go on to be some of the most popular stories of the comics industry.

There is some dispute as to when the Modern Age began, or that if the Modern Age and the Dark Age of comic books should be separate. In some instances I believe they should be, as there is a noticeably different atmosphere for comics from the 1990s to the present day and comics from 1985-1990.

You may notice that the ages were commonly defined by mineral values. I believe that it is improper to label the ages as such. The Golden Age would normally describe a period of scientific, artistic, social, and economic growth. I believe the Golden Age would be best described as the Iron Age, for while many popular characters were created at this time, they only set the stage for what was to come. I believe that comics have not yet reached their Golden Age yet. It is still on the horizon, but I think I would be trolled to highest heaven were I to say such a thing on a comics orientated forum. ^^;

Last edited by delirium; 2011-04-12 at 16:40.
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Old 2011-04-12, 19:01   Link #25
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Originally Posted by Roger Rambo View Post
...what was excellent about comics in the early 90's? I question the excellence of any era where Rob Liefeld was active.
In terms of sales it was very good. Everyone bought Liefeld's comics back then. Just saying, it happened.
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Old 2011-04-12, 21:27   Link #26
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I don't often buy true American comics... but I thought I'd throw my two cents in on this matter anyways.

I see three big flaws with American comics, especially if you compare them to manga. First and foremost is the character designs. This in part comes from the fact that 99% of comics are about superheroes. This means that (as was pointed out in another post) they look muscular and powerful/ drop dead sexy and gorgeous. Although this does help the superhero image, it also means that people can't truly relate to them. On a tangent to that, notice how several of the superheros start out in situations that are impossible for the average person to be in? Let's take a look at two of the ones who've been brought back to life via the silver screen today: Batman and Ironman. I choose these two because even though on all accounts they are awesome and don't technically have superpowers of any sort, both are millionaire men, something that the average public can't relate to.

Continuing along that line, reason number two is the audience. In Japan, from what I understand, literally everyone reads manga. In the US, the comic craze has dwindled down into "if you're into comics you're a geek/nerd". Not to mention many of those who were part of the great era have grown up, and rather unfortunately, need to spend the $4 for comics in other places, i.e. a gallon of gas these days. So that's really two strikes there: not only do comic readers get grouped as "nerds who live in thier mother's basements" (a stereotype which is very untrue, I'm sure), but they can't afford to buy it unless they're truly hardcore.

The third thing against comics is the stories themselves. Oh sure, there's a lot of proof that the superheroes originally brought about by comics are and always will be loved. But, because of the fact that these characters have been around for decades, and not to mention that no new characters are generally able to enter the comic scene, these characters have stories that have been set in stone for ages, i.e. they have hisotry that goes back ages and ages. a big reason why manga works so well is because new titles are always being created, with new characters waiting to be developed. Many superheroes are already developed, and other than brief summaries, many would-be newcomers are turned off by the amount of history they'd have to learn about each character. On top of that, they're generally all superheroes, and as I stated before, people can't relate to them or the situations they're in. Manga characters generally (though certainly not always) take ordinary people anyone can relate to, and then are put into extraordinary situations.

I think American comics could become huge again (I certainly remember watching the 90's cartoon Doug and it's comic book hero Quailman, and that was certainly big)., but as things are right now, only the hardcore fans can survive it.
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Old 2011-04-12, 22:16   Link #27
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^ whats the percent of mangas that have a LOT of fanservice? but i know what you mean about not being able to relate to them and etc.
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Old 2011-04-12, 22:53   Link #28
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Originally Posted by Samari View Post
In terms of sales it was very good. Everyone bought Liefeld's comics back then. Just saying, it happened.
Sales does not equal excellence Other wise people buying comics that shot knives into their eyes enmass would be considered excellent.
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Old 2011-04-13, 00:24   Link #29
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I don't often buy true American comics... but I thought I'd throw my two cents in on this matter anyways.
I always love a good read, but it is imperative that people research a topic before speaking on it. I always try to do so to the best of my ability, so "throwing your two cents in" without research is often times taken the wrong way and you generally come out of it looking uninformed and can generally irritate people who are more knowledgeable. Please, please, please research topics before you discuss them. This applies to everyone, no matter what subject is being discussed. Research, check your sources, confirm, and then discuss the subject. Alright?

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Originally Posted by Magin View Post
I see three big flaws with American comics, especially if you compare them to manga. First and foremost is the character designs. This in part comes from the fact that 99% of comics are about superheroes. This means that (as was pointed out in another post) they look muscular and powerful/ drop dead sexy and gorgeous. Although this does help the superhero image, it also means that people can't truly relate to them. On a tangent to that, notice how several of the superheros start out in situations that are impossible for the average person to be in? Let's take a look at two of the ones who've been brought back to life via the silver screen today: Batman and Ironman. I choose these two because even though on all accounts they are awesome and don't technically have superpowers of any sort, both are millionaire men, something that the average public can't relate to.
We feel the pain when they lose someone close to them, the horror at the actions their rogues gallery commit, through the feats of strength they do to protect our society in their fictional worlds. There are differences though. The X-Men are a prime example. They embody the prejudices we as a society hold for those different from us. This applies to people of all nationalities, skin color, and creed. Iron Man is an alcoholic. This has been touched upon in his comic series. He is quite literally a recovering alcoholic. Superman is a survivor from a dead planet. The Flash was a crime scene investigator. Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern lost his dad as a child. Wonder Woman is a strong and independent woman. Through and through, super heroes rise to the occasion and do what is right. They are the selfless defenders of humanity or life in general. They make us hope and see the best that is inside each and every one of us. They are the modern day mythology.


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Continuing along that line, reason number two is the audience. In Japan, from what I understand, literally everyone reads manga. In the US, the comic craze has dwindled down into "if you're into comics you're a geek/nerd". Not to mention many of those who were part of the great era have grown up, and rather unfortunately, need to spend the $4 for comics in other places, i.e. a gallon of gas these days. So that's really two strikes there: not only do comic readers get grouped as "nerds who live in thier mother's basements" (a stereotype which is very untrue, I'm sure), but they can't afford to buy it unless they're truly hardcore.
I love how so many members on this forum have a fairy tale view of Japan. Anime/manga fans, often referred to as otaku, are persecuted in Japan. Tsutomu Miyazaki, killed four girls and ate the hand of one of the victims. Anime was blamed for causing him to commit the murders. Kaoru Kobayashi kidnapped, raped, and murdered a seven year old first grade student. A member of the otaku community, or specifically, figurine collecting community, was initially suspected to have commited the murder by a Japanese journalist. This fueled a targeting of otaku by law enforcement as possible suspects for sex crimes. Local governments called for stricter laws controlling the depiction of eroticism in manga and video games. Don't you think that is fucked up? Here's a group of people who like anime and manga quite a bit and they're harassed by law enforcement because someone, which in the case of the latter murderer, wasn't even an otaku, murdered a young girl.

Now, this isn't always the case, but I can tell you right now that Japan has the same social problems as the USA when it comes to people going against the norms of society, and that includes being fans of manga, comics, anime, and so on.


There has been no decrease in the sales of comics either. $10,559,398 is the estimated amount of money made by Marvel Comics in March 2011. $6,192,430.59 is the estimated amount of money made by DC Comics in the same month. FF #1, a new series, sold an estimated 114,472 copies in March 2011. There have been price hikes once in awhile in the comic industry, but comic publishers always try to do something as to not choke all their customers out of buying their comics, trade paperbacks, and so forth. DC Comics dropped the prices of their comics to a standard $2.99, whereas Marvel Comics promised to not produce so many and create a story of greater quality for that $3.99. The biggest problems that the comic industry faces is the task of not overwhelming people interested in getting into comics. They have decades and decades of character stories to break down into something able to be swallowed by someone just getting into comics. That's just about it. And, might I add one thing? $2.99 to $3.99 a month per issue is not extravagant. When the economy is bad, you will likely see a decrease in the number of items sold, but that applies to all industries and not just comics. We very rarely have weekly releases of the same comic series, they're usually released monthly.

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Originally Posted by Magin View Post
I think American comics could become huge again (I certainly remember watching the 90's cartoon Doug and it's comic book hero Quailman, and that was certainly big)., but as things are right now, only the hardcore fans can survive it.
You don't seem to be much of a comic reader, Magin. You have a lot of misconceptions about Japan, and the state of the comic book industry/community. It is imperative that you research subjects you want to discuss more thoroughly before actually discussing them. You have a vague and fairly incorrect view on western comic books. This is sometimes difficult for me to deal with. I am a anime, manga, and western comic book fan. I deal with misconceptions on both sides. Animosity between the two bugs the fuck out of me, so I usually try my best to defend both. I have no need to defend the merits of anime or manga on this forum, and I really hope I don't have to defend comics either. They are really not different from manga or anime, with the exception of Japanese manga & anime being relatively new to American culture and thus more appealing to younger audiences, as it is probable that their knowledge of comic book super heroes extend only to the animated cartoons of the 1990s, or the animated cartoons airing now of the comic super heroes, or the ones that aired between 2000-2010.

They know of DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, but they don't know the stories that well. It's viewed as material for children. The same applies in many cases to anime and manga. While there are obviously mature titles on both sides, most of the time the general idea towards them is the same. Comics went through a hard time in the 1950s due to the fact that they were not regulated, comics publishers devised the Comics Code Authority to lessen the negative reaction towards comics. Japan is going through something similar with Tokyo's Youth Ordinance Bill.

Last edited by delirium; 2011-04-13 at 00:53.
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Old 2011-04-13, 01:36   Link #30
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IAt some point in the 90s, the North American comic book industry made a big shift towards appealing to the hardcore collector.

This is when you saw:

1) Lots and lots of fancy covers (i.e. metallic bits, embossed, one cover over another, etc...)

2) Big crossover events, at least once per year, often including a special limited run title dedicated entirely to that big crossover event.

3) Shifted from newspaper print style paper to glossy magazine style paper

4) Due to all of the above, prices getting jacked up considerably (well beyond what inflation alone can justify).
I think the shift to collectors happened before the 90s bubble. As a fan in the 80s I remember the big push into the direct market. The alternative press was always there, and Marvel and DC just seemed to give up selling to the mainstream. Over the decade comics disappeared from newsstands, convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. The prices also literally doubled. In the early 80s (high inflation) I remember comics rising from $0.35 to $0.65-$0.75. Then when titles starting moving to the direct market, they were $1.50 instead of $0.75, a huge jump. Honestly, I prefer the old cheap four color comics on newsprint over deluxe paper and fancy color anyway.

The shift from targeting the mainstream and focusing on fellow fans probably happened in the 70s. Comics started getting more insular, which turned off even more non-fans. It's a vicious cycle, one that you can see in other fields like anime.

Quote:
For example, right now, as we speak, Superman is walking across America, in the aptly named story arc "Grounded". Yes, the way to capture the imagination of kids who love the idea of flying and beating up bad guys is to feature the guy who inspired "Look! Up in the sky!" walking across America, talking to local news reporters and everyday people as though he was a politician campaigning for votes. I'd love to see Haruhi Suzumiya's reaction to how DC is currently handling its flagship alien. I think she'd be thoroughly disgusted, myself.
Dear god, I don't even know what to say. A good example of writers who just don't get what makes superheroes work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delirium
There has been no decrease in the sales of comics either. $10,559,398 is the estimated amount of money made by Marvel Comics in March 2011. $6,192,430.59 is the estimated amount of money made by DC Comics in the same month. FF #1, a new series, sold an estimated 114,472 copies in March 2011.
What time period are you comparing against though? Most modern comics seem to sell in the tens of thousands at best, with only the really popular titles breaking 100k. If you go back to the 80s, the last time the comic industry really seemed somewhat healthy (discounting the 90s bubble here), titles selling 100k would have been cancelled. Hell, compare to the 40s when Captain Marvel and Superman sold a million a month, or the 50s when Disney comics would sell close to 3 million. The modern comic industry is pathetically tiny. I think the only reason they still exist is as a way to develop new lucrative licensing properties, not for their actual sales of comic books.
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Old 2011-04-13, 01:37   Link #31
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Well for the all the "conflict" between comic book and manga fans, it's nice to see the creators of American comic books don't feel the same way.

Especially a man I have great respect for, Mr. Stan Lee.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/201104...prweb5227854_1

Oh and to put the comic book industry into perspective;
Last year Penguin publishing made $1.71 billion dollars by itself in 2010.
Total comic book revenue from ALL comic book publishers for 2010 made $420 million dollars (this does not include video games, movies, TV shows, or other revenue sources).
With movie, video game, and other licensing contracts the total revenue is well over $900 million to $1 billion dollars.
However, that's not what we're discussing here, we're talking sales of the actual paperback comics.
In 1959 total sales of comics were about 312 million copies per year.
Now-a-days total comic sales per year are about 70-80 million.
The comics generate more capital, because they cost more (even adjusted for inflation), but the real gravy for the comic book industry is the movies, video games, graphic novels, and animated TV shows.
That nets the industry the lion's share of its profits, which in 1959 were only about $260 million dollars.
Now compare that to the video game industry's $18.9 billion dollar revenue in 2010, and you get a clearer picture of where comic books lay in the overall scheme of things.
The anime DVD sales (does not include merchandice like model kits, toys, etc.) in the US for 2010 were around $300 million dollars alone, not counting manga sales of an estimated $160 million dollars.

My point to all this is to put the US comic book industry into perspective compared to other "geek/nerd" entertainment.
It's a niche, and while it has enjoyed some revival in the first quarter of 2011, it is not growing much outside of anime and manga (which doesn't have the Hollywood exposure) and is far behind both the traditional publishing industry and the video game industry, both of which sell products of a similar nature in so far as fantasy entertainment is concerned.
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Old 2011-04-13, 09:39   Link #32
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Quote:
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I love how so many members on this forum have a fairy tale view of Japan. Anime/manga fans, often referred to as otaku, are persecuted in Japan. Tsutomu Miyazaki, killed four girls and ate the hand of one of the victims. Anime was blamed for causing him to commit the murders. Kaoru Kobayashi kidnapped, raped, and murdered a seven year old first grade student. A member of the otaku community, or specifically, figurine collecting community, was initially suspected to have commited the murder by a Japanese journalist. This fueled a targeting of otaku by law enforcement as possible suspects for sex crimes. Local governments called for stricter laws controlling the depiction of eroticism in manga and video games. Don't you think that is fucked up? Here's a group of people who like anime and manga quite a bit and they're harassed by law enforcement because someone, which in the case of the latter murderer, wasn't even an otaku, murdered a young girl.

Now, this isn't always the case, but I can tell you right now that Japan has the same social problems as the USA when it comes to people going against the norms of society, and that includes being fans of manga, comics, anime, and so on.
Just to temporarily jump back to this point... I guess I forgot to mention one big thing. Here in the US, anime and manga have the tendency to be lumped together; i.e. one is an animated media and the other is a comic medium of stories from japan (and rather sadly, one is given very strange looks by "normal people" if you're a fan of it). But, over there, it's a very different story. In Japan, manga is something acceptable by society. Even though I don't remember precise sources, I've read mutliple times that young and old, male and female, all read manga. On that same sort of note, apparently certain groups are only supposed to read certain types of manga...

But, only the infamous otaku watch anime/ collect figurines, etc. I'm sure many know (or may not know), but manga is literally translated as "comics". I'm not 100% sure, but I think it can be written in both hiragana and kanji. However, I know for a fact that anime is always written in katakana. The short version of what this means is that "anime" will always be seen as something that's not a true part of Japanese cilture, no matter what we here in the west think ( quick fyi- the term anime is actually borrowed from the word "animation"). Manga, OTOH, is something that originally part of Japanese society, not something that was borrowed from another culture (even if it's now greatly associated with the otaku... but as I keep stating, manga is actually acceptable in Japan, whereas anime is not so much).

Now to jump onto another train of thought- true, i don't read much comics. But, I've read a few here and there, and immensely enjoyed them. But, I don't think I'll ever be able to be into them as much as I'm into anime/manga. Yes, I would love to support something that's based in America... but other than the flaws I pointed out earlier, my own personal reasons for not supporting comics on a regular basis (besides monetary issues)- one, the comics are extremely dark, unless you buy the "kiddie" versions. Reason number two: From what I usually see, many of the comics are just re-using characters that have been around since comic books began. This seems to be a double-edged sword; true, you know the names. But, it also means there's little room for character development, because by this point, the stories of the characters are well-known by everybody. And correct me if I'm wrong but aren't comics also 99% of the time about crime-fighting superheroes, or superheroes/non-superpowered heroes that still always kick ass fighting against some evil organization trying to take over the world? I do know this formula worked when comics first started, since there essentially were "evil" organizations that seemed to be trying to take over the world... but it doesn't work as well these days.
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Old 2011-04-13, 09:44   Link #33
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Sales does not equal excellence Other wise people buying comics that shot knives into their eyes enmass would be considered excellent.
But sales does equal money. And we were talking about the success of the industry.
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Old 2011-04-13, 12:26   Link #34
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The problem with modern American comics is tied to the problems with Superhero comics, that's to be sure, but I think one of the big problems is that for some reason people seem to think that American Comics=Superheroes. There are non-superhero mainstream comics in America. Off the top of my head there's Doonesbury (political satire) and Archie comics(Romance and slice of life).

While I can't comment on Archie, I learned everything I know about 70s and 80s politics from reading Doonesbury Anthologies my mom happened to have, and Doonesbury even won a Pulitzer prize and still has it's place in pretty much every newspaper out there. Despite being a 4 panel strip, it reads quite well in anthology form, due to it's continuous plot lines (favourite would have to be when Duke became Governor of American Samoa and then Ambassador to China...)

There's also the large output from webcomics, which perhaps could be mined for talent.

However it cannot be denied(from the numbers above) that Comics have seen better days. Far as I can see the following is required:

1. Ensure creative continuity, when an artist ceases to work on a series it should simply end, rather then keep it on artificial respiration and force a writer who wants to write something different to continue it. Obviously this does not include assistants (inkers etc.)

2. Move towards title with a defined beginning middle and end, particularly for works aimed at adults.

3. Aim for a lower price point and have anthology magazines (similiar to Shonen Jump) in every newsagent across America. Kids should be able to get a Comic with their Ice Cream. Comics should be a cheap alternative to Computer games, as in Japan where an issue of Jump costs 300 yen and is the size of a telephone book.

4. Produce titles which are not collectible. Produce massmarket paperbacks instead.

5. Different Genres, a smaller proportion of superhero comics. Don't try and have a different genre by making shoehorning it into a superhero genre, if you want drama make it drama, not weird super-hero drama!.

6. Produce a higher volume of titles, produce 100 and expect only 10 to succeed.

7. It's been shown that girls read more, produce more titles aimed at girls (Shojo manga is at least as succesful as shonen manga in the US)

To be honest I don't think it's the super-hero comics that are failing, it's in the rest of the comics market where the problems are. The super-hero publishers have simply been able to stay around due to their fans (and of course lucrative deals with Hollywood).
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Old 2011-04-13, 17:39   Link #35
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But sales does equal money. And we were talking about the success of the industry.
And eventually people got sick of that kind of thing and the market declined


I'm not denying that things that were stereotypically 90's didn't sell comics at the time. I'm arguing they ultimately weren't sustainable, and they kept allot of new people from expressing interest in the medium. That's certainly was the case with me. I just found to much of the stuff in those 90's comics to ugly to look at. Particularly the weapons.


How many American comics in 91 were drawn like this?

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Old 2011-04-13, 18:08   Link #36
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The Sandman #4 pg. 23



The Dark Knight Returns:



Sin City:



Don't make me get my Crisis on Infinite Earths out, Roger Rambo. I will not be happy if I have to participate in a pissing contest. I really don't like these, "lol lets compare comic/Japanese comics art and stories!111!". We're all fond of what we love, and I happen to love both styles of comics, and this isn't that kind of discussion. This sort of discussion will get the thread locked, most assuredly, so let's not continue. Both manga and comics are fantastic, righto? Different art styles as well. It's like trying to compare a Picasso and Van Gogh. Different art forms, incomparable, equally great.

Last edited by delirium; 2011-04-13 at 18:40.
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Old 2011-04-13, 19:18   Link #37
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yeah, I mean for every amazing panel in american comics (I'd like to point out this one from Flex Mentallo real quickly)
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You can find an equally great one in japanese comics, and in european comics, and any other comic industry. Let's be honest, there's amazing stuff and shit stuff in any industry. Manga seems to be the zeitgeist of teen culture nowadays, but there's still an audience for american comics who doesn't seem to be relenting any time soon. There's also a huge number of non-superhero american comics that are amazing (blankets, asterios polyp, parker, and the biological show come to mind) and they seem to be getting a bigger and bigger following.
American comics sure aren't booming nowadays, but there are enough people who love them where there is no chance of them letting up soon, and i'm sure quality american comics will be produced for decades to come.
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Old 2011-04-13, 19:35   Link #38
Roger Rambo
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Those are very well done panels. I like them allot.


They don't have enough weapon porn quotient though
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Old 2011-04-14, 04:20   Link #39
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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The problem here is that none of this is mass market. The only good American comics are more arty titles, or too risqué to ever go really mainstream (like Sin City).

American Comics needs the equivalent of Shonen Jump. Now I'm no fan of Jump, but that's the solution.
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Old 2011-04-14, 05:42   Link #40
milan kyuubi
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: The top of the world.
Age: 24
Has anyone read comics from Dark Horse? maybe Buffy season 8?

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