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Monday, April 16, 2007

Spider-Man 3 Gets International Premiere in Japan

This is not a comics news blog in any way, but I did think it was worthy of note that the third installment of the uber-popular Spider-man flicks would not be seen first in the U.S.A., but in Japan. Go here for the interesting, and understandable, reasons why.

Stop The Multiple Title Madness!

(Originally posted at Komikazee.)

One of my pet peeves of the comics industry is the practice of marketing multiple titles for a popular character; “running it into the ground,” so to speak. Now, I understand that for time immemorial, Batman and Superman have been appearing in two titles (Detective Comics and Batman, and Action Comics and Superman, respectively). Fine. It’s been done almost since their inception. But, come on, they simply don’t need more than two titles. Neither does Marvel’s Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Wolverine or (Are you ready for this...?) X-Men.

Personally, I don’t even think every “X-Team” warrants it’s own book; from a creative standpoint, they’re simply not all good enough to sustain a title. It’s true that every creative team has a different “take” on a particular character (or group of characters) as well as the world in which that character resides. That doesn’t mean that their versions have to see print at the same time. The way I see it, the “big two” (Marvel Comics and D.C. Comics) could guarantee themselves years of committed readership by limiting their most popular characters to a maximum of two titles and signing up creative teams for large runs of eight to twelve issues at a time.

Personally, however, as comics readership has decreased profoundly since the Golden Age, (or even the Silver and Bronze Ages, for that matter) it’s my opinion that if any character is seen in two books per month, one should be solely for the purpose of a group or “team-up” dynamic.
The benefits of this approach for the company: 1) The afore-mentioned committed readership which would be created. 2) With more completed work, a new sense of security for that book. I mean, at least more than there is competing for the fan’s buck with another book starring the same character, which, whether publishers know/believe it or not, IS happening. It’s not every fan who can afford to by each book bearing the name of his favorite character, as they are most likely reading other comics, as well.

Benefits for the fans: 1) Consistently great stories by top talent, and less “fill-in” issues with below-par stories and art. 2) Fans saving money by not having to buy monthly multiple issues just to keep up with their favorite character. 3) No more (or considerably less) “reboots,” “restarts,” and other “big events” that seem to be needed every few years or so to give characters a shot in the arm.

The drawbacks for the company: 1) Depending on how many story arcs are being worked on for future books, writers and artists would have to be paid even farther in advance of publication, changing the way business is now done, I assume. Not being in the biz, I can’t make an informed statement on that aspect, or on how much of a “crunch” this would put a company in. One would think that saving money on paper, ink, printing time, etc. due to fewer books would help with that.

For the fan: I can’t really think of any drawbacks, except for those who think that having more comics is good, simply for the sake of.....having more. For those who appreciate quality over quantity, however, this would be a no-lose situation.

And, frankly, I think there would be a distinct advantage for the creators in this model. With fans not being bombarded by multiple storylines in multiple books by different teams every month, it would seem that superior stories and takes on characters would stand out even more. A fan can give his/her total attention to that creative team’s work, and more readily compare it to the next team. And, if out of this comes a dynamite team that just seems to “click” with fans, and the company decides it’s beneficial, they could make that crew the ongoing force behind the book until they’ve told all of their stories. Afterwards, go back to the rotation system. Not a perfect system, but, then again, I’ve yet to see perfection from D.C. or Marvel for quite some time, now. Why, have you?

Better, yet, get rid of the pamphlets and release these stories every few months in larger, thicker graphic novel form! No more flimsy periodicals! Give me a BOOK!!

Ok, sorry. That last bit was VERY inconsiderate to the single-issue lovers out there. Everyone knows the "wait for the trade" crowd is killing the industry. Forgive me.

And thanks for reading.