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Some thoughts on the future of the comic book biz | October 6, 2011

Just a ramble here, rough draft, writing as I think. I’m not a market expert, though I did have a fair amount of experience as an assistant manager at a Waldenbooks back in the 1990s.

Honestly, I think the future is going to be smaller. I think the days of mega-events, 52 ongoing titles, title runs reaching landmark 400th, 500th, 800th, etc issues and the rest are not going to last.

Smaller, tighter runs. Mini-series. Especially with things going digital, this is the future. First Comics was going in that direction back in the WAY EARLY 90s, but before they had a chance to see if it would work or not, the company dissolved.

Shorter stories is what people want. This is why trade paperbacks are so popular with the non-geek/non-fanatic comic book reader. SANDMAN (and many other Vertigo titles) are read by way more people as TPBs than they were as monthly publications. It’s more accessible, more mainstream, for several reasons, and not insignificant amongst them, the stories are more ‘complete’ within one (that’s not to say that story arcs continue from one to another, they do.)

Even with the Superhero Universe, you can still work this. Have 5, maybe 8, no more than ten ongoing titles. For instance, Marvel could have an Avengers title, an X-Men title, 1 or 2 Spidey titles, a Wolverine title… maybe a showcase title or two. Then, the rest of the year’s titles would be various mini-series. And when the mini-series is over, another one can start up – maybe with the same creative team, maybe with a new one (hey, variety is exciting.)

They could even have “seasons”, starting on X month, ending 9 months later, and then between seasons have the Big Events or Current Crisis or Secret Stories or whatever. (Again, this is just random thinkings, and that last bit about seasons just came to me… maybe it’s a good idea, maybe not.)

Of course, non-canon/non-shared-universe stories would totally benefit from it, too. I think many independent comic publishers are pretty much doing the mini-series format over ongoing, aren’t they nowadays?

So, yeah, just some thoughts I wanted to get out there while I was thinking ’em. Let me know what you think. It could be a conversation. Wacky, I know.

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