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    • CommentAuthorseandehey
    • CommentTimeJun 15th 2008 edited
    not sure on the etiquette of saying 'i wrote something insanely brilliant on my blog, go forth and bask in it's glory!' and then linking you to said blog, but i'm also not sure about double-posting here if i actually am trying to get people who don't read my blog to see this?

    you can get the fully nitty gritty there but i'll cover the gist of it here as well, presenting my neck for slicing and sniping as you will. does that work out? i guess we'll see.

    essentially, with video games ascendant and comic sales down and doom and gloom, 'everyone' is prophesying the death of comics. regardless of whether i actually believe this, given that half the comics i care strongly about lately are webcomics and doing just fine thanks, i think you'd have to work fairly hard to suggest that the diamond / comic shop distribution model is functional in the long term.

    the whole system is a throwback to pre-internet days, and better times are afoot. and while i do like the idea of comic shops, more and more it's the idea i like more than the actuality. i wouldn't lose much sleep if they all folded up and died tomorrow, if there was a better way to get my comics, while gaining the singular advantage of comic shops, which is that you really need to see at least a few pages of a comic to decide if it's worth paying for.

    i don't actually know how feasible this is, other than having seen deviantart and blurb do exactly this, but the idea, using marvel as the most likely example, is this.

    first, marvel puts five page pdf previews of every comic they put out on, directly linking to a print-on-demand service for single issues with good shipping rates and user-friendly mail order.

    second, marvel puts up five page pdf previews of every comic they've ever done, and puts their entire back catalog up for sale as print-on-demand singles.

    third, marvel starts publishing twenty or so webcomics six days a week, starting with marvel adventures: spiderman, ultimate spiderman, and amazing spiderman, and uses spidey as the anchor to bring in all the people who like marvel movies but can't figure out comic shops, and hooks them on marvel comics.

    toss in other books in the core 616 / ultimate / adventure / max imprints representing old continuity / ultimate continuity / non-canon all ages / non-canon mature readers. a full issues worth of single pages of twenty-ish books, published online every day. each web-series is collected and put out in a floppy each month, and in trade every six months, and so forth.

    fourth, and this is my real meaty idea, marvel offers subscription based access to their entire archive, readable online, and upgrades their print-on-demand service to include three options.

    a - prints of any cover, any story page, any bullpen or advertisement, blow-ups of single panels, and so on.
    b - single issues on-demand in newsprint, glossy, prestige format, golden age oversized, and maybe archival.
    c - custom collections on-demand, any number of issues from 2 on up to whatever's a practical limit, in any combination from any title in the archive, with customizable cover templates, and in magazine binding, perfect binding, manga digest b&w / color, hardcover, library / omnibus editions.

    take 616 / ultimate / adventures / max, replace them with dcu / johnny dc / elseworlds / vertigo, and rinse and repeat.

    many / most comic shops will not survive this, but comic shops are a broken system that is hard to navigate successfully even for hard nerds like myself. and not all will fail, same as not all bookstores failed when amazon presented a better way to buy books. those that can adapt, will, those that can't, well, that's darwinism at it's purest. i can't support ignoring the future just to save a few relics from the past that don't serve the intended purpose half as well as ordering online from a comic shop in new york with a good webstore.

    the ultimate goal here is NOT to prop up comic shops and a broken distribution model, but to increase readership and make comic books accessable and relevant again. comparing readership on amazing spiderman to ticket sales of the spiderman movies, the math doesn't seem to work out.
    • CommentTimeJun 15th 2008