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  1.  (723.21)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    <blockquote>I've found it's fairly easy to recommend singles because they present a complete experience, but it's very difficult to recommend serials. Most new to comics readers aren't going to want to come into a comics store to see whether the next part is out. It's not that hard, however, to recommend the paperbacks of the serials.
    </blockquote>

    I've managed The Comic Book Shop for over ten years now. It's never been hard to recommend serials. And they keep coming back too, considering we've been in business nearly twenty years. The main reason they won't come back for the next part is if the comic is bad. I've started many people right in the middle of serials and if that books is good enough they'll keep coming back and they'll get caught up.

    However, I'll agree with the point that there is very little single story comics out there. But the industry is based around the serial format and the main draw is coming back for the next part of the story. The momentum of the story will keep the money coming as people are excited for the next part of the story. So what I saying is everyone will make more money on serials than single issues in the long run, that is the main reason there are more serials than singles.
    • CommentAuthorMaC
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.22)
    I have a feeling that no minds will be changed on the rest, but it is worth exploring why there are so few done-in-one comics on the market.


    I think its because a lot of people reading comics, specifically within the superhero genre don't buy comics for the story but rather for the character and the universe. They are buying in on the "continuing adventures of _______" concept and not just to enjoy a story. They are hooked on the concept of the character(s) and hop on board for the long hall. They make up a big part of the comic readership.

    And KieronGillen's point is an even stronger one. It is a lot easier to sell people a little at a time. I know I've been guilty of it. I love Brian K Vaughan's work, but didn't jump for Pride of Baghdad until a long time after it had come out. I didn't even really pursue it until my friend insisted I read his copy. The same thing happened with Crecy. I own both now, but I wasn't eager to leap right in.

    But I have picked up many a #1 issue, because it's low risk and relatively inexpensive. And I also got sucked into several mediocre-bad minis and kept buying just to see how the story ended, something I promised not to do to myself any longer.

    But if you want to compare standalone books of equal length and price to a monthly serialized comic, then my original point comes back into play. People want more of the same and its easier to sell them that then grab them with a completely new concept.

    As much as I personally enjoy comics as a form of art, at the end of a day it is still a business.
    •  
      CommentAuthorScribe
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.23)
    There's probably no way to get back to the original point that there's very few true singles (as compared to serials) available in comics, is there?


    I think it depends on the story that the creator wants to tell. More complex stories typically cannot be told in a one and done format. For the larger companies there is an added incentive for telling stories in serial form, and that is the growth of sales in graphic novels. GN's are the fastest growing segment of the comic book market, and that is for a number of reasons.

    I have several friends who buy the singles and never read them, instead they are buying them just for the sake of collecting, then they wait for the collected form to come out and read it.

    GNs also have a longer shelf life since they are in collected form. You don't have run around or search the internet looking for issue 612 of Batman to complete your series of Hush. Personally I find the chase of looking for comics to be fun, and sometimes I find that rare find that I never thought I would find. A few weeks ago I found a near complete set of Transmet for $75. It was missing a handful of #40ish issues.

    It's much easier for the large chains, like B&N and Borders, to commit a couple book cases to the collected works as opposed to having to refill several magazine racks every week.

    My bigger fear is that the industry will eventually drop the monthly format and go to nothing but the graphic novel form. I think it's years, maybe eve a couple decades, down the road, but I believe eventually it will happen.
    •  
      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
     (723.24)
    I think to say that there are no true singles anymore is taking a somewhat limited look at the idea of a serialized story. Many series that mainly rely on the parted out story often have one shots, supplemental minis, back up stories and whatnot (see Transmetropolitan, Hellboy, just about any mainstream superhero book, etc). Though they mainly contain serialized stories, they also contain the shorter stories within the larger format of the series.

    The industry, at this point, lives or dies on both the sales of the issues and the sales of the trades. Both are important facets of consumption of the medium, and not everyone is so unwilling to try out a series with a fifteen dollar trade. I've worked at a comic shop for three and half years, and I can't even begin to count the people that have tried out Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan and any number of other series based on my recommendations and the simple fact that we stock them in the store. When something like, say, The Boys comes out in trade, I can sell more #7's and 8's (and, with luck, so forth) because I can say "Hey, this is a great series, and you can try out the beginning and come back for the new ones if you like it."

    The serialized issue format is not something that will die off anytime soon without a viable replacement. Most of our business in the store is from people who buy both trades and issues, and is fairly evenly split on that.

    What's actually more useless than anything is this obsession that Marvel has with those damned Premier Hardcovers they do. They come out so swiftly it doesn't give us good sale through on the issues, but people that want to try it out are less willing to get the hardcover because it seems more expensive. I had trouble with this when Nextwave first came out because it was harder for me to recommend something so eccentric (trust me, it wasn't for a lack of trying) at the higher price point.

    While I'm on the subject, Warren, if you're reading this, call Joe and say I want the 12 issue over-sized hardcover on the Nextwave. If there's been one Marvel book in years that's deserved it, that's it.
  2.  (723.25)
    There's probably no way to get back to the original point that there's very few true singles (as compared to serials) available in comics, is there?

    Well, not when the original point is made like this:

    Which brings up the question - why do people continue to support the serial format?

    That tends to read a bit more combative than just wondering about why there aren't more singles.

    Didn't Doctor Who start in the U.K. as a serial? When it is rerun in the U.S. it is as a whole two-hour story, but my understanding was that it originally aired in half-hour blocks. I can't believe the BBC were so shortsighted as to not air the show in two-hour blocks from the beginning. No wonder that show never caught on.