Immortal Iron Fist. I bought this book, got three other people hooked on it, and then dropped it. I am notorious for doing that! I’m like a drug dealer who only tests his supply, but never uses it. But since I love Danny Rand and the sight of bad guys getting kicked in the face, this is going back in the read pile. Plus, I’m getting tired of people telling me how good it is. I know it’s good! I used to read it! I’d just like to add that when it comes to comics, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. I stopped buying Immortal Iron Fist when I went to Georgia to visit my parents. Being away from a comic shop and digital cable caused me to drastically reduce the number of books I bought and read each month. Once I came back home, I didn’t resume buying most of those books or reading them. Look, I have people offering to give me comics or email me zipped scans of the books I used to read for free and I’m telling them not to bother. I am turning down free comics that would be delivered right to my actual or virtual mailbox. This is like Barney turning down free beer.
What lesson should comic companies take from this? Get your books out on time. Fans aren’t going to wait around forever for the next issue. Also, make sure you get those issues bundled in a nice trade and sent off to Borders or Amazon with the quickness. Once a newbie gets hooked on a comic he’s going to want the back issues. And new fans aren’t interested in looking for back issues in a comic shop. Comic shops are too hard to find. It’s either Amazon, Borders, or BitTorrent. And BitTorrent isn’t making any comic book company any money.
Checkmate. Screw you, Scans Daily. You are about to cost me money unless I can get one of my friends hooked on this book. Now, I started reading Checkmate because PWCW receives complimentary issues of the series. And I have to admit that I enjoyed reading the book a great deal. However, I’m not really a DC girl, so I stopped reading the book once I no longer had free access to new issues. And Checkmate was soon forgotten. Because, as we now know, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. However, along comes Scans Daily to remind me of all the reasons why I liked the book in the first place—intrigue, action, an ethnically and racially diverse cast of characters. And each time someone would post Checkmate scans, I would wonder about the characters that made up the Checkmate cast. And now I am long past the point where my curiosity has gotten the better of me. I want to read this book again. So Checkmate goes into the buy pile.
What lesson should comic companies take from this? Continue sending preview pages to sites such as PWCW and Newsarama. Bolster books that you feel could use some good press by asking an intern to post scans from that book at online communities such as Scans Daily. Release exclusive preview packs of next month’s books on sites such as BitTorrent. What’s a preview pack? I’m glad you asked because I just made it up! Collect the first three pages of every comic and trade that’s up for release next month. Bundle those pages up in a CBR file and upload the file to download sites all over the Internet. Add a couple of exclusive items such as silly interviews with creators, quirky sketches, or goofy photos of the office—stuff fans can’t get from news sites. Give potential readers a reason to download the pack and be sure to include a list of comic shops where they can buy your items legally. Putting a preview pack together shouldn’t take long and any intern should be able to do it. Also, DC should totally send me Checkmate comps.
New Avengers. I’m reading this book for the worst fangirlesque reason ever. I don’t care about the quality of the writing. I don’t care about the quality of the art. I simply need to know what is going on with Luke Cage every month. Luckily, this isn’t costing me any money since I have more than enough friends willing to support my Luke Cage habit. However, I’ve found that I’ve become interested in the potential romance between Clint and Maya. Man, I am a complete sucker for a good superhero romance!
What lesson should comic companies take from this? When it comes to certain popular characters, some fans can be complete addicts. Don’t be afraid to pull a popular character away from the status quo if you feel that you can take the character in a plausible, profitable, and interesting direction long term. Fans may complain, but they’ll keep buying. Fans may even say they’ll stop buying, but they’ll keep buying. After all, somebody out there is buying Countdown. A whole lot of somebodies.
Justice League of America. Dwayne McDuffie. John Stewart. End of story. What lesson should comic companies take from this? Steal popular creators from your competition as often as you can. Also, try to stretch slightly outside of your normal talent pool when it comes to hiring writers. Doing so might result in new fans.
All in all, I am down to four superhero books a month. And two of them are from DC. This astounds me! Taking a look at the books that I am no longer buying, I’ve noticed that I stop collecting a series when I can’t obtain issues easily or there is a change in creative teams. I’ll also drop a book if I feel that it is redundant. If I can get non-stop action from Immortal Iron Fist, then why should I buy Daredevil? If I can get diversity and intrigue from Checkmate, then there’s no reason to buy—
Well, I actually didn’t have any superhero comic that was giving me diversity and intrigue. But you know what I mean. And, it’s not always a superhero book that winds up filling a slot a superhero book has vacated. Empowered gave me what I wanted from Heroes for Hire—and no, it wasn’t T&A. The Goon and Hellboy gave me what I once received from Wolverine. However, that’s a post for another day. We’re talkin’ ’bout Marvel and DC superhero books here!