A few months ago, Marvel comics faced a minor controversy over sales rep David Gabriel who partially blamed an over reliance on “diverse” titles from the publisher in addition to DC Comics making some it’s Rebirth line of comics returnable and the 2016 Presidential Election, as reasons for why Marvel’s sales have slipped in the direct market. Existing on a larger scale that economist on a whole were just starting to get a handle on at the time of Gabriel’s comments going public, was the overall decline of traditional retail shopping across the board in the broader economy. While comics sales had been declining in comparison to the year prior for some time at that point, at six months into the year of 2017, we have the unique insight to see not only the overarching trend of decline for sales in the direct market, but an example of how Marvel & DC Comics were able to buck those trends, and whether those instances presents a stable path going forward. Continue reading The Decline Of Traditional Retail & Comics Direct Market In 2017
The harbinger in the disruption of economic systems in the 21st century appears to have fully revealed itself to changes in distribution systems with the proliferation of advanced consumer technology, especially in the retail sector. Consumers prefer to pay less money and/or do as little work as possible in acquiring product. As such, the distribution of wealth has shifted to services who can provide that for consumers. A job that would’ve been at a Barnes and Noble or Best Buy store is now going to Amazon, an opening for a business operations analyst at Olive Garden is now more likely to be a programmer for Seamless, someone that would’ve been a driver for a traditional taxi company is now a driver for Uber. Whether you think this is wrong or right, it is undoubtedly a central tenant of our reality and the price of doing business in a free market capitalist system. It’s also a bitter pill to swallow for anybody that at one time or another had benefited from said free market capitalist system when said system now appears to have turned it’s back on them through no fault of their own. It is even more disjarring for anybody who believed that “if you work hard, you’ll succeed” was a unequivocal truth of the systems they were operating in as opposed to the best possible outcome. A search for reason and questioning of self worth is a natural reaction to finding one’s self in said situation. Often times, an actor with an outsized role in that economy will in turn, have an outside role in that economies disintegration merely as a byproduct of doing business. Any company that exists to make a profit is ultimately abholdent to only that and as such, will do so at the detriment of it’s own industry simply as a matter of function. This is all pretty obvious for any objective observer but in these types of situations, no one is objective because everyone’s livelihood is at stake. If you want to look back further and find a central tenant of Western Civilization, it’s that often in these situations, participants will villify an “other” as the scapegoat for why the system has failed them. For example; here’s Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel explaining the publishers continuing slump in sales that seemed to have coalesced in their most recent publishing initiative from the fall of last year
“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.
We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked”
Forget changes in purchasing habits for consumers across the broader economy as a whole, forget the archaic nature of the comics retailer market and forget about any of Marvel’s business practices; diversity or the “other” are killing the comics industry; not the inherent illogical of the direct market in 2017 or Marvel’s many exploitations of that.
Diamond Comics likes to send me useless press releases. A while back, they sent a useless e-mail about ComicWow, a useless ” multi-media marketing hub of Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc” Well I’m happy to report that Diamond has finally released a non-useless e-mail in their promotion of ComicWow and their interview with Diamond CEO Steve Geppi. Steve will be taking questions live tomorrow, 2/8/2017 at 2:30 PM EST, on ComicWow’s Facebook page. Based on Steve Geppi’s very public political stance’s & the business practices of his organization; here are some questions you can ask him via ComicWow: Continue reading Ask Diamond CEO Steve Geppi About Monopolies, Income Inequality, The Muslim Ban & More Via The ComicWow Facebook Page
A little over a year ago, then Presidential candidate Donald Trump shouted out Marvel Comics C.E.O Ike (short for Issac) Perlmutter during what was basically a paid infomercial for his presidential candidacy disguised as a fundraiser for war veterans. It was, at best, disconcerting. It was later revealed that Perlmutter had donated over $2 million dollars to a super PAC supporting Marco Rubio and $1 million to Donald Trump. At the time, I was like many who wrestled with the idea of continuing to support Marvel comics in the wake of the revelations. Ultimately, I decided that based on the quality of the comics and their adherence to progressive causes I aligned with, it was worth continuing my support of the publisher. Since then, Donald Trump has won the election to become President of the United States by the electoral college, while losing the popular vote by over two million ballots. Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter has now been incorporated into the Trump Administration as part of the Veteran’s Benefits administration while his wife, Laura Perlmutter, was part of the Trump inauguration committee. On Friday of last week (1/27/2016) Donald Trump signed an executive order banning admittance for American visa holders from seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days and banned all refugees from entering or receiving asylum in the United States for 120 days and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely while planning to give preference to Christian Syrians over Muslims when the ban would ultimately be lifted. With the action that the current administration has taken with the executive order, I can no longer use my platform here at Nothing But Comics to support Marvel Comics in good conscious because of CEO Perlmutter’s association with Donald Trump’s presidency. Continue reading Ike Perlmutter, Marvel Comics & The Muslim Ban
As a comic book that’s been continuously published over a seventy year period, several creators have had a significant influence on the character of Wonder Woman and her mytho’s. Like many of DC Comics superheros, Wonder Woman was redefined for the modern era following the line wide reboot that was Crisis of Infinite Earths. Like Batman with Frank Miller or Superman with John Byrne, Wonder Woman was taken on by one of comics greatest talents of the time, and within a historical context, one of it’s most important creative talents in George Perez. Fresh off his time illustrating Crisis of Infinite Earths, Perez would do a fresh take on the character that leaned into some of the most interesting and functional elements of her mythology without trying to overly define her in any particular direction or style. It’s not perfect, it’s not on the level of Byrne on Superman or Miller on Batman and it’s not essential in the larger context of the medium. But it’s well crafted, looks fantastic and straight up cool on an elemental level; that doesn’t make for a classic comic per-say but it does make for one that’s evergreen. Continue reading DC’s Post Crisis Rebirth: Wonder Woman, George Perez, Gods & Metal
Jean Giraud aka Moebius could arguably be the greatest creator in the history of the comics medium with some considerations. Purely as an artist, Moebius is among the most technically adept of all time and his visual narrative was never less then fantastic with his detailed character acting and supreme fluidity of movement within his highly detailed compositions. As a storyteller, his imagination was boundless while his gift for humanism and allegory within his expansive narrative constructs was unparalleled. Outside of his unreal technical cartooning abilities; Moebius had a gift for comics where it’s surrealism, science fiction and fantasy intertwined with boundless imagination and concepts. But while Moebius’s sphere of influence on the medium itself is undeniable, all encompassing and monumental, the awareness for his work among comic book readers lags due to issues of distribution and rights ownership. As the Moebius estate partnered with American publisher Dark Horse Comics in 2015; the iconic cartoonist work will soon be more readily available in the english language then ever before. That began with the release of last week’s The World Of Edena Hardcover. A sprawling collection of work that had been created with over a decade of lag time towards it’s conclusion and it’s final chapters being translated into English for the very first time; The World Of Edena is quintessential Moebius. Continue reading Change Is The Only Constant: Moebius & The World Of Edena
There are very few storytellers be they writers, comics illustrators or any number of artists that use their medium to create a narrative, whose greatest work would prominently feature a character named Arseface and have that work be as meaningful to it’s medium as Dillon’s Preacher is. But when you look across Dillon’s bibliography, it’s filled with comics just like that; stories that continuously pushed the margin’s of convention and expectations to find something honest and meaningful. Dillon passed away of a ruptured appendix on Friday, October 21st 2016 at the age of 54; and he would continue to tell these type of stories with his comics work up to the very end. Continue reading The Professional: On Steve Dillon & His Indelible Mark On Comics
As we’ve done in years past, I’ve decided to do a numerical analysis on our This Week’s Finest picks at Nothing But Comics for the sites third year. This writing will focus on the writers, artist and publishers who were selected for This Weeks Finest. That said, though it will be similar to the last two posts, there have been some changes to take note of. For the majority of the year, picking This Week’s Finest has been done by three different writers as opposed to years past where there where as many as seven of us picking books. Alex & Dean were still participating in This Week’s Finest at the beginning of the year so the numbers will be skewed a bit in terms of who chose what. Another change is our disclosure policy that we implemented shortly into the start of our third year. Nothing But Comics continues to grow and as such, more publishers are giving us comics for review. In the publisher section, I’ll address this further in the context of the section. Lastly, we all at Nothing But Comics have done a bad job in the past of crediting colorist and the work they did. We’ve made an effort to rectify that in the past year but initially, some of our This Week’s Finest posts still weren’t crediting colorist. As such, I won’t be covering it in this years post but plan on doing so for future postings. Now on to the data, where one publisher came back strong, a few creators made their This Weeks Finest debut’s on multiple occasions and one writer went from being honored zero times last time around to having tied for the most in year three. Continue reading This Weeks Finest Year Three
The fallout over Batman vs Superman Dawn Of Justice continues as a film that was setting sales records opening weekend has now fell behind their main competitors Captain America Civil War in total global box office despite having a two month head start. Executives are being let go and promoted, Ben Affleck & Geoff Johns are now going to be the saviors of the film universe just as current director Zach Snyder was supposed to be after Green Lantern failed to be the studios Iron Man. I have not seen Dawn Of Justice so I have no real insight into what made that particular film not work other then I thought Man of Steel was really stupid and by all indications, Dawn of Justice looked even stupider. Which isn’t to say I don’t want to see another Superman movie, a Superman movie that establishes an expanded DC Universe and as a byproduct an expanded DC Universe in and of itself; I would absolutely love that. I watch every Marvel & X-Men movie in theaters only because a few of those movies have been legitimately great and they rarely are anything less then decent. It takes a lot for me to not want to see a superhero movie in the theaters but Man of Steel was mostly garbage; so much so that having the same creative minds for the next film combined with the feeling that the film was going out of it’s way to pander to viewers like me, I didn’t see Dawn Of Justice. Keep in mind I saw the Deadpool movie, I hate Deadpool and I love both Batman & Superman with every fiber of my being. I am constantly getting into arguments with non comic readers as to why Superman is amazing, I wrote about it a couple time’s here, my favorite comic of all time is a Batman one which in fact, is a story that Dawn of Justice was primarily based on, But by the time of it’s release, I had no desire to see the first major motion picture featuring both Batman & Superman together in addition to Wonder Woman, The Flash or Cyborg; all comic book character’s that I would also love to see in a movie, just not a movie that is probably terrible. What is so frustrating about DC’s failure to create a Superman movie that is borderline decent is that they had two great possible Superman films sitting right in front of them in Max Landis Superman American: Alien & Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Had someone at the studio had the good sense to work with those film makers visions within a Superman film, they could’ve made at least one good Superman film that would’ve established many of the basic expanded universe concepts cinematic ally and a squeal that was not only an amazing movie, but one that could’ve have also established the larger DC Multiverse within the cinematic one.
There is a notion that something is a creators “best work” and then there is a creator at their best. I’d wager that DC New Frontier is Darwyn Cooke’s best work as an overall comic from start to finish. But if we are talking the cartoonist at his best, that will always be Solo #5; perhaps the greatest showcase for the creators incredibly diverse skill sets and style in addition to being a bittersweet reminder of what could have been. Continue reading Review of Solo #5