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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

DC is getting out of comics

Rumors are swirling that Diamond has bought the comics rights to DC's characters and that DC is getting out of the comics business. The Dark Herald explains the situation at Arkhaven:

DC announced it was severing all ties with Diamond and launching its own distribution system.   Diamond had the nerve to angry about it!  Court action was threatened and there might have been grounds depending on how the contract was written. But then litigation died out overnight. Steve Geppi, the CEO of Diamond came to an agreement with AT&T, he would have the right of first refusal if they decided to kill DC Comics publishing. 

DC’s hipshoot efforts at distribution have been a disaster.  One of their distributors quit when DC announced it was going to break with established industry practice and accept remaindered copies of unsold comics.  The other company has proven so unsatisfactory that a number of comic book shops did the unthinkable and stopped ordering DC Comics.

I’ve been saying for a while that AT&T has been getting ready to swing the ax on DC Comics.  

There have been a series of mass executions at DC over the last few months.  These layoffs have been so large and cut so deep into the company’s executive talent pool, that there was clearly no way for the company to recover.  DC Comics has clearly been in a death spiral for almost a year.  

What efforts DC has made to expand it’s market share has resulted in ridiculous projects like, I am Not Starfire and Gotham High with Gay Alfred.  Seriously guys, the problem was not a lack of Wokeness.

If DC folds completely, that is the death of the comic book shop because there is no way they can keep the lights on with just Marvel comics on the shelves.  No comic book shops means, no Diamond Distributers. 

Consequently, it makes all kinds of sense for Steve Geppi to buy the license for the comic book rights to the DC Comic’s characters. 

Diamond might actually make for a more formidable competitor than the hyper-converged shell of DC Comics. But it makes no difference. Project Asteroid has already entered atmo. Their fate is sealed. 

UPDATE: Bleeding Cool is aware of at least two serious offers. But if Diamond has a right of first refusal, it will be their group that owns the dinosaur.

I have been made aware of two serious pitches made to Warners/AT&T as a result, the one from New York-based investors is the one I am taking more seriously. The one from Orpington in Kent, England, less so at this time. But you never know.

As for the actual amount of cash needed to be raised for such a venture, if it was the full comics-and-only-the-comics buyout in perpetuity, estimates for the publishing value alone are around the $300,000,000 mark, but to actually make it worth Warners and AT&T's while, and make up for their loss of face, we might be looking closer to a cool half billion. So no, as some wisecrackers suggested, this is not being crowdfunded—this more like twenty people bringing twenty-five million to the game, each.

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73 Comments:

Blogger AsunderBear February 16, 2021 1:14 PM  

There are still comic book shops?

Blogger Grooveware February 16, 2021 1:15 PM  

Fantastic news, get woke....

Blogger Cinco February 16, 2021 1:19 PM  

I am shocked Marvel didn’t buy them. Kill the competition by owning them. Plus I personally know higher-ups at Diamond, they are the opposite of woke.

Blogger GregMan February 16, 2021 1:29 PM  

Somewhere, the ghost of Frederic Wertham is laughing his ass off.

Blogger Br1cht February 16, 2021 1:32 PM  

If you hold really, really still and concentrate, you´ll hear the Dark Lord laughing in his mountain fortress.

May the soy-infused Marvel fear the #SweetMeteoriteofDeath.

Blogger RJ February 16, 2021 1:34 PM  

Boy, everyone is really jumping on THIS post. Hmm... seems like maybe..... nobody cares? LOL

Blogger RJ February 16, 2021 1:38 PM  

I loved comic books as a kid. I stopped reading them when I got into college. Several years later, I discovered Frank Miller's "Dark Knight", "Elektra Assassin" (GREAT art by Bill Sienkiewicz!), and a few other titles that interested me, but that didn't last very long. I'm honestly not much tuned into comics these days (I'm 67), but it sounds like they are shooting themselves in the foot by going "woke". Nobody wants that shit, for the most part.

Blogger A.D. February 16, 2021 1:47 PM  

Comic books? Is it the 70's, and are we in junior high??

Blogger Newscaper312 February 16, 2021 1:47 PM  

Dumb question:
How does selling the comics vs the movie and tv studios work wrt the IP, with no longer having a common corporate parent? Specifically regarding where one side or the might want to take the superhero characters? Seems hard to imagine there being no strings regarding damaging the hero brands, or is the comics market so small by comparison the studios just don't give a damn?

Blogger Azimus February 16, 2021 2:02 PM  

Is this good or bad news?

Blogger Leo Littlebook ID:16216229492837658552 February 16, 2021 2:06 PM  

It's about time the West had something to compete with tiny Japan's mangas. What the Japs lack in raw materials and numbers they make up for in artistry, but a Hellcat still beats a Zero.

Blogger DJ | AMDG February 16, 2021 2:09 PM  

That has got to be the worst quarter B investment ever. Comics and only comics? It’s been decades since comics and only comics have been profitable if ever probably. Without the license to sell associated toys, apparel, posters, or produce animation, movies, TV, or publish novels or even activity books the investors will never ever make that money back let alone become profitable.

Blogger VFM Bear February 16, 2021 2:17 PM  

Maybe DC saw an asteroid about to hit and decided to git while the gittin's good.

Blogger Bezzle February 16, 2021 2:21 PM  

"...If DC folds completely, that is the death of the comic book shop because there is no way they can keep the lights on with just Marvel comics on the shelves...."

Comic book shops were already dead men walking even before Covid, and arguably even before the SJW invasion.

When comics (formerly sold from swiveling rack stands) were removed from convenience stores in the late 90s and early oughts, the children's market dropped to nothing, and the aging omega collector became the final customer and bagholder. (The disposable income of children was the first casualty of the long-term war on the middle class.)

The Cabal will now do what it does best to American culture: buy the IP, memoryhole it, and rely upon Big Tech censorship to harass anyone sharing old material. (We're used to MPAA/RIAA going after movies and music; it's only an extrapolation to go after static imagery.)

Blogger Beefus February 16, 2021 2:33 PM  

The hyper wokeness hurt comic shop owners more than anyone. You get what you fucking deserve.

Blogger FUBARwest February 16, 2021 2:36 PM  

Curious what the breakdown will be if a separate company owns the comic licensing rights for DC characters while AT&T still owns the IP, assuming that's the case. And people say Get Woke, Go Broke isn't true...

Blogger OneWingedShark February 16, 2021 3:05 PM  

Bezzle wrote:The disposable income of children was the first casualty of the long-term war on the middle class.
I'm X/Millennial cusp, and I had very little disposable income growing up, and graduated right into 9/11… then got hit with 2008's fallout essentially as soon as I graduated from the university.
I simply cannot imagine children of Gen-X or Millennials having any disposable income… especially when Grandparent Boomer would rather pay Illegal Jaun $25 rather than his own descendants.

Blogger Hylean February 16, 2021 3:08 PM  

Every time I hear project asteroid I giggle a little. Not mockery, but because I feel what's coming and the fallout will be a true hoot!

Blogger Keith February 16, 2021 3:09 PM  

> Diamond has bought the comics rights

My brain read that as “Diamond and Silk bought the rights ...”

Blogger tuberman February 16, 2021 3:36 PM  

>> Comic books? Is it the 70's, and are we in junior high??

Your snark is a little tiresome, Smart Boi.

Blogger The Last Roman February 16, 2021 3:37 PM  

The largest comic book shop in South FL, Sunshine Comics, dropped comics and started selling games in the early 2000s. I'm surprised that any other shops remained in business this long.

Blogger Jpc February 16, 2021 3:48 PM  

"Seriously guys, the problem was not a lack of Wokeness".

The funniest quip I've read in a long time.
You have a T-shirt slogan Winner VOX!
Bravo!

Blogger SecondComingOfBast February 16, 2021 4:00 PM  

I will leave DC and Marvel to their feminist heroines and child pornography. Those whores and woke leftists will look up sone day from their filthy gutters and beg "save us".

And I'll look down on them and whisper "no".

Blogger tuberman February 16, 2021 4:03 PM  

This is good for Arkhaven and Project Asteroid. DC is self destructing faster than I figured.

Blogger SacrificialLamb February 16, 2021 4:09 PM  

@3. Cinco

I am shocked Marvel didn’t buy them. Kill the competition by owning them. Plus I personally know higher-ups at Diamond, they are the opposite of woke.

Question: How "not-woke" are the higher-ups at Diamond? How much control do they have over their own company? And how do they feel about the SJW infestation killing the comic book industry? The comic book stores and the mainstream comic book industry were already in a complete death spiral before the lockdowns for the fake pandemic. If DC folds, comic book stores are dead. Do they think they can reverse this? I don't know how that's even possible now.

My opinion is that Diamond's only hope of reversing this would be to control DC Comics DIRECTLY, and to then go back to pre-DC 52 (like a reverse Crisis Event).....while stripping out the SJW infection COMPLETELY.

Then they'd have to reduce price point, while distributing comic books in places other than specialty shops. That means providing cheap non-SJW superhero comic books in train stations, drug stores, liquor stores, libraries, local corner stores, and even selling comics in vending machines.

I don't see Diamond having the foresight to do anything like that. You don't grow the comic book industry by relying mostly upon specialty shops and digital sales. Doing so is a recipe for failure. As a result, the mainstream comic book industry is probably doomed.

Blogger I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe February 16, 2021 4:36 PM  

"$300 Million... to a cool half a Billion?"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...snort...Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Suckers

Blogger Rule of Wrist February 16, 2021 4:50 PM  

I just wanted to add: Project Asteroid is a great name. Perfect for this endeavor in fact. Well done!

Blogger Turk187 February 16, 2021 5:13 PM  

Aren't most "comic" stores nowadays gaming/pop culture stores with comics? There aren6any near me, but every once in awhile I'll go somewhere that has one and that's what they are usually like.

Blogger Reader February 16, 2021 5:30 PM  

Vox, would you please consider creating a post about the Global "Warming" that has descended on much of the Northern hemisphere? Living in Dallas right now feels like a third-world country. No electricity in 4-degree Fahrenheit, record cold this morning. We slept in our wool coats, hats, and gloves last night, with three down comforters on top of us. We could see our breath as we exhaled while laying in bed. Stayed in bed until after 2pm today because there was no reason to get out of bed. And we're in a nice North Dallas neighborhood. Cell communication is sketchy as well. Streets are snowed-covered but not impossible if one needs to go a short distance. We have not tried to go anywhere, just cranked up the cars to keep the batteries from dying, and charge the phones. Our sinking civilization is a reality here. I'm hearing the Green energy lunatics are to blame. Commies need to die before they destroy everything worthwhile and kill us all.

Blogger basementhomebrewer February 16, 2021 5:36 PM  

500M? For just the comics and not the movie/video game rights? Seems a little high. Last I heard they were bleeding cash all over the place. Diamond being the main source of the bleeding, the deal would make more sense for them. I don't see that amount of cash making sense for anyone else, unless they already have their own distribution plans in place and are confident in being able to deliver and move volume, which means they better have no converged writers lined up as well.

Blogger Solon February 16, 2021 6:19 PM  

The one in my town barely has any traffic. They leave the place open on Friday nights for the unbathed DnD and Magic nerds, and thats about all they get.

I bought a board game from them once years ago. I too am amazed they're still open. The owner probably also owns the building whose basement they're in if i had to guess.

Blogger Crunchy Cachalot February 16, 2021 6:21 PM  

Sounds like a very expensive funeral for a corpse already full of worms.

Also not sure what to make of Geppi, who looks like a mid-level Mafioso and has a rather interesting career trajectory to become a guy who could spend half a billion on comic books.

Blogger Crunchy Cachalot February 16, 2021 6:52 PM  

We're used to MPAA/RIAA going after movies and music; it's only an extrapolation to go after static imagery.

Good news/bad news: such a move would be ruinous to most forms of social media. The recent DMCA tear the RIAA went on stung a bit, but it would be a mosquito bite compared to getting copyright strikes for posting a .jpg of something a corporate behemoth "owns".

Blogger MidnightSun February 16, 2021 6:58 PM  

@8 A.D.

Better to remain silent and thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

If you did an iota of research you'd realize that our host has been on the forefront of bringing the medium back to life after decades of unbearable convergence by the woke SJW crowd. And once upon a time many of us here crowd-funded the initial effort to restore comics to their original state; action hero comics not Archie & Jughead ones like you probably read in the 70's boomer.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 16, 2021 7:04 PM  

or is the comics market so small by comparison the studios just don't give a damn?
An extremely successful comic issue will sell 7000-8000 print copies.

Blogger Balazs Varga February 16, 2021 7:17 PM  

Even a small 4000 town in Hungary, not as powerful as the USA, can print its own coloured high resolution monthly magazine and sell it for less than 10 USD, with 40 pages of articles and photos and journalists.

But DC can't? Forget go woke go broke, it is full on go woke go totally incompetent.

Blogger Man of the Atom February 16, 2021 7:28 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:or is the comics market so small by comparison the studios just don't give a damn?

An extremely successful comic issue will sell 7000-8000 print copies.



Compare this to the mid- to late-1960s, when if you weren't doing 100k per month in sales, your title was likely going to be canceled.

Blogger Daniel February 16, 2021 7:35 PM  

Comics are an excellent and cheap form of entertainment, upon which other entertainments can be built, as long as the comics are accessible. Shops are not accessible, either physically or socially. They are, in fact, business repellent to the average person. Which is why the average comic today is entirely inaccessible. The vaguely familiar names of characters don't match up to the common understanding of them. No one thinks Spiderman is a gay hispanic black elementary school ghetto dweller. No one thinks Superman is a black woman. No one thinks Captain America is a dead anti-Nationalist. No one thinks Thor is a trans-librarian or whatever.

No one. Not even the woke.

DC died, not because men and boys moved on from interesting, iconic characters and stories...but because DC did. Marvel's in the same process, just a bit further behind.

The all time best selling single issue of a comic book is not some postmodern deconstruction of superhero tropes. It is not some dark subversion of the heroic vigilante. It is not the Death of Superman or the Death of Archie or the Death of __________.

It is Marvel's X-Men #1 (1991). The storyline?

"It's Xavier's X-Men vs. Magneto, the Master of Magnetism! The X-Men's oldest enemy is back and it's going to take everyone the X-Men have to bring him down. This huge gatefold cover by Jim Lee promises that the battle is going to be epic."

That's it. DC took delta fantasies and turned them into gamma revenge-porn, without ever once realizing that Gammas are not paying customers.

Blogger Gen. Kong February 16, 2021 7:43 PM  

Newscaper312 wrote:Dumb question:

How does selling the comics vs the movie and tv studios work wrt the IP, with no longer having a common corporate parent? Specifically regarding where one side or the might want to take the superhero characters? Seems hard to imagine there being no strings regarding damaging the hero brands, or is the comics market so small by comparison the studios just don't give a damn?


It appears they're buying print rights, possibly to include e-comics and internet distribution (but that's not clear from the blog post at BC). 300 million is way too much in light of what Snidely says about a very successful issue being 7-8K units. They'd never make it back in print alone. It must include unlimited adaptation and derivatives as long as they stay in print - but even then it's overpriced.

Blogger Pseudotsuga February 16, 2021 7:45 PM  

DC left comics years ago... I don't really know what they're trying to sell now--perhaps Social Justice and Intersectionality? (hey, that sounds like a superhero duo; probably living in San Francisco).

Blogger RoRo71 February 16, 2021 7:45 PM  

BEST. Comment.
Well done, Br1cht.

Blogger Canada78Bear February 16, 2021 7:58 PM  

Hahahahahaha.
300 Million for the publishing rights for 100 years of copyright is way over the top for what DC has produced in years.

10% of revenue in normal cases may be closer to reality if even that.

Blogger Derangement Syndrome February 16, 2021 8:30 PM  

The Gen 13 IMAGE comic used in the article you linked to really brought me back.

Image Comics was the commendable, but ultimately failed attempt of the top Marvel artists like Rob Leifield, Todd McFarlane & Jim Lee to make their own way with their own company. Everybody in my town at that time in the 90's jumped on the Image bandwagon, but it quickly faded.

They were initially successful tho, and Spawn had real staying powerful. Image wasn't a complete failure I suppose.

Blogger Nostromo February 16, 2021 8:33 PM  

They're gonna add a new character. Super President! Starring DJT! Be the biggest thing since Action Comicd num. 1

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 16, 2021 9:26 PM  

I remember in the double aught years how just about every comic shop owner was a proto SJW and most of the people you find in there to play MTG or other tabletop games were like thunderfoot clones only more lefty and atheistic. I was seeing purple armpit hair on women and super wokism in comic shops around Seattle years before the rest of the deleterians went on twitter to post pictures of their size 14 feet in high heels.
The entire scene and even a galactic radius around it: bronies, emos, etc. Will have millennials looking back at the double aught years the way GenX looks at the 1970s.
Comic stores were the epicenters. The sooner this goes extinct the better. Project asteroid indeed. Holy Stone of Mercy.

Blogger Unknown February 16, 2021 9:51 PM  

I don't care to be honest about any of the DC drama, VOX is crushing it, FACT.

Blogger Jack Amok February 16, 2021 10:03 PM  

Comic books? Is it the 70's, and are we in junior high??

Nah, but some of us have kids who are in junior high and might benefit from a non-woke entertainment outlet.

For myself, I don't give a damn about comics and especially don't give a damn about super hero comics which I got tired of a long, long time ago. But they have the potential to engage kids and give them entertainment more heroic than whatever Disney/CW sluts-in-training show is on.

Blogger Jack Amok February 16, 2021 10:25 PM  

My opinion is that Diamond's only hope of reversing this would be to control DC Comics DIRECTLY, and to then go back to pre-DC 52 (like a reverse Crisis Event).....while stripping out the SJW infection COMPLETELY.

I this Geppi fellow asked me what I would do, I'd advise him to, well, yes, first fire everyone - EVERYONE, don't bother trying to sort the wheat from the chaff, just neutron bomb the staff - and start a brand new publishing house that went back to the original Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. Ignore the whole DC Universe and everything that has happened in it since, oh, 1970?

Relaunch those characters as their 40's, 50's and 60's selves, targeted at kids, using the pull of MAGA-style nostalgia with the kid's parents. Ditch the Adult crapsack world themes, the dark, agnsty emo stories, complicated plots meant to impress dope-smoking grad students, and the whole anti-hero vibe. Restore those characters to heroic white hats fighting for - as the Superman serials used to say - Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Blogger MichaelJMaier February 16, 2021 10:32 PM  

Unknown wrote:The Gen 13 IMAGE comic used in the article you linked to really brought me back.

Image Comics was the commendable, but ultimately failed attempt of the top Marvel artists like Rob Leifield, Todd McFarlane & Jim Lee to make their own way with their own company. Everybody in my town at that time in the 90's jumped on the Image bandwagon, but it quickly faded.

They were initially successful tho, and Spawn had real staying powerful. Image wasn't a complete failure I suppose.


IIRC their delays in production bankrupted a lot of folks too.

And they were pretty awful comics, for the most part. Chris Claremont nailed it when he said about Marvel editors: "If I went to my boss and said I wanted to draw a comic every month, he'd look at my samples and tell me to go away. But no one does that with artists trying to be writers." (para-quoting)

Wizard Magazine and Image Comics were part of the eventual downfall of the entire industry.

Blogger Blume February 16, 2021 10:33 PM  

@unknown. I don't know how it is a failure. Robert Kirkman had 2 huge hits for them well in the 2010's and those launched a huge tv show and a soon to be cartoon. Plus Saga is critically acclaimed.

Blogger Sam February 16, 2021 10:39 PM  

It's the shot across the bow for all that talk of secession.

Blogger A.D. February 16, 2021 10:40 PM  

It's a comparatively harmless hobby, I suppose. But still weird and silly, really.

Blogger A.D. February 16, 2021 10:43 PM  

Every word you offered is either erroneous or contextually irrelevant.

Blogger Sam February 16, 2021 10:44 PM  

"go back to pre-DC 52 (like a reverse Crisis Event)..."

I would love to see a retcon explanation of the woke insanity. Maybe it could be blamed on a brain parasite.

Blogger GeronL February 16, 2021 11:08 PM  

If AT&T kept film and TV rights then the comics division is chump change to them.

Blogger James Dixon February 16, 2021 11:22 PM  

> There are still comic book shops?

A few. A lot of them didn't survive the past year.

Blogger Akulkis February 16, 2021 11:30 PM  

>> But DC can't? Forget go woke go broke, it is full on go woke go totally incompetent.

Part of being uber-woke is having zero competency in anything important beyond feeding oneself.

Increasing competency (i.e. successfully observing and understanding the world) is directly at odds with wokeness tendencies. The two cannot exist together. There's a reason it only exists in affluent societies -- people who have to work and improve the physical state of affairs around themselves have no time to get involved with wokeness, and as the engineering profession shows, even if you do have the leisure time, dealing with the cold, hard facts of reality tames wishful thinking very quickly.

Blogger Emmanuel February 17, 2021 12:28 AM  

@43

If only Rob Leifield and 90's anti-hero idiocy didn't oversaturate the market with generic, one note caricatures of characters and plots that could literally all be named 'BLOOD GUN'and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference aside from external aesthetics.

It also would have helped if Leifield knew how to draw people right.

I mean, what is even going on in this image, Image!?

https://mlpnk72yciwc.i.optimole.com/cqhiHLc.WqA8~2eefa/w:600/h:216/q:75/https://bleedingcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/rob-liefeld-captain-america-abomination.jpg

Blogger OvergrownHobbit February 17, 2021 12:39 AM  

Comics need to be older-kid friendly (which makes them aspirational for the younger). A 12-year-old should be able to collect enough bottles to get a bag of chips, or a soda and a comic at the local market. The mom can afford to snag one at checkout instead of a candy bar for a treat.

And when the kids get older, they'll still want to read stories in the media on the bus, or on a lunch break.

But you'd have to do what Mr. Del Arroz pointed out (in another Arkhaven post) and hire writers with chests who tell stories about heroes.

Blogger tublecane February 17, 2021 5:26 AM  

Though I know nothing of the industry, it’s amazing to me that two houses and one publishing thing ever came to dominate an industry that’s so fundamentally cheap. Three guys using the cheapest paper available could conceivably sell as much as the most successful issues these days, if they somehow ginned up the interest.

What do the big houses have? Glossiness that no one cares about. Infrastructure that’s currently imploding. Name-brand recognition, yes. But that’s based on characters from the frickin 1940s in DC’s case. How long before Batman and Superman enter the public domain? Or will that somehow be prevented?

I keep coming back to the fact that these behemoths have barely created any new characters since the 70s. What do their writers do all day? Play “what if old character did this?” All day?

Heck, I could do that with characters already in the public domain. Get me an illustrator, cheap paper, and a direct salesman.

Blogger Unknown February 17, 2021 6:17 AM  

Daniel wrote:Comics are an excellent and cheap form of entertainment, upon which other entertainments can be built, as long as the comics are accessible. Shops are not accessible, either physically or socially. They are, in fact, business repellent to the average person. Which is why the average comic today is entirely inaccessible.

I had been reading Vox, and everyone's, thoughts on the direction of the comic business. A few months ago I found myself in a suburb of Detroit with a huge comic shop that I understand is well regarded, Time Travelers, with an hour to spare. So I went in.

Large, lots and lots and lots of shelves of comics and manga books, lots of comic and movie related toys. All slightly dingy, the customers were a little creepy. I am sure if we weren't wearing masks I would have been able to smell dust and BO.

I tried to talk with the counter guy and was going to ask about Arkhaven, but he was a caricature of a mean nerd counter guy.

Blogger Newscaper312 February 17, 2021 8:40 AM  

Actual paper comics havent been my thing in a long time, since the late 70s as I moved into SF novels. I got off the train prob as XMen started up. So that was what, Silver Age earlier in the decade?

Anyway, lots of fond memories. My older brother brought them home. Not just superheroes, really loved Classics Illustrated, I think hand me downs from some much older cousins. I think reprinting CI if rights came up cheap, could be a nice adjunct to the Junior Classics.

So still not really my thing, but absolutely right as a front in the culture war, particularly with it seeding movies and TV.

Blogger Emmanuel February 17, 2021 9:03 AM  

I wonder if there could be a troll business model. If you could purchase it for cheap, have Hollywood pay you 5 million/year so that you don't release a canon comic of Batman versus the evil trans SJW.

Blogger Man of the Atom February 17, 2021 10:02 AM  

Unknown wrote:Daniel wrote:Comics are an excellent and cheap form of entertainment, upon which other entertainments can be built, as long as the comics are accessible. Shops are not accessible, either physically or socially. They are, in fact, business repellent to the average person. Which is why the average comic today is entirely inaccessible.

I had been reading Vox, and everyone's, thoughts on the direction of the comic business. A few months ago I found myself in a suburb of Detroit with a huge comic shop that I understand is well regarded, Time Travelers, with an hour to spare. So I went in.

Large, lots and lots and lots of shelves of comics and manga books, lots of comic and movie related toys. All slightly dingy, the customers were a little creepy. I am sure if we weren't wearing masks I would have been able to smell dust and BO.

I tried to talk with the counter guy and was going to ask about Arkhaven, but he was a caricature of a mean nerd counter guy.


Removing newsstand (or other convenient public-facing) distribution is what began to kill the comic book audience in the late 1970s. It ultimately enabled the comic shop by beginning the process of removing comics from grocery stores, drug stores, and other newsstand serviced locations. But it's hard to grow an audience when you put the product behind specialized walls where the average adult won't take their kids. Any small town used to have comics, but small towns can't support a specialty comic shop.

Additionally, comic shops pushed the Big Two to kill mail-order subscription sales in the 1990s, further isolating the hobby from the average person. For over 30 years, both the comic shops and the Big Two marketed to an ever-aging, ever-shrinking audience. Each buyer had more ready cash than a ten year-old with their mom in a grocery store, but the number of buyers shrank by a factor of 100 to 1000.

Want some data on that? Comicchron will help you compare comic sales volume over various years. The average book in the 1960s outsold all but the most popular books today. The yearly sales data is "copies per issue" which are typically a monthly issue. Note that most modern comic shop tallies are in "sales", which hide the fact that most "sales" aren't comic books.
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales/postaldata/1964.html
https://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2020/2020-03.html

Why is that comic store the way you found it? Because they want it that way, and that is why they are doomed.

Blogger Dark Herald February 17, 2021 10:02 AM  

As for the actual amount of cash needed to be raised for such a venture, if it was the full comics-and-only-the-comics buyout in perpetuity, estimates for the publishing value alone are around the $300,000,000 mark, but to actually make it worth Warners and AT&T's while, and make up for their loss of face, we might be looking closer to a cool half billion.

Dream on.

Okay, the key words here are "full...buyout in perpetuity." The rumor is "license only," not a full buyout.

And one thing the genius at Bleeding Cool missed is the Wonder Woman factor.

DC doesn't own her (unless that's changed) they only have a license themselves. If Warner sells the comic books outright, Wonder Woman automatically reverts to the Moulton estate.

Unless there is separate deal for the movies, Wonder Woman would be out of the DCEU. Although, after the last movie I'm not certain they'd mind.

Blogger Tars Tarkas February 17, 2021 10:37 AM  

300 million dollars for the comic assets of a company that isn't turning a profit? Knowing absolutely nothing about this stuff, seems rather steep to me.
OTOH, I think they probably could be profitable if they would just fire ALL of the SJWs and freaks and weirdos and degenerates from the company and produce a good product, they probably could make money. At a minimum, all of their employees should be forbidden to use twitter or any other social media platform as a condition of their employment.

'The customer is always right' might be going to far, but 'the customer is a hateful bigot and we must destroy him' isn't the way to go either.

Blogger Cwyn February 17, 2021 2:21 PM  

DC Supers have such a great legacy, they will be saved at some point. Copyright be damn, they are a part of American culture that will live as long as whites do. Marvel won't have the same level of luck, but some of their lines will survive to. Certainly Spiderman, and a few of the top stars. Timmverse has persevered DC forever, immortal and as intended.

Blogger Silly but True February 17, 2021 5:53 PM  

The Marston Contract was true for a while but DC Comics purchased the Wonder Woman rights outright from the Moulton Estate. Wonder Woman rights aren’t an issue; DC totally owns her.

The biggest opportunity isn’t in A-listers, but rather the C- and D-listers.

Both Marvel & DC have their own Rocket Raccoons and Groots still left to be mined — turning also-rans into gold. All that’s holding them back is creativity.

Blogger Macs February 17, 2021 6:39 PM  

I actually miss comics, but only the old newsprint ones (or a GN if it's good). The crap paper made it satisfying bathroom reading.

Blogger MrNiceguy February 17, 2021 11:07 PM  

I will never understand the idiocy of the people running DC and Marvel over the last decade. The most popular movies have all been based on comic book franchises. They could have been printing money cashing in on that. "Hey, waiting for the next Thor movie? Here's some stories about what he's been doing on Asgard!"

Instead, they've been taking steaming woke dumps on their fanbase. "You like Thor? Want more stories about the Thor you've been watching? TOO BAD! Thor's a girl now! And The Hulk is Korean! And check out Iron Ma'am! Oh, but Captain Marvel is still bitchy and unlikeable, so you've got that."

Blogger MrNiceguy February 17, 2021 11:32 PM  

Regarding the public domain, that doesn't really apply to the characters. The characters are protected by trademark, which doesn't expire as long as they are being used by the owner.

Assuming that someday Congress stops extending copyright, Superman #1 will enter public domain. Arkhaven could then sell reprints of Superman #1 without getting permission from or paying royalties to whoever owns DC at the time. But if DC is still using the Superman character - comics, movies, video games, action figures, whatever - the trademark is still active and Arkhaven cannot create their own Superman comics.

The only public domain characters are ones that have not been used by the original trademark holder. Captain Marvel was originally a DC character, but DC comics left the character unused long enough that the trademark lapsed, so Marvel was able to make their own Captain Marvel.

Blogger CarpeOro February 18, 2021 8:50 AM  

I'm guessing that there are a few different scenarios of how this go down.
Least likely - Bleeding Cool is right and some organization with deep pockets wastes half a billion, not really caring that the return will never be worth it.
Second least likely - they get the ridiculous asking price.
Approaching reality - it sits on the offer block for awhile and they get a tenth of the asked for price. The buyer pulls of a miracle by making the correct moves back toward the golden age and manage to stir up sustained interest by dropping prices for an extended period of time. Then they go broke.
Possible outcome - Purchase is done at 10% of the value. The house isn't put in order and they collapse again paving the way for the next option.
Likeliest outcome - It gets sold eventually (maybe after a second collapse) for some single digit percentage of the current asking price, maybe 5%. A big money infusion occurs up to the purchase price for instance. The old media rally around as the new effort tries to tiptoe on top the fence being everything to everyone and interesting almost no one after the first few issues as it all falls apart again. Tencent buys the rights at a further discount and turns a profit in a few years with domestic sales - in China.

Blogger OneWingedShark February 18, 2021 10:18 AM  

MrNiceguy wrote:I will never understand the idiocy of the people running DC and Marvel over the last decade. The most popular movies have all been based on comic book franchises. They could have been printing money cashing in on that. "Hey, waiting for the next Thor movie? Here's some stories about what he's been doing on Asgard!"
Instead, they've been taking steaming woke dumps on their fanbase. "You like Thor? Want more stories about the Thor you've been watching? TOO BAD! Thor's a girl now! And The Hulk is Korean! And check out Iron Ma'am! Oh, but Captain Marvel is still bitchy and unlikeable, so you've got that."

There actually IS a reason for this.
First and foremost: the "social engineers" are trying to destroy modern American mythology, this is actually a subset of their operations which are to eradicate American culture. You see this in how media pushes Church, either as stuffy and useless people OR as objectively evil: there's never a Christian Pastor who is objectively "the good guy", or even [and I think this is the one they really fear] a Christian man with strong moral standing — this lone factor could have *REALLY* highlighted the "fish out of water"/"Man out of time" aspect of Captain America. Imagine, if you will, how a blunt, unapologetic staunchly Christian [and "super-conservative" 1930s-era Christian] Steve Rogers would have impacted the MCU.

You see, any point of "culture-transmission" is under attack: Churches*, Militia**, Gun-clubs, Comics, Movies, etc.
What the elite really want is a population that is not only accepting of massive & unchecked corruption, but expectant of it… with the thousand-years uncreative Chinese ultra-submissiveness and the Indian caste-system, too. (Themselves at the top, obviously.) — Which is why they are importing so heavily from South America, China, and India… with the feature-not-a-bug of disemploying the natural American.

* — Traditionally American churches are the ones that would preach against corruption, against the failings in government.
** — Especially dangerous, as this undermines the programs instilling "learned helplessness" on the general population.

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