Once More Unto the Well | Thoughts on the Comic Book Industry

By Brandon L. Rucker

Brian Hiibbs has historically overreacted to things happening in the market. And as usual I disagree with his chicken little perspective. As what’s very obviously just a niche market in this modern era (meaning the days of half a million-to-a-million-selling issues are waaaaaaay behind us), the only way the comics publishing industry takes a “crash” is if those faithful to the Big Two truly say “ENOUGH” and truly walk away cold turkey. As evident in the continued support of regurgitated ideas (mainly looking at Marvel on this), that’s just not all that likely to happen. So long as the Big Two maintain their market share, things will be ultimately “fine”.

And if they do happen to lose more market share, and we do “crash” a bit, would that really be so bad? It would force the course-correction of the Big Two while the indie, licensed properties & creator-owned market (i.e. non-superheroes) continue to increase market share, truly creating a landscape of diversity. Remember, all that market share gained by Image over the last 3-4 years was given up by Marvel (plus IDW & Dark Horse). Throughout all of this DC has relatively maintained their comfy spot in the market as the perennial Number Two (though also ceding a little bit of their share of the pie as well).

Granted, Hibbs is opining from a retailer’s perspective while I’m coming from more of an invested observer and general commentator perspective.

There are those who say that Marvel’s tactics have been deplorable since the Joe Quesada era began. However, in a lot of ways, it really goes back further than Quesada if you look at Marvel from a historical perspective. However, given the more realistic “niche” aspect of the industry, their methods are more magnified and pronounced than perhaps in the past. Of course, there was no social media nor a big comics media presence back then to put such a wide lens on things. That doesn’t excuse them in any way, however. I’d also say it’s a thin line between writing truly good fiction and giving the fans what they want.

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