Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All Good Things Must Come to an End

How many times have I said it? I've said it outright, I've alluded to it, I've mentioned it in passing - and it is now coming to pass:

One after the next, small comic book presses and publishing companies are closing their doors. Many are of the very small press variety, so small that even "niche" doesn't fit; just "small." But this is just the start - mark my words. Stores have been closing slowly for the last year or so, now come the smaller publishers, then comes the major Hollywood/event flop, then the sale to another large media corporation, then the rumors of bankruptcy... ad nauseam.

As I have said time and again, this is why the industry continues to always just surface and never actually stabilize: the people running it don't know wtf they're doing! Not unlike TV executives, comic book publishers are more concerned with the mathematics and advertisers than the actual fans who read the magazines, thus they never quite get it right and the industry is always teetering on the brink of collapse.

And don't even give me the old saw about how "hindsight is 20/20," because I have been saying this for years!

The crossover events did well when the concept was resurrected a few years back, so instead of using that momentum and the profits from those sales to improve the individual titles, the companies scrambled to throw-together yet another crossover event! One after the next, to the point that nobody cares anymore!

A single movie based on an uber-popular comic title does well, so instead of using that momentum and the profits garnered to improve the product, they scramble to make yet another blockbuster film! One after the next, to the point that nobody cares anymore!

A single comic book character is killed-off and press is generated, sales skyrocket, and the whole thing becomes a nifty footnote to pop-culture. Instead of working that momentum and the profits gained back into the products currently on the market, the companies scramble to decide who the next comic book icon to die will be!

You seeing a pattern here?

If you don't, then ask any of us about the early 1990s - because this is the same damn thing they did then! With 23423536 colored, tin-foil covers and hologram cards and fricking Wolverine and Punisher guest-appearances... every, little gimmick that boosted sales by a single point suddenly became a weekly event to the point that the entire industry collapsed across the board! Fans who enjoyed the art quit buying; collectors who invested quit buying; stores closed; publishing houses collapsed; creators moved-on to other, more lucrative, industries; and 10 years later, these numbnuts finally made a successful movie... and do the very, same thing all over again!

It's time to face facts: the guys at the top of the comic book food-chain haven't the faintest, frigging idea of how to do their jobs! And everybody under them knows this!

But I'm not going to do the requisite whining post; I'm just over it.

It's the same with politics and corporate America, in general: those at the top don't really not know what they're doing - they just don't care; they're making money hand-over-fist, so as far as they're concerned, there is no problem. Sure, the country and industry is collapsing around them, but they're still shilling their products with shit-eating grins, convincing advertisers that - so long as the sheep are still buying - everything's fine, just fine.

And they'll keep doing this until the bottom falls out - excuse me, they blow the bottom out of the whole thing - then they'll curl back up into obscurity and wallow in near-bankruptcy for a decade or so until they strike-upon the next big boom.

When they'll do it all over again.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008


Anonymous said...

like you who love the genre so much that they run it for the fans. Sure it needs to be profitable but that will come if you produce something that they will love to buy and collect.

Manodogs said...

Heh, sorry. I'm the worst guy to sit beside at movies, too; I know how they do basically everything and love telling the stories. (Sire is talking about our recent discussion at his blog concerning pro rasslin).

Yes, content is king - in every medium/media - no matter what anyone else says or tries to convince you of, but these guys are more concerned with the short-term than the long haul.

It really is a matter of complete short-sightedness, but also simple greed. Not to mention they are being led-on by every self-serving executive from the other industries (Hollow-wood, advertising, etc.) - and those people could care less about anything, aside from their own agenda.

Anonymous said...

missed part of my comment. I had typed that that "They need someone like you who loves etc." Don't know what happened to that.

Anyway, it would make a hell of a lot of difference if someone who had a passion for the job, too it on.

Manodogs said...

The problem is they run all the passionate ones off with their constant bullshit about properties, copyrights, trademarks, and so on.

Those who have such passion are great at the craft and become big names - and that's when the commercial ad agencies and Hollywood come a'callin'.

So, they can either put up with the constant corporate hassle of the jackasses who run the industry for a fraction of what they could make in other outlets, or they can put up with the constant bullshit of ad agencies and Hollywood for significantly more money.

It's a no-brainer.