|If a new comic book initiative launched in the forest,|
would anyone care?
Okay part II - The Admission. I have no marketing training, and I never would have claimed to until I witnessed DC Comics pushing of their New 52 initiative. But after seeing how this giant multi-million dollar corporation (which is backed by Warner Brothers no less) is going about their business, there are only two possible solutions: either I am a genius or the marketing people at DC have no idea what they are doing.
A quick explanation of the New 52 initiative, which I believe is great (actually not sarcasm).
1. DC Comics is cancelling all of their regularly published comic books (Batman, Superman, etc.) and relaunching them from new number 1 issues. In theory, this makes DC Comics accessible to anyone that might want to give them a try without needing 60 years of background information to make sense of the book. Great idea. It might irritate fan-boys in the 30 to 60 year old market, but lets face it, those fellas are going nowhere. WE have nowhere else to go.
2. This is the exciting part. DC Comics will be made available digitally on the same day that the books are released. That's right ladies and gentlemen, you will no longer have to seek out the dark, smelly dungeon that is your local comic book store. You will now be able to tap download on your iPad and bingo-bango presto-change-o, you have just downloaded the ass-kicking new Batman #1.
Great initiative. This potentially puts comic books into the hands of people in markets that have never even considered comic books (this includes business men on the morning train and, sadly, 11 ad 12 year old boys who only vaguely know that Spider-Man existed before they were born). Unfortunately, the industry still hasn't figured out how to put comics into the hand of girls and women. Perhaps the iPad is the first step.
Great initiative-Greater problem. No one knows about it. Sure, the nerd market that frequents CBR, Newsarama, and verious nerdy pop culture sights have read all about it with fervor. But DC comics already sells comic books to us. Sure, their sales will spike for a few months as some Marvel readers say, "Hey, Jim Lee is drawing Justice League. I'll have to check that out." But ultimately that will end when those same marvel readers remember that they have loved The Avengers since they were 10 years old and don't need DC's version. Congratulations DC. You had the opportunity to change the industry and you settle for a few months of stealing Marvel readers. Bravo.
What abut those business men on the morning train? What about those kids who know little about comic books beyond Diary of a Wimpy kid? They surely don't know about the New 52. Shouldn't someone at DC be asking, "Why the hell not? Why are we aiming our marketing at people who already buy comic books?"
Here is the pitch.
|Jim Lee talking comics |
with Justin Long
Two nationally televised commercials. One featuring Jim Lee standing next to Justin Long, both of them holding iPads. The two of them are talking about the latest issue of Batman (or whatever), and slipping in how they downloaded it from iTunes. The second commercial is more like your typical iPad commercial, showing people varying in age, sex and ethnicity using their iPads in different ways. I'm thinking of the man on a train, closing his stock portfolio and opening the latest issue of Green Lantern, the 11 year old kid in his bedroom closing angry birds and flipping through Superman, and the hipster-girl on the park bench delving into Wonder Woman while waiting for a group of friends.
DC Comics has to sell three ideas before they can sell comics to the mass public.
1. Comics are easy to get on your iPad.
2. Anyone can read and enjoy comic books
3. Comics are nerdy-chic, just like iPads and Buddy Holly glasses.
DC Comics has created the opportunity to change the industry. If they are not selling these points, then they are going to a lot of effort to just tread water.
*Apologies for the non-art blog. Back to normal in the next couple of days.
*Artwork in this particular blog post belongs to DC Comics