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DC's characters don't deserve DC

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The Shadow
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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby The Shadow » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:28 pm

Black_Orchid wrote:In a perfect world the multi-verse would have worked. Keep the groups of characters in their own universes. The Fawcett Earth, Quality, Charlton, etc. Occasional crossovers.

No offense, but ugh.

I HATE the concept of the multiverse. Hate, hate, HATE it!

The JSA being the fore bearers of the JLA is better than a forced yearly event crossover story. Look at the Marvel/DC crossovers or even same company crossovers when DC and Wildstorm characters meet. Those stores are almost ALWAYS predictable and especially forgettable.

I think the shared history is a stronger building block than the JLA being the 'first' superhero team and I love the idea of legacy characters (Jay to Barry to Wally) showing the strength of the characters and villains.

If you don't want Captain Marvel to interact with Superman, keep Captain Marvel out of Metropolis. Pretty simple... BUT Black Adam makes a wicked DCU villain so him being available is great! Nothing says they HAVE to interact and when they do it can still feel like an event like when Punisher appeared in Power Pack? TOTALLY opposite characters yet it worked without the need of the multiverse.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:02 am

The Shadow wrote:No offense, but ugh.

I HATE the concept of the multiverse. Hate, hate, HATE it!

The JSA being the fore bearers of the JLA is better than a forced yearly event crossover story. Look at the Marvel/DC crossovers or even same company crossovers when DC and Wildstorm characters meet. Those stores are almost ALWAYS predictable and especially forgettable.

I think the shared history is a stronger building block than the JLA being the 'first' superhero team and I love the idea of legacy characters (Jay to Barry to Wally) showing the strength of the characters and villains.

If you don't want Captain Marvel to interact with Superman, keep Captain Marvel out of Metropolis. Pretty simple... BUT Black Adam makes a wicked DCU villain so him being available is great! Nothing says they HAVE to interact and when they do it can still feel like an event like when Punisher appeared in Power Pack? TOTALLY opposite characters yet it worked without the need of the multiverse.


I agree somewhat, but I don't think it's absolutely as black and white as you're making it out to be. As an example, Squadron Supreme is considered to be Mark Gruenwald's seminal piece of work. I don't think he could have written it the way he did if the Squadron Supreme existed on the same Earth as the Avengers. That story needed the existence of Marvel's multiverse.
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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby The Shadow » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:10 am

Stephen Day wrote:
I agree somewhat, but I don't think it's absolutely as black and white as you're making it out to be. As an example, Squadron Supreme is considered to be Mark Gruenwald's seminal piece of work. I don't think he could have written it the way he did if the Squadron Supreme existed on the same Earth as the Avengers. That story needed the existence of Marvel's multiverse.

Point... but that's one story done 27 years ago. I think that is the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby glasgowceltic » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:59 am

Chessack wrote:DC's fundamental problem right now is, in a nutshell, lack of quality. This is why you see massive sales up front in response to gimmicks like new #1 issues, and then a die-off (sometimes a rapid one).

If this stuff was any good, more people who tried these series would stick with them. But it isn't, so you have this constant switching from title to title as people get sucked in by the gimmicks but then don't stay past the next couple of issues.


Exactly. DC's marketing initiatives seem to be serving as a band aid for the bulletwound that is the lack of quality of the comics. Again, there's just not much there that I can be bothered reading despite growing up following and loving a lot of DC characters. The New 52 has made me painfully aware of how many writers there are that I just don't have a lot of time for...

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:09 am

The Shadow wrote:Point... but that's one story done 27 years ago. I think that is the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.


I wouldn't say that it's the only story though. The entire run of Exiles would make no sense without Marvel's multiverse. You couldn't have any issues of What IF, if Marvel only had one Earth.
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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:48 am

I don't think sales models today would support separate universes that occasionally cross over for all of DC's properties, without more inter-connectivity most of those ancillary properties would wither and die. They couldn't even keep Wildstorm going, and these days the further afield they get from their core properties, the worse things go for them in terms of sales. Hence, an almost ridiculous glut of Batman-related comics.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Mr. Log » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:58 am

Victorian Squid wrote:... Hence, an almost ridiculous glut of Batman-related comics.


"Almost"?

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:04 am

Log-Man wrote:
"Almost"?


You're right, if I were more awake I would have edited that out.

I made so much money off of Harley Quinn my objectivity has probably been compromised. :|

And I used the money to place a wholesale order with a small press comics distributor for the shop.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby MikeinLA » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:26 am

Victorian Squid wrote:I don't think sales models today would support separate universes that occasionally cross over for all of DC's properties, without more inter-connectivity most of those ancillary properties would wither and die. They couldn't even keep Wildstorm going, and these days the further afield they get from their core properties, the worse things go for them in terms of sales. Hence, an almost ridiculous glut of Batman-related comics.



The solution, then, is to put a Batman in every separate universe.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:31 am

MikeinLA wrote:

The solution, then, is to put a Batman in every separate universe.


Which they tried with the the 'Third Wave' pulp line, but it didn't do it any favors.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:46 am

Draco x wrote:
Agree with your main statement here. The thing is that if DC, Warner and co put their A-Game together they could really move mountains. They have so many franchises and properties they can use but to choose to sit on them due to incompetence and indifference.


The big difference between DC and Marvel is that Marvel has built up the infrastructure through its animation and production companies, where DC has relied on other companies (TW or otherwise) wanting to do a project based on a DC property to come to them.
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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Chessack » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:24 am

Victorian Squid wrote:I don't think sales models today would support separate universes that occasionally cross over for all of DC's properties, without more inter-connectivity most of those ancillary properties would wither and die.


But is this because the customer support is not there, or because the sales model is flawed? Is marketing small numbers of very expensive comics printed on high-quality paper sold through narrowly-focused specialty shops to hardcore collectors really the best way to sell comic-book properties? It seems to be making them money, so maybe it is, but this definitely locks them into whatever primary properties are considered "highly collectible."

Not that they can realistically go back to the cheaply made, inexpensive, mass-market model at this point -- at least not easily. Since they would lose their entire current fan base (as tiny as it is) and there's no promise that they'd ever regain the old, larger, "every teenage boy in America" fan base they had back in the day. Those kids have moved on to other things, since for their entire lives, comics really haven't been available to them as a realistic source of entertainment (too expensive, aimed at "45 year olds," hard to find unless you go to a specialty shop, etc).

However, none of that changes the fact that even with the primary properties, DC's characters are suffering due to the incoherence that their current universe has.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:21 am

No, there's no going back, you're 100% right about that. There isn't even the option of cheap paper goods on pulpy newsprint or anything else these days. The past is the past, and kids today aren't living in it. There's a very vocal adult online contingent that endlessly wishes they were.

So in answer to the question in your first sentence I would answer "both" and agree that DC has other problems going for them too. But none of that changes the fact that the core franchises are about the only monthly comic successes they've had in a long, long time.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Pink_Orchid » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:18 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:I don't think sales models today would support separate universes that occasionally cross over for all of DC's properties, without more inter-connectivity most of those ancillary properties would wither and die. They couldn't even keep Wildstorm going, and these days the further afield they get from their core properties, the worse things go for them in terms of sales. Hence, an almost ridiculous glut of Batman-related comics.


Oh I know they wouldn't work. That's why I said "In a perfect world..." In mine anyway.

Marvel has a mind blowing catalog of characters. Every time they whittle down the number of minor leaguers, writers create more to take their place. Or name change, or power set change. Anyway from the view of this reader, the Marvel universe for the most part starts the top of the ladder at teams. The X-men and the Avengers. All the characters filter down from there, with the few exceptions like Wolverine, Hulk, and Spider-man.

DC Comics stopped having the Justice League at the top, with all the big names branching out. They replaced it with Batman and Superman. Which leaves writers in a corner to try and make their characters or teams fit. The GLC has been fortunate so far, with Johns gone I don't know how long that will last.

I guess in a way Marvel was lucky to not have that many properties to fit together. They started in the Sixties with a clean slate. And rather than buying up large established properties, they just created their own.

Here we are in the real world, where money talks and investors need to be kept happy. There is no room in business for sentiment. And as much as we care for the future of them, they are just fictional characters owned by a corporation.

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Re: DC's characters don't deserve DC

Postby Chessack » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:49 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:No, there's no going back, you're 100% right about that. There isn't even the option of cheap paper goods on pulpy newsprint or anything else these days. The past is the past, and kids today aren't living in it.


Except that there is a modern-day equivalent to the cheap pulp newsprint paper that would, at least in principle, allow for lower prices and wider mass-marketing, and its something today's teenagers love: digital. Since there is no "printing" or "shipping" cost associated with digital, and in principle no real middle-man (since if they wanted, DC could sell digital items directly to customers from their website), the production costs should be astronomically lower for digital, and thus it should be possible to sell them a lot more cheaply -- 99 cents, maybe even less, and still make equivalent profit compared to a 2.99 or 3.99 paper book. But doing this would force DC (or Marvel, or whoever) to shift away from a paper distribution method. At least in theory, doing this properly (and note, I said "properly") should lead to widely-read comics by hundreds of thousands of young people, who love devouring electronic content on their iDevices and Android-ma-bobs. Yes per-item profit might go down a bit (but probably not that much) but (again if they did it right) they would more than make up for it in volume.

But that would require a company that decided to target kids again, instead of one that, as they have said elsewhere, views its market as exclusively "45 year olds" -- which also means, exclusively hardcore collectors who exclusively want to read comics on paper. Sure, I know they sell digitally, but they're almost doing it on a lark, rather than as an effort to widen their sales distribution. Digital is an afterthought, still, rather than a prime focus. Think about this Villain's Month business -- you can't get 3D covers digitally. So this is an event whose major selling point was not even available to digital customers, and I'll bet you dollars to donuts DC didn't even consider what that would mean to those customers.

No one's tried it, really, but I would be willing to bet that if one of these companies started a line of "all ages" comics and soled them relatively cheaply as digitals, tens of thousands of kids would be all over that. But first the comic companies have to embrace the medium.

Without that, then yes, all we are left with is the "45 year old" hardcore collectors who demand high-quality printing on top-notch paper and are willing to spend $4 a pop for comic-books. Of which, I may be one, but I'm not happy about it (especially the age part).

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