Is DC's month of gatefold covers merely a marketing ploy to suck more money out of a dwindling fanbase, or is it something more sinister?
Source: ThanosCopter Newswire
DC Comics' April 2013 solicitations confirm rumors that April will be a month of all gatefold covers for the comics publishing giant. With the return of the gatefolds, along with DC's nineties throwback Editor in Chief Bob Harras and his gang of 90s superstar creators, readers are forced to wonder if this all just an example of failing to learn lessons from history, or if DC is willfully attempting to reboot the entire comics industry back to its 1990s glory days. As many remember, the 1990s were a time when gatefold holofoil variant covers ruled the day, preying on the prevalent notion that comics books magically increased in value over the years, leading many to view the purchase of comics as an investment.
Of course, unless one is a complete idiot, it is understood that the reason that older comics increased in value is because people viewed them as disposable and very few copies survived, making them rare and valuable. When comics were marketed as investments in 1990s, they were printed by the millions, bought up by speculators, and stored in pristine condition. The end result? You can walk into a comic shop today and find brand new copies of 1991's X-Men #1 in the twenty-five cent bin. In addition, once speculators realized that these comics weren't worth shit, they stopped buying them, nearly destroying the industry, which has not recovered to this day.
"Fuck all that," said Bob Harras in an interview we're making up, but believe has to be pretty close to the truth.
"The nineties were a great time for comics," said Harras, who was wearing a flannel shirt and ripped jeans. "I mean, who wouldn't want to go back to a time when comics were selling over a million copies per issue?"
We asked Mr. Harras if he understood that that was a temporary bubble, like the recent real estate bubble that eventually burst in 2008, causing the major economic troubles the country is facing today. Like all bubbles, a comic book sales bubble created by artificially boosting sales with gimmicks is bound to burst, and may take the entire industry with it this time.
"Hey, have you heard these new tunes by Nirvana?" Harras responded, turning up the volume on a cassette copy of Nevermind on his boom box.
Isn't Harras concerned that, though DC may be making money now, they are not creating new comic book readers and may, in fact, be alienating old ones, which is a shortsighted view that could ultimately blow up in DC's face, we wondered?
"Is making sweet gangsta rap music going to blow up in Tupac's face?" Harras asked in response? "Is living an unhealthy lifestyle going to backfire on hilarious comedians like John Candy and Chris Farley?"
"Yes," we replied. "They're all dead."
"OJ is innocent," Harras replied, changing the subject.
Undeterred, we continued to question Harras on the negative effects DC's gimmicky strategy would have on the industry.
"Look," responded Harras. "I like to think of comics a lot like Beanie Babies, in the respect that they aren't a fad that will disappear in a few years, but a long-lasting investment that people should fee confident in putting their money into. Comics are here to stay, and if people buy comics with gatefold holofoil covers for the 5th rebooted number one issue of a series, that comic is likely to put their children through college."
We explained that that was exactly the misconception that led to the collapse of the industry last time.
"I don't see what the problem is," Harras continued. "DC Comics will last forever, like Shaq's movie career. Like the timeless classic by the Proclaimers says, readers would walk 500 miles just to buy ten polybagged copies of Cyborg: The Other Dark Knight #1 just to get all the different special edition collector's trading cards."
We asked Bob if he was even paying attention to what we were saying, and if he understood that this entire strategy has been tested before and proven to fail, something he himself was directly involved in.
"As long as Saved by the Bell remains a pop culture institution," responded Harras, " as long as President Clinton refuses to cave to pressure and sign NAFTA, as long as MTV continues to play music videos, as long as Axl Rose remains a productive musical genius, as long as the X-Files is one of the top shows on television, as long as Jennifer Anniston is considered both sane and attractive, as long as Saturday Night Live is funny, as long as every time you connect to the internet through dial up connection and hear that familiar voice from AOL tell you that 'you've got mail,' DC Comics will be just fine. We're going to be fine."