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DeathBug
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[font=comic sans ms][size=1][color=indigo]Recently, I read an article complaing about the multitude of Spider-Man comic book titles. You've got the original, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ultimate spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel Age Spider-Man, Venom, The Pulse, Spider-Girl, and currently two mini-series...

Too much of a good thing? I think so. It's an example of what's wrong with US comics today. First,no innovation. Every title Marvel publishes is either one that has its roots in the sixties, or one that was a spin-off of one of the sixties characters. There are a few exceptions, but the fact is, no one in that company is taking a chance on new material.

Why not? Simple; why risk money with something new, when you've got a stable of characters you know will sell? X-Men sell. Spider-Man sells. Why mess with what works?

Undortunatly, that kind of thinking, while useful in the short-run, is harmful in the long run, for the exact reason i've just illustrated: too many titles about the same thing.

Folks in marketing will say, "But they're not the same! Ultimate spider-Man is for the younger crowd, to get them into comics! Marvel Age Spider-Man is for the twekve and under demo! Amnazing and spectacular are the core titles. Marvel Knights is for the more mature crowd, etc..."

Folks in marketing caused the Clone Saga, okay? Heres' an idea: why not have the original book, Amazing Spider-Man, appropriate for all ages? Then you don't need Ultimate or Marvel Age? Take Spectacular, and make it the darker, edgier, more mature book. Apparently, the thought of appealing to as many demographics as possible with as few different titles as possible never occurred to anyone. --;

Maybe, if we did this to the X-Men, and Batman, and superman, new readers wouldn't be so damn confused over the huge multitude of titles.

Also, I hate to say it, but the Ultimate Universe has to go. It's stuck in a rut, and the great talent that's on the books could better be put to use inside the "main" Marvel Universe.

Finally, American comics need to stop copying manga and actually learn from it. Manga isn't successful just because it looks different; it's successful because it covers a far broader range of genres that just superheroes. I like superheroes, but I also like peanut butter, and I don't need everything I eat to taste like peanut butter.

Marvel's recently taken a step in the right direction with tHe Pulse, about news reporters covering super hewroes, and X-Static, about celebrity super heroes, but they're still tied to super heroes.

Try some romance, or drama, or comedies. With all the talant Marvel currently has, you'd think different types of stories would emerge.

Oh, and maybe having better market penetration wouldn't hurt. ^^;

So, basically, trim the fat and broaden your horizons: if American comics could do that, they might become more popular. It'd be a shame if this great medium died out.[/color][/font][/size]
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There are so many different comics out there its silly. Companies put out a lot of different, non traditional comics all the time but they don't sell. Its not that the company is unwilling to try new things, its just that all the things they try fail. The comic book scene is small, and dominated by the people who primarily like Batman, Superman, Xmen and Spiderman and will buy any title with their tag on it. It sucks, because a lot of good comics get cancelled after a few issues or fail to be published. The comic scene is just too small, most people don't go into comic stores and comics aren't sold in big stores much anymore (used to see them in grocery stores). There is no advertising for comics whatsoever.

There still manage to be a few great titles like Powers, 100 Bullets and Hellboy, but really they are few and far between. I think American comics stack up really well with any of the manga that has come to the states. Most of the Manga that gets here follows basic formula's and are repetitive too. There are a lot more good titles though, Blade of the Immortal is the best comic ever, GTO, Naruto, Love Hina and Initial D are some of my favorites (and Iron Wok Jan). I think Manga is bigger because it usually ties into anime, and both are more a part of Japanese culture than cartoons or comics are here.
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[QUOTE=DeathBug][font=comic sans ms][size=1][color=indigo]Recently, I read an article complaing about the multitude of Spider-Man comic book titles. You've got the original, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ultimate spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel Age Spider-Man, Venom, The Pulse, Spider-Girl, and currently two mini-series...

Too much of a good thing? I think so. It's an example of what's wrong with US comics today. First,no innovation. Every title Marvel publishes is either one that has its roots in the sixties, or one that was a spin-off of one of the sixties characters. There are a few exceptions, but the fact is, no one in that company is taking a chance on new material.

Why not? Simple; why risk money with something new, when you've got a stable of characters you know will sell? X-Men sell. Spider-Man sells. Why mess with what works?

Undortunatly, that kind of thinking, while useful in the short-run, is harmful in the long run, for the exact reason i've just illustrated: too many titles about the same thing.

Folks in marketing will say, "But they're not the same! Ultimate spider-Man is for the younger crowd, to get them into comics! Marvel Age Spider-Man is for the twekve and under demo! Amnazing and spectacular are the core titles. Marvel Knights is for the more mature crowd, etc..."

Folks in marketing caused the Clone Saga, okay? Heres' an idea: why not have the original book, Amazing Spider-Man, appropriate for all ages? Then you don't need Ultimate or Marvel Age? Take Spectacular, and make it the darker, edgier, more mature book. Apparently, the thought of appealing to as many demographics as possible with as few different titles as possible never occurred to anyone. --;

Maybe, if we did this to the X-Men, and Batman, and superman, new readers wouldn't be so damn confused over the huge multitude of titles.

Also, I hate to say it, but the Ultimate Universe has to go. It's stuck in a rut, and the great talent that's on the books could better be put to use inside the "main" Marvel Universe.

Finally, American comics need to stop copying manga and actually learn from it. Manga isn't successful just because it looks different; it's successful because it covers a far broader range of genres that just superheroes. I like superheroes, but I also like peanut butter, and I don't need everything I eat to taste like peanut butter.

Marvel's recently taken a step in the right direction with tHe Pulse, about news reporters covering super hewroes, and X-Static, about celebrity super heroes, but they're still tied to super heroes.

Try some romance, or drama, or comedies. With all the talant Marvel currently has, you'd think different types of stories would emerge.

Oh, and maybe having better market penetration wouldn't hurt. ^^;

So, basically, trim the fat and broaden your horizons: if American comics could do that, they might become more popular. It'd be a shame if this great medium died out.[/color][/font][/size][/QUOTE]
For one thing, you are right. There are too many Spider-Msn books. I'm a huge Spidey fan, but it gets too expensive. Plus, bringing up the Clone saga makes a good point since there were way too many books back in the 90s. I feel Marvel is starting to repeat past mistakes.

I, however, disagree with the Ultimate line of comics. They are not for the younger kids. The Ultimate line is for newbies who want to see Peter from the beginning without all that 40+ years of continuity and for the other readers who want to see Peter back at his roots, as a high school kid with problems on top of being a super hero.

All in all, there just needs to be two books, Amazing and Ultimate. Both have great writers are pencilers. Both are very good. As for X-Men, well, I don't have a preference which regular book should stay, but I know that the Ultimate one should. I've got one word to argue your want to get rid of the Ultimate line of books, and that word is "Bendis." Well, if you want a better arguement, the Ultimate line does a great job of getting the characters back to their roots while putting them in the 21st century. It sure does a better job than Spider-Man: Chapter One (shudders at the thought of that book). Plus, well, Bendis. That is really all you need. Brian Micheal Bendis is an awesome writer. He's currently one of the best in the business, and that saying a lot since he works on like 3-5 books a month. If you need one word that is unargueable to keep the Ultimate line, it's Bendis.
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I agree and disagree.

The market is oversaturated with variations of a singular series. When I go to the local shop, I'm overwhelmed with what seems like a dozen different Spider-Man comics and their various relations. It's hard to sort out which is worth getting and which isn't. Which is the main line and which ones aren't.

At the same time, there's a few X-Men lines and they're pretty damn different from one another. Ultimate X-Men has pretty much fallen apart, X-treme X-Men is terrible... The only one worth the time is New X-Men, really. In some ways it makes me glad that there are a few lines, because otherwise I'd miss the awesomeness that is New X-Men... and at the same time, some other random person might prefer the approach of Ultimate X-Men.

The problem with the Ultimates line is really that it's just adding to the confusion. The idea of them is to inject some more modern ideas into their respective series, but when there's already several Spider-Man alternatives, for example, adding [i]another[/i] one to the mix is simply not going to help matters.

What I really disagree with, however, is that there isn't diversity. There may not be enough of it from the major publishers, but it is definitely there. There are comics readily available on every subject I've ever seen a manga try to show. You have to look beyond Marvel and DC in particular... even to the smaller companies under them sometimes. Not every comic is even remotely about a superhero. Some of my favorites have nothing to do with them whatsoever.

Manga is popular for several reasons, I suppose. If manga was the only major comic-style here for decades, I'm sure it would be just as tired. Manga is something new for most people and Japanese stuff is simply cool to people.

I'm not trying to downplay manga, however, as much of it is rather excellent. However, there is definitely an equal ratio of garbage in the manga market based on my experience.

I think one of the major things in manga's favor is its price and distribution model. Most manga comes in small trade paperbacks and with the advent of Tokyo Pop, you're only spending maybe $10 on them total. Most manga sales come from book stores... many book stores don't even sell individual issues of comics at all. So you have $15+ comic compilations selling against cheaper manga that is currently riding a good wave of buzz. I think, despite their smaller size dimensions on average, most manga seem like a better value because their thickness makes up for it. Thicker books always seem larger than taller wider ones, for some reason.

I believe it was Marvel that had plans to start putting out books in the size of Tokyo Pop and market them in the same manner. Whether or not this will help, I don't really know.

In the end, I think the misconception that Western comics don't go beyond the superhero side of things is what is hurting them though. Superman, Spider-Man and Batman have become such a large part of culture here that that's all people think there is that's being offered anymore... And, really, going to your comic shop and seeing rows of Superman, Spider-Man and Batman comments really do not help kill that stereotype at all.

All a comic fan can do, I suppose, is try and get the word out on their favorite titles and make people realize that that is [i]not[/i] all Western comics have to offer. That, in fact, there are comics about daily life, comedy, romance, etc. It's what I do, anyway.
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[color=indigo][size=1][font=comic sans ms]There are my different varieties of American comics; this is true. However, most of them simply don't have any market power. At my local Borders, the entire comic rack is Marvel and DC, and that's probably true in most other areas. The only place to get more diversified comics are usually the specialty shops.

Marvel and DC have an overwhelmingly large share of the market, and as long as they only produce super heroes, comics will be percieved as only being about super heroes. If there's going to be a change, they're going to have to help initiate it.

Semjaza makes a good point: manga is cheap. The Shonen jUmp books are $8 a pop, and TokyoPop are $10 a pop. Most American graphic novels are $12-$15 each, meaning that most people who buy them are already fans.

Fortunatly, Marvel's trying the digest format in a line of books to be released in two weeks. If they do well, it will encourage them to continue the format. Here's hoping. [/color][/size][/font]
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I agree with you guys I go to the mall and what do I see rows upon rows of comic books all with mostly X-Men, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and Justice League what is with Marvel and DC they just are giving the people to much of a good thing. Making spin-offs for characters in the comics of other superheroes then making mini-series comics. I have to go online to find good Manga's most of the stores in the mall carry comic books that cost an arm and a leg( considering the fact im 14 and have no job anything over 14 dollars can be no make that 13 bucks.) I mean most U.S. book stores like Waldeen books carry mostly Comic Books on these big racks and you have to look through all through it to find Manga's and to find them faster you have to go to big book store chains like BooksAMillion or BAM! as they like to be called and the books can cost more there sometimes.
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Don't get me wrong, I like Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, and Superman. However, I can only read so much before I become legal insane. This is why I limit myself the Ultimate books, and one normal Marvel title (those being back-issues). As for Bats and Supes... I only read back issues, anyway. Hey, I have a lot of catching up to do. I am looking forward to the upcoming X-book about mutant detective stories, though.

My local bookstore really is flooded with popular American superheroes. Oddly, though, their manga section is larger. So whenever I get tired of spandex-clad people with extra apendages shooting optic webbing from their minds-- I grab a Takahashi book. It's very difficult to get ahold of an American book about everday people-- especially since my local Borders decided to separate all American graphic novels into either DC or Marvel. Very difficult to find the other titles.
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Don't expect Marvel to change its tack anytime soon. The whole enterprise nearly went bankrupt a few years ago and the current management team is happy just to saddle up the old warhorses every month; at least they are making a buck again.

At least the titles are in better shape than they used to be. I knew a guy who wrote those "bullpen" thingies 5 years back and used to get every title for free in the mail; he was a comics fan but said that they weren't worth reading...

DC is slightly behind Marvel in overall market share so I don't think they will be making any drastic moves either.

I agree with many that the big heroes are overrepresented each month and that it is pretty stale to keep trying to make Spider-Man look cool after 40 years (he is just a riff on heroes from the 1940s). But lots of people want to keep reading that stuff or it wouldn't sell.

It's too bad the specialty shops died off; it used to be easier to go and look at the more adventurous titles by the smaller groups when they were around. But retail media boutiques in general are pretty much a thing of the past.
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