I don’t like the current comic release format. Part of me wants to say it is because I spend a lot of money on comics but I can’t really say it because I haven’t been to the store in a few weeks (because I am poor – but I am employable! – but enough self woes). Comics are an expensive habit to have, at times books can be unrewarding (how many scenes of desolation without meaning were in Age of Ultron?). You pay $4 and if you get something to read for maybe 10 minutes, you got something good. And then it goes into the box till you read it again (or donate it to the children’s hospital- that’s what I do).
I live in the Midwest and a movies here don’t cost an arm and a leg. For $10 I can see a two hour long movie. That is equal to 2.5 big name comics I could buy or 3.3 normal comics. At most on the maybe 20 minute per comic I am just breaking even but honestly some of those comics might take 5 minutes to read just to fill time waiting for the plot.
So what if for those $10 you could get something more out of the comic release format?
What if the Big 2 tried a different delivery scheme to attract readers while still delivering content. What if having 10 new books every week, you had 1 big title that was composed of a team or group of characters. What if $10 got you every Avengers issue in one book – something like 5 titles – Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Gimmick Avengers and Young Avengers. I’d pay $10 to not have to buy each of those issues, chances are I’d pay up to $20 for that.
So week 1 is the Avengers titles. Week 2 is your Spider-man and NY City Heroes. You get Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange, Daredevil or whoever else wants a title with a NYC character. Get Heroes For Hire in there, put Hawkeye in there.
Week 3 you have your X-men titles. X-men, Wolverine (you have to have one of those), X-factor, X-statix (please), New X-men, Brotherhood of Evil or whatever people want to buy. Fit it to the list of five.
Week 4 is your really outlier stuff, the titles that don’t fit. Maybe your Deadpool, your Anthology series, maybe an Icon title, something else like Thunderbolts and then one more title – maybe a one-shot. The weird Marvel stuff, the cult Marvel stuff. The books that need the lift of not having to start off pulling an entire title – stick a Dazzler series here.
And if you want to double down to two of these titles, do your MAX book, do an Ultimate Universe book, do an all ages book and then hold that last spot for events or comics with the solo Avengers members and swap that or something else for when you do a crossover.
That way, you have people reading more, sharing more, talking more. But wait you say, I only like Spider-man, screw Doctor Strange and everyone else in the Spider-man book, I don’t want to pay $10 or $20 for this. Well you are in luck!
The benefit of having the collections is that Marvel can actually help digital comics – if you want to just buy Spider-man that week, you can buy it digitally. It can be something cheaper for you to get and if per say Spider-man is selling a lot digitally and nobody is picking up the collection, it means that the title isn’t working and things can be shifted around. This way Marvel can try stuff out. Or if the fan hates waiting to buy digital, they can just wait for the trade.
The reader gets more perceived value, the titles sell more as an effect and Marvel gets more reader. Easy.
And if DC wanted to do it it is simple – Justice League, Batman, Green Lantern, Anthology, Vertigo and something all ages.
Oh but wait, what about variant covers – how about each collection has like – 5 optional covers depending on what you want to get. Choose between the Spider-man, Doctor Strange or Daredevil covers at the store. It gets the people who care about those in there earlier to buy sooner. Or maybe you just have special variant issues that collect individual stories but solely as collectors items.
The plan works well for manga (and I’m not talking about removing color), the old system is pretty stagnant and if this works, writers could take risks, stories could flow better. If there wasn’t a plan for an Iron Man story, they wouldn’t need one – Thor could lead instead. It could end double shipping, increase value and hopefully increase sales in all sections.
Special thanks to Darryl Ayo who talked about this with me when we were chilling at Bergen Street Comics.