From Comic Book Resources...
...Look at all the difficulty publishers have launching new books nowadays – even Marvel and DC. Granted, sales are up at the Big Two, but take away the events we discussed earlier and the picture isn’t as pretty...
Meanwhile Kurt Busiek looks askance at the notion that Comics are recession proof at all
From the Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter...
BUSIEK: I'm worried about the economy in general terms, but I don't really know what it means for comics. I keep hearing people talk about how in troubled time, comics do great, but I don't know why they're saying that.
The "troubled times" that comics have been through include the Great Depression, during which comics flourished and grew, but grew from nothing, and the recession of the 1970s, during which sales dropped and dropped and dropped, and comics lost thousands of retail outlets, and freelancers were talking about how there'd be no comics industry at all in a few years and everyone should find something else to do. And newsstand sales never recovered from that -- what saved the industry was the Direct Market, and the ability to sell more efficiently and profitably to a dedicated fan base.
And while Paper Comics may have escaped the Grim Reaper this year, I think 2009 is going to be much rougher, with perhaps 2010 being the last year Paper Comics make any money for anybody but the big two. Why do I say this? Because this week, TechCrunch dropped this bomb on the tech world...
...We’ve got this from three independent sources close to Apple: expect a large screen iPod touch device to be released in the Fall of ‘09, with a 7 or 9 inch screen. Prototypes have been seen and handled by one of our sources, and Apple is talking to OEMs in Asia now about mass production....
Here's an idea of how much bigger we are talking about - roughly twice the size of the current iPod Touch / iPhone - or with a possible Screen width of 960 or 1200 pixels.
As I've said many times before, if Apple brings out such an iTablet/iReader device, that will pretty much be the deathknell for Paper Comics. Do the math:
$3.99 cover costs + Non-Green medium* + iTablet in every home = Paper comics gone
And I do think you are going to see more than just the Me Buy Shiney Now! Crowd going for this iTablet thingie. If it's as half as cool as the iPod Touch I've grown addicted too, it will become all the rage among Gen Txt. - At that point, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple didn't pitch it as some sort of replacement for schoolbooks as well - remember, during the 90's, the place Apple managed to keep a foothold in the pc market was the Education sector. They KNOW how to work that angle.
It's coming folks. Start the DethKlok now!
Hm...set it for sometime in the Fall, with a 1 month snooze.
PCDW Points: 1,000,000
*An Aside - Now, I've never been one to make a big deal about the Non-Green element of comics, but at some point, we're gonna have to face the fact, that as a entertainment medium, comics are probably the most Non-Green one in existence. And while you may not care about that, there is a certain portion of the public who will, and they are gonna bitch about it, because that's what that portion of the public does best. Then I think there will be some pressure by the comic companies to either justify their tree killing floppie editions (as Paul Levitz did on Newsarama a while back) or just drop them altogether.
This may be why Marvel is investing $10 million dollars in their Digital Media initiatives? - I think they are eventually just going to stop publishing the floppy editions. Currently they seem to be making a lot of nice money in the publishing division, but I bet they are executing an paper comic exit strategy behind the scenes. Let's face it - they could still print TRADES of their Online versions of Marvel comics just as easily as they do now (if not easier.)
By the way, I just stuck a Marvel DCU icon on my iPod Image because I think they actually will make something for the iPod this year - no idea what, but I bet their working on it. There isn't such an app for the iPod Touch that I'm aware of as of now. Nor can you read their Marvel DCU comics no the iPod currently because Flash on the iPhone isn't a slam dunk yet...
However, Marvel is definitely on the right track, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of a doubt and say that they will probably be able to higher some smart Apple developer to build such an app for them.
I think Marvel made a good move making their DCU subscription $4.99 a month. At that price point - it's basically $1.00 more than the price of a single comic each month. As we see things like this new iPod Touch come out, it will be much harder to justify spending, what...$15?, $20?, more? on paper comics each week.
Will DC do the same? Hard to say. Last year saw zero moves by DC to create a digital comic book, unless you count their Motion Comics, an experience I would say more akin to the old Power Records Comics than an actual Digital Comic.
Anyway, end of my rambling Aside.
Hope you enjoy the weekend!