Over the past week there's been much discussion in the comics sphere about how books that have risen to the challenge of greater diversity have not in turn risen up the charts of the direct market. A debate is taking place over whether the audience is really putting its money where its mouth is, and this debate is more complex than a yes or a no, and requires a little unpacking.
Adam Frey at Pop Culture Uncovered has one take, asking if the failure of diverse books is a responsibility that ultimately rests with the market. Personally, I think a better question to ask when speculating if the market itself has failed is, “which market?”
Last week there was a rumor going around that DC might pull the plug on its new 'DCYou' initiative before it had even had a chance to take root. DCYou aims to provide more diversity in content, characters, and creators, in an effort to reach new readers in a shifting market. The initiative stands in sharp contrast with the homogeneity of DC's last major relaunch, the traditional and conservative New 52, targeted squarely at long-time readers.
Of course, the New 52 performed very well for the publisher, and in some months it even pushed DC ahead of industry leader Marvel. The relaunch never achieved its major objective of permanently toppling Marvel, but it did provide strong numbers in direct market comic store sales. Compare those numbers to the sales for DCYou, and one can see a clear argument for going back to the old model. But that argument is grounded in a narrow understanding of the industry.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that the biggest problem facing the comics industry today is that there's a distinct lack of stories about fried chicken and the people who make it, but those days are finally over. Mark it on your calendars, folks: When Comic-Con International kicks off in San Diego on July 9, our national nightmare will come to an end with the release of The Colonel's Adventures, a promotional comic produced by KFC, starring string-tied advertising icon Colonel Harland Sanders.
Hashtags. They’re a necessity for marketing on social media, but for corporations, their use is a path dotted with pitfalls. In the democratic environment of Twitter, users are sensitive to being manipulated and pandered to for corporate gain, and a “hashtag fail” can result in viral public embarrassment for a company. This is particularly unstable ground for comics publishers, since comics readers have long formed strong online communities and are particularly savvy to corporate attempts to infiltrate those spaces.
What's up, #teens? Are you feeling #radical today? Ready to head over to your favorite social medias and instagram the hottest status updates? Well, DC certainly hopes you are, because it's hyping up its upcoming "DC You" initiative with a series of videos that are asking you the most important question of our age: are you ready to hashtag this?!
Interviews, panel appearances, fan mail -- artists and writers understandably get much of the focus when we talk about professionals in the American comics industry. But beyond the front lines there's a whole host of people working hard to keep the business running: accountants, lawyers, publicists, librarians, production staff and many others. Most of these people don't have the opportunity to talk about their work with the people who read the comics they help put in their hands, but the work they do is important -- often integral -- to this industry. Whether it's making sure creators get paid, designing logos, or even planning a convention, these people affect how the whole package of our industry comes together.
In the first of what we've planned as a series of spotlights on the behind-the-scenes comics pros, we're speaking with Alex Segura, Archie Comics' Senior Vice President - Publicity and Marketing. Segura started his career in comics as a journalist but has spent nearly a decade doing publicity at DC Comics and Archie, the latter of which has been especially praised by this site and others for revitalizing its brand. One of the architects of the new Archie Comics, Segura sat down with us to talk about how he ended up as a publicist and what exactly that job entails.
If there was any doubt left that the horror of the living dead had been fully absorbed into mainstream pop culture, we can go ahead and put it to rest: The horror of the zombie apocalypse is now being used to sell the Hyundai Elantra...
Jack Kirby was unquestionably the greatest comic book artist who ever lived, and is largely responsible for shaping comic books as we know them today. But there's one aspect of the King's work that I absolutely love, even though it's often overlooked: The incredible "Next Issue" blurbs that he created for his comics...
With 80% of 36 leading companies agree that "comics are extremely effective public relations and marketing tools" and 90% of "our children" being regular comic book readers, can it be any wonder that the American comic book business is booming like never before...
It seems like lately superhero-inspired clothing for women has been put in a pretty polarizing position. Fans can either pick up affordable logo tees and the like, or splurge for overpriced fashionista fare...
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