What are your suggestions for saving the comic book industry?
Jay Glover [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The publishers have to figure out who the audience is and then commit to selling them the kinds of books they want to buy.
If it’s the aging baby boomers (who have a substantial amount of disposable income), give them Hal Jordan and Barry Allen and Peter Parker and the rest of the characters they grew up with… the way they used to be.
If it’s the 8-to-12-year-old boys, give them books that appeal to their sensibilities and their level of understanding… and with characters portrayed the way they see them on TV.
If there’s some other potential group out there, do some research and identify what they want, then serve it up.
I think the time has come to abandon the 32-page format too. It’s too expensive for what is being offered and, with the preponderance of continued stories, it’s of no value in attracting new readers. Put together a 96 or 128 (or more) page anthology, with complete stories, and sell it for $4.95 Use the vast library of reprint material that is available. (Sure, some of the stories are out-of-date, but many of them stand on their own as timeless entertainment. After all, are Agatha Christie’s novels any less puzzling because they were written a half century or more ago? Are Stephen King’s books from two decades past any less scary?) They could even put in one-page features – like puzzles and trivia quizzes – whatever it takes to make a reader feel like he’s gotten some value for his money.
Finally, cut down on the number of titles. There’s probably no one left on earth who can possibly afford to buy every super-hero comic book published. There are plenty of fans of a single series – Batman or X-Men being the most obvious examples – who cannot afford all the books featuring their favorites.
It used to be that DC and Marvel would pump out numerous titles to gain an advantage in newsstand rack space. Well, there aren’t any newsstand racks worth fighting over any more! And the comic shops aren’t getting lots of extra copies to display; they order what they think will sell – some, unfortunately, plan it to be sold out by the end of the day they receive the books – and that’s it.
I have more ideas (and more specific suggestions), but if some publisher wants to know about them, they can hire me as a consultant rather than getting my advice for free here.
You said in your July 31st column: “When DC moved from 909 Third Avenue to 75 Rockefeller Plaza, a massive amount of original art disappeared en route. Though no one was ever prosecuted, it was widely believed that the theft had been orchestrated by a very prominent artist of the time. Indeed, it was much of that artist’s work that was missing.”
So, Bob, what is the relation between that theft and the recent theft of art that the same (I presume) artist was talking about in 1999? Is it the same art that was stolen again… or might this theft be real?
Jason Sacks [email@example.com]
I’ve heard reports that the artwork that was stolen back in 1973 has turned up for sale from time to time at conventions. I’ve also heard that said artist autographed – or refused to autograph – some of it, telling the current owners that they were in possession of stolen property. What the relation is to artwork stolen in 1999, I cannot say. Nor can I say if the artist involved is the same one.
Whatever became of the Starman graphic novel Tony Harris said he was painting?
John Johnston [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I suspect he’s still painting. While Starman retains its popularity, you can be sure DC would want to get the book on sale as soon as they could.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. After she was rescued by the Voyager crew, what name did this former drone keep?
2. Richard Bruning is her husband, but she’s the queen of Vertigo; who is she?
3. Even though his comic was published by Dell, whose wife’s adventures were published by DC?
4. You might not realize it, but diner owner Herman Cramer is a super-hero; which one?
5. Originally, Castor Oyl was the star of Thimble Theatre… until who came along?
6. Unless you’re a Cartoon Network fan, you might not know who Cow’s partner is… or do you?
7. Hornblower was one of the identities of which Teen Titan?
8. Under the big top, who was shot by The Hook?
9. Newspaper columnist with initials “LL” married to a super-hero; what heroic guise did she use?
10. Girlfriend to a friendly ghost, who was that good little witch?
11. Robin was often aided by Hudson University’s chief of security; what was his name?
12. YOUNG LOVE and YOUNG ROMANCE were created by what seemingly unlikely team?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in New York’s Little Italy in 1905.
2. You burn more calories chewing celery than you get from eating it.
3. There really was a Hellman behind the mayonnaise: Manhattan deli owner Richard Hellman started selling it in 1912.
Has Alan Moore ever worked for Marvel Comics?
The only work I can think of is some that he did for Marvel UK, but if you check out the interview with new Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada around the corner here at SBC, he’s going to try to change that. [Of course, if there’s something Alan did write that I’m overlooking, you can bet I’ll hear about it really quickly!]
Not a trivia question, but more of one that taps your Production Guy knowledge. Are DC’s Archives printed on acid-free paper? Just wondering since we have to shell out so much for these things.
Raymond Neal [email@example.com]
The paper is not acid-free (at least, the paper we were using when I was in charge was not), but most of the stocks used in the hard cover books are expected to last many years without deteriorating. As I mentioned in last week’s column, Baxter paper is supposed to last 400 years.
I can’t say anything about the current paper being used. It’s my understanding that DC has shifted the printing of the Archives from Quebecor in Montreal to a printer in Hong Kong in order to save money. It’s highly unlikely that a Chinese printing company is importing paper made in North America, though.
By the way, Raymond, you (and everyone else whose letters appear in this week’s column) can save 10% this week on DC Archives and any other books available through SBC’s sales partner Comics Unlimited. The same will be true for anyone else whose letter appears in an upcoming column, so send those questions and comments using the convenient box in the column on the left.
Do you have the Spider-Man comic?
Actually, I have a number of them. Was there a particular one you were wondering about?
Are there any plans (or at least thoughts) about a Shazam series soon?
Since the last Shazam series (POWER OF SHAZAM) ended in early 1999 because of diminishing sales, it’s unlikely that anybody’s thinking about a new one quite yet. But you never know what is going on behind the closed doors of editorial offices.
It’s been said that E. Nelson Bridwell wanted to introduce a son for the Earth-2 Superman and Lois. Is this true and could you elaborate on what he might have had in mind for the characters?
One of Nelson’s ideas for the “Mr. & Mrs. Superman” series that he wrote for SUPERMAN FAMILY was to have them start a family. I suspect that Nelson, who was quite familiar with the Imaginary Stories of the 1960s LOIS LANE books, would have opted for a child with super-powers, playing off the humor of a non-super-Lois having to deal with Superbaby antics.
Bob, will we ever see the brilliant ‘Mazing Man again?
Anthony Antoniou [firstname.lastname@example.org]
We can only hope so, Anthony, but we’re not holding our breath The last time Stephen DeStefano and I submitted a proposal for a new ‘Maze Special, we were told that it “didn’t fit with the current publishing plans.” Should anyone at DC change their collective mind, they know where I live!
Next week, it’s back to the history of color separations, including a couple of quotes from a 1988 radio interview that make me realize I should have bought stock in some companies at the time. See you there.
Did somebody say “McDonalds”? This week’s theme is the various emporia of fast food to be found around the U.S. (and the world).
1. Seven of Nine (7-11)
2. Karen Berger (Burger King)
3. Roy Rogers
4. The Blimp (Blimpie’s)
5. Popeye (Popeye’s Fried Chicken)
6. Chicken (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
7. Mal Duncan (Dunkin’ Donuts)
8. Boston Brand (Boston Market)
9. Liberty Belle (Taco Bell)
11. Frank McDonald (McDonald’s)
12. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (Jack’s)
Need another trivia fix? Check out the daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.