“Prettier pictures will not bring new gamers and casual gamers into this industry. It has to be about the ability to pick up a controller, not be intimidated, and have fun immediately.”
-Reginald Fils-Aime
COO and President of Nintendo Of America

“We try to be very cognizant that we live in Los Angeles and that you have to reach out to find things that entertain the whole country, and not just the coasts”
-Rory Bruer
Distribution Chief For Sony Pictures

Being entertainment related these two recent quotes could easily be applied to the comic book industry with just a few words changed.

Take the quote from Reginald Fil-Aime from Nintendo; that could easily be true about the over saturation of big even story lines from Marvel and DC Comics. New comic book readers and casual readers are just going to be confused by continuity and dialogue heavy story lines found in Marvel Comics’ Civil War. Constant year-long events like 52 at DC Comics will have new and casual readers recognize some of the characters, but once they begin trying to read the issues they will find themselves as lost as Jack, Sawyer and Kate. (TV’s Lost) This will especially happen if they miss the first issue or the pre-story build up in another related issue.

As a 20 year VP Marketing guy this tells me that Marvel and DC’s focus is very limited to the direct market only. It seems that the direct market is all they know and obviously not very well. They aren’t doing direct market retailers any favors with this limited focus. That’s putting a huge burden on the retailers to search out and pull in new and casual readers with product that limits their ability to do a good job. Yes, they will get increased direct market sales, but that’s nothing compared with the potential of what a more national and global base of new and more casual readers could bring.

This also hurts the regular comic book reader in the fact that they are getting limited to a choice from the two largest publishers of comics. They’re being force-fed to a certain extent. Some long time readers aren’t that crazy about what they are buying , but they hang in there year after year hoping that one day, one week, one month the characters that they grew up enjoying will come back with character driven dialogue and stories that they can truly enjoy.

To readers of the last five years this is all they know. I look at this like a parent limiting the education of a child. I don’t mean for that remark to come off high handed, but you’re smart enough to understand just what my point is. Limitation.

In the big picture the broader the reading base the better chance of genre growth. It’s marketing 101. It’s the kind of simple business plan that they teach and preach in school. By growing that base you’ll get kids, women, teens and adults to pick up comics, but that’s not going to happen when everyone is getting short sheeted with one trick pony product. I love a good cheeseburger, but I don’t want it every day. Sooner or later that’s gonna make me fat and unhealthy. Then you die.

With the quote from Roy Bruer of Sony Distribution you get a topic that I’ve addressed here in Busted Knuckles and my Comics Buyer’s Guide column more than a few times. Marvel and DC Comics really need to stick their head out of the office once in a while and see that this is a huge planet outside the streets of New York.

Not everything revolves around the Big Apple. Of course there are a few fictional cities like Gotham City, but that’s just New York with another suit of clothes. Both Marvel and DC love having blurbs in The New York Times. I believe it’s first and foremost an office ego stroke because it’s what’s important to them as locals. Yes, The New York Times is a world wide read paper, but if there’s no follow up then that’s just a one-night stand and not a long time relationship. In business you’re supposed to be in it for the long haul.

That New York Times article shouldn’t be the end; it should be the start. You take that and run as long and as far as you can. All the time you’re running with that you should be working on the next one to fly with.

As a writer and a marketing person I am amazed that there aren’t more stories and characters that take place more nationally and globally. Why can’t a story take place in North Dakota, Alabama, or Caldwell Idaho and have as much impact, drama and passion as one in New York? Sure, the writer is gonna have to work a little harder, but so what? Are we just collecting a check or are we gonna be really creative?

I’m afraid that Marvel and DC have become complacent and are mistaken that only the publisher, editors and creators buy and read their books. Last time I checked most of them got the books for free. This also goes back to my thoughts that Marvel and DC do not know their readers and potential readers. The picture they are looking at is so small and much too limited.

As a long time direct market reader ask yourself if you are really happy with 90% of the product you buy or are you really just hoping that it will finally come back to what you used to enjoy so very much?

As a recent direct market reader ask yourself if you’re getting a wide variety of choice. Do you really care about the fictional characters you’re reading?

I know these are hard questions because not only is this an internet based column, but if you’re reading this you’re more than likely a regular internet reader. You probably get most of your comic book news and information through the web. I try my best and never stop trying to get this column to as many eyeballs outside the internet as possible. I work hard to get these words to viewers and readers of entertainment so they’ll jump on board and maybe be entertained by comics, movies and books that they may not have known about.

You don’t have to give me your answers. Just knowing the truth yourself is more important. I don’t wanna argue with you or debate you. I just wanna maybe point out something to you that was off your radar.

I hope you don’t get your loyalty and love of the fictional characters mixed up with that of the publisher, editors and creators. They are the caretakers. It’s you that pays for the entertainment of those characters. You should get every penny’s worth. At an average of $3.00 a pop they ain’t cheap. Don’t let yourself get short changed.

Cobb: Off The Leash And On MySpace

With the third and final issue of the Cobb: Off The Leash mini-series out, Cobb has already started his next adventure. As of today he has opened his own official MySpace.Com page.

That’s right, Cobb has set up his own page and is not only accepting and making new friends, he’s also answering them with personal messages and comments.

With the critical success of Cobb: Off The Leash, Cobb thought that in-between busting up terrorist cells and thumping on thugs he would keep all of you charted on what it’s like to be the best blue collar world saver around.

As you’ll see by the list of friends he already has, Cobb is already hanging with some pretty powerful company. So hurry up and go talk to with Cobb. He’s got your back. You can find him at http://www.myspace.com/frankcobb.

Tell him his buddy, Beau sent ya.

Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week

Dell Comics 1962

Okay, John Wayne in a four wheel drive truck taking on a charging rhino with lasso/fishing rod. I don’t even have to tell you how manly THAT is. I remember seeing this movie in 2nd grade and being stoked beyond belief. I was even more thrilled while on vacation at Wrightsville Beach, finding the Dell Comic book adaptation of the movie complete with painted cover and interior art by the master of DC’s Haunted Tank, Sam Glanzman! Never in my wildest childhood dreams would I have ever believed that I would one day meet and become very good friends with Sam. He’s been a guest here at the ranch more than a few times. I’m sure I drove him crazy with my endless questions about working on that particular book. That’s usually when Sam would tell me his hearing was acting up. Sly old sea dog that he is.

This is a real treasure and beats anything that my buddy Chuck Dixon has up on his message board at http://www.dixonverse.net.

Go over there and make fun of his weak attempt to out man me. Tell him Beau sent ya.

Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week

Noel Neill
– actress

Last week I dipped into the past with Barbara Eden. The response was huge. Frank Cho even got a little poll going on his message board on who was hotter, Barbara or Elizabeth Montgomery.

Long time Knucklehead, Randy Bisop wrote in and demanded that I give proper respect to one of the first and most well known babes in comic book history?Lois Lane. Well, he actually meant Noel Neill who played Lois Lane on the wonderful Superman TV shows of the 1950s. That one that had the best Superman actor of all times, George Reeves.

So here are some shots you may not have ever seen of Noel Neill. By the way, the sign that reads: “Compliments of Ben Chapman” is the same guy that suited up as The Creature From The Black Lagoon and was also a long time Hollywood stunt man. If you see Noel at a convention signing her book and photos make sure you tell her that Beau and Randy sent ya.

The Roundup

That’s a wrap for this week’s Busted Knuckles. I hope to hear from you and see what’s on your mind as well as what crimes you’ve been up to. I’m always around and I’m pretty good about answering your emails.

Before I ride off into the sunset I wanna send a big thanks out to Ted Lehman down in Georgia for making and sending me my special business card as a magnet. I should say he sent me about 500 of em. They’re really nice and even have Wynonna Earp‘s photo on em’. I guess I’ll have to do Cobb next time. That was really nice of you, Ted and I am in your debt. Ted does this kinda stuff for a living and is very good at it. You can check out his company at http://www.tedspromoworld.com.

As always, tell him Beau sent ya.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author


Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin