Thousands of fans and collectors rushed into a comic book store to witness the death of an icon. They had seen it on the news, heard it on the radio, been told by their friends. Superman was dead. The cover of Superman 75 showed Superman’s torn cape blowing in the wind like a flag, while his family and friends wept in the background.
On this day in 1992, a single store in Detriot sold nearly 200 000 copies of a comic, as consumers raced to pick up that issue. The store began to see that they were running out of issues, so they marked the prices up higher and higher. By the end of the day, the issue that had started off at a $1.50 was going for twenty times its original price. This was a common sight in comic book stores across North America.
DC Comics, publisher of Superman, and comic book retailers made around $30 million in one day. This was the third time an American comic book publisher had hit the jackpot. It was also the last.
It was clear by the end of that same year that the comic market was shrinking. Sales dropped, the collectors cashed out and sent the whole system into what Grant Morrison, a writer at DC Comics, called “a death spiral.”
However, comic book creators see a way out of this tail spin through a new distribution system: the internet. Read the rest of this entry
The cover of Justice League 1 invites you in bold gold text to DC Comic’s “New 52”. It’s not just the headline either. The costumes look different, the attitude looks different, and we’ve even got a brand new logo for it. It’s too bad that the actual content doesn’t feel all that different. Geoff Johns provides a serviceable first issue that works as a good opener to the New DC, without trying too hard. It’s an enjoyable read, but nothing substantial.
Justice League 1 opens big. Batman is running across rooftops trying to catch a bad guy while Gotham helicopters fly above, chasing him as if he was another criminal. The monster is about to get away, when Green Lantern smashes the beast into the ground with a green firetruck. It does the trick, but now the police see them. Batman vulnerable and the Green Lantern in plain sight, the helicopters turn their guns and fire. It’s good stuff, it just ends far too early to mean anything. Read the rest of this entry
I have been telling everyone I can that in order for DC’s new 52 initiative to be a success they need average people to know. Not comic book fans, not sci-fi nerds, not software engineers. DC needs anyone who doesn’t regularly read comics, but could, given they knew it existed and was a valid medium of expression. And when I write needs, I mean needs. They have been spending far too much money for their initiative to be a flop. Whether or not they succeed is going to determine the fate of the company and whether it can take any risks in the future. Read the rest of this entry