Creator Power

By | Saturday, April 01, 2006 Leave a Comment
I suspect most people are well aware that popularity does not necessarily equate with quality. Unfortunately, this applies to not just comic books, but nearly everything. And also unfortunately, this means that the quality products often are pushed out of the market into oblivion because the comparitive profits are too narrow to keep them financially viable. Such is the case with comic books.

The most popular/best selling titles are not necessarily the best comics available. As you're probably tired of hearing from me by now, The Thing has only been selling in the low 20,000 range while the Fantastic Four is roughly double that. While there are certainly some things to like in J. Michael Straczynski's Fantastic Four, some people have been complaining about various aspects of the book. The only complain about Dan Slott's Thing that I've heard thus far is the premise of the character's newfound wealth -- which is, in fact, a carryover from Fantastic Four.

Now, there's certainly a question of volume when it comes to complaints. Obviously, there are twice as many people reading Fantastic Four as Thing so there are twice as many people to complain. There's also a question of habit. Many people who are buying Fantastic Four now are doing so because they've bought it for years. Thing (the comic) doesn't have much longevity, despite the fact that Thing (the character) does. But do those people account for a 20-30,000 difference in sales?

Not in and of itself. The Straczynski name does have a following to some degree, and that certainly must account for some of the sales. Not to dismiss Slott's talent, but Straczynski did have a fair amount of success with that Babylon 5 thingy, so he does have some more name recognition.

So, where am I going with this?

Honestly, I don't really have a point. I just find it frustrating that quality material isn't always able to maintain itself as self-sustaining. We're left with the same trite stories that we've seen time and time again.

But, let me end on a positive note. If you go into your comic book shop and ask the retailer to add quality books like The Thing to your pull list, then the book will stay afloat and we'll have more quality material to look forward to. (Couldn't see that one coming, could you?)
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