The Wife and I stopped by Barnes & Noble last night to pick up a few gifts for people. As we were heading out, I ran into two of the guys who work at my old Local Comic Shop. It's been a few years since I've seen them, but we still have much the same repore we had back when I was a regular at that shop.
Not surprisingly, we found ourselves talking about comics and the comic industry (boring the tears of incredibly patient The Wife). Some of our talk was very geeky nuances of continuity, but others were larger and more industry-wide. Bob talked about how much marvel is doing to push people away from comics, citing several long-time marvel zombies that have dropped all of their marvel books in recent months. One guy was so distraught that he's effectively given up comics altogether.
My habits, too, have veered largely away from marvel, but I did overhear talk about Elektra's current Clone Saga rip-off at my current LCS and the manager there was surprised they'd try something like this. Again. Bob followed up later in the evening with his theory that this will be the penultimate straw. One more "screw-up" -- like, for example, execution on the current rumor about giving Spider-Man an overhaul which would include eliminating his marriage and de-aging him back into his teens or early 20s -- and all the marvel zombies' will walk away. Bob noted, accurately I think, that marvel fans aren't keen on the Cosmic Reset Button.
How many comic related blogs have you been reading lately? How many of them have not only complained about marvel books but have actively noted, like me, that they're dropping them. Over at Dick Hates Your Blog, he's had more than a couple of posts talking about the insular self-appreciation society that's seemed to develop around comic news outlets. And, earlier this week, Alan David Doane posted a damning condemnation of the current status of the industry.
Bob's predicting another industry collapse, not unlike what we saw in the mid-1990s. I'm not sure if I'd go quite that far, but there definitely seems to be something brewing in the comic book landscape that's going to some significant upheavals in the near future. I think marvel and DC will survive, largely because most of their revenue these days comes from sources other than comics, but I'd wager more than a few comic shops close their doors because they couldn't adapt fast enough, and the industry on the whole is going to see an increase in the sales of non-superhero comics.
I'm not sure at this point WHAT exactly is going to happen or when, but there's something there. Just on the horizon. Something that's going to really shake the industry up and throw Joe Quesada and Dan Didio for a loop.