Comix and Milk Part 1

Posted: September 13, 2011 by girolahozz in Grandad's Tea Kettle

Comic books have always fascinated me, even when I lost interest in my mid-teens and took a 10 year break, much like sports. Even though you don’t follow them, they just keep on going in the background of your life. Then you show back up and there they are, the greats haven’t changed and there are a few new heroes out there to follow, but the story is always the same.

Now some would say comparing comics to sports is completely pickle-footed but it’s true in my case. I recently found out some interesting news about the upcoming fall line of comics coming out. For those of you not super familiar with the history of comics, but understand sports, then follow me if you will…

Comic books for the last 60-70 years have had 2 main companies with all the popular super heroes that the average person would know (Spider-Man, Superman, Batman) and those two are DC (Detective Comics) and Marvel Comics. DC having Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, characters that have been around for 70 years and not many popular newer characters.

Marvel has Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Hulk and X-Men but have been more successful at creating more modern era characters than DC and generally outsells DC comics each year. So in relation to sports, Marvel comics are the Lakers and DC comics are the Celtics.

The thing about comics is it is usually an ongoing story for each character/team followed in numbered issues that normally are released to a salivating fan boy public monthly. Sometimes these stories ‘cross-over’ into other titles. This was a brilliant way at getting readers interested in buying titles that may not have been catching the attention of the more popular ones at the time, and so you’d have to shell out 12 bucks to follow one storyline instead of just a couple bucks. Pretty much the main reason I got out of comics in early high school. I got out of sports around this time because everyone on a baseball team was either hitting 40 homeruns a year or the basketball court had become a UFC match full of thuggery and nonsense.

Now, earlier issues are generally the ones highly sought after by readers since a lot of times, a new title sneaks out under the radar and becomes popular much later on. Demand becomes higher, so the later issues are more widely produced, whereas the earlier ones (ex: Issues 1-10) are now harder to find since not as many were made and become more valuable. Now obviously the older titles from the late 30’s and 40’s of last century are going to be highly collectable given that they were only sold in grocery shops off the racks or a few other places. There wasn’t exactly a comic book store in every neighborhood to find the first issue of Amazing Spider-Man. So my point is that earlier issues are collectable and always have been.

DC seems to have run it’s titles into the void at this point and in an act of desperation to strengthen its sales verses that of Marvel comics in the upcoming fall, they have decided to take their 52 biggest titles and start them over with issue #1. To a non-gee—uh, non-reader, this would’t mean much. It would basically just be the next volume in a series. But to the avid fan boy, seeing Detective Comics or Action Comics (2 titles that have been around longer than your granddad’s bacon) suddenly start over at #1 could be a bit touchy. Here’s the kicker though, they are not only starting them over at issue one, they are restarting each character/team’s origin. That’s a heavy burden on DC’s shoulders to bare, but self inflicted and very bold. A character like Superman, that has had a trillion different storylines over the years to suddenly just start over with a whole new alternate origin and storyline to unfold is going to either be a grand slam at Denny’s or a Michael Jackson joke for years to come. Either way, it’s brilliant on DC’s part and will sell a TON of issues at first and possibly for years to come. Readers will either want these new first issues because they will be highly collectable or just to continue on the next path of storylines with their favorite characters’ titles.

It’s not like comics’ popularity is dying off or really even skyrocketing like in the early 1990’s, but in an internet/iPad society DC is finding a smart way to make some money. Marvel will more than likely still come out the winner in the long run, but it’s nice of DC to realize they need to do something quick, and this is pretty freakin’ huge. With the popularity of all the Marvel films stemming from their strong writers/artists and creative teams that have kept their line of comics more ‘fresh’ than its competition, DC will now have a better hope that they can one day have the same Hollywood box office success from these new stories if this idea works.

To the Hall of Truth!



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