Hype Season Wars of the Big Two
Who are DC & Marvel trying to fool?
I’ve become somewhat of a recurring artifact at Rich Johnston’ Bleeding Cool site and forums of late, where he extensively covers the DC 52 Relaunch, and Marvel’s responses, all the way to SDCC-2011, that just ended.
Well, keeping in rebel stride, I couldn’t help raining a little on the parade at one of the forums discussing it… perhaps only because of the misguided populism with which similar recent announcements from Marvel seem to be viewed and received.
Here’s the post for posterity… and for the record.
It’s wonderful to to get to know the comics shops across America, and the world, through this flamboyant gimmick.. and great to see the shops getting some well deserved attention and flattery from a publisher like Marvel who, along with DC, have pulverized them for the last 30 years with an iron fist over the Direct Market.
And I hate to be a party-pooper about it, but in a world where hype has replaced substance, and where a publisher can make an outrageous claim of saving the comics shops with this shallow buffoonery, maybe somebody should try to stay sober enough to keep an eye on the big picture.
Nothing in DC’s Relaunch, or Marvel following step, has any indication of mending the incestuous sub-structure of the comics industry… which is much more needed to save the printed comic book from its self-driven path to perpetual-but-never-getting-there demise.
Restructuring the Direct Market and opening up distribution to other popular outlets like newsstands, bookstores and everywhere else that will be happy to make a little extra profit from comics sales, along with a major nationwide promotional campaign, are much more needed right now than these grandstanding, publicity-ravenous, self-aggrandizing and maliciously deceptive cosmic-scale-bells-and-whistles-atrocities that the Big 2 are competing over.
As much as I love seeing the humanity of the retailers on these covers, I hope no one is yet lulled into believing substantial change will come through it. A few months from now, after the excitement over having sold a few more comic books to the same readers dies down, we can expect the comics press to return to lamenting the downward spiral of monthly sales.
DC & Marvel will sit back snug in their IP life-jackets and tell us that at least they tried.
And a lot of us will actually buy it. Wadda sham.