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Eric Stephenson talks to ComicsPRO

edited February 2014 in Do The Work
Transcript is HERE: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/02/28/star-wars-comics-will-never-be-the-real-thing-eric-stephenson-publisher-of-image-comics-talks-to-comicspro/

I've seen some of us speaking about it at various places around the internet. I thought we could move the discussion here, where there's no fear of trolling.

Thoughts? 

I agree with about 95% of what he says, but I think he gets a little antagonistic there at the end, which dilutes his message somewhat. 

Comments

  • He, and Image, are in a position to put some feet to the fire.  Someone should address the problems in the industry.  If Eric wants to be that person, then more power to him.

    Every industry has problems and someone usually speaks up (music, movie, books, museums, education, politics, etc.).  That doesn't mean it's a decree or anything.  He's just making a speech and stating his opinion.

    Also, I kept in mind that this was delivered at the Retailer Summit.  He's addressing them.  Those on the front lines.  And it's hard working on the front lines because rent has to be paid.  Sometimes that means just going with the status quo until the next big change comes along and being forced to change.  But that doesn't address the future -- which is what I think Eric is picking at.

    His style can be a blunt, but that's the basis of tough love.  I think anytime a person uses *examples* instead of generic jargon then it will come off as antagonistic.  Nobody wants to be *called out* no matter how constructive the criticism.  But he's still right in his assessment. The world has changed, but much of the core of comics retailing has not changed.  We have plenty of exceptions, but the core hasn't changed.

    As Eric noted... we should be trying to find the customer who is *not* in the store instead of spending a lot of time, money, energy and resources to keep those already in the store.  The latter customer will be there no matter what.  The former customer (who isn't there yet) has no reason to go.

    But I think there's a missing component to this entire thought.

    And that's the Digital discussion.

    Digital distribution of comics *is* a growing market.  It caters to every niche out there.  However, what I see with the biggest dog in the yard (Comixology) is that their front page looks a lot like the brick & mortar stores. I log into Comixology and I'm bombarded with superheroes.  It's no different than the displays on the store windows.  I have to search to find NON-heroes.  They still categorize content by publisher (Marvel, DC, Others) instead of by genre (Heroes, Crime, Horror, etc.).  If you don't know what those are, or exactly what you're looking for, then you're out of luck.

    In other words, everyone needs to clean up their house a little bit.

    The biggest example we all have of this is The Simpsons.  The comic book store owner is still the iconic vision of what America thinks of our industry.  And we have not done much to change that perception.

    image
  • Yeah, I dunno...I strongly believe in diverse genres and audiences and growing an audience for the medium itself, but that speech just feels like it's trying to have that cake and only eat it in comic stores.

    Which makes sense considering the audience, but it rubs me the wrong way to hear someone go on and on about how amazing and full of potential this medium is for reaching all kinds of people (which it is, and which I love about it), then go "but they should only be getting that from this one type of place".

    Like, I don't have a dog in the fight of whether the toys or a movie or a comic are the "real" thing (except I think that's a dumb distinction to make)...but he does seem to contradict himself by saying "People watch The Walking Dead, then they go buy the comic, because they want the original. But people who play with a Transformer and buy the comic just want more Transformers content" just to seem cooler.

    If you're buying a comic of a thing because you got introduced to it by another medium (which is great!), I don't...what's the difference between The Walking Dead fan and the Transformers fan? Why wouldn't you want your comics being sold in Target and Wal-Mart? I guess I lean more towards "get people to read comics, period" versus "where or how from".
  • edited February 2014
    "If you're buying a comic of a thing because you got introduced to it by another medium (which is great!), I don't...what's the difference between The Walking Dead fan and the Transformers fan?"

    That's kind of my thing too. Same with, say, The Avengers. Is the original comic somehow special, because it's original? Because I think the movie was WAY better, and way more interesting. To me, the version of a product I like the best... is the best one, the "real" one, and it doesn't matter whether or not it was based on something.

    Do I agree that original content is good for the industry? Of course. But does original content get people in the doors of stores? Is, say, Image Comics the "gateway drug" most people come to comics through? I don't think so. At all. I think the superheroes and the licensed products are what get new comics readers in the door — and THEN some of them discover that they like the medium as a whole, and get into original content.

    (Then again, it's also a chicken and the egg thing. How could a book like, say, Chew or Fatale, get a bunch of people who have never read comics to pick it up... without doing some form of advertising outside comics? Whether it's "normal" advertising, like an ad in a magazine; or whether it's an "ad" in the form of a TV show, video game or movie, as in The Walking Dead. Maybe original content would get more new readers buying comics if there were easier ways for them to hear about it in the first place.)

    "Why wouldn't you want your comics being sold in Target and Wal-Mart? I guess I lean more towards "get people to read comics, period" versus "where or how from"."

    Also, this.
  • edited February 2014
    "Do I agree that original content is good for the industry? Of course. But does original content get people in the doors of stores? Is, say, Image Comics the "gateway drug" most people come to comics through? I don't think so. At all. I think the superheroes and the licensed products are what get new comics readers in the door — and THEN some of them discover that they like the medium as a whole, and get into original content.
    This mostly. As good as Image has become and as interesting as some of their current titles are (and not necessarily the ones they promote heaviest) they're still the cool indie flick to the summer tentpole blockbuster. If Image titles regularly did Big Two numbers then I think he'd have a stronger position but in terms of societal awareness you ask someone on the street about Avengers or Velvet, I know which one will get more blank looks.

    I like what he said about people knowing who X superhero is doesn't equate to greater comic sales for that character, and I think he could have even have pushed it further and noted that regular doses of movie and TV superheroes gives potential customers the fix they need so they don't go looking for the comics. I'm not sure if that is a legitimate theory but is something I've wondered about and would be interested in seeing any metrics on the subject.

    I'm with everyone else that the Transformer analogy killed his momentum and didn't make a bunch of sense. I've read it a few times and I don't see the difference because whichever medium\version you come into contact with first defines how you view the others. I could read Transformer comics first and then discover the toys or movies, unlikely but it will alter my perspective. So viewers who watch Walking Dead and then find the comics may regard them as supplementary.

    I also think his examples are a little off the mark because to me Walking Dead and Saga are stand out titles, they are the once-every-ten-years success stories rather than the marginal titles the stores and the industry have to promote better and make more of.
  • I'll just repost this:

    So, Eric Stephenson’s speech.

    Read it here, if you haven’t: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/02/28/star-wars-comics-will-never-be-the-real-thing-eric-stephenson-publisher-of-image-comics-talks-to-comicspro/

    (Note that headline is misleading as fuck – really, Rich? But we’ll get to that in a bit)

    Some context: This was a speech to retailers that went to the ComicsPro meeting dealie. So when he’s saying we, he means the retailers and Image. He’s not speaking for or to other publishers, and he doesn’t mean fans. This is actually important to remember.

    Now what he mostly talks about is growing the comics industry. Not making more money, as such, but actually increasing the number of people who buy and read comics. This too, is important context.

    So when he talks about 4.99 and 7.99 issues, for instance, or shipping more than one issue, what he’s saying is that those tactics are designed to bring in more money from existing fans. Likewise, variant covers and new number ones are designs to get people who are reading comics to spend more money.

    Now I don’t think (and I could be wrong) that this is meant to be a blanket condemnation of those things in and of themselves. Indeed, Image does some of them. What he’s condemning is doing those without doing anything to grow the comics reading base.

    Because they don’t.

    Don’t get me wrong – comics is a business. Even in my creator owned work I keep an eye to maximizing the amount of money I squeeze out. I am actually kind of amazed that ways Marvel (and Marvel seems to better at this than DC) has found to maximize their revenue. They understand who is reading their books and how they purchase them, and designed their business to get them to buy the most product.

    But all of the above – expensive comics, variant covers, double shipping, reboots, hell, events – are things that only service people who are already reading comics. They are not things that are bringing new people to comics, and focusing only on getting most milk with the minimum of moo without breeding new cows is not good for the long term.

    (I will push a metaphor until it breaks, yes)

    So I agree with him there.

    (I may also be wrong – the music industry analogy sort of sounds like he’s down on the whole practice. Hey, I’m not a mind reader. Not until I reach level 99 in Jordanology)

    I got into comics because when I was a kid, comics where everywhere. I grew up in a rural county in Pennsylvania with a current population of around 40,000 people. As you might guess, there weren’t any comic shops around.

    But every grocery store and every convenience store and what not had comics. I could go three miles down the road and but Ninja Warrior and Thrash at the AP. I got into comics because when I was a toddler my mom grabbed Popeye comics for me to…well, look at, I couldn’t yet read…when she was shopping.

    I understand why comics aren’t, for the most part, in any of those places now. I do. But the truth is that thirty odd years ago, comics were infinitely more discoverable than they are now. And that’s a problem.

    Where Stephenson and I part ways, to a certain extent, is on licensed comics.

    A tangent: I said that Star Wars headline was misleading as fuck. And it is. A lot of people are reading it to say that Star Wars comics, and licensed comics, aren’t “real” comics

    He isn’t.

    He’s saying that people reading those comics are reading them because they can’t get the source material. They read Star Wars comics, but what they want is more Star Wars movies.

    I don’t necessarily agree with that, but it’s a different notion than implying he was saying they weren’t real comics. He wasn’t. He said that The Walking Dead TV show isn’t the real thing either, but what he meant isn’t that it’s the original source material.

    Now I’m going to thread that tangent back into my main point. Stephenson is of the mind that people that read licensed comics want that thing, and aren’t interested in comics per se, so licensed comics don’t do anything to grow the comic market.

    I don’t think that’s precisely true. For one thing, I think that people that read licensed comics are, by and large, comics readers who happen to like that property. Again, this doesn’t really grow the market, so no disagreement there, I just think he’s mischaracterizing them.

    Now some of the people who are reading those licensed comics surely are people who just want that property. And again, selling comics to those people doesn’t really grow the market as a whole.

    But I do think that some of those people must start buying other comics. I mean, that has to be a thing that happens. But I also don’t know that it amounts to much, growthwise. So I don’t entirely disagree with him.

    I do agree with overall thrust, which is that the comic industry needs to devote more time and energy to expanding their base.

    If I were a retailer, I would give free comics to kids. Not just kids that came into my store, but I’d give out free issues to kids in schools. I would make sure every school and high school and library in my area was stocked with trades (and if I could, I’d make sure they all had plates that said who donated them).

    If I were a publisher, I would do the same thing. I would make digital comics that kids could read on their game platforms or computers. I would make sure they had an interest in comics, not just toys or characters.

    Yes, all of this would cost money. But it’s a relatively small investment against future gains.

    But that’s me.

  • edited February 2014
    I think the bit about Star Wars and Transformers and licensed comics in general was too transparently motivated by his desire to distinguish Image from the other B-level publishers (and to a lesser extent the Big Two), who are devoting quite a few pages in Previews to comics adaptations from other media ... which Image doesn't do at all.  (And lots of insecure fans reacted with defensiveness at the suggestion that maybe something they love was being slighted by someone.)

    But I think it's a fair point: I leaf thru those pages and wonder if the industry is returning to the days when publishers would throw together and crank out a comic book for of any TV show they could get the rights to, most of which were just hack work to cash in on the popularity of something in another medium.  What's to keep that buyer coming back when they lose interest in that franchise? Especially if the shelves are dominated by just two things: corporate superheroes and licensed franchises?
  • Especially if the shelves are dominated by just two things: corporate superheroes and licensed franchises?
    II just did some counting in the May solicits for Image, Dark Horse, IDW and DC. And of them, I counted 102 original series, and 59 licensed series. (I only counted single issues, not trades, and excluded Marvel and DC's non-licensed superhero books and all reprints.) Then I lost interest. I know if you add in BOOM and the other publishers who publish licensed books, that ratio is going to go down. But it was fascinating to me just how many original series there are being published today.

    (Also? Image has 56 NEW ISSUES coming out in May! I'm surprised they haven't done, like, a "The New 56" ad campaign.)
  • One point I've seen made by others elsewhere, and it's a good one, is that Image publishes SUPER DINOSAUR and FIVE WEAPONS and...not much else that's appropriate for readers under the age of, I dunno, 14, and a lot of stuff that would get kids under 18 into some trouble.

    Y'know...the slimline would be a really great format to repurpose for young readers. Shorter stories + lower cover price. 



  • Buffy is what got me (age 42) and my kids (12 & 15) into the comic shop. I was never interested in comics because I wasn't interested in super-hero comics. And I thought that's all there was. Fortunately we found a great comic shop. I discovered Strangers in Paradise and Kabuki. Kids discovered Lenore and a lot of what Oni and SLG were putting out. Then we discovered manga. All in that one shop. And 12 years later we still go there.

    But I also hear from a lot of kids at anime cons that they started with manga, and if they had a good comic shop, moved on from there. The key is having a comic shop that isn't run by Comic Shop Guy. Someone that wants all customers not just clones of himself. Atlanta is really lucky in that area. We have several large shops that carry everything. And even the small ones carry a decent varied selection. (The Comic Shop Guy type stores all closed.)

    As with all things, it's a matter of balance. You leverage the licensed properties with the all-originals. It's not a matter of one or the other. I think it's working better than he's giving it credit for, but he's pushing Image. They have the all-original area down pat. That leaves room for Dark Horse to do some of both, and the IDW/Booms to do the licensed thing. I think the mix of what's available is fine. If the shops carry them. And that's what I think he was trying to push hardest. The all-original stuff needs the hardest push because retailers are taking more of a chance on those. 

    The real problem, as I see it and he said, is promoting outside of people already reading comics. How do you efficiently reach non-comic readers? Advertising is expensive so it needs to be targeted, but to whom? Well, what I do is go after people who enjoy the same genre in other media. Novel readers are excellent targets. This is why I do so well with Love is in the Blood at Dragon Con - there are so many authors there bringing in readers. There's a whole Urban Fantasy track now. I've sold a lot of people their first comic.

    Hmmm, that brings up another problem... comics that are "original" but are still too much targeted for comic shop visitors. Not super hero, but still that comic shop "genre" fan. This is where there is room to grow with original comics. And I'm talking about style, not topic or genre. Everyone puts Saga up as an example of something so original and fresh but it seems like a comic book to me. Not sure how to explain it, but most of the Image stuff just seems like it hasn't veered enough away. I know you have to use the familiar to make it marketable - but you're back to appealing to the current comic shop crowd. See the dilemma now? I think that's what he was getting at, but pushed Image as the alternative, when it's actually part of the problem. Because even though there are more comics and more selection, it's still not reaching outside the doors of the DM. 

    Sorry, that turned into more of a screed than I intended. I'm not even sure it makes sense outside of my head. :-/


  • edited March 2014
    One point I've seen made by others elsewhere, and it's a good one, is that Image publishes SUPER DINOSAUR and FIVE WEAPONS and...not much else that's appropriate for readers under the age of, I dunno, 14, and a lot of stuff that would get kids under 18 into some trouble.

    Y'know...the slimline would be a really great format to repurpose for young readers. Shorter stories + lower cover price. 
    Why are there so few all-ages titles? Because retailers don't think all-ages titles sell. So they don't order them. You can make an all-ages or a YA book. But while it might do well collected and in book stores, the single issues don't sell.

    Likewise, retailers hated the slimline format. So they didn't order it. If you did an all-ages slimline book, you'd be doing an age category retailers hate, in a format they hate. DM poison.

    I'm experiencing this first hand on the all-ages/YA Marvel/Disney book I'm doing. Retailers don't order a lot of all-ages books. So they didn't order a lot of it. So when there turned out to be demand — even after Marvel DOUBLED all the orders — it still sold out at Diamond the first three days it was out. It frustrates me. But my editor keeps saying, "Don't worry, we knew that would happen, the hardcover is going to clean up at bookstores." Likewise, after the first year of Super Dinosaur, Kirkman told me the book doesn't make a profit and he does it out of love. (Although I would imagine the hope was that they'd sell a Cartoon Network show or something out of it.)

    (The flip side of it is all the retailers who've come up to me at shows and said, 'Thank you so much for actually giving us an all-ages book to sell!' But they're the minority. The DM, at this point in time, simply doesn't cater to kids.)
  • Truth.  They don't.

    And I've been in the all-ages trenches before.  My Image series Evil & Malice couldn't even make it to 4 issues.
    Sadly, even now Five Weapons (which I thought would do better since it has knives and guns) isn't gonna make it either.  The DM is a hard nut to crack without using the tried-and-true formula.

    But some of us are just stupid (i.e. me) and continue to chip away at the corner of the DM like a fly on a rhino's ass.
  • I don't expect much out of LINES either.

    Black character... dealing with black / urban / problems on a magic platform...?  In a dominated white industry?  I'm setting myself up for another fail.  But it'll be MY fail.  I still want to get it out on a personal level.
  • On Slimline: this doesn't actually save you any money to speak of for single issue. Seriously. Maaaaaaybe a dime. Not even kind of sort of enough to justify a dollar drop in cover price.

    It makes sense for retailers to not stock it. Despite being thinner, the slimline format takes up the same amount of space on the shelf, which is finite. As long as raising the price doesn't result in less sales (and specifically, a loss in sales that is larger than the profit gained by raising the price) the higher the price you can get for each piece of space the better.


  • Slimline was one of those experiments I never bought into.

    Putting together a cheaper product works when it's something people have to have, but set up diminishing returns when it's a luxury item.

    ~R
  • I think what I liked best was the nice tight well constructed stories that were generally there. Storytelling doesn't have to be stretched out.
  • edited March 2014
    A cheaper product works for things other than necessities, but it has to be something that people do price-based comparison shopping for (e.g. a new TV), or where the price is a significant barrier to purchasing (e.g. a Caribbean cruise).  But people don't decide which comics to buy based (primarily) on price. ("I'm interested in Wonderdude, but it's $2.99, and Hyperman is only $1.99, so I'll buy that instead.")  And the difference of $12/year isn't likely to prevent someone who really wants to read Wonderdude from buying it ... if he stops reading, it's more a matter of principle, or because he's not that into it.

    And the elasticity of demand for comics isn't symmetrical: a higher price will stop someone from buying it, but a lower price won't entice them into it (which is why, if you intend to raise prices, you better be sure about it, because you can't roll the price back and expect to get all of your buyers back).
  • There are also weird sticking points. Pricing a comic at 3.99 will get complaints, but no one seems to care about 3.50. We did raised Strode from 2.99 to 3.50 from the first series to the second, and no one complained. As near as I can tell, no one even noticed.

    (Incidentally that fifty cent increased make for a LOT of extra money to the creators because of the way Image works. I personally made about five grand extra over six issues from it. Not the team. Me.)
  • edited March 2014
    Yikes! I'll remember not to post half-formed thoughts from my phone.

    We've discussed the failure/s of the Slimline at length, and we repeat ourselves when it comes up every now and again (usually because *I* can't quite let it go, admittedly). The format's a non-starter unless you can move Ellis/Templesmith numbers of books. I get that.

    I'm kinda sorry I derailed the conversation by bringing the format up, but that's beside the point. 

    I got into comics as a kid because they were a) accessible (at grocers, pharmacies, restaurant waiting areas, etc.), b) age appropriate (or close enough to it that Mom and Dad didn't ask questions when my X-men segued into Sin City), and c) affordable. I could buy 4-5 books a week on a 5 dollar allowance.

    Comics right now are none of those things. The medium is, on balance, producing better material than it has in its entire history, but they're impossible to find outside the DM (except in collected form), not all-ages friendly, and they're certainly not cheap. 

    Now, I agree that the industry needs to find new readers rather than competing for the attention of the existing pool of 300K-odd readers, but I don't know where those new readers are expected to come from if not from a demographic that we're doing little to attract.
  • SLIMLINE IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

    Thing is, cheap in the sense that worked when we were kids doesn't work now. A 1.99 comic is going to take up nearly as much space as a People magazine for double the price, and that People is returnable. So even if you're going to make comics returnable, you're still skating uphill. Archie pays to get into grocery stores and such.

    Some of that is a chicken and egg problem - if there were enough people buying them, it might be possible to make the economics work in terms of shelf space, but there aren't, and it won't.

    Instilling a love and familiarity with the medium in kids is the future, but cheap comics in stores is a non starter for getting there.
  • The argument that kids don't read comics so I as a shop owner won't stock them or will put them in a corner somewhere DRIVES ME NUTS.

    The best selling comic book I've ever had at my con table? STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. I've sold hundreds of them in two years. AW YEAH COMICS kills for me. Superman Family Adventures and Tiny Titans? Monsters for Art and Franco.

    But DC didn't give a damn about marketing or selling those books (or batman strikes or the other young-readers books), so they died on the vine. The stores that have good all-ages sections, though? Challengers in Chicago, for example? MONSTER SALES.

    Don't tell me kids books don't sell. It's my bread and butter. Kids want 'em and parents want to buy them for their kids. If we don't hook a new generation, comics will continue to wither.


  • @RussellLissau - The fact that all-ages material sells so well at your convention table is one of the indicators that it's not sold enough in shops.  In short, the demand is not met elsewhere that's why they buy at the con.

    Colleen Doran used to say all the time that it was a little depressing to sell so many books to her fans at conventions, because they should've bought them in the stores.

    But it goes both ways in the comic book direct market.  That's one of the aspects of our industry.  It's partly based on what the customer orders.  In our industry you can always get the book you want by simply asking for it or making it part of your pull list.  What I think a lot of people complain about is the lack of *browser* copies on the shelves.  People have less opportunity to *discover* new books because retailers fill customer orders more than they make bets on something new.  It's a tough market because a retailer is stuck with the books they order.  Things would be different if we had a *returnable* book market.  But then... the publishers would be kinda stuck holding the bill for unsold / returned copies.

    This is not a black & white situation.  And it affects the general practices in retail -- which hurts some books, like all-ages titles, etc.
  • Part of this is that there are a goodly chunk of retailers who, frankly, are not good at their jobs. This isn't a dig at retailers - that's true in any profession, probably.

    But a not trivial percentage of people running comic shops think their job is to put people in the vicinity of comics and hope for the best. They don't actually SELL things, they just provide them. You could but one copy of every comic Image, DC and Marvel put out every month for about 250 dollars a month. This is not actually a lot of money.

    But if you aren't finding out what your customers like and suggesting new stuff based on it, then yeah, this stuff is going to be a risk. It's not that every thing will sell - not everything will. But a lot of stuff WILL sell if you get it in the right hands.

    There's a comic shop that makes about a thousand bucks on every issue of Luther Strode. Because they sell a shit ton of copies. And the reason they sell a shit ton of comics is because they know what people like to read and have gotten my book in the hands of people who will enjoy it. What they haven't done is put stuff on shelves and hope for the best.

    And not coincidentally, this shop has gone from starting six years ago to being the highest selling shop in their populous and wealthy state.

    This applies to kid's comics - there IS an audience for kid's comics, which is largely the kids of comic book readers. But if you're not trying to sell them, if you're just taking a "build it and they will come" approach, you're going to be fucked.
  • There a nicely run store in Idaho I go to when I'm working up there. But only a modest selection of graphic novels. On Free Comic Book Day, the dads are in there with their kids getting free comics. BOOM/Archaia has a large number of comics for kids printed and ready to go. Why they don't lay in a supply of Mouse Gurad, Pantelones TX, Gunnerkrieg Court, Berona's War, The Grave Doug Freshley, The Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, A Tale of Sand, Return of the Dapper Men etc for Dad's looking for Christmas presents in December is beyond me. Totally a missed opportunity.
  • About @JustinJordan's point — I don't think it helps that we're an industry of people who were picked last at dodgeball. Comics by and large is an industry of misfits, many of whom have social anxiety issues. And that goes for retailers too.

    Not an excuse... but I DO think it's a reality. Lots of people who own comic stores, or who work in comic stores, either aren't comfortable talking to people, or are comfortable with it... but just aren't that good at it. Same as a lot of the fans who come in, and a lot of the creators who made the books in the first place.
  • The argument that kids don't read comics so I as a shop owner won't stock them or will put them in a corner somewhere DRIVES ME NUTS.
    I hate it too. And we hear it about so many other things in this industry, too. (Like creator-owned comics.)
  • edited March 2014
    If I had one wish, that wish would be a return of the spinner rack to grocery stores and drug stores. I know it's a fantasy at this point, but if you want to talk about getting comics into the hands of new readers... Sometimes it was that six year old who saw the flashy cover and grabbed it off the rack, the parent was in too much of a hurry to put it back... Incidental purchases and impulse purchases is what helped to build the readership. But unfortunately, this is not the road that the industry is going down.

    I agree, you will not get new readership by staying in LCS's. If you want new readers, you have to find ways to get to the person who wouldn't normally set foot inside a comic store. You need to find out who this market is and what their interests are. Then you sell to them, you market books to them. But I think that the comics industry hamstrings itself with the DM. The sad thing is, this isn't a shock to anyone. It's just a rigidity in thinking that really needs to change.

    The biggest companies are the slowest to adapt to the change in market climate and we all know from history what happens when anything is slow to adapt to changes in climates....

    I think this is where smaller companies and self-publishers can take up the reigns and do what the bigger companies can't or won't. Sure it would be nice to see Superman or Batman comics at Target but if that's not possible, then getting any comics at all in there would be important. Heck, not even Target, what about coffee shops? Maybe it's time for people to start remembering that comics were, at one time, glorified magazines and market them that way.

    [please pardon this post as it was made on very little sleep and coffee]
  • edited March 2014

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#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1582): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon key must match it's subdirectory name (about me vs. AboutMe).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon key m...', '/home/steve55/p...', 797, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(797): trigger_error('The addon key m...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1582): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon in /plugins/Emotify has 1 issue(s).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon in /p...', '/home/steve55/p...', 795, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(795): trigger_error('The addon in /p...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1806): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon should have at most one plugin class (EmotifyPlugin, EmotifyPlugin).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon shoul...', '/home/steve55/p...', 797, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(797): trigger_error('The addon shoul...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1806): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon with key GoogleSignIn could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon with ...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The addon with ...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}
Notice
The locale with key SequentialWorkshop could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The locale with...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The locale with...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(249): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'locale')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}
Notice
The locale with key SQWSHP could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The locale with...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The locale with...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(249): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'locale')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(22): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}