Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Death of Spider-Man" 2

So I talked about this story previously but I wanted to go back to it for a minute. I somewhat expected Marvel to spoil the story in the media and sure enough they didn't disappoint. But what I was a little surprised with was that they've come out to justify spoiling the story (even giving news organizations the last couple pages to post). I'm not surprised with the content of their justification, just that they went public with what we all knew. But it just reinforces to me so much of what I've come to hate about the Marvel, DC, and to some extent the other publishers like Image as of late.

First up, it's all about getting non-comic readers talking about it and coming in to buy the comic. Now I'm all for trying to grow your audience but I'd like to see them do it without screwing over those who are already buying your product. The ones who don't want to know how the book ends. This just feels like a kick to the crotch for them. And does this truly grow your audience? Maybe a bit. I see people coming in to buy the book who don't usually buy comics but why are they doing it? A lot are doing it in the hopes the polybagged comic will become a collectible to sell. They won't read it, they won't be back, and they just reinforce the idea that comics aren't really for reading, they are a collectible you can hope to make money on. Not very productive for the industry in my mind (and I think the 90's confirmed that). Then of course you get the regular reader buying more than one copy because they want a readable version and a "mint" edition to hold on to.

To me going out there and spoiling it is like telling me the story really isn't worth reading without the gimmick of the death. Now maybe the story is worth reading, I don't know because I didn't read it. Why? Because at this point death in comics always feels like a gimmick to me. And this spoiling just reinforces that. It's saying the story doesn't matter, it's the gimmicks that I should be interested in. And I think that's bad for comics in general. Does this make people think there is actually value in the stories that comics can tell? I don't think so. Does this make kids or their parents want to pick up comics? I don't think so. It makes comics look like they are still stuck in the same old "We're going to kill him or do something 'shocking' just to try to get your attention" methods of the 90's.

I really don't want to rant too much on this, because I know I can be shot down so easily ("You aren't even reading it so why do you care?", "The sale on the book were huge.", etc) but for me, this is just frustrating. With companies having so many tools at their disposal to get their product out there and get people interested in the actual content of comics they are going for "cheap pops" that make the comic industry look bad. I guess this was always the way and I just had all I can take of it.

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