Comic Store In Your Future – Marvel Vs. DC

Posted by July 15, 2017 Comment

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics, writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

The Marvel vs DC debate has raged for many years. The two companies fight along with their readership, along with people that don’t read any of their titles often times the fighting is very bitter. Almost like a Democrat vs Republican mentality.

The Marvel vs DC mindset, what is it good for? Marvel stays number one in the comic market means the same thing as most months. They are usually number one on Diamond’s sales charts and usually putting out the most comics.

Who is “better”? That is all up to each individual. People should enjoy and buy whatever they want. Someone having a different taste in comics from someone else is not a bad thing.

The comic market’s sales isn’t impressive by any means. There are millions of people in the good old U.S.A. and if a comic sells over 100,000 that is now supposed to be impressive. Decades ago if a comic title didn’t sell over 100,000 that meant it was cancelled. Marvel and DC have titles that sell 20,000 copies or less. Lots of variant covers used to increase sales. Basically getting people who are buying a title to buy an extra copy or more.

Wonder Woman is currently making a lot of money in movie theaters. Millions of people have gone and seen the movie. But sales on Wonder Woman’s comic hardly increased. I am a broken record now about how comic movies are not moving the needle on the comic book they are based on. Same story with the just released Spider-man movie.

As a comic store owner the Marvel vs DC debate at times is cool, as long as it is civil, such as when people debate would the Hulk beat Superman? But not so cool when people get upset that someone is reading a title they do not like.

Sales are of course important. If a comic is unable to sell then it gets cancelled. Every comic has someone out there or at least a handful of people who enjoyed the comic. Those people usually are disappointed when what they are reading ends.

Marvel vs DC publishing wise I feel is very small minded. Meaning the bar is set low when the big goal is just to beat the other company. As a store owner it is not a goal of mine to “beat” other comic stores. One of the goals, and the most important one to me is to be as profitable as can be. Sell as much as possible. Get kids into reading. Bring in new readership. Increase sales over last year. Outselling another comic store is not on the list. At times someone will come in and try to get me to say something bad about another store but I try to stay above that. As long as another store hasn’t went out of their way to start anything with us we are cool.

I wonder how much resources and time Marvel and DC has used by having so much focus trying to outdo the other? The whole we beat the other company so we are doing great is not the mindset I want to see. I would much more be impressed with the company who sets a record for sales without using any variants. Impress me by having those mythical new comic readers start buying comics. Impress me by growing the comic market. Have people wanting your product. Have people telling me they want your titles.

Am I cynical? I will admit, yes. Having two comic stores close this year in central Iowa within a month of one another doesn’t scream things are great to me. Months of the comic market where sales do not grow is also troubling. Odds are expenses for a store will increase each year. This year I managed to cut ours. But I doubt I will be able to for next year. For one our rent will go up.

I would much rather see Marvel and DC increasing their readership. Using that money made from movies based on their comic characters back into their publishing line. Raise the pay rates for artists and writers. Invest in new creative talent. Advertise.

Currently it is difficult to increase readership. In store Valiant is doing that. We did not get any new Valiant customers from the two stores that closed but our already established customers are getting into their titles. We had a small group, though a very loyal and excited group which is helping get more people into their comics. XO Manowar I have had to reorder past issues of because people are enjoying the writing and art. Thankfully they were available for order still. Valiant doesn’t bad mouth Marvel or DC (at least I have never heard or seen them do so). They are focused on their line. They impress me since more people are still getting into their comics. Again I may sound like a broken record but they keep making me money.

The Marvel DC war is not good for anyone. All that energy by the publishers could instead be going to improving their own comics. Thinking of ways to get new customers instead of thinking of how to beat one another. The energy by the fans that get caught up in the Marvel vs DC mentality could be used for getting others into their favorite comics. Comic store owners who get caught up in the Marvel vs DC fight often times end up blocking sales. The customers are in a way comic store owners’ bosses. If we have a 100 people wanting the latest issue of Amazing Spider-man or Flash then by goodness a comic store owner better be ordering that much.

(Last Updated July 15, 2017 11:42 am )