The gang at Multiversity, a pretty good comics blog, recently posted all their various wish lists. They don’t want me as a commenter on their site (I asked), but I liked the idea. They have a huge team of writers, but I only have me. Yet, I still managed a substantial list, all by my lonesome. I’ll be publishing them over a series of posts.


10. Reach out to libraries and teachers. More and more are carrying Manga and other trades, but the utility of comic books as a way to get kids reading is largely untapped. Go to schools! Offer free tours of your offices, or internships!

9. And while you’re at it, offer free subscriptions to certain students. Maybe honors kids, and/or kids who accept a challenge to increase proficiency on national reading test. There’s lots of possibilities to integrate comic books into schools, and if you do that you’ll be increasing the odds that the industry will expand rather than shrink as my generation dies off.

8. But also compete digitally—especially you indies! Marvel and DC cream all of you, combined, in the sales department for monthlies, although a few of you kick ass in the in the back-issue trades arena (I’m thinking specifically of Scott Pilgrim and The Walking Dead). But they’re vulnerable in the internet market. Why not offer the first three issues of a series for free or a nominal cost, to get readers hooked. This would encourage retail sales of back issue trades, which seems to be the real bug-a-boo for most of you (i.e., not wanting to piss off the brick-and-mortar sellers). Oh, and retailers: Get over it. You’re not going to lose the die-hards to digital—we’re all older, fatter dudes who like paper—but if the industry can’t reach the college campuses, it’s dead.

7. Cerebus: Year One. There, I said it. And it doesn’t even have to be by Dave Sim.  I’d be happy with David Lapham.  Or Joe Kelly.

6. Fewer #1s. Yeah, they generate sales-for-sales sake, but they seem desperate.

5. Retail only specials, and often.Free Green Lantern rings or Avengers nick-nacks are

I got a full set--I use 'em as X-Mas ornaments!

instant collectibles, which you can’t get on line (legally or illegally), and they bring folks into stores where they’ll probably drop some coin. Going to specialty stores should be a surprising event, especially for younger kids.

4. Don’t let previews count as pages. I’ve caught Marvel, D.C., and several independents reducing page count to include a “special” preview, which is really nothing more than an advertisement. At what you’re charging for the floppy books, you guys oughtta cut that shit out right now.

3. Publish trade paperbacks digitally! This is a suggestion for Marvel and D.C. especially: Paying $2 or $3 for a digital comic that, if I get it through Comixology, I only have the rights to read (they don’t actually send you a file), is too much. But selling trades at 15-25% off the cover price? That’s a deal! It would also help Marvel in that they tend to stop printing their backlisted trades without warning, which can lead to some ridiculous prices if you want to read a whole creator’s storyline.

2. And while you’re at it, kill the DRM. Comixology sucks because I don’t actually get a copy of the book, so I can’t read it if I’m somewhere without internet. And, frankly, I want my own copy for three bucks. There’s all kinds of options here: Limit additional uses of the material to a fixed number of computers (like iTunes does); offer non-DRM versions after the issue has been out for a certain number of months free to those who paid for the DRM versions; offer the same issues as a bundle (like a trade paperback) without DRM if they’re a year old; etc. Get creative, but give me an actual product—that might make me want to buy stuff online. Right now, I don’t.

1. Get rid of fixed-page-number monthlies! There’s tons of wait-for-trade folks (like me, much of the time), who can’t afford to spend $24 on six issues of a book ($18 for a non-Marvel book) that’s too thin and who, even if we could afford it, prefer our stories to have a little more development in them. Think of the possibilities if instead of printing Spider-Man three times a month, e.g., it came out twice, was $6 an issue, and was twice as big? Or if we let some books publish every six weeks, but the issue was all meat, no filler. Recently, Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s terrific S.H.E.I.L.D. published an all-art, no words issue, which on the one had was great because the art was so good but on the other hand it didn’t develop the tale much at all. So, I felt gyped. I wouldn’t have, though, if it was a little longer. This format would also allow for Hickman’s cute little “text” art that he loves, and wouldn’t make me feel cheated by the “Oral History of the Avengers” that cut stories short in the Bends issues.

Next: My D.C. Comics Wish List!

Related Posts

About The Author