Are weekly comics doomed?

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Bigwords
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

*notes that the edit function is still unavailable*

A minor note to that point - I wonder, how many people here have heard of Ministry Of Sound? Of those people, how many have actually been to the club? I'll wager that the majority haven't. The name of the brand is ever-present, and you don't NEED to go there in order to support it.

Consider that, and then think about how invisible most comics are in the wider scheme of things.

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philcom55
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by philcom55 »

Bigwords wrote:...It is the same with National Lampoon.
And yet look at what happened to the magazine - in spite of all the spinoffs!

- Phil R. (who just picked up a pile of old copies of National Lampoon! :) )

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starscape
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by starscape »

Bigwords has a point regarding the cartoons. Other visibility and ways of distributing? Its been mooted for a long time but noone I know has come up with a reasonable idea.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

philcom55 wrote:And yet look at what happened to the magazine - in spite of all the spinoffs!
starscape wrote:Other visibility and ways of distributing? Its been mooted for a long time but noone I know has come up with a reasonable idea.
They didn't optimize the exposure properly. Do you have the big blue box with all the Bananaman episodes collected? Really take a look at it. Think about how separated it is from the comic, and consider how much more it could have done for readership if it had .pdf's of key issues from Nutty and The Beano as extras. The Box itself should either have a QR code or a web address for the comic's website on it as well. Everything that appears with characters should focus on driving people to reading the comic.

I can't see how something this simple is so hard for publishers to get into their contracts... Don't look at everything as its' own entity. Everything should be connected - people buying one thing should be given the information about other products. Mainly the comic, but why stop there. We're living in a multimedia world, but certain comics haven't quite got the idea that things ought to be tied in to each other. Viz stands alone (for better or worse) with their pages of ads, but most titles have zero recognition outside of collectors and comic shops.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by AndyB »

I think that's a great idea in principle, Bigwords, but I do see a difficulty.

1. The Dennis cartoons are already a UK/Australia production. Syndication would send them into countries where the Beano might mean nothing.
2. The Banamanan DVD may have been produced before Nanaface hit the Beano (even if its current incarnation didn't go into retail until afterwards), and much as it would have seemed perfectly reasonable at the time to advertise it, the Dandy no longer exists.

Add to that the complications of CBBC not being able to take advertising, so that DCT could not put a Beano ad in before and after, even though that would be eminently sensible, and there are quite a few obstacles. Wouldn't mind hearing a few solutions!

By the way... reprinting old Nanaface strips on the DVD. What a great idea. Could apply easily to the Dennis DVDs too, but again it'll be a single edition for each DVD region, whether the Beano is available in the respective country or not.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

AndyB wrote:1. The Dennis cartoons are already a UK/Australia production. Syndication would send them into countries where the Beano might mean nothing.
Which is why the importance of the website linkage - which can be done on the DVD itself (just click a link when the disc is in a computer) - is so important. And it isn't just pushing people towards the comic in a desperate bid to attract readers. Among the special features (and there should ALWAYS be special features on DVDs) there needs to be a history of the comic, the character and the creators. This goes for all adaptations. Without having such knowledge, people aren't going to have the impetus to look for themselves.
AndyB wrote:2. The Banamanan DVD may have been produced before Nanaface hit the Beano (even if its current incarnation didn't go into retail until afterwards), and much as it would have seemed perfectly reasonable at the time to advertise it, the Dandy no longer exists.
Back to the first clarification - the history of the character in special features. Pointing out - in clear text - that there are adventures in print. :D
AndyB wrote:Add to that the complications of CBBC not being able to take advertising, so that DCT could not put a Beano ad in before and after
The BBC may *say* they don't advertise, but they do. They are simply really, really good at brushing off criticism. How many Apple products have you seen on-screen in the last year? How about those distinctive trainers The Doctor wore during David Tennant's run? Anyways, the logo (really small) does appear at the end of each episode. As a way of attracting people to the comic, it is too half-hearted.
AndyB wrote:Wouldn't mind hearing a few solutions!
How much does an animation company cost these days? Surely that would be a good investment for DCT. And a small games company, seeing as there hasn't been a decent computer game yet.

A multimedia world requires multimedia companies.

It isn't *just* about exposure. You can throw any old garbage at the marketplace and hope to hell that some of it sticks. In doing so, the brand eventually gets devalued (uh... National Lampoon. Some real horrors there.) so the product available must have value. Have you been reading the Geddes & Grosset books? They aren't spectacular, by any stretch of the imagination, and that is only going to end up hurting impressions of the parent comic. Hunt down some of the AC & Black Comix series - perfect for younger readers, and exactly the type of thing DCT should be producing for their characters.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Kid Robson wrote:As for Viz, I don't think that periodicals for adults are necessarily obliged to include swearing and vulgarity, so I don't really equate it as a direct (adult) equivalent to The Beano, especially as loads of kids buy it anyway (or get their hands on it somehow). One would hope that there would be room for a publication that indulged in good, clean, inoffensive humour which teenagers and grown-ups could enjoy, but I can understand publishers' hesitation in taking the risk.
When I said an adult Beano would be like Viz, I was talking about the style of artwork, as Viz often lampoons that traditional style. As you once said, you've never read Viz, but if you did you might notice that it's not entirely 'swearing and vulgarity'. A lot of it is satire or in some cases social comment even.
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Raven »

Bigwords wrote:Look at how it has pervaded modern culture to the point that even people who have never read an issue of the magazine know what you are talking about. It is the same with National Lampoon.
I'd wager that most Brits in a stop-them-in-the-street-and-ask situation would have no idea what National Lampoon or Mad magazine were, really.

Andy's right in that you can't have it called 'The Beano's Dennis ...' because you can't have product placement in the title on CBBC. But these are all really arguments for 10-15 years ago; it's rather like a group of fans getting together in the early Eighties to brainstorm how to keep 8 track cartridges going for future generations.

The problem isn't really the lack of visibility or pdfs on dvds, etc., but that fewer and fewer kids areinterested in reading comics for pleasure. Even the Simpsons comic, which does have all that breadth of exposure across all media, went down another 28.1% in sales in the first half of this year.

Obviously, some kids like to read, and it surely helps if they're in a family that values and motivates reading, and isn't too busy to pass on the pleasure to be gained from traditional storytelling and the written word (because comics are far from just pictures), but for many kids there are greater calls on their attention. In their own way, comics are as complex to read as other literature (you need the right kind of 'visual literacy' for want of a better term, and the willingness to concentrate and engage) and they're an effort to read compared to the instant pleasure, results and world-building they get at a button's click from those other media.

Sorry if this seems too abruptly expressed or un-honed; it really would be good to get that edit function back.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by colcool007 »

One idea could be simple yet effective animations of the characters that could be put up on YouTube (Other video hosting sites are availabe) as tasters of the characters to pull some more readers in. If successful enough, they could be expanded into animation shorts with the aim of getting them syndicated into a full series.
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Raven »

colcool007 wrote:One idea could be simple yet effective animations of the characters that could be put up on YouTube (Other video hosting sites are availabe) as tasters of the characters to pull some more readers in. If successful enough, they could be expanded into animation shorts with the aim of getting them syndicated into a full series.

Thing is, they'd very likely enjoy the animation if it was good, but they wouldn't be interested in reading the comic.

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Kid Robson »

Lew Stringer wrote:
Kid Robson wrote:Well, I'm not sure if it was ever designed to appeal to adults, but whatever it was attempting to do, it failed.
We've been through that before. We could argue all day (but let's not) whether it was due to content, lack of promotion, lack of cover mounts, poor visibility in supermarkets, general indifference towards comics or whatever. Fact is, the revamped Dandy, and the recently tweaked Beano, have aroused the interest of people of all ages as is evidenced by comments here and elsewhere.
Didn't arouse enough interest to prevent the death of The Dandy 'though, did it? Interest after the fact, unless it leads to a revival, ain't worth diddly-squat, no siree!
Lew Stringer wrote:When I said an adult Beano would be like Viz, I was talking about the style of artwork, as Viz often lampoons that traditional style. As you once said, you've never read Viz, but if you did you might notice that it's not entirely 'swearing and vulgarity'. A lot of it is satire or in some cases social comment even.
I've since seen a couple of annuals and an odd issue in a friend's house. However, I still prefer satire and social comment without swearing and vulgarity. You got a notebook, Lew, in which you've recorded everything I've said?

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

Raven wrote:Even the Simpsons comic, which does have all that breadth of exposure across all media, went down another 28.1% in sales in the first half of this year.
There's other things going on with that title which make any direct 1:1 comparison flawed - the very same strips in The Simpsons are also available in the original US printings (which are shipped to the UK, and are bleeding off a few readers), and are collected in trade paperbacks. If there's no incentive to get the magazine, then it will eventually flounder altogether. There are no original strips in the British edition (or wasn't, last time I checked), thus no point in obsessively collecting it other than to have a complete collection - how many people are going to do that, do you think?

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Kid Robson wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:When I said an adult Beano would be like Viz, I was talking about the style of artwork, as Viz often lampoons that traditional style. As you once said, you've never read Viz, but if you did you might notice that it's not entirely 'swearing and vulgarity'. A lot of it is satire or in some cases social comment even.
I've since seen a couple of annuals and an odd issue in a friend's house. However, I still prefer satire and social comment without swearing and vulgarity.
You might like The Drunken Bakers and Hen Cabin then, or several other Viz strips that, as I said, don't always contain 'swearing and vulgarity'.
Kid Robson wrote:You got a notebook, Lew, in which you've recorded everything I've said?
No, just a long memory. Or are people at fault for doing that now? :roll:

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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Raven »

Bigwords wrote:
Raven wrote:Even the Simpsons comic, which does have all that breadth of exposure across all media, went down another 28.1% in sales in the first half of this year.
There's other things going on with that title which make any direct 1:1 comparison flawed - the very same strips in The Simpsons are also available in the original US printings (which are shipped to the UK, and are bleeding off a few readers), and are collected in trade paperbacks. If there's no incentive to get the magazine, then it will eventually flounder altogether. There are no original strips in the British edition (or wasn't, last time I checked), thus no point in obsessively collecting it other than to have a complete collection - how many people are going to do that, do you think?
I think the UK Simpsons comics are aimed at a completely different readership: younger children, who won't go into the direct sales shops and see the original US comic editions or get the trade paperbacks; not obsessive collectors/fanboys - just children, the traditional UK comic audience who get things from supermarkets and newsagents. The Star Wars/Clone Wars comic was also down another 26.9%. Doctor Who Adventures was down another 23.2%. This is a continuing trend, every six months on it gets worse.

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colcool007
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by colcool007 »

Raven wrote:
colcool007 wrote:One idea could be simple yet effective animations of the characters that could be put up on YouTube (Other video hosting sites are availabe) as tasters of the characters to pull some more readers in. If successful enough, they could be expanded into animation shorts with the aim of getting them syndicated into a full series.

Thing is, they'd very likely enjoy the animation if it was good, but they wouldn't be interested in reading the comic.
True, but the exposure would be good publicity nonetheless. And if it got to the point where DCT were offered a deal for a series or two, then the income stream would be welcome. It would help to expand their exposure on multimedia content, something they appear to be getting to grips with now. And potentially more important, it would allow them to extend copyright protection for those properties exploited.

And although unlikely, it could allow them to take advantage of their extensive back catalogue as I am sure that one or two titles could be updated and used again.

Even if it did not help the sales of the few remaining comics, it would mean that the current characters would be granted an extra lease of life in a new medium.
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