Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: The State of the Economy and the State of Comics

Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The State of the Economy and the State of Comics

So, I've been thinking...a dangerous pastime, you say...about the economic situation and what this may mean for comics as a whole. Obviously, things are pretty much in the crapper at the moment. The stock market is in freefall along with the value of our homes. People are losing their jobs, so they cut back on their spending. Cutting back on spending, means that nobody is purchasing all that stuff on the shelves, so the stores are cutting back, and laying people off. It's a bit of a vicious circle.

Meanwhile, Marvel has decided that now is a spiffy time to raise the price of their books from $2.99 to $3.99, an increase of some 30% or more. That's one heck of a jump! It's as if they tied the price of comics to the price of gas! I would imagine that this move may backfire, since people don't have as much disposable income at the moment, and I would think that eating and paying the mortgage is just a tad more important than buying comic books.

But that's not really what I was thinking about. Not the price of comics, but the TONE of comics. I think that the era of grim and gritty, and of dark dark comics may be on its way out. If you go back and look at the general entertainment forms of the Great Depression, movies and yes, even comics, the general mood was of light-heartedness. People were pretty depressed by all the gloom and doom of their real lives, and sought out a form of release and escapism in movies. This was when you had all of those huge musicals and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies.

Perhaps this wish for a little bit of escapism will be expressed in comics again. I've always liked humor in my books, such as the old JLI and Damage Control, and Groo, and Mad, and Ambush Bug to name a few. I think that a lot of people like a little silliness, but the prevailing wisdom was that "funny" books didn't sell. But with all the gloom on the economic front, is it possible that fun could make a come-back?

We've finished up Final Crisis, so let's sit back, take a deep breath and hope for a bit of...dare I say it...happiness for a change. Look, Barry is back! Aquaman is back! Ted is back (I think) Scott and Barda are back! This is GOOD news. We need good news. We need good stories. We need talking gorillas and kicks to the face. This is one of the reasons that I believe the new cartoon "The Brave & the Bold" is doing so well with fans. It's just plain FUN.

It is a lot easier to look at the dark and dangerous side of things, when life on the whole is going well. You don't risk becoming consumed by the darkness. If we look at the 90's as a whole, the economy was doing well, but the general mood of comic books was pretty depressing.

Or, I could simply be deluding myself.


But we could all use a little bit of fun.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger B.G. Christensen said...

I would think that eating and paying the mortgage is just a tad more important than buying comic books.

Oh come on, we can always eat a little less.

Also, what is this about Ted being back? Where is that happening?

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Sea-of-Green said...

This kind of reminds me of the time DC increased their prices during the late 1970s -- when the economy was bad, fuel prices were high, and consumer morale was at a low. It turned out to be a big mistake for DC, as their sales plummeted. Maybe Marvel thinks the same thing won't happen to them, but I doubt they're immune.

This is an especially risky time for them considering the ongoing profits lawsuit between them, Stan Lee, and the SLMI shareholders just got a whole lot nastier. with $750 million at stake, you'd think Marvel would be making much more careful business decisions.

Marvel's problems aside, if comic books DO start producing stories that are lighter in tone, I won't mind in the slightest!

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Heartiac. said...

Mr. Fob,

Geoff Johns confirmed in an interview that Ted Kord was the guy seen in Booster Gold 1,000,000 going "Bwahahaha." AWESOME!


If Guy rejoins the Justice League, (its been a bit,) where does that leave Stewart? Or could he become the straight man in the madness of the new JLI/JLU?

At 10:36 AM, Blogger The one letter wonder said...

I agree with you that the whole grim and gritty thing seems to have run its course and that especially in these times people are looking for more fun in their entertainment. So, hopefully, comics and hollywood will catch on to this trend.Have you seen the ads for this weeks episode of BAtman, it looks AWESOME.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

Oh, I most heartily agree with you that we need more fun in comics. Unfortunately I don't think that's what will happen in the near future, at least to any more than a minor degree. After all, DC's funnest title, Blue Beetle, is ending next month...

At 2:52 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Oh Mac, don't remind me. I'm going to miss Blue Beetle SO much. Actually, it isn't so bad for Jaime since he's going to be in Teen Titans, but what about his amazing support cast? He has some of the best characters in comicbookdom!

It's true that there is some dark stuff on the horizon, for example, the whole Blackest Night event coming up with the Green Lanterns. On the other hand, Geoff Johns has had this story planned out for YEARS. Considering how fabulous Rebirth and the Sinestro Corps War was, I don't think we'll have to worry. Even in all the mayhem, there were some lighter moments, such as the Michegan sticker on Guy's lantern for example.

Sea, I do think that Marvel is being awfully reckless. Apparently they are retroactively upping the prices on books that were solicited at the lower price without any sort of increase in pages, which is pretty dastardly.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

Ah, the dreaded "DC Implosion" in the 70's.

At least back then DC added 50% more story pages to go with their price increase. As far as I'm aware, Marvel's adding Jack Diddly.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fun is definitely making a comeback. Heck, when was the last time we had an Ambush Bug miniseries?


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