"Last Gasp for Comic Book Industry?"
The initial question:
Comics Vs Manga
There is an audience for hand-drawn fiction, just take a look at this photo of my local Barnes and Noble store: 4 1/2 bookcases are devoted to Manga comics, printed in black and white on cheap paper bound in the equivalent of a paperback book. Then across from it are 3 shelves of "Graphic Novels" printed on slick paper, hard-back binding, and backed by incredible name-recognition and tons of movie and TV show tie-in support. Why is Manga able to marshal a mainstream audience and comic books are limping toward extinction ? CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTO IMAGE
The DC Comics Reboot
JUNE 2011: New York Times feature article on the reboot of DC Comics cuts to the heart of the problem: sales.
"Audacious. That is the best way to describe the recent DC Comics announcement that it was renumbering its entire DC Universe line of comics: by September 52 series will have begun anew, each with an issue No. 1.
...From one standpoint this move looks like a stunt or a last gasp for the comic book industry, which has been dealing with reader attrition thanks to event fatigue, insular story lines, higher prices and the immersive world of video games. In 2006 Civil War, a tremendously popular event story line involving all of Marvel Comics’ heroes, had first-issue sales of more than 350,000 copies. This year the first-issue sales of its latest event, Fear Itself, were estimated around 130,000."
The decline in sales shouldn't be seen in a vacuum: the entire United States economy has suffered massive punishment following the housing bubble bust, and spending on video games, DVDs, and obviously comic books, have all declined tremendously.
Original page 2011