Comic Book Brain
The Tashen Marvel Comics Book Library

Archive Page 2193

December 2023

Black Panther star Carrie Bernans struck in hit and run in GermanyMirror UK

Wishcasting "Good Movies Gain Traction Amid Strikes & Superhero fatigue"Deadline

This linkage seems to be a standard one at the end of 2023, that superhero movies going down means good Hollywood will go up.

A less optimistic view is this: superhero movies must take the blame for a bad year of Hollywood box office, because the great cash cow of the last decade failing and nothing taking its place, that in fact superheroes movies was the last chance Hollywood had to hang onto a mass audience willing to forego streaming and gaming online to temporarily file into a theatre and sit in seats for a one-time viewing of a new "blockbuster" is a nightmare for theatre chains and the lucrative world of Hollywood movie productions. There was a good reason that the Theatre world looked down on Hollywood, and likewise why Hollywood looked down at TV, and it had to do with quality.

But what if TV is the last thing left standing for the bulk of dramatic productions? What if blockbuster films in movie theatres has finally run its course, and the world of movie-making has simply turned out too many bad "products" and alienated too many fans?

If you're old enough, you can remember when movie posters and comic book covers were arranged in such a way that the art, blurbs and fragments of story being presented were meant to intrigue a person and draw them in to find out what's going on inside the movie itself (or comic book) which is another way of saying, the poster/cover was meant to promote interest and to get the potential purchaser to come inside the "circus tent" as a paying customer and take a seat.

But decades have passed and now movie posters and comic book covers are mostly poses of the main characters/actors, there is very little story being shown in the main promotional image of the movie/comic book. But dedication to pop culture imagery is hyper-fickle and what nails down interest and what undergirds sales in the long run is story.

The Flash seventy-five years ago ran "his final race"MSN CBR

End of the year Box Office

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes - $313,769,879

Aquaman The Lost Kingdom - $255,445,000

Napoleon - $206,906,000

The Marvels - $200,006,238

Godzilla Minus One - $69,201,401

Source: The Numbers

2023 Review

Savage review of the year's failings in pop hero entertainment.

AOL says Across the Spider-Verse is the best superhero film of 2023AOL

Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner Team With Humble Bundle For Charity Sale with digital comics to benefit the World Wildlife Fund Comicbook

"Why the Fall of Comic-Book Movie Culture Is Inevitable"Variety MSN

"Comic-book movie culture didn’t just stumble this year. It face-planted..."

The analysis that has mostly been offered is simple: The movie companies served up mediocre superhero product. That’s why they — and we — suffered.... They made bad movies. What if they’d made good movies? The temptation to point a finger at the producers and executives and vilify them for their shoddy product has always been there. But now it’s part of the new couch-potato rebel culture. Critics, on their reflexive high horse, mostly hate comic-book movies, and more and more they have used their reviews of them to chastise The Man. The fans would seem to be on the other side of the fence...

The article goes on to make a counter-claim, that comic book movies have "served their purpose" and the audience has moved on whether the lousy versions had come out or not...

Figuring out the history of the comic book Direct-Sales MarketMSN CBR

Nowadays, there literally is no such thing as a comic book appearing on a "newsstand," as both Marvel and DC have completely abandoned their newsstand business.

However, for decades, that was almost the only way that comic books would be distributed. It is still how magazines and newspapers are distributed.
The way that it works is that the company sends out, say, 300,000 copies of, say, Batman #310, to newsstands around the country. Let's say, I dunno, 200,000 of them sell in any given month (you had a couple of months to sell them). So then those extra 100,000 copies would be sent back and they would be destroyed.
As you can see, that is not the most effective way for a comic book company to make money, as they have to print X amount of copies based on how much they THINK they will sell, and then they have to take back whatever doesn't sell and then pulp them. So the profit margins on these things were TIGHT.

If you had a good contact at, say, a grocery store that would have piles of unsold comic books stinking up the back stock rooms, maybe they'd let you take them home for free just to be rid of them. Such was the situation (at times) for your humble Comic Book Brain editor.

Newsstand distribution could get pretty exotic, I remember seeing copies of Spider-Man haanging from pins on cloth-hanger lines on the exterior walls of street kiosks in Athens Greece, circa 1976. These weren't the translated versions that would come and go in Europe, but bone fide American edition floppies amid a sea of native Greek publications.

Amazon Rush Comic Book

Stan Lee's 101st birthday and Marvel Comicbook

The history of the Marvel LogoTrademark engine - MSN Stacker

Aquaman hitting the high end on worldwide boxoffice projections with $120 million worldwide through MondayDeadline

Performing pretty well, considering, and lacking any of those "bomb" headlines that would have started to crop up by Tuesday if the numbers had been anything like the other DC/Marvel disasters of 2023.

With an estimated $205 million dollar production budget, Aquaman The Lost Kingdom still has some heavy surfing to do to hit profit numbers, but with another holiday weekend ahead maybe the prospects can stay bright.

Comics are dying/Comics aren't dying

Article at Comics Beat

Before we go much deeper, let’s get the culture war stuff out of the way: anyone, anywhere who wants to suggest the market’s problems have to do with comics being too “woke” is a total screwball. Full stop. The market always determines what it wants, and things that are not engaging to the audience always go away in favor of things that do engage."

This statement is only minimally true: the market can only choose from what is produced, presented and available. The market has never been able to create the works itself nor get the works distributed, etc., which has always demonstrated there is a gulf between what is wanted and what is offered. When the gulf is narrow sales are up; when the gulf is wide, sales vanish.

Part of the problem haunting the comic book publishers is what haunts the movie producers: they think they know what is wanted and then, wham, it gets released and bombs. Anticipating the public can be nearly impossible, but what's worse is the substitute strategy, which is apparently pure illusion, to "educate" the audience into wanting what you're trying to sell, or maybe even worse is the caster-oil strategy "you should want this because its good for you."

Warner Bros animation now unionizedBounding

Aquaman 2 takes the top spot for holiday weekend films with $38.3 millionAFP News

Color Purple remake beats down Aquaman 2 on Christmas Day box officeMSN Hollywood Reporter

While The Color Purple easily trounced James Wan's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom‘s Monday gross of $10.6 million, Aquaman 2 is the overall winner of the long Christmas weekend with a four-day opening of $38.3 million from 3,706 theaters domestically.

Comics' Beat Best of DC for 2023Comicsbeat

"This run of Superman is going to go into the annals of great runs that you can just hand someone to introduce them to a character."

Joker: Folie à Deux underway with director Todd Phillips – photos at Batman News

The 2019 release of Joker did $1.07 billion in worldwide box office. The under production sequel is due into theaters October 4, 2024.

"The rise and shocking demise of a comic-book hero"Irish Times

Man wishes to play BatmanGiant Freakin Robot

He has the muscles.

Alan Ritchson himself has said that he would be willing to play Batman in the DCU, and he already has the superhero chops after playing Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Smallville and Hawk in the Max original series Titans.

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Original page January 6, 2024