Friday, February 19, 2010

Would Atlantis Chronicles Be Made Today?

Rich Johnston linked to an NPR article about Aquaman that brought a question to mind. OK, it was a question that had already come to mind many times before, but I never got around to blogging about it.

If you're like me, you've been a fan of comic books since the early 1980s. During that time, it seemed like companies would give some of the most unconventional mini-series the green light. There didn't seem to be so much pressure on sales that retreads that were guaranteed at least mediocre sales were put out instead of new ideas that might turn into winners.

If you're like a lot of other fans, you came to comic books in the early-to-mid 1990s. During that time, it seemed like companies would give some of the most unconventional series and mini-series the green light. There seemed to be the feeling that anything that you slapped a "#1" on would sell enough to justify giving new ideas a shot.

In the recently completed 2000s (and, to be fair, the late 1990s), it seems like Marvel & DC Comics sometimes sacrifice fresh ideas for lower risk/reward projects. Each failed project seems to be taken more as an indication that the market just won't support new ideas, rather than the ideas they chose to put in play didn't resonate with the target audience.

A perfect example of this attitude, I think, would be the Second Feature idea at DC Comics. The approach with the properties that weren't selling enough on their own seems to be that the ideas are fine, but the market can't support them as stand-alone series. It is, also, how they've put out a few new projects (retreads, but still something new), albeit with no real metric to gauge interest in them. Other than a nice PR cushion to price increases, it hasn't really succeeded. I'm not talking about the quality of the stories, but the development of new, salable product.

Mind you, I'm just shooting out thoughts here with zero research. I'd really like to hear what you think in the comments.

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