When do you say, “enough”?


“This is an initiative to build and reshape an industry we all love…” Dan DiDio, DC Nation June, 2011.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come in and start collecting comics .. We’re trying to get new fans, people who never even bought a comic before to get excited about the medium .. We’re here to grow the industry and we’re going to do everything we can to do that.” Jim Lee, New 52 video, June 2011

As part of a two-pronged strategy to try to revive its moribund business and draw newer, younger readers, the nation’s oldest and best-known comic-book publisher has also decided to start over from scratch. Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2011

There is a generational opportunity to get new readers,” said artist Rob Liefeld, who is drawing DC’s new “Hawk and Dove” series. “The industry has been stagnant, and it’s the right time to hit the reset button.” Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2011

 “The launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 galvanized the traditional fan base for superhero comic books: male readers, who were already—or have at one time been—comic book fans.” DC Comics the Source, February 2012.

I said this morning on Twitter that I have never been more depressed about comics. The last few days it has become clear that despite the greatest make-over over at DC Comics in history,  a “generational opportunity”, there was really no change at all. There are few new readers and the demographics haven’t changed. Not that we didn’t know they wouldn’t

In the end I can’t even be mad. I am just sad, very sad. Sad that with the opportunity to revitalize an industry and put it on a path to a healthy, vital future it seems as there have been some some deck chair moving on a sinking ship.

An industry can’t grow if the audience does not grow and bring in fresh blood. Stealing share from your competitors can help your bottom line but doesn’t help the overall bottom line of the industry.

For years, there’s been lots written about how DC (and Marvel) need to expand beyond their traditional fan base. God knows, I’ve written plenty about it.

In the last few days with the results of this survey, there has been more written, not just by me but by other outlets. They point to the lack of young readers and the untapped potential of the female audience.

Over the last few days I have received notes telling me “STFU, see you don’t matter.” And “women DON”T read comics”.  It’s not unexpected and doesn’t bother me. It’s not as if most of these people need a reason to belittle women.

But I admit these results have bothered me and have left me asking myself, “Do I bother to try any more? Is the industry ever going to look outside their base? Do I try and recruit more readers to club where they are not really wanted except as a “nice to have?”

I honestly don’t know anymore. I really don’t. Earlier this week when DC announced the new digital comic Smallville, I was ready to write a post about how this was an excellent opportunity to bring female readers into comics.

But I’ve written that post so many times. And so many times, nothing happens. There’s no push, no marketing, no follow through.

I’ve written about the opportunities of marketing to women many times - the money sitting on the table.  I just interviewed a former DC editor about it two weeks ago. I’m not going to rehash it here.

So, yes, Smallville is an opportunity. But I doubt it will mean anything if things don’t change. And if they didn’t change in the biggest rebranding event in the history of the company, why would they now?

I hope I am wrong, but I suspect I am not.

When it comes to superhero comics and the opportunity of the female demographic it is like banging one’s head on a brick wall for all the change that comes.

I don’t know about others who share my view but my head is sore and the wall looks the same.

So, do you get a helmet? Or do you blow a kiss for luck and walk away?

I think it’s time to think about that.