Friday, January 06, 2006

Solutions and Theories: How To Change The Comic Book Industry Part 1

I got so long winded that I have had to make my thoughts several parts. Today is part one. Let's get down to it, shall we?

Today I want to focus on successfully selling comic books both to the mainstream and to the female population. Using the secrets of business success as documented here:, I want to build some theories based on business principles. Let’s take it one principle at a time and get some brain storming going, shall we?

“You must have a good product or service to use word-of-mouth marketing strategies – otherwise, you will just be spreading bad news. The message is that electronic marketing or using the information highway won’t help you be successful if you have a poor product or service. The place to start is to ensure that you have quality to sell.”

Wow, we’re starting off with the most basic of principles, aren’t we? The product must be good to sell it. Okay, what this means is that the product should have some mainstream appeal. Superman is a very well known icon- why do people buy t-shirts but not comics? Is it that the book is targeted incorrectly or is it that the stigma of comic books and/or their readers the problem? I have read Superman for years, and feel that at its best it has very broad appeal. The stories are compelling and the art work is the top of the line so what is the problem?

Theory A: The lack of mainstream advertising. If you want to buy a comic book you have to find a comic book shop or track down the sad looking rack of comics at the book store or grocery store. There isn’t any television or radio advertising. The buzz is mostly seen in a magazine like Entertainment Weekly, which features comics and trades periodically.

Theory B: An inability to tie in movies to written product. Where are the gleaming displays of comic book movie tie-ins? If I were to walk into a store and find a display with comic books, coloring books, t-shirts, party wares, and the like, that would be striking to me. Where is that? The tie-ins with fast food are all good and well but getting a cup with Spider-Man’s face on it isn’t the same as getting a piece of reading material.

Theory C: The stigma of reading comic books. Face it kids, we like to think we are an elite group, and sharing is hard for us. It is easy to perpetuate the myth of being stinky, comic shop guy types if we don’t want to do a little self promotion. Bragging about your years of intense Elektra fandom is one thing; pointing out the merits and sharing your excitement is a whole different deal. Sorry, but being a comic book fan doesn’t make you smarter then anyone else, it just means you have to try a little harder to get the message out.

Theory D: The marketing of books is targeted towards males of a certain demographic. I am sorry if you disagree, but when I see a cover of big boobies thrusting towards me, I know it isn’t for my benefit. It doesn’t alienate me, but it doesn’t entice me either. As a 39 year old woman, I have to work to keep informed about what comics are out there- it isn’t built for me.

Next principle please!


Lea Hernandez said...

This has been a terrific series, and you said it much better than I ever have. May I link to it?

Heidi Meeley said...


I really appreciate your kind words. It means a lot to me. Please feel free to link my articles. Thanks again.