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Tandra Page 1526, End Of An Era

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

Yesterday I commented on the drastic decline in sales in the comic booklet industry. You can read my commentary by clicking on the What’s New for Tuesday, October 3rd, but the drift of my commentary was that a decline in sales is not completely the fault of comic booklet managers. A good part of the slump in sales is a consequence of changing culture and evolving technology. However, comic booklet executives are in no wise blameless in their own right. The continued release of mediocre product burdened with identity politics might not have major consequences in a thriving comics market but, in a floundering economic climate, such policies are suicide.

With my curiosity aroused, I decided to check out actual sales figures and found the situation is far worse than I had previously suspected. I typed in “comic book sales” in Google and navigated to a site that lists comic booklet sales per month. I clicked on the month of August, 2017, the most recent month for which numbers are available, and found that only three titles shipped a total of more than 100,000 copies each. All three titles were from the Superman folks. No Marvel title shipped 100,000 copies.

You need understand how the comic booklet specialty market works. Shop owners receive a catalogue each month listing the titles that will be available several months in the future. Owners must place orders for those titles in advance. Owners, by routine, purchase titles outright and they are then the property of the specialty shop owner when the product actually arrives. If he sells the comic booklets he has ordered, well and good. If he fails to sell them, he still owns them. He can place them in the discount bin or he can use them to line his bird cage, but the owner gets no credit from the publisher for unsold product. Of consequence, this procedure means that not all copies of a title shipped are actually sold for cover price. Some are sold at discount to get rid of overstock.

The single title that shipped 261,000 copies was an anomaly in that it was shipped with the condition that unsold copies could be returned to the publisher for credit. In practical terms, this means a shop owner could safely order more copies than he expected to sell.

In August, 2017, Spider-man shipped a whopping 54,000 copies while Superman shipped only 49,000 copies. The critically acclaimed darling of the Multi-Cultural Set, Ms. Marvel, shipped a total of 17,000 copies. When I worked at Marvel, 70,000 copies sold was the cut off point at which a title was routinely cancelled.

In an overview commentary on the site it was revealed August Comic Booklet shipments were down 26% from last year and the dollar amount from sales was down 21%. It was also claimed the number of comics specialty shops that have shut their doors permanently totals out to some 25% over the last ten years.

This is not good news, people, for Superman and his long underwear companions. Comic booklets have been a part of pop culture for some eighty years, but that era appears to be coming rapidly to a close. I seriously doubt the absence of comic booklets from the pop culture scene will be missed by most Americans, nor even noticed.

Marvel movies will not likely take a direct hit from the demise of print comic books, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is showing its own problems. On television, “Agent Carter” failed to grab an audience. While “Agents Of Shield” gained a substantial audience in the first two seasons, the show appears to have stumbled more recently and the new series “The Inhumans” is generally claimed to be an unqualified disaster.

On the big screen, Marvel features have been a financial and dramatic success so far. This year’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. II” was a box office runaway success along with DC’s excellent “Wonder Woman”, but the Spider-man big screen release failed to meet expectations and the upcoming Thor feature remains to prove if it will measure up, particularly with the Thor actor coming out to support child sex trafficking. We shall see.

Marvel Studios appears to be taking the path followed by their print specialty shop source material, to thumb their noses at their American audience and to embrace the multi-cultural agenda. Unlike Marvel Publications that is coming from a position of financial weakness, Marvel Studios is a multi-million dollar company owned by an even more financially secure mult-billion dollar conglomerate, the Walt Disney Company. Marvel Studios has more room to make fools of themselves than does Marvel Paper Publications, but profits of Liberal Regressive media conglomerates are down across the board from the Hollywood Industry itself, the State Run Media, the NFL and numerous other bastions of Liberal Regressive Group Think.

Actions have consequences and heaping ridicule and insult upon your customers always affects the bottom line with negative profit numbers.

“Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” -Thomas Jefferson


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