If you want an example of how this works outside of comics – just look at the music industry, where they’ve nearly re-issued, re-mastered, and re-packaged themselves into an early grave.

Box sets, deluxe sets, double-packs, multi-packs, and premium prices for premium packaging. In an age where virtually everything is available digitally and for less money, the record companies chose to milk their nostalgia-starved customer base for every last penny, and look where it’s gotten them.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania is only going to line their pockets for so long, and there are only so many “unreleased” Hendrix albums that are going to bring people in the door of the precious few record stores that are left standing in the wake of years of short-term thinking.

But that’s the music industry.

We can do better than that.

From Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson’s ComicsPro speech.

Yes, you’d never catch comics indulging in an attempt to re-issue and re-package the same material over and over again.

On a related note, the first issue of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead has appeared in the following editions:

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Arizona Comic Con Variant

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Philly Comic Con Variant

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Second Print

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Special Edition

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Wizard World NYC

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Wizard World Ohio

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Wizard World St. Louis

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 10th Anniversary Edition

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 2013 Wizard World Chicago variant

The Walking Dead (2003) #1 Amazing Arizona Con 2014 Variant
Image Firsts: The Walking Dead (2010) #1
The Walking Dead Weekly (2011) #1

It also been reprinted in the following collections:

Image First (2005) TPB vol. 01
The Walking Dead (2003) Compendium TPB vol. 01
The Walking Dead (2003) HC vol. 01
The Walking Dead (2003) Omnibus HC vol. 01
The Walking Dead (2003) TPB vol. 01

Of course, maybe when he said “We can do better than that,” he meant “in terms of re-issuing the same material to milk the nostalgia-starved customer base for every last penny.”

(A cheap shot, yes, but still – when it comes to complaining that an industry is relying on the nostalgia dollar, someone in comics going after the music industry seems insane to me.)

This is modern mythology, and we’re the latest caretakers,” he says. “Marvel is all about racial diversity—and you can see it from T’Challa to Shang Chi to Storm to Miles Morales to Kamala Khan—but there is always room for improvement, and we will improve.

Trace the Lineage of Marvel’s Black Super Heroes | News | Marvel.com

Marvel is all about racial diversity, except when it comes to creative teams, as you can see in this glowing piece about diversity in Marvel’s books which doesn’t mention a single solitary black creator, save for Ron Wimberly, who provided a cover for Mighty Avengers this year or last.

We don’t believe you. You need more people.

(via iamdavidbrothers)

This is a very weird piece. Obviously, it’s going to be biased in favor of Marvel, it’s a piece written for Marvel.com, but it’s sad to see Chris Claremont and John Byrne namechecked as creators instead of, say, Don McGregor, Billy Graham, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan et al in a story ostensibly boosting Marvel’s diversity. I can’t believe Andrew or whoever’s editing didn’t catch that.

Image Publisher Eric Stephenson Emphasizes Direct Market Importance in ComicsPRO Speech – Comic Book Resources

Image Publisher Eric Stephenson Emphasizes Direct Market Importance in ComicsPRO Speech – Comic Book Resources

Work Not In Progress: The LEGO Movie

Another abandoned spec piece, on The LEGO Movie. This one wasn’t coming together either, and the more I think about it now, weeks after writing it, the more I think that I was writing out of my ass and didn’t have a real conclusion to build towards. Good thing I gave up.

In some ways, it’s difficult to parse the success of The LEGO Movie, especially after its surprise second weekend at the top of the U.S. box office despite high-profile competition from the remakes of About Last Night (A movie that should have benefited from its Valentine’s Day timing) and RoboCop.

On the one hand, it’s easy to be cynical and dismiss it as another case of a successful grab at a movie market fueled in large part by nostalgia for childhood things — LEGO, after all, is probably a more common and fondly-remembered part of many childhoods than comic book heroes like Iron Man or the toy-cartoon hybrids of Transformers and G.I. Joe (If nothing else, it’s arguably one of the few childhood brands to be given the big screen treatment that wasn’t primarily aimed at a male audience first time around).

And yet, there has to be more going on than just appealing to happy memories, doesn’t there? Don’t get me wrong; the movie shamelessly plays on nostalgia in very particular ways — the spaceman’s cracked helmet being my favorite of the small shout outs that has to be familiar to anyone familiar with that toy — but if all that was required to make a movie a smash hit was a basic recognition of a particular brand, Taylor Kitsch wouldn’t be bemoaning the decision to take a role in Battleship right now.

It helps that The LEGO Movie is also a good movie, something that Battleship could hardly claim. Then again, we all know by now that quality is rarely an indicator for success — insert your own “Best Movie Cruelly Shunned By Mainstream Audiences” here as proof. In fact, it’s arguably true that we’ve come to a point where the opposite is true, these days; that a good movie being a hit on the scale of LEGO is more of a surprise than the alternative. Our smashes are movies that we hope to enjoy, instead of love, to make a small but important distinction.

Also, just to let you know, these aren’t weeklies added onto 52 titles. They are part of the 52 number of books that we create on a monthly basis.

So it’s not that we’re adding more product in. It’s just as the weaker books go away, we’re adding weeklies, which we think have big stories that lead to more and exciting events as they start to unfold over the next year.

From the Dan DiDio interview here.

If I’m understanding the above correctly, this means that DC is essentially going from 52 separate series a month to 40 or so, because they’re focusing on “52 issues a month” and three weeklies = 12 issues each month (Well, ish).

That’s an interesting shift in DC’s publishing philosophy, and one that could be worth watching in the months to come. What if they decide that Superman should ship twice a month? Does that mean another lower-selling book gets cancelled?