Thursday, July 26, 2007

Buffy Season 8

Galley Hero Herc points us to an actual Pubisher's Weekly story on how the comic book Buffy Season 8 is minting new comics readers. I can't say I'm surprised--and what's really wild is that BS8 isn't even the best comic book Joss Whedon is writing right now.

Go ahead and mock me, but hear this: Whedon's run of Astonishing X-Men may be the best thing he's written to date in any medium.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jonathon --

Not only is Whedon's stuff not very good, on either X-Men or Buffy, but he's a symptom of the problem plaguing comics and most every entertainment media, including TV, movies, and music.

Powerline had a post calling it "Too Many College Graduates" i.e. too many Ivy Leaguers who look down on others with massive amounts of entitlement and condescension. I think that's accurate.

Comics as recently in the early 90's would sell 2 million copies per issue for top titles like Superman, even the Valiant lines would easily sell 200K per issue. These were inexpensive comics, selling around $1.25 or so, with ad-supported pages, and aimed at a young teen audience but also accessible to older readers. Comics tended to have a fairly young 12-18 male readership.

Now, comics are sold almost exclusively in a rapidly diminishing amount of Comic Book shops, with high prices (over $5 for some comics). Their readership age is approaching 40. The top selling comic is still Superman, running around 60K per issue. That's about half the number of what Valiant was selling during the Comics boom.

Even more compelling is that Whedon is writing comics at ALL. It's a symptom of Comics closed shop (where are the new young writers with imagination) and pursuing the same elitist and small group of readers that show up for elitist movies and such.

To see the ill-health of comics, look at the sales figures, closed-shop of writers, and numbers of companies involved. No more Malibu, Dark Horse publishes almost nothing, Valiant is attempting a revival but it's iffy. Marvel and DC are both run by execs with no comics experience who have stated their disdain for the younger readers and wish to merely grab bigger pieces of a rapidly diminishing pie. There are no plans to offer cheap, youth-oriented comics on the Web and grow readership.

The same themes run through all the comics: an elite is privileged to whatever it wants, power should only be granted to a "natural" aristocracy and ordinary people have zilch value and are at the bottom of the politically correct caste system. While that might appeal to a privileged set of Brahmins it is guaranteed to turn off everyone else.

Whedon of course is among the worst offenders in that regard.