Ilan Strasser from Fat Moose Comics and Games in Whippany, New Jersey looks at the upcoming releases from the Big Two comic publishers and current comic sales (see 'Infinite Crisis #2 Sells over 200k'), and doesn't like what he sees:


I haven't written since mid-August.  At that time, I complained that Marvel and DC had to get back to the basic publishing principles that once had them selling many more books than they do today.  I was emphatic that both companies needed to revamp their on-going series.  Both companies needed to provide readers with established characters as well as new series.  Equally important, their publishing lines needed to be diverse and original.  So what do I see Marvel offering now?


Marvel is coming out with Annihilation, a series that will be structurally similar to DC's recent Infinite Crisis.  And bless Warren Ellis, who though already greatly over-extended and unable to keep his deadlines, feels that it is necessary to revamp one of Marvel's biggest losers, The New Universe.  I've spoken to many individuals at Marvel over the years and there have been some thoughtful and insightful people there.  But the editors in charge, it seems, can only move forward by stepping back; or by aping the competition, and even more sadly, itself; or by being vulgar - though in terms of vulgarity, DC and Image are right up there with Marvel.  What was the point of four consecutive FCBD's targeting kids and young readers when once the FCBD books are gone, what they can pick up is rife with rape scenes, sexual innuendo, and sometimes blatant sadomasochism?


There's no point in talking about the 'increased' sales for recent projects either, unless you're willing to cast a critical eye.  I used to sell more copies of Uncanny X-Men every month than I do with today's hottest projects (i.e., Supergirl, Infinite Crisis, House of M, All-Star Batman & All-Star Superman, Green Lantern: Rebirth, etc.).  Sure, the numbers on these books were great and brought in a lot of revenue, but... they were great compared only to the rest of the sagging output put out by the Big Two.  The numbers are weak compared to what the biggest books sold 15 and 20 years ago.  And the dollar volume represents today's inflated dollars -- if we compare and extrapolate these numbers to 5, 10, and 15 years ago, the bitter truth is revealed.  We are selling to fewer and fewer people each year and relying on an ever shrinking customer base to provide us with more and more dollars.  This is not news -- it has been said many times before.


When Marvel can only provide us with Amazing Fantasy, Arana, the current, horribly awful, Nick Fury's Howling Commandos, manga-style New Warriors and Power Pack, what do they expect but low numbers?  When DC puts out so many repetitive books each month, are they surprised when retailers reports lots of leftover copies?  I've been selling books for 23 years now and it is NOT that I don't appreciate the new -- I crave it.  But when the majority of what the Big Two offer month after month is derivative rehash, I can't find fault with my customers anymore when they decline to buy the same old thing at ever increasing cost.  Hell, I used to read 50 or more books a month.  Now I read 10 or less -- and I get to read them for free.  What does that say?
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