Jim Crocker of Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts saw the column by Steve Bennett on competition for market share between the Big Two comic publishers by varying the number of titles (see 'Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- The Myth of Market Share'), and has this to say:


I disagree with Steve Bennett about as often as I agree, but we're definitely in accord vis a vis the futility (bordering on active DAMAGE) of the proliferation of mediocre Marvel (and lately DC) comics.


Steve didn't talk about any ways to try and tackle that problem at the retail level, but we've found one that has actually produced some results for us: racking by genre, and not publisher.  The marketing wonks at Marvel and DC probably love the idea that there are stores that consider their brands of such singular importance that, unlike just about every other retail store out there, we design our entire stores around them as an organizing principle.


But go into a 'real' bookstore sometime, and ask them for the Simon & Schuster section.  In your local video store, are all the Paramount movies together?


Steve mentioned The Walking Dead and Marvel Zombies.  I'd argue they're less similar than he makes the case for: one is a psychological horror serial drama, the other is a continuity-heavy What If superhero story.  The zombies are a MacGuffin, in both cases.  But the main point is that they ought to be in separate sections in the store, not because one is a Marvel book and the other is an Image book, but because they're set in different genres.


If we're going to try and chip away at the idea that Marvel and DC somehow have the right to use our stores as proxies in their decades-long grudge match, we need to start with making sure they're set up as our stores.  I believe that begins with laying out stores by criteria that make sense to people who don't know (or care!) who publishes the characters or creators they're interested in, which, I have a hunch, is just about all of the non-zombies.


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