We support what's there when we buy it, so do we have the right to complain? Do comics publishers owe us anything? I have no answers, just questions right now.Go over and read the whole post and then come back, I'll be waiting.
Good. Are you back? Then lets go over a few potential answers.
I think that much of this goes back to realizing that we, the consumers, vote with our all-mightly dollar. And we deserve the entertainment that we pay for. this is the reality. Its a business. And I tell you that if everyone that bought X-Men last month went and bought Scooby-Doo this month, Marvel and DC would not collapse, they would scramble to start to produce Scooby-Doo knock-offs. And if they don't come up with a good enough knock-off, then they deserve to go out of business. Period.
History has shown this. Its quite clear. Where the dollar leads the companies will follow. Panting. Most companies are two bit whores, which is a perfect analogy as to why we got all the chromium covers that we could wallpaper the birdcage with in the '90's. And I'm not slamming comic companies with just this brush, it works for car companies, TV networks, magazines. They stay in business giving the customer what they want. We have to show them what we'll support, what we want.
So anytime that we keep pull lists in shops that aren't filled with exactly what we want to read, we're reinforcing bad behavior by the companies in ordering patterns. I'm really stunned by the number of comic book bloggers that talk about having wean themselves off of certain books. Sorry, too many bad '70's marvel comics with Arvell Jones, Rich Howell, and John Tartaglione got me out of that habit.
I do have the quandry with the trades, and I've posted many times on this, and will probably post many more times on it. I'll say it again here: I prefer trades and this is clearly the medium of the future. It allows for a work to stay in print, giving it a longer shelf life, presents a more compelling read: self-contained and, hopefully satisfying a real read, not a 10 minute diversion, and markets well in a book store, not a niche shop. I'm still waiting for the final issue of Ultimates to come out so that they can collect the damn thing. I want to read my books in this form and I'll pay the money to support it. Don't own a single issue of Fables, but I have all the trades on the book shelf in my studio. Someday I hope to have Pistoleras to put next to it.
Occasionally publishers, networks, and other entertainment outlets will support a work that the editors stand behind, and we've gotten a lot of good work this way, from TV to comics to movies. But it is in the minority. Everyone has an example of that critically lauded TV show that was cancelled despite everyone who ever saw it liking it. But TV has the imperfect filter known as the nielsens, and comics have a far more direct outlet to prevent this for happening as much. I mean really, does anyone actually remember how idiotic it was for them to cancel Babylon 5? And what numbers that show has done on DVD? That was probably the last such casualty of its type... (until Firefly and Serenity).
If we don't support gratuitious ass shots and poorly written female characters, then we'll likely get a lot less of them. (I love having a spinner rack in the house, and seeing what comics my 6 year old daughter Sophie picks up from the rack. Its not often what I would think, which is why I stock it with a variety of different comics!) Adolescent boys will always be drawn in by T & A, and to that I say a big, "duh". Even the most ardent feminist would be not be so naive as to try to show a logical argument as to why the 14 year old should be steered to a more "relationship oriented" comic. Hormones have power.
But what if a huge variety of non-power fantasy oriented comics were readily available to young girls? If they grow up reading them, they'll likely be readers for life. So we have to support the alternatives to the superheroes, any alternative that we like, so that they have the chance to build up to a critical mass and be self supporting. Welcome to the Manga marketing plan.
Shelly, I think that we have the ultimate ability to get the entertainment we want, if enough of us show that we want it. And I think that it has the chance of happening, especially in this era of internet marketing, where the brilliant little guy can actually get a product in front of a million eyes with the click of a button. We don't have any responsibility to buy the next issue of anything if they screw up our favorite character. I'd rather the sales figure put a quick end to the Clone Saga, to the Spider-sperm saga, to the return of Captain Marvel, to the decimation of the Fantastic Four, to the slow ugly saga of the Supergirl abusive boyfriend than anything else.
Don't worry, when the people lead, the entertainment industry will follow.