Now DC has finally put together a 32 pamphlet, that takes me longer to read than your average comic book by the way, directing people to other books that they may want to read. To which I say:
It is marketing 101. And while it may be a small campaign (as I've not been privvy to whole scale of where they're putting it out there, although I'm damn curious), at least they're doing something. And, for some reason, Tucker Stone has a problem with that. Perhaps we're just looking at it from different angles.
Every comment section I've ever seen that follows the question "What should I recommend to my friend who just read ____ for the first time?" detoriates into the same thing: the answer is nothing, because the answer is everything.... That's not really the way you want a recommendation to work. It's the equivalent of going to a music store and saying "I really liked John Coltrane's Giant Steps. Where should I go next?", only for the clerk to smile and say "Buy anything in the store! They're all awesome and spectacular in their own way!"And that is completely opposite to everything that I've seen in the last 25 years, and certainly now more than ever. First off, I love the music analogy, which is a perfect example. If someone I know admires Giant Steps in my CD collection, then I'm loaning them A Love Supreme and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and some Brubeck and sending them on their way. For the rest of the decade of the '80's the answer to Watchmen was Dark Knight and then... nothing. Believe me the answer was not Camelot 3000 or Justice League Europe. Perhaps Ronin, but Ronin was a bit more genre soaked. Now? The answer, if you're forming one to stock up for party talk in the future should be fairly short (just like my jazz recommendations) so that they don't get overwhelmed. Here's mine: Sandman: Doll's House, Why I Hate Saturn, Blue Pills, Signal to Noise or Violent Cases. I'll pick 3 and put them out there. You may have your own choices, but the answer is not "everything". The answer is be selective and don't limit them to superheroes. I've blogged before about the number of Doll's House trades that I lost in the 80's and 90's to women who would never have read comics and who fell in love with Sandman.
It's unlikely that anybody at DC took the time to ask any decent swath of retailers what they thought about After Watchmen in the first place.And that, sadly is probably quite true. DC and by extension, Time Warner, have their own little feifdoms of marketing that i doubt talk to each other that often since that is so very corporate. Bringing in new readers to direct market shops that are damn near impossible to find is going to be very hard, although i have no doubt that Watchmen will certainly result in at least some new lookers at comics, if not new readers. Thats good, we'll take them. But lets put Tucker's comment in a spin: specialty comic shops, used to doing their way of business for last 30 years, may be the last place you want ideas on where to get new readers. You may want to go as far away from them as possible so that you really do get to a new audience. After all, if they're going to the comic shop to begin with, aren't they already coverted?