So why don't big hit movies make more sales in comics? Or why is it that when folks see an X-MEN movie and then go to a comic shop that they don't instantly share my obsession with the medium? Or at least with the characters?
Well, Marvel Entertainment main-stay Ben Morse, the former Wizard reporter, has written an article on just such a topic. I recommend you check it out. He says a lot of great things here at The Faster Times which boil down to, "Most folks just don't know what comics to pick up" and he suggests some good ones.
Read his article, and then circle back here for a minute for my two cents...
Beyond not knowing the specific trade paperback to read, there is also a problem of market saturation of titles--and I am far from innocent on this, myself. I publish three or four G.I. JOE titles per month. And the same for TRANSFORMERS, so when a fan of the movie, or cartoon, or toy walks into a shop and wants to see where the story lives on a month-in-and-month-out basis, how are they supposed to know which comic to pick up?
Look at WOLVERINE or even SPIDER-MAN or BATMAN, they've all got seven or more comics every month. How does a novice or new reader have any idea which one to buy? I'm starting to consider literally putting a bar across the top that reads: "New to TRANSFORMERS comics? BUY THIS ONE!" or some such thing. It's not a bad idea, honestly. It'd help retailers just as much as it would prospective fans.
Title saturation has become more talked about lately. Especially with Marvel and DC Comics announcing their drop in retail prices. We're asking a smaller and smaller audience to spend more and more money. Is it possible that the shrinking comics market is due to comics publishers pushing too hard on its most loyal customers?
Would it be better for the comics market--and most importantly to potential new readers--if there was just one Marvel continuity? If there was just one Wolverine comic, or one Batman comic? Maybe it would come out weekly or perhaps every issue would be double-sized? I don't know--anyway you slice it it means revenue goes down for the publisher, which in turn means revenue goes down for retailers... and most retailers can't afford to lose much more revenue. It's a catch-22 for sure. But anyway, at least Ben answered the awesome question, "Now that my friends have seen THE DARK KNIGHT, here's what they should read!"