The future is 3D graphics novels on the 3D iPad and it's eventual tablet imitators.
I have nothing against graphic novels. Blanket is one of my favorite books of all time, in fact.

But I think superheroes are just stupid.
"Comic books are literally dying for a mass-market reinvention."

Comics books are dying the same as most surplus luxury middle-class entertainments are dying in the recession.
Well, if they didn't have literally a half-dozen separate titles for each character, maybe they'd be able to consolidate some of that readership. But, apparently they (and DC as well for that matter) still buy into the notion that teh fanboys are so compulsive they'll buy every title featuring their fave hero, even though clearly the sales figures don't bear that out.

Either that, or they need to go the Avatar route and publish four alternative covers of each issue...
How many times have the stories of Superman/Batman/Spiderman/et al been regurgitated? Geez, do something NEW, Marvel!
Paul, I doubt that e-comics are picking up much slack yet, though one day who knows? What makes you think that trade paperback collections aren't making up the slack? I'm sure you have better access to the numbers than I do, but my impression is that there is a large and growing number or readers who only read trades.

And COMTE, I can't stand the multiple covers either, but, like Warren Ellis says every time Avatar does them, they wouldn't print them if we didn't buy them.
My son picked up a comic book yesterday, Drangon Ball Z, by Akira Toriyama, volume 26 (the final volume).

Maybe the problem is Marvel.
#4 They tried the multiple covers trick in the 90s and the resulting speculation brought the entire industry to its knees.

Superheroes as a narrative device (with a few exceptions) had exhausted their thematic usefulness somewhere in the late sixties. Yet American majors continue to suckle off of the anemic trust fund of a dwindling few semi-illiterate fanboys for their print revenue. Everyone who takes an interest in comics knows this but no one can offer a solution, because their is no solution.
Superhero comics suck. Spectacularly suck. The medium of comics is so rich and inventive and full of possibility but so much fuss is being made over America's dottering, mutated spawn that desperately clamored onto WWII's zeitgeist and hasn't let go of our culture every since.
I'd be happy if everyone together decided they should ignore Marvel and DC and blah blah blah forever amen.
Marvel makes most of their money through licensing fees (and now movies). I've heard they don't make much, if any, profit on the single issue comic books. However, I think trades are still selling fairly well.

Comic books will likely remain a niche market. They will continue to produce film and T.V. adaptations. I doubt they will ever completely "die out", but they are already less ubiquitous than they used to be, with their exodus from super markets to specialty stores.

P.S.: They are lots of successful comic book shops in Seattle. They are selling well here, if no where else.
Fewer titles with better writers and artists. Claremont & Byrne didn't need variant covers to make X-Men into the quintessential Marel title.
They need to keep their issues consistent and offer a guaranteed issue run of books (superhero and otherwise).

I grow more and more weary of buying single issues because every time I pick up and get excited about something new it seems to get the axe or change to a cheaper (lousy) artist after the first five issues (which I know is rather standard practice but it is really frustrating to go from talent to not in no time flat).
The problem is really one of access. Comics are not sold just anywhere. You have to go out of your way to find them at proper comic stores. Yet, while you're at the comic store (something you can do only twice, maybe three times a year), it is VERY difficult to figure out what issue or issues you may need to buy. And inevitably one or two issues will be sold out. I've tried special ordering issues before, but two different local comic stores, I won't name names, have dropped the ball on me in the past. So, I personally often just buy the compendiums. I'm the exact person Marvel and DC and Dark Horse et al. want buying their products, and I have time and money to do so. But they set up all kinds of roadblocks to me giving them my money. So I don't.

It's also nicer to sit and read through multiple issues all at once in a compendium edition--kind of how it's often more fun to rent a full season of a TV show and binge on it over one or two days rather than watch it an hour every week.

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