Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics of Ankeny, Iowa, writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here. He writes; Recently, Bleeding Cool ran an article about DC Comics trimming the amount of comics they publish. I have had various people ask what I think of it. For a collector, I know it is one of the biggest disappointments when a series one has been collecting for years gets the ax. Though as a retailer, I would rather see less material. For years Marvel, DC Comics, and Image have been flooding the market with titles I could tell would be short-lived just by the description in Previews. I have tons of comics that did not sell and still sit in our dollar bin unwanted.
My hope is that DC Comics, by putting out fewer books, puts out better books. I would also like to see Marvel do the same. Aquaman, Avengers, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, and many more comics have had popular TV shows or movies that have made them well known to the general public. Their comic book sales are dismal. As a retailer, I dread ordering Captain Marvel because it has been relaunched so many times and just does not sell. When she was Ms Marvel, I was a fan. Now I just have had a "here we go again" attitude for each past relaunch. Give people a chance to miss a title. Get a popular creative team that will get people excited for a title. The Harry Potter movies increased interest in his books, why are comic-related movies not able to do the same?
I have customers buying Aquaman and Teen Titans not because they like the titles; they buy them out of hope they will get more entertainment, out of habit, and the memory of past storylines they enjoyed. Death Metal and Three Jokers are titles that get people excited. They drive in customers. Naturally popular titles are what retailers want. Years ago, as a comic collector, I remember a lot of my favorite titles getting canceled — Green Arrow, Damage, Resurrection Man, Outsiders, and more. Yes, those titles are from a few years ago. Back when people actually sent letters to comic publishers. Damage, Resurrection Man and Showcase published letters I sent in. Then they got canceled. Each time one of my favorite titles was canceled, it quite frankly sucked. As a retailer, I would like to see more focus on a long term series. My goal is to get people into the comic collecting habit. It is hard to get people into a habit when their favorite series ends or relaunches.
For years the comic market, for whatever reason, was unwilling to change. This year there have been changes. DC Comics left Diamond. DC is trimming its output. Hopefully, these changes lead to an improved comic market. As always, time will tell.