Friday, January 15, 2010

Go, Speed Racer...

"Gentlemen, start your engines."

Action is not the only ingredient in a good story. Right now comic book plot lines remind me less of good stories to read than they do Nascar races to watch. Every book begins with all the racers lined up with their engines revving and waiting for the flag to drop. As soon as the flag drops they begin frantically racing around the track jostling for position while doing all they can to eliminate the competition from getting to the finish line first. Every now and then an announcer says something like, "There's been bad blood between these two since the Talladega incident last season." and that adds motivation and drama to the spectacle.

I dare say you could take any Nascar race, assign character names (IE: Hulk, Batman, Thor, Superman or any combination of heroes for the team concept.) to each of the cars on the television screen and whatever crashes, bumps, scrapes and lead changes occur during the event, convert them to action panels in a comic book story board and you've got yourself a "Major Crossover Event" that can run for twenty or thirty issues. There's just that little of difference between the two forms of entertainment right now. Change the name of the event, slap a new coat of paint on the cars and they're off again. Going round and round and round in circles.

Every time monthly sales figures are released the numbers speak for themselves. More and more readers are walking away from the spectacle of watching the vehicles go round in circles. The big explosions, the fights between drivers and the spectacle of the fatal crash have run their course and no matter how well announcers like Johns and Bendis narrate the race, the spectacle has become repetitive and boring. Excuses aren't changing this fact...

The real reason for the decline of the comic industry is that (for the moment) the kids are running the house and no matter how cool things look to each other inside the walls, those of us standing outside and watching aren't buying it. Figuratively and literally. What the kids need to learn (and they need to start learning in a hurry) is that their demographic of "cool" is far too narrow in scope to sustain one house let alone an entire industry. You can only say, "Your opinion doesn't matter or you're not who we're trying to reach." for so long until your entire audience is gone.

You may not care about my opinion, but you sure as hell should care about my dollars because if I'm not willing to part with them for my own comic books, I'm sure as hell not going to part with them for my kids books either. I've got much better things I'd like to do with my children than watch your vehicles go round and round in circles.

Besides, I've got enough quality comics stored away they won't be lacking good reading material for a very very long time.

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