Hey I'm old, not that old, but I'm in my early 30's.
I've collected on and off over the years.
My collection ranges from 1980 - 2009, and the majority of it is DC (about 11 long boxes worth).
I read those when I can, but that's about it, and that's all I really care about. Comics are expensive and take up a lot of space. I do buy the occasional graphic novel now and then. I recently bought watchmen, dark knight returns, and kingdom come.
I still love the characters, but I've realized I'm more interested in animation, and film adaptations.
I'm a HUGE fan of the DCAU, and I have enjoyed all of the marvel movies, probably more than most people (I own all of them).
I'm eager to see more Marvel and DC movies, and I would like to purchase Batman Brave and the bold, Young justice, wolverine and the x-men, Spawn TAS, spectacular spider-man, and Avengers EMH some time in the near future. Also if Disney ever gets off their ass and releases the rest of the 90's Marvel cartoons that would be amazing
If I'm going to invest in comics again, I'm more interested in getting the marvel masterworks, and DC archives.
Since I would imagine the age range here is between 19-40:
How are current comics doing these days? Do kids still read them? Are they the best they have ever been, or are they way past there prime?
Whats going on in them? I know DC rebooted their whole line, but that's about it. Does anyone really even care? Good? Sucks? What?
How is marvel doing?
You always here how the characters are more popular than ever, but the actual books them selves are at an all time low, yet they still make them?
well, if you're really interested. i read off and on too, both DC and Marvel are killing off the comic market slowly with their tactics. it is going to stay a dying market until real competition comes that can aggressively compete. DC has survived all this time because they are owned by WB, marvel only survived because they started producing movies over the last decade. variety is healthy for any market but any real competition that has come was either sued, bought out, or couldn't compete with the 10 different batman/spideman titles on the shelf. of course overly loyal fanboys play a role.
"I don't give them hell, I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell."
This looks like a job for me! I spend a fair amount of time following sales and such.
Not a lot of kids stuff, but there's a good number of good comics.
For kids stuff, DC just canceled their one kid book, Superman Adventures, but Marvel has the Marvel Adventures line, which does fine and is pretty fun (they're good stories for non-kids too).
Outside the big two there are some other kids comic. Adventure Time and My Little Pony both have popular comics. The Sonic the Hedgehog books are doing well too. (I will mention all the ones I just mentioned are popular with non-kids as well).
Overall, comics aren't huge with kids, but there's some.
Very mixed. They have some good writers and artists, but editorial kinda has their wires crossed so writers change chairs a lot and have to put in some last-minute changes pretty often. The bigger writers are exempt, but still.
They're doing quite well. They just did Marvel Now, their response to DC's, which wasn't a reboot but rather reshuffled and relaunched a bunch of their books. Pretty much all the teams got mixed around, Uncanny Avengers (an X-men/Avengers combined team) got launched, and so on.
Sales are high. Marvel has a lot of planning in what it does. It's done a lot of events in recent years, some of which are good, some less good, but they always follow off on the consequences of them and have a flow/general story arc between them. Some people get tired of so many, but they do work out pretty well and aren't hard to follow.
Whoever's saying books are at an all-time low is wrong. It's a popular phrase but it hasn't been true for years.
The late 90s, after the speculator crash, was the low point, and sales have literally doubled since then.
Sales have increased both of the last two years, though this is partially a result of the two big relaunches/reshuffles, so I expect a leveling out in '13 rather than a continued rise.
DC's had a problem that while it's big books do well, it's mid/lower tier ones suffer (probably not coincidentally, they tend to get more meddling. DC doesn't really know how to promote them). With the reboot, this temporarily changed, and it brought DC a good deal of money, and also injected funs into the comic stores which helps the industry as a whole. The non-big DC titles have slid back down, but the coffers remain full.
Due to all the money from DC's reboot, it allowed companies to order more for Marvel's Now reshuffle, which did quite well too.
The non-big-two scene has improved too. Rather than just one or two significant companies outside of DC, there's a bunch doing well. Image, IDW, Boom, Dark Horse, Archie. Books like Walking Dead, Saga, or the Transformers all have good sales.
Comichron's list of top 300 comics in sales each month had to be extended to 400 (or more), because while in years past things'd fall off fast and the 300th comic often sold 600-800 sales, now it's a rare thing if the 400th is as low as 1,000. There's simply more books out there that people are buying. More from the big two, but also more from others (if still usually below the sales of big 2 books, which rarely get below 15k).
The influx of money to stores from DC and Marvel's events probably has lead to more orders of indy books and helped them out.
The slice of the market that's in trade paperbacks continues to grow.
And that's all in addition to digital comics, which didn't as some feared steal sales from the print versions, but has attracted digital subscribers. At the moment they're a fairly small portion of the market, but it's still a new revenue stream.
So in short? Financially they're doing well. Reader reviews, there's plenty of great stuff out there. Some mixed reviews on specific stuff the big 2 do, but you can probably find something you like out there whatever your tastes.
The Industry is surviving on Movies and comics are somewhat stabilizing.
Marvel and DC both suffered under some incredible mismanagement, owing to some different things.
The first and possibly oldest one is the whole connected universe business. They ventured into that concept with more or less no idea how to manage the entire thing. It started off reasonably well but comics and characters became a platform for whatever attitude/idea the writer of that era wanted to sell. This becomes a problem when you are constantly swapping writers and writers aren't able to separate real life issues from the comics, like Byrne or Loeb.
This gives birth to two terrible beasts, retcons and liquid-time or whatever you want to call it. Writers constantly trying to "fix" errors that other writers made, and another problem when time seems to be at a standstill in-universe, only moving to suit certain major events. Both of these need not be an issue if comic-book companies were run by COMPETENT EDITORS. And it might not be there lack of competency that causes the comics to suffer, but rather their damn greed. It is America after all, and it IS a business.
The greed keeps the editors from wanting to put out comics based on quality, but rather on what might sell well. Which is why you had those awkward comics that were obvious attempts at cashing in on a particular fad, toy or trend from specific era. Furthermore you had dreadful collectible cards from the 90s and so on. So they manage to really bite themselves in the ass because how are you going to manage the universe when you're letting greed and not logic/quality/consistency dictate what's being put on the shelves? And you're constantly changing writers/egos to achieve that end?
So they end up with a nigh-impenetrable god damn forcefield around hte universe that makes it almost-impossible for average joes to get into comics. The very same people they're trying to entice by doing terrible things to the consistency and quality of the comic-book verse. Now it's a lot easier to make a stab at the DC/Marvel universes with Wikipedia and a great deal of other comic-book encyclopedias at ones disposal, but the companies themselves did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help with this. Marvel.com was and is a god damned trainwreck.
There's more, but that's at least the first of the big issues. Greed and impatience.
Lemme state that DC is far worse about this, often doing major retcons or fiddling with stuff. Marvel occasionally does small ones, but overall they just tend to roll with things and undo problems in story so they can keep on trucking.
There's only one notable exception in Marvel in recent memory I can think of, OMD over at Spider-Man. Which was crap, but it does only affect one segment and is done with.
Similarly with the connected universe, Marvel does writer summits where everyone is brought under one roof to say what's what occasionally. DC didn't tell Perez on Superman that Morrison on Action Comics Superman was doing stuff that took place before his book. And the writers of Outsiders and Titans didn't know there was no prior Titan team at first.
Marvel's editorial keeps things pretty ordered and organized right now (though this hasn't always been the case- the original clone saga was a famous mess of lack of planning). There's a strong feeling at the moment that DC has too many bosses that don't talk to each other enough, and that somethings needs straitening up.
I feel this is very overstated. It really isn't that hard to dive in to many comics and not be lost. Daredevil, Journey into Mystery, Scarlet Spider, these could be your first comic and you'd be pretty much fine because everything you need to know is explained. Most of the time, references to old stuff are small and/or self explanatory ("This is Ultron! He is an evil robot who's fought the Avengers a lot and done many evil things." -all that's needed, you hardly need to know his full history. For example).
Just have an occasion jump-on point where stuff gets explained and you're pretty good. And do avoid retconning stuff when possible, especially big stuff.
It's worth remembering that DC and Marvel were shared universes with long pasts during some of their high points too. As long as you have jumping on points, and don't yank the rug out of them not long after they start, new readers will do fine.
Stuff like different time rates? People barely notice until they've been at it for years, so not something that affects new readers.
Ironically one of the things that probably hurts new readers the most is people going "This is too unaccessible to new readers! Let's mess with everything to get to a new point!", which is something old ones are used to but will confuse newer ones. If you want to get new readers, you just make a new reader friendly book, no retcons needed.
Marvel Now is a good example. New Readers see new teams, everyone says hi and introduces themselves, and it's very much not confusing.
I started DC with Batgirl (Cass), and though she had bat baggage that was pretty easy. Marvel? EXiles. Which sounds super-hard at first, being a multiverse comic, but it was super-easy, since whenever anything got introduced it was explained to the people who didn't have that in their universe. In turn it introduced me to, well, 90% of the major characters and events in Marvel. It was *really easy* for me to follow, even as a newbie!
Both companies suffer from gimicks. I mean Marvel just relaunched a crap load of books and sales are dropping like flies.
HOWEVER, Sales are definitely up. Almost as much as 15%. DC are losing sales, but not on the level of Marvel. Someone on another board summed it up for the last several months and DC is looking healthy overall.
In terms of the whole grand scope, I think the comic industry is one of the strongest. Dark Horse, Image, Valiant all put out some awesome books and even DC has a lot of diversity to their line, which is showing in their TPB sales.
Marvel's sales were above DC's (current post-reboot sales) before Marvel Now due to better performance in low/mid tier books. They were doing good before, and Marvel Now did great, 8 books above 100k (compared to 7 for Nu52).
The second month, sales went down, but they always do second issues (and I mean always. New 52, Marvel Now, the original Crisis, you name it), and that's all we have data on. There's really no way to tell where it'll level out, but I certainly wouldn't say dropping like flies on that account.
As for gimmicks, their main gimmick is the event books. They will do a lot of them, and make grand-arcs that run through several (Civil War-Secret Invasion-Siege. House of M-Messiah Complex-Second Coming-AvX). Event event event, is marvel in a nutshell since 2004.
Of course Marvel's sales are above, but not by much. Even in Marvel's NOW 3rd month, DC snuck back in the top 10. 4 books total and only down a couple percentages. This whole Marvel NOW was to get their sales back on top of DC, because before Marvel NOW, DC was ahead in certain months.