Punisher creator Gerry Conway says that canceling every superhero book would save the industry. With the news that came out of DC about the status of the publishing world, the Marvel mind had some ideas. Anyone who had spent any amount of time near the hobby has noticed the frequency of event comics in recent years. But, that constantly shifting status quo can be a lot to handle. (Even in the age of Wikipedia and fandom Wikis.) So, streamlining has to be very serious if you’re going to get people in the door. The case that Conway lays out is clear, the constant catering to collectors and longtime fans isn’t doing new readers a service in his eyes. Check out his reasoning against events and the like down below:
Comic book thread. Talking with @johnwordballoon on YouTube live yesterday, we had a “what I would do if I ran the world” conversation about the future of comic book publishing that I think is worthy of expansion. So here we go.— Gerry Conway (@gerryconway) September 22, 2020
“For a variety of self-enforcing reasons, publishers have defined the primary audience for mainstream comics as, in effect, long term fans and potential collectors. Hence, fan-oriented naval gazing continuity, tri-annual "events", reboots, collector-oriented variant covers, etc,” he began. “Every single one of these marketing ploys is designed *solely* to appeal to existing readers. Even reboots, ostensibly intended to offer "jumping on" points to new readers, actually require familiarity with previous iterations to provide interest. New readers aren't welcomed by the existing creative strategy at the two mainstream publishers— if anything, new readers are actively *discouraged* by the publishers' frantic pursuit of motivated, existing readership. The clubhouse is closed. Stay out.”
Conway explained, “I’d cancel every existing superhero comic book, and publish a limited new line for a Middle-Grade readership, simplify characters and storylines, and eliminate every "event" that requires more than passing familiarity with the basic simplified continuity. Ten-fifteen titles.”
“For existing readers, I'd offer a separate, higher priced graphic novel line with whatever expanded adult storylines creators and readers want to explore. But this would be separate. Not monthly. Not the mainstream,” he continued. “And I'd do *everything* possible to get monthly comics into supermarkets and movie theaters and Walmart and Target and Costco and offer subscription services through Amazon. Pursue every alternate distribution Avenue possible.”
What would you do to help comics publishing? Let us know down in the comments!