Warren Ellis is a bit of a touchstone of mine. When he writes I listen, and usually find myself raging at the mouth puppeting his sentiments because I find them so brilliant. Today Ellis posted a take on DC’s forthcoming reboot and their digital strategy on his blog.
It’s an excellent look at the inner-workings of the industry from a dude who has seen its grimy fucking guts.
One crucial thing hasn’t changed. For as long as I’ve known him, Dan Didio has believed the key to a resurgent DC is reclaiming all the readers the commercial medium lost in the 90s. On the DC Retailer Roadshow, he’s been hammering this home. Recent statements about how commercial comics have gotten boring and that there should be more visual punch in the mode of 90s comics movements like the early Image Comics work and (unspoken, but certainly associated) the Marvel style of that general period… have made their mark, but have also misled a bit. It’s all about accessing that hypothetical lost fan base. The impression the recent statements have left is Dan saying “comics used to sell loads back then, let’s do that again.” And that can’t happen in print.
Comics used to sell loads back then, yes. But a big part of that – and this is the part he isn’t mentioning – is that there were ten thousand comics shops back then. And now there are, optimistically and rounding up, about two thousand. There simply aren’t the number of outlets left to sell the kind of volume comics could shift in the 90s.
The gamble here is this: that hypothetical lost fan base is older, has credit cards and disposable income, and an internet connection that can bring the DC Comics section of a notional comics store right to their desks. That, in fact, digital comics services will do the work of those eight thousand stores that don’t exist anymore.
Read the rest right fucking here, and if you’re so inclined drop your thoughts.