How the X-Men are like the Chicago Cubs (other than the fact that they both play a lot of baseball): I enjoyed Tim O’Neil’s latest post about the X-Men franchise’s historical popularity, and why it seems to be on the wane for the first time in so long. In it, he compares being an X-Men fan to being a fan of a particular sports team:
You liked the X-Men like a Chicago fan likes the the Cubs. Sure, the Cubs never quite make it, but you enjoy the show all season anyway. Sure, some fair-weather fans may come and go as the home team waxes and wanes, but there’s still a huge amount of people who stay committed through thick and thin. Sometimes, and this is something that is occasionally hard to comprehend for many, the franchise thrives despite the low quality of many of its constituent books. The reason for this is simple: people get loyal, and this loyalty takes buying X-Men books above the level of a simple capitalistic exchange of money for a good or bad comic and places it instead on the plane of loyalty to an idea. Ask any Red Sox fan circa 2004: there is nothing sweeter than a long-delayed victory, made even sweeter because of the turmoil wrought on the long-suffering fanbase.
In O’Neil’s X-Men-as-sports-team metaphor, there’s really only one thing the owners of a sports team can use to scare off fans, and it’s a thing Marvel decided to try around the millennium (Oddly, it was the very thing that brought me to check out the X-books for the first time, but then I didn’t stick around too long, which proves O’Neil’s point).
Speaking of the X-Men and pieces of online writing about comics I enjoyed…: Early last week Derek Halliday reviewed Del Rey’s X-Men: Misfits book, and he does a much, much better job than I did, being more knowledgeable about both the X-Men and manga. Additionally, his post has a whole bunch of imagery from the book. Check it out.
And speaking of speaking of…: What the heck, have another. Here’s Graeme McMillian on the X-Men at The Savage Critics. It’s his third post in a series about Claremont’s run on the franchise.
Catfight!: On an NPR blog, Glen Weldon checks in on the great Gotham City Sirens Vs. Marvel Divas battle of 2009. (Link swiped from Dirk Deppey). Remember all the talk about the first issue cover, the solicitation copy and Joe Quesada’s question-answering about Divas? How did all that affect sales? Apparently the impact was somewhere between “very little” and “none at all,” according to Paul O’Brien’s monthly sales data analysis at The Beat, as the first issue seems to have done less than 22,000 copies in the Direct Market. Well, actually, maybe all that attention did help sell a few thousand copies, as I didn’t expect it to sell more than 20K.
But Top Shelf didn’t even publish that book!: Gallery Books in San Francisco recommends David Small’s graphic novel Stitches (along with a mess of prose books) to the San Francisco Chronicle, as part of the paper’s feature “Top Shelf.”
“Graphic novels, which are books that are composed of consecutively ordered texts, panels and images, have brought new excitement to children’s reading”: I have not heard that particular phrasing, but that’s not a bad definition for a notoriously difficult to define term. It’s from an article about four comics in yesterday’s News & Observer by Susie Wilde. Binky the Space Cat, The Storm in the Barn, Stitches and Adventures in Cartooning are covered at the link.
No: Given Disney’s purchase of Marvel, and Boom Studios’ licensing deal with Disney for some properties, Comic Book Bin’s Hervé St-Louis asks “Should Marvel Comics Buy Boom Studios?”