In a spectacular edition of his Tilting at Windmills column, retailer Brian Hibbs considers the ComiXology retailer contract, DC’s shifting relationship with retailers, and why the content of modern mainstream superhero comics may have moved away from new readers:
We keep seeing attempts to bring back the mass audience to serialized periodical comics, whether it is efforts aimed at what’s left of the “actual” newsstand market (7-11′s have probably replaced the “general store” in most locales), or whether it’s pushes to get material into generalist book stores like Barnes & Noble or Hastings, and none of these experiments seem to garner anything but the mildest of responses. Some of that is that the last time comics did well on the newsstand, the average issue was extremely new reader friendly, and also generally a self-contained reading experience, which is hardly the case for most comics today; and some of that is that comics, especially with the bulk of books today being multi-issue story arcs, have lost a great measure of the perception of value-for-the-buck. But the reality of things really is that if you don’t already know comics, comics are crazy confusing, and a guide, a Sherpa, the retailer is really very valuable. Perhaps essential.
It’s good, if depressing and frustrating (on behalf of the direct market retailer community), reading. Go check it out.