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  • Dynamite's New Low

    So...this is what Dynamite has sunk to?! Comic books about inane Internet memes and cheap rubbers toys from bubble gum machines located in supermarkets!

    Dynamite should just sell Red Sonja and Vampirella to Dark Horse to keep the Robert E. Howard creations and Warren Legacy titles under one house. After all, Dark Horse has had several successful Conan series, another Robert E. Howard creation. In addition, they already have been publishing Creepy and Eerie titles to which they recently added a Rook mini-series with a second Rook mini-series on the way--the only title missing from the Warren Publications line-up (yes, I know Warren published many more such as Spaceworld, Blazing Combat, 1984/1994, etc., but Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella were the most successful) is, of course, Vampirella!

  • #2
    Dynash*te, more like it. so busy trying to be cool they forget to hire any talent.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's all in the licenses you're able to get, I guess. Maybe if DE had the license to REH's characters like Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane and CREEPY and EERIE they'd have made out better sales-wise than they did. But Dark Horse also had the Star Wars franchise for a couple of decades, and Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe, plus other movie licenses like Aliens, Predator, and Terminator. Those are significant factors in that company's success.

      Without wishing for licenses that there's no way to know if they could possibly acquire, what should DE have done with the licenses they did have to make the books sell better? Sure, easy to say "Hire better writers and artists", but without sales to generate money, how are they going to pay them? So now they're following the money, giving the consumers what they want -- they have to do that to stay in business.

      My point is this -- I far as I can tell, when DE published quality titles with superior stories and artwork, it made little or no impact sales-wise. The fact that a book like GRUMPY CAT can be far and away DE's smash hit title tells you something about that.

      I can't address the relative quality of the various different versions DE has published of Red Sonja, because it's not a character whose titles I've followed. I CAN address the relative quality of Vampirella -- the Nancy Collins series and the Joe Michael Linsner Dawn/Vampirella series are among the best Vampirella stories ever published, IMO. So why aren't they still being published, or comic book titles of equal quality? I'm forced to conclude that the reason is because beyond a small hardcore following, there just aren't enough people who care about Vampirella, so the quality, or lack thereof, of the title is completely irrelevant to them - they wouldn't buy it no matter how good it is. I can assume the same applies to characters like Red Sonja, Warlord of Mars, and Dejah Thoris. You can't continue or follow up a quality book with even more quality books, unless people are actually BUYING them. That allows the publisher to have the money to hire even more good writers and artists, and continue to raise the overall quality on the titles he publishes. If they can't do that with the licenses they have, then they'll have trouble acquiring new and better licenses, because they have to compete with other publishers for those licenses. If you want to put a finger on the exact problem, it's that the characters I'm talking about here have too small of a following or potential audience of readers. That means that the only way that they'll sell better for a company like Dark Horse, is if there are a significant number of readers who are automatically predisposed to buy a Dark Horse comic book over a comic book published by another publisher.
      Last edited by positronic; 08-26-2016, 07:51 AM.
      DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

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      • #4
        Originally posted by positronic View Post
        Without wishing for licenses that there's no way to know if they could possibly acquire, what should DE have done with the licenses they did have to make the books sell better?
        Remaining faithful to the original material might have been a good idea. The most frequent complaints I see on social media is that Dynamite's version of a character is not the "real" character. If that is your perception, I'm not sure how much time you spend checking in later to see if Dynamite is getting it "right".

        I'm not going to review every single character for historical accuracy, but I would bet that those that have done best for Dynamite are those that were most similar to the original version when launched.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
          Remaining faithful to the original material might have been a good idea. The most frequent complaints I see on social media is that Dynamite's version of a character is not the "real" character. If that is your perception, I'm not sure how much time you spend checking in later to see if Dynamite is getting it "right".

          I'm not going to review every single character for historical accuracy, but I would bet that those that have done best for Dynamite are those that were most similar to the original version when launched.
          As far as I can tell, it made no difference in terms of sales, only in terms of complaints when it ended.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pulphero View Post
            As far as I can tell, it made no difference in terms of sales, only in terms of complaints when it ended.
            Which characters had the longest runs? Even though there was some mild controversy around Vampirella wearing pants initially, her first volume ran for a few years with minis, specials, etc. Red Sonja, The Shadow, Warlord of Mars...These are some of the longer running books for Dynamite and arguably closest to what fans of those characters expect. More so than, say, The Last Phantom or The Black Bat, both of which bombed. Or any of these recently-redesigned books.

            I'm sure there are examples in the other direction too (The Spirit?). But just try it. That's all I'm saying. Trust in what made these characters known in the first place and stop reinventing the wheel. It doesn't work. Or at least Dynamite has not made it work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, At one time , about two years ago there was 3 Warlord of Mars titles coming out each month. That was in the nudie covers, pre ERB Inc deal days. Perhaps Dynamite is now hampered with fees to ERB and various restrictions.

              ta

              Ralph


              Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
              Which characters had the longest runs? Even though there was some mild controversy around Vampirella wearing pants initially, her first volume ran for a few years with minis, specials, etc. Red Sonja, The Shadow, Warlord of Mars...These are some of the longer running books for Dynamite and arguably closest to what fans of those characters expect. More so than, say, The Last Phantom or The Black Bat, both of which bombed. Or any of these recently-redesigned books.

              I'm sure there are examples in the other direction too (The Spirit?). But just try it. That's all I'm saying. Trust in what made these characters known in the first place and stop reinventing the wheel. It doesn't work. Or at least Dynamite has not made it work.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                Which characters had the longest runs? Even though there was some mild controversy around Vampirella wearing pants initially, her first volume ran for a few years with minis, specials, etc. Red Sonja, The Shadow, Warlord of Mars...These are some of the longer running books for Dynamite and arguably closest to what fans of those characters expect. More so than, say, The Last Phantom or The Black Bat, both of which bombed. Or any of these recently-redesigned books.

                I'm sure there are examples in the other direction too (The Spirit?). But just try it. That's all I'm saying. Trust in what made these characters known in the first place and stop reinventing the wheel. It doesn't work. Or at least Dynamite has not made it work.
                You forgot the modern Green Hornet, surely one of DE's longest-running, which can arguably be pointed to specifically as "reinventing the wheel". In contrast, Matt Wagner's Green Hornet Year One and Mark Waid's Green Hornet were a lot more faithful to the character's roots (I would assert, more faithful than The Shadow is), but it didn't help in terms of making those books sell better and run longer. Ditto for Bionic Man -- another modern "reinvention" that performed much better in terms of longevity than its more-faithful, 1970s counterpart Six Million Dollar Man. Zorro and The Lone Ranger were two series that didn't seem to reinvent much of anything, but are no longer around either. All of which is just a roundabout way of making the point that "they have tried it". Just not with The Phantom and The Black Bat. It's easy to just cherry pick a couple of the most egregious examples of reinvention gone wrong, but those two titles sold as well and ran as long or longer than many more faithful interpretations.

                It's highly debatable whether the number of issues racked up by characters like Red Sonja, Vampirella, and The Shadow amounts to those characters being the most faithful to their pre-DE roots. I didn't purchase Vampirella on a regular basis at first, because I felt it was too far from the Warren version, but loved the new series that Nancy Collins wrote (which didn't save it from ending). I've had a lot of quibbles about specific writers' interpretations of The Shadow as well. I know Red Sonja's various ups and downs have generated a lot of heated fan response, too.
                Last edited by pulphero; 08-30-2016, 09:53 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                  You forgot the modern Green Hornet, surely one of DE's longest-running, which can arguably be pointed to specifically as "reinventing the wheel". In contrast, Matt Wagner's Green Hornet Year One and Mark Waid's Green Hornet were a lot more faithful to the character's roots (I would assert, more faithful than The Shadow is), but it didn't help in terms of making those books sell better and run longer. Ditto for Bionic Man -- another modern "reinvention" that performed much better in terms of longevity than its more-faithful, 1970s counterpart Six Million Dollar Man. Zorro and The Lone Ranger were two series that didn't seem to reinvent much of anything, but are no longer around either. All of which is just a roundabout way of making the point that "they have tried it". Just not with The Phantom and The Black Bat. It's easy to just cherry pick a couple of the most egregious examples of reinvention gone wrong, but those two titles sold as well and ran as long or longer than many more faithful interpretations.
                  No, I didn't forget those. I specified that there might be examples the other way. I acknowledge that. It happens. It just seems to me to happen a lot less.

                  I would submit, though, that the Green Hornet series was boosted by Kevin Smith's name being attached to it initially (ludicrous as that might seem to us). Wasn't that the case with Bionic Man too? And ultimately, which versions of the character are still on the radar?

                  I'm glad you consider Zorro and Lone Ranger to be more authentic because I thought of using them as examples for my point but was not knowledgeable enough about content for either one. If they are faithful, as you state, then I think they make my case more strongly than yours. Zorro ran for 20 issues, plus several minis. Lone Ranger ran for 25 with a bunch of minis as well.

                  Most (all?) of Dynamite's re-imagined versions (not counting projects like Legenderry) have nowhere near the lasting power. Dark Shadows looked faithful enough. 23 issues, two minis. Buck Rogers got a whole different look. 12 issues.

                  I find that there are more examples of being faithful resulting in success, or t least longevity, than the other way around. You personally may not like the material (in reference to your Vampirella example earlier), but I would find it hard to argue that a book I love that lasted 6 issues is more successful than one I loathe that lasts 30 (I friggin' detest Deadpool. but can't deny his success). Someone is liking it enough to make it worthwhile for Dynamite to continue using Zorro and The Lone Ranger. Not so with Sk8ter Girl Vampirella.

                  So, maybe "try it" isn't the right terminology. "Go back to doing it" is probably better because they HAVE done it in the past and it works better. It doesn't GUARANTEE success (Doc Savage? Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt?), but it sure seems to improve your odds.
                  Last edited by Captain Canuck; 08-31-2016, 01:32 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                    No, I didn't forget those. I specified that there might be examples the other way. I acknowledge that. It happens. It just seems to me to happen a lot less.

                    I would submit, though, that the Green Hornet series was boosted by Kevin Smith's name being attached to it initially (ludicrous as that might seem to us). Wasn't that the case with Bionic Man too? And ultimately, which versions of the character are still on the radar?

                    I'm glad you consider Zorro and Lone Ranger to be more authentic because I thought of using them as examples for my point but was not knowledgeable enough about content for either one. If they are faithful, as you state, then I think they make my case more strongly than yours. Zorro ran for 20 issues, plus several minis. Lone Ranger ran for 25 with a bunch of minis as well.

                    Most (all?) of Dynamite's re-imagined versions (not counting projects like Legenderry) have nowhere near the lasting power. Dark Shadows looked faithful enough. 23 issues, two minis. Buck Rogers got a whole different look. 12 issues.

                    I find that there are more examples of being faithful resulting in success, or t least longevity, than the other way around. You personally may not like the material (in reference to your Vampirella example earlier), but I would find it hard to argue that a book I love that lasted 6 issues is more successful than one I loathe that lasts 30 (I friggin' detest Deadpool. but can't deny his success). Someone is liking it enough to make it worthwhile for Dynamite to continue using Zorro and The Lone Ranger. Not so with Sk8ter Girl Vampirella.

                    So, maybe "try it" isn't the right terminology. "Go back to doing it" is probably better because they HAVE done it in the past and it works better. It doesn't GUARANTEE success (Doc Savage? Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt?), but it sure seems to improve your odds.
                    Still not seeing it, Captain. I tried to show direct comparisons of the same character in two different versions - and I would include Vampirella among those, with the first DE series being less faithful (but running 38 issues, plus several miniseries spinoffs), and the second series being more faithful (but only lasting 13 issues, plus a miniseries spinoff and a couple of one-shots). If it was working for either of those versions, then why were either of them cancelled for another re-vamp? What I'm basically saying is that whether the series ran long or short, faithfulness to prior incarnations wasn't the deciding factor in determining longevity. With the Zorro and Lone Ranger examples, there isn't much you can do in terms of updating them. They're westerns, and you either decide you like westerns (and those characters), or you don't. You can argue that Kevin Smith's name helped the modern Green Hornet and Bionic Man, but Matt Wagner's name and Mark Waid's name didn't help the more faithful versions set in the past -- and more specifically, being more faithful didn't help them sell better and run longer. The reason a book sells or doesn't for DE is a lot more complicated than what you imply, and certainly has more to do with the overall execution, as well as the general recognition level of the character among the current comic marketplace, than it does with whether it's "reinvented" or "faithful". I prefer the faithful iterations of the characters, but I'm not seeing that it's really helped DE's sales in the marketplace, because it doesn't seem to me that the marketplace at large is much concerned about such things. Most of them couldn't tell you what's faithful from what's not.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                      What I'm basically saying is that whether the series ran long or short, faithfulness to prior incarnations wasn't the deciding factor in determining longevity. With the Zorro and Lone Ranger examples, there isn't much you can do in terms of updating them. They're westerns, and you either decide you like westerns (and those characters), or you don't.
                      Of course you can. You can mess with their backgrounds, appearance, personality and motivation. I could make the same argument about Red Sonja; you either like a fantasy setting or you don't. But read the feedback here about how its like the writers know nothing about the character (how she's a whore, weak, etc.) and you'll see why it can't just be limited to strictly liking the era that Zorro and Lone Ranger are in. You expect the Lone Ranger to behave a certain way, look a certain way, etc.

                      Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                      You can argue that Kevin Smith's name helped the modern Green Hornet and Bionic Man, but Matt Wagner's name and Mark Waid's name didn't help the more faithful versions set in the past -- and more specifically, being more faithful didn't help them sell better and run longer.
                      Matt Wagner and Mark Waid have nowhere near the recognition that Kevin Smith does. It's not even close. Kevin Smith, though I personally detest him, will draw from outside the comics world. I doubt that Mark Waid can say the same.

                      Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                      The reason a book sells or doesn't for DE is a lot more complicated than what you imply, and certainly has more to do with the overall execution, as well as the general recognition level of the character among the current comic marketplace, than it does with whether it's "reinvented" or "faithful". I prefer the faithful iterations of the characters, but I'm not seeing that it's really helped DE's sales in the marketplace, because it doesn't seem to me that the marketplace at large is much concerned about such things. Most of them couldn't tell you what's faithful from what's not.
                      Sure there are several factors, but I personally believe that respecting history is among them. At least then you have a fan base to work from. A foundation. If you deviate, for every long-time fan who thinks your version is garbage, you have to attract a new set of eyes and that's not easy.

                      The recent failed redesigns are perfect examples. Old time fans thought the characters looked and acted incorrectly and the characters failed to interest new people. Complete failure. It might be interesting to look at sales figures of those three ladies' last six (or so) issue limited series and see how those did.

                      To go back to your Vampirela example, at first glance during her launch, there was little to indicate that it wouldn't be faithful. With Buck Rogers, The Phantom, and several others I've already named, it was clear that if you were any sort of fan from way back, you weren't getting what you wanted. If I'm a Vampirela fan, I think I have more cause to give the book a try just on preview material and covers alone than I would if I were a fan of The Phantom looking at a shirtless bald dude dripping "berry juice".

                      That's why I think that Vampirela did better early on. But when the book deviates further and further from what made the character special, people bail and unless you give then a clear reason to come back, I'm not sure that they bother looking further. If you didn't think that Dynamite did a good job with Vampirela the first time, why buy a second series?

                      Anyway, I understand that you disagree and that's fine, but surely you're not of the opinion that dynamite has done a great job with its properties? Because I don't know what you'd recommend that they do. Their current method is not working, you don't think being more faithful to the original material matters...So is it a lost cause? Should they just stick to grumpy cats and cute puppies?
                      Last edited by Captain Canuck; 08-31-2016, 06:54 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                        Of course you can. You can mess with their backgrounds, appearance, personality and motivation.
                        i thought that was the whole argument against taking properties people love and not keeping true to them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scarlette View Post
                          i thought that was the whole argument against taking properties people love and not keeping true to them.
                          It is. PH argued that Lone Ranger and Zorro were not changed much because there wasn't much to change in the first place.

                          I'm saying that you CAN change any number of things (history, personality, etc) but that you shouldn't with established characters. And to their credit in this case, Dynamite did not. As a result, I use the longevity of both characters as examples of how NOT messing with a bunch of stuff can be beneficial.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                            Anyway, I understand that you disagree and that's fine, but surely you're not of the opinion that dynamite has done a great job with its properties? Because I don't know what you'd recommend that they do. Their current method is not working, you don't think being more faithful to the original material matters...So is it a lost cause? Should they just stick to grumpy cats and cute puppies?
                            They've done a great job with some properties, some of the time. Other times, not so much -- with the very same properties, even within the very same numbered series. The lines of "great job" and "lousy job" don't always parallel "faithful" and "reinvented", and "great job" doesn't always parallel "biggest success" either. To pick a random example, if I were rating the overall quality, I'd have to rate BIONIC MAN as a better book than SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, even though it was less faithful to the original (and that hardly has anything to do with Kevin Smith). It's easy to try to equate a book you like with a success, but in sales terms quality (or perceived quality) and success do not equate, no matter how much we wish it were true. The other point to make here is that the comments you read on boards like this (and elsewhere) aren't representative of the comic book market at large, in terms of acceptance of the product (= sales) or not. Not even relative to DE's publishing output alone. Is it a lost cause? Only in so far as there are many characters which DE has the license to, whose dedicated fan base is too small to make "faithfulness" a main deciding factor in sales success, because acceptance by a larger marketplace is mainly determined by readers who don't have that intimate knowledge of a character's entire history. As an example, the name "Garth Ennis" was far more of a factor in a successful launch for DE's Shadow than the faithfulness of his initial story arc, and the faithfulness of The Shadow has continued to wax and wane with each change of writer, yet none of them in the regular series after Ennis really got a chance to start from scratch -- rather, each subsequent writer's interpretation was more of a tweaking or leaning in one direction or the other, with arguably the exception being the updated The Shadow Now (and maybe Howard Chakin's Midnight In Moscow). The same is true of most of the characters, long-running or not. If "closest to faithful" were the deciding factor of success, any character that Matt Wagner wrote should be the best-selling title of that character, but you'd be hard-pressed to prove that to me with any character but Zorro (a title which he wrote the vast bulk of the stories, in terms of individual issues). I don't think Matt Wagner's Green Hornet or Shadow were the best-selling, even if they are subjectively the best in terms of faithfulness. Obviously I'd like to see those things continue to be published, but from DE's POV of trying to market a title, it's better to get a Kevin Smith or a Garth Ennis than it is a Matt Wagner or a Mark Waid or a Michael Uslan. You want the short answer? The biggest deciding factor in sales is "name recognition" -- of both the character, and the creator attached to the character. It's a combination of those two factors more than anything. Covers, cover artists, and variant covers play a big part as well. That an internet meme can be tapped as a source of widespread name recognition to draw an audience outside of the traditional comic shop consumer is proven, and neatly sidesteps the need to bolster character name recognition with creator name recognition. Sad it may be, but factual. We would LIKE to see our knowledge of the characters and our acumen in judging the "quality" of a comic book validated in some way by the kind of sales that would lead to its continuation, and the spread of more quality of like kind. But if you think DE's merely being arbitrary in not maintaining fidelity to a character's past history, you're wrong. It's not the most crucial factor in determining sales performance, not even close.
                            Last edited by positronic; 09-01-2016, 07:07 AM.
                            DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by positronic View Post
                              To pick a random example, if I were rating the overall quality, I'd have to rate BIONIC MAN as a better book than SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, even though it was less faithful to the original (and that hardly has anything to do with Kevin Smith). It's easy to try to equate a book you like with a success, but in sales terms quality (or perceived quality) and success do not equate, no matter how much we wish it were true.
                              I'm not doing that. I'm referring to longevity as a measure of success. A number of the books I've referred to I haven't even read. But I can still estimate that Dark Shadows, which I haven't read, was more successful than Last Phantom, which I have, simply on the basis that Dynamite found cause to continue with it for far longer.

                              Originally posted by positronic View Post
                              The other point to make here is that the comments you read on boards like this (and elsewhere) aren't representative of the comic book market at large, in terms of acceptance of the product (= sales) or not.
                              I know. That's why I use longevity as a measuring stick.

                              Originally posted by positronic View Post
                              The biggest deciding factor in sales is "name recognition" -- of both the character, and the creator attached to the character. It's a combination of those two factors more than anything.
                              Yeah so long as the character IS the character. Extreme example to make a point: So you think that if Ennis took the Shadow, but instead made him a black woman from the future, it would have sold just as well?

                              Again, faithfulness may not be the only factor but I find it surprising that I actually have to argue that it IS a factor.

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