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  • #16
    Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
    I know. That's why I use longevity as a measuring stick.
    Except when it doesn't fit the backwards reasoning of "If it was long running, then it must be because it was a faithful adaptation". So if I mention the modern Green Hornet (which stopped being "Kevin Smith's Green Hornet" after the 10th issue, but it still managed to run another 25 issues), then it's "OH, WELL... it's KEVIN SMITH, so what do you expect?" But the same logic doesn't apply to The Shadow getting launched by Garth Ennis... no, I guess it just must be because it's faithful. If it suits your argument, you can pull out BUCK ROGERS (12 issues + 1 Annual) as an example of failure by longevity, implying that it would have run longer than it did if it had been more faithful -- while completely ignoring FLASH GORDON ZEITGEIST (10 issues + a 4-issue spinoff/prequel for Ming=14), despite the involvement of Alex Ross, by comparison to the modern Flash Gordon (adding all of his appearances in various miniseries, 5+8+1annual+1special+4+5=24, with another upcoming series announced). Too bad we can't conveniently blame that one on Kevin Smith, like Green Hornet and Bionic Man. It's also convenient if we can cite THE LAST PHANTOM as a failure at 12 issues + 1 Annual = 13, while ignoring the fact that competing publisher Hermes has since them had a more classic Phantom comic (that's only spawned 6 issues) -- let's check back in a few years with Hermes to see whether they can beat DE's longevity; meanwhile Hermes' Phantom still hasn't outstripped DE's concurrent Lothar/Phantom in number of appearances. While the fact is that Moonstone was able to milk that franchise (relatively, for them) successfully for a number of years in terms of racking up issues, the market has changed since then, as indeed it has since THE LAST PHANTOM, and I doubt that DE could have continued as long as Moonstone did with the same sales Moonstone had, on a classic Phantom comic.

    Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
    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.
    Yes, because Kevin Smith's Green Hornet was exactly like that... a black woman from the future. Or whatever, doesn't matter. It would have sold just as well because it's KEVIN SMITH. Yet somehow, you don't acknowledge that Garth Ennis's name attached to The Shadow was more important than the degree to which Garth Ennis' interpretation of The Shadow was faithful to the character's roots (because it wasn't, compared to earlier comics versions like the DC O'Neil/Kaluta or Jones/Barreto versions, or the Dark Horse version). You may now argue that it was closer than the DC Chaykin or Kyle Baker version. So, counter-example: I posit that Garth Ennis could have sold a modern Shadow series if that was the way he chose to go. How it might have fared after he left is debatable. If he had chosen to go that way, I might well have had fewer critical reservations about his work than I did. In retrospect, I kind of wish he HAD gone the modern route with his Shadow, if for no other reason than that anyone wanting to tackle a classic-era Shadow afterwards wouldn't have been forced to conform to what he established in his first story arc on the character.

    It's only a factor to people who have both a knowledge of, and an attachment to, the history of the character, and that group of consumers isn't as large as you seem to think it is, or at least not large enough to make or break a book in terms of sales success. It might be if we were talking about Batman, whose adventures have been ongoing for decades, but not for characters being resurrected from their 1930s (or 1970s) origins after long, long gaps in publishing history. The bulk of the comic shop consumer demographic has only a hazy grasp on the nitty-gritty of what's faithful compared to what isn't. Their histories in comics are spotty in terms of publication, with long gaps between other media versions as well. But I think even Joe or Jane Average-Reader has some vague idea of who or what either the Green Hornet or the Shadow might be, and could probably easily figure out that neither one was a black woman from the future. That kind of radical change is only viable as a sales gimmick in goosing a temporary bump in the sales curve of books that are long-running and need some juice to break up the status quo of same-old, same-old... which is why Marvel keeps doing it. Thor's a woman; Iron Man's a woman; Ms. Marvel's an Arabic teenager; Captain America is a black man, or an old man, or is it two different men? Excuse me, one black American patriot, and one agent of HYDRA. Sure, you can argue they sold better back when "the character [WAS] the character", but those were the days, eh? Comic shop owners livin' high on the hog and making a killing. It's a different world now, and a different comic shop marketplace, more's the pity.

    Let's put it this way, if DE has to depend for sales on a consumer base of people who really know the difference between what's faithful and what isn't, they might as well give up before they even start publishing. That sounds too much like "homework" to the average comic shop consumer who forms the backbone of potential readers. ANY series set in the historical past is traditionally a tough sell in the current marketplace. It didn't used to be, as much, say 30 or more years ago. But it is now.
    Last edited by pulphero; 09-01-2016, 11:28 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by pulphero View Post
      Except when it doesn't fit the backwards reasoning of "If it was long running, then it must be because it was a faithful adaptation". So if I mention the modern Green Hornet (which stopped being "Kevin Smith's Green Hornet" after the 10th issue, but it still managed to run another 25 issues), then it's "OH, WELL... it's KEVIN SMITH, so what do you expect?" But the same logic doesn't apply to The Shadow getting launched by Garth Ennis... no, I guess it just must be because it's faithful.
      No. you keep making the same mistake of viewing this entirely in black and white. I never said JUST because it's faithful. I even gave examples of MY own as to when it might not have. I keep saying that I consider it to be a factor, and you keep inflating my argument to debate a point I'm not actually making.

      No, I didn't forget those (Green Hornet/Bionic Man). 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.

      Originally posted by pulphero View Post
      Yes, because Kevin Smith's Green Hornet was exactly like that... a black woman from the future. Or whatever, doesn't matter.
      I stated right away that it was an extreme example to illustrate a point. You act like I was making an exact reference. Again, you're not actually debating the point I'm making. I'm only trying to state my position but as usual, if someone dares disagree with you, you take offense and turn to sarcasm.

      Positronic asked a specific question about what can Dynamite do to improve sales. I attempted to provide an option. That's it. Apologies all, I thought the place could use the discussion.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
        No. you keep making the same mistake of viewing this entirely in black and white. I never said JUST because it's faithful. I even gave examples of MY own as to when it might not have. I keep saying that I consider it to be a factor, and you keep inflating my argument to debate a point I'm not actually making.

        No, I didn't forget those (Green Hornet/Bionic Man). 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 stated right away that it was an extreme example to illustrate a point. You act like I was making an exact reference. Again, you're not actually debating the point I'm making. I'm only trying to state my position but as usual, if someone dares disagree with you, you take offense and turn to sarcasm.

        Positronic asked a specific question about what can Dynamite do to improve sales. I attempted to provide an option. That's it. Apologies all, I thought the place could use the discussion.
        So what was the point of throwing ridiculous examples into the wind? It illustrates NO point, it's just a ridiculous example. To boil it down to the crucial bit, there just aren't enough people who are knowledgeable enough about the finer details of faithful/not faithful to make it an influential factor. Those people represent only the tip of an iceberg needed for a title to succeed and continue. That's entirely dwarfed by other factors, unless you insist on making ridiculous what if scenarios to try to prove your point. The three biggest examples you point to (Red Sonja, Vampirella, and The Shadow) racked up a lot of issues collectively, but are all inconsistent in their execution and faithfulness, depending on which story arc/writer/miniseries, etc. you decide to point to. All of them have generated plenty of debate and complaints pro and con, with every change they experienced along the way. If everything was perfect the way it started, and sales were just humming along, then why change anything to begin with? What, "No, sales were good, we could have just continued along the way we were going, but just decided to revamp them all for the hell of it."? You can kvetch all you want about the unfaithfulness of the latest incarnations of Vampirella, Red Sonja, and Dejah Thoris, but if all those faithfulness-followers were buying the books, then WHY?? Desperation, most likely. Faithfulness was not keeping those titles afloat as they were, and as such, it's of dubious influence. If the hardcore fanbase (who would know whether the book is faithful or not) doesn't support the book in its current faithful form, then they better be looking beyond that for an audience that may not be as picky. That doesn't mean unfaithfulness automatically wins over faithfulness -- just that it's not one of the key ingredients you make it out to be.

        It used to be more important. Just not anymore. The marketplace has changed in the last decades.
        Last edited by pulphero; 09-01-2016, 12:07 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by pulphero View Post
          So what was the point of throwing ridiculous examples into the wind? It illustrates NO point, it's just a ridiculous example.
          No, you just missed it again.

          Positronic said "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."

          I can agree with that but feel that the further you go from that character, the more your hurt your chances of success. If the character is barely recognizable, then you're wasting the strength of one of the factors that Positronic identified.

          Can you still be successful? Maybe. Perhaps the other factors at play are strong enough in your favour regardless. But you're not helping your cause, in my view. And I personally think that Dynamite would benefit from applying the one approach more. Sorry you disagree.

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          • #20
            Captain, I'm sorry if you feel this is somehow becoming personal, because I don't. We essentially agree on a lot of things regarding our preferences... but I have to acknowledge that in the current comic book marketplace, as a consumer I am a dinosaur... sorry if our agreement on certain aesthetic sensibilities makes you one too. Let's just cut all this euphemistic "faithfulness" and just say the once admired, and now dirty, word. Continuity. Maybe only the most basic sort of continuity, but nonetheless. It's no longer our world of comics out there, no matter how much we'd like it to be, no matter how much our brain logic tries to tell us that things like continuity, good artwork and writing (by the standards we once held, and still do, but now those aesthetics are passe) and a certain attention to detail is important. We want certain things to be immutable values, and they may be for us, but not for the new audience. Sales across the board on comics continue to shrink even as more and more titles compete with each other. I am forced to accept certain realities that I would once have considered unthinkable, and this is one of them. People just do not care (I mean the core comic shop audience) about things like history, heritage, continuity, "classic"... the kind of characters that DE started out focusing on. It's a graying audience, and the new dominant audience has a different aesthetic, whether you're talking about pulp, old time radio, or old newspaper adventure strip characters or Archie and the gang (oh, the horror!). Most of that original audience has given up on $4 comic books, and if they're still buying, it's reprints and combing through the $1 or 50c boxes for "the good old stuff". Nobody in the main demographic of comics consumers is reading the original stuff, so they don't know faithful from unfaithful. Too bad there aren't enough 40/50-something guys as a group to market comic books to.
            Last edited by pulphero; 09-01-2016, 04:53 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by pulphero View Post
              Captain, I'm sorry if you feel this is somehow becoming personal, because I don't. We essentially agree on a lot of things regarding our preferences... but I have to acknowledge that in the current comic book marketplace, as a consumer I am a dinosaur... sorry if our agreement on certain aesthetic sensibilities makes you one too.
              Truth of the matter is, years ago I argue very much in favour of modernizing characters. I see some value to it done right. Update something that is outdated, so long as you keep the core appeal of the character intact. You can take the wings off Captain America's helmet, but you can't can't have him say "Hail Hydra".

              Also, I actually read very few pulp/noir/public domain characters. I'm not a purist for that material by any stretch. I don't think I've ever read any of the original Doc Savage, Shadow, Spider, Flash Gordon, etc. But I respect history and the passion that some have for it.

              The one character I love is The Black Bat. I liked his Dynamite book plenty, but have seen it dismissed on sight by other fans. I can't know that a more authentic version would have done any better, but I would love to see Dynamite give it a try.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                Truth of the matter is, years ago I argue very much in favour of modernizing characters. I see some value to it done right. Update something that is outdated, so long as you keep the core appeal of the character intact. You can take the wings off Captain America's helmet, but you can't can't have him say "Hail Hydra".

                Also, I actually read very few pulp/noir/public domain characters. I'm not a purist for that material by any stretch. I don't think I've ever read any of the original Doc Savage, Shadow, Spider, Flash Gordon, etc. But I respect history and the passion that some have for it.
                It's the sort of passion that is passing with a generation, though. Video games and social media have changed the worlds of younger people growing up, and there was something to be said for having the time to read and be curious about these things. It can still be done online, and in some ways perhaps even better. But I think it's more difficult to filter things now and focus on stuff like that, so that much is lost in growing up.

                Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                The one character I love is The Black Bat. I liked his Dynamite book plenty, but have seen it dismissed on sight by other fans. I can't know that a more authentic version would have done any better, but I would love to see Dynamite give it a try.
                I didn't dismiss Black Bat on sight, but I did dismiss it more and more with each issue I read. Ultimately, I hung in until the bitter conclusion. And I do mean bitter, because that's exactly how it left me feeling. So yes I dissed it, and I don't miss it. DE's Black Bat was no sort of hero at all, IMO. Maybe that might be exactly what someone else finds interesting there, but I can find plenty of nihilism everywhere I look without it trying to pass itself as entertainment that I pay for.

                But I find just a few years later, a Renaissance in new reprintings of the Norman Daniels novels and new pulp fiction. I don't know that I can mark DE's version as being in any way responsible for that, or whether it was more a reaction TO Dynamite's version. Or maybe it was bound to happen, after Green Lama, and now Moon Man and Green Ghost are following belatedly in its wake. Perhaps there will be a more widely-available reprinting of Golden Amazon's stories as well, someday.


                Here's a few things to ponder. How is it that Marvel and DC's better-known (than Dynamite's) character franchises continue to mutate, sometimes bit-by-bit, other times in fits and starts, revamps and reboots, from year to year? Shouldn't a larger audience base offer them greater security (than DE's comparatively "niche" audience of classic fans) from the ravages of change? One of the reasons I first gravitated towards Dynamite from the Big Two was that it seemed like a last refuge for the diehards resistant to too much change in "the classics" that we were seeing at Marvel and DC. Not even DE can remain immune to the forces of the marketplace forever, however... so if the diehard "don't change the classics" fans aren't enough to make it profitable for DE, then something has to give way. Of course the license owners have something to say about it, either way, but if the idea of owning an intellectual property is to make money off it somehow, drawing lines of resistance in the sand that you refuse to cross isn't going to accomplish that if your property as it currently exists isn't generating any profit. Saying "you should go back to" isn't going to do it, if the rest of the market is moving the opposite way. Change is accelerating for characters at a rate that seems unreal compared to decades ago. Today's comics fans grow up with movie franchises where the characters don't really tow the line of faithfulness to the classic comic version of the characters, so a certain fluidity or malleability is accepted by them now as a matter of course. If they didn't grow bored with the characters so easily, there would be no need for publishers to change them from year to year.

                DE's properties are still categorized as 'nostalgia properties', rather than 'evergreen properties', while some of the licenses held by IDW are on the verge of crossing from the former category to the latter, or already have (I'm looking at G.I. Joe and Transformers). Or maybe it's just that the audience for those franchises simply hasn't aged itself into a small enough niche yet through attrition. Note that IDW's licenses mostly originate from the late '80s or early '90s, while DE's licenses are mostly stuck in the 1970s (even if the 1970s represented a brief comeback or 'second life' for 1930s characters). Perhaps we've just reached the point where all those '70s characters are running out of steam, where the audience they had 5-10 years ago has now largely moved on, for whatever reason. Just quit buying new comics, or whatever... there's simply not enough of us. Maybe the Green Hornet did relatively better than it would have otherwise because it's tapping nostalgia for the 1990s NOW incarnation as much as fans who remember Van Williams and Bruce Lee, or listening to the OTR broadcasts. Then too, there was a swell of interest caused by an upcoming movie franchise launch that, when it finally happened, died with a whimper at the box office... but by then, DE's version had already established its own momentum, enough to carry on a few more years. The problem with something like Green Hornet is that there are gaps in the reader demographics, chunks of fans who came to it in one of those prior incarnations, but leaving behind whole generations in-between, and the same logic applies to many other DE licenses. GH had its longest continuous run in any media from 1936 to 1952 -- how many Hornet fans from back then do you think are reading DE's current GH comics (such as they are, miniseries)? How many from the 1967 TV show? How many from the 1990s NOW Comics series? How many newbies through DE's version(s)? A bigger problem is that in between those generations of fans there's first a 15-year gap, then a 22-year gap, then another 15 year gap before DE's first GH comic book came along. It's possible IDW's main franchises will face the same sort of challenges in 10 years as DE's are facing right now.
                Last edited by pulphero; 09-01-2016, 05:14 PM.

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                • #23
                  Hey, I'm leaving town soon for a week or so and won't have reliable internet access but I'll respond to you when I get back. Couple of points in there I want to touch on.

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