Molly Jackson: My Two Cents in the Target Market
Last week or so, everyone has been talking about the big two and their readers. Not to be outdone, I just had to share my insights that are slightly related and unrelated to what everyone is talking about.
First off, a confession. I wasn’t a big comics reader growing up. With the exception of the occasional Archie, I kept my head firmly in traditional prose. Growing up in a librarian’s home, books were my easily accessible fix for my active imagination. I really “broke” into comics in my twenties, following Buffy’s newest season onto the page. (Thanks Joss!)
I’m not as well versed in DC and Marvel because it was all so daunting to a new reader. Honestly, it still is. I can go back and read story arcs or independent stories but I’ll never have the wow of discovering The Killing Joke in issues or reading great events like Civil War as they unfold. I’ve made my peace with that. I still read DC and Marvel but I also hungrily dived into the indie market, finding more to love.
This has given me a unique spot on DC and Marvel’s radar. I’m a female comics reader with (albeit small) disposable income and not bogged down by decades of repetitive storytelling. I’m just a casual/occasional reader who that they want to reel in as a devotee. So we’ve gotten new reader initiatives of jumping on points, soft reboots, hard reboots, and events upon events upon events.
I’ll admit, DC’s efforts worked better on me than Marvel. While I’m not an active single issue buyers (see above about small income), I’m reading them in graphic novel or trade and on a somewhat regular basis. Marvel hasn’t wooed as well; they are the rare issue to purchase or the trade to borrow. This choice has more to do with character love than anything else.
Still, neither company has made a hardcore fan out of me. It’s a two-fold reason. First part is the media overload of these characters. I can turn on my tv and watch DC and Marvel characters in action, then go online and watch trailers from upcoming movies. After a while, I need something different. As a non-regular reader, these shows and movies don’t inspire me to read the current runs. I might go pickup the story a movie or show is using but I’m just as likely to read the outline on Wikipedia.
The second reason is all the events. By definition, an event is a special, rare, and unique experience. When Marvel is promoting the next event before the current event ends, what’s the point in getting excited? When I know something is coming a year out, I get underwhelmed by its arrival. Additionally, I can turn to the plethora of reviewers before I decide if I want to take the financial plunge. In either reason, they haven’t offered me anything intriguing to get me interested.
As the target market for these companies, I know they need to reach me with original stories and new, well-developed characters. Well-developed includes diversity in gender, sexual orientation (but not overly sexualized), race, religion and depth. I don’t want a diverse character that has the personality of a cardboard box.
Basically, I just want good, consistent stories to read. Don’t give me flashy events that requires buying 30+ issues. I’d rather have 1-2 amazing books to read. Until then, you are going to keep losing this target market to indie comics.