There are many problems facing the US comic industry right now; sales of individual issues have generally dropped, there are now minimum orders which can be placed before the main distributor will carry an item, comic shops are closing down, and whilst the sales of collected volumes are up, it’s hard to gather the individual issues into a bundle if the issues run, oh I dunno, three years late.
Anyway, one way that Marvel comics recently(ish) tried to attract new readers was by creating a new range of comics for new readers, which stripped away the decades of continuity attached to many well-known characters, and started from scratch. I think the idea was that these, unlike many comics, would be sold in places like Wal-Mart as well as specialist comic shops, but that plan didn’t pan out, and the titles have kind of ended up being another, slightly alternate, mini-line from Marvel. A pretty good idea at heart, but the distribution of the issues seems to have dented the plan, and now they’re winding the line up.
One of the final issues in this particular line of comics is shown above, and you’ll notice that I’ve avoided naming either the comic line or any of the titles, because I want to ask non-comic readers this question: if you saw this comic on the shelf, what would you say its name was ?
(If you said Ultimatum, it’s a good guess, but not quite; the correct answer is …this.)
I think it was Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, and many other characters) who once suggested that every issue of a comic is someone’s first issue, and in terms of accessibility that’s something worth bearing in mind; is it so hard to make sure this approach extends to the front bleeding cover?