If Thor’s a woman and Captain America is black, does that really change anything?

I really don’t intend to make this site all about comics, honestly, it’s just the way things have broken this week. New subjects are coming, promise,

That said, discussions are raging on the internets today about all the shenanigans going on at the Big Two (DC Comics & Marvel Comics)  to try and keep up customer interest and I sent this email to my small but impressive list of customers at Jacey Services (an online comics subscription service I run) to see what they thought. I invited them to make their opinions known here it would be most good if anyone else reading this would do the same.

Or not.

THERE’S THIS OPINION

Gimmicks or stunts are just that. Things done just to generate interest and sales only. Even if this stuff is great, a lot of it is sad and desperate. This is nothing knew. It’s been going on for years and years. If you need these kinds of things to stay in business, then maybe you don’t need the fancy paper and other crap and just figure out how to make things cheaper. Pay a guy on how well the books sale. In the industry’s defense, usually the fans snap it up every time. We haven’t learned so they will keep doing it until it stops selling. We get industry wide events once a year, revamps to generate yet more number 1 issues, special covers including “foil” and on and on. Exactly when did telling good stories to sell books go out of style? They day the fans stopped caring because of the new shiny thing, that’s when.

AND THEN THERE’S THIS OPINION

Everybody wants to scream the word gimmick like its a bad thing. Gimmicks are only bad if the story that follows it is weak. But all I hear is people that are using the term gimmicks to make excuses about not reading new stories. “Gimmicks” bring in new readers, increases sales of variants, and try to align the universe with the other mediums like movies and TV that are having success.I think some of the opposition is people getting angry that comics are becoming popular now and people that are coming in now, have no idea about stories that came before. But plenty of those readers don’t bother reading the old stuff because old comic fans spend way too much time bashing current work instead of championing the old. The more we make it look like comics back then are so much different than comics now, the more readers will continue to get their knowledge from Wikipedia instead of picking up classic books.

Discuss and be prepared to show your work.

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3 thoughts on “If Thor’s a woman and Captain America is black, does that really change anything?

  1. I am sick unto death with gimmicks. What the hell good does “Variant” covers do? Do they make someone read a comic they would no have bought otherwiswe? Comics have become TOO much of a collectible to the point that people buy them and do not read them. I am losing interest in the last few Superhero titles I get from DC as I am finding more thing I like in other comic lines as well as styles of comics. But I am an old fogey so I may be out of touch with what the younger kids are doing now.

  2. I have never paid a whit of attention to “gimmicks.” I’m an art and story man. That’s “good” art and “good” story, generally in that order. If there’s a gimmick associated with this “good” book, that’s just fine. I’m not buying in so I don’t care if anyone else does. If it makes the creators of the book a bit more money by making the limited number of collectors (and I use that title very loosely) buy more than one copy, fine by me. As for company wide crossovers, I despise them as a crass attempt to get me to buy every book in their stable. As Rocket J. Squirrel said: “That trick never works,” at least not with me, it doesn’t. There’s not much left out there I’m interested in in comics these days anyway. All the books I scrambled to get the latest copy of years ago is completely unrecognizable and aimed at a different audience than the one I’m a part of. Ho-hum.

  3. It’s too easy to define something as a “gimmick.” That’s been going on for a long time, too. On the one hand, people complain that nothing ever changes in the comics. No one ever dies permanently. The same good guys are fighting the same bad guys with the same things. On the other hand, whenever there’s a change to that status quo, it gets called a “gimmick” (or worse).

    There’s been a growing call for more diversity in the comics lineup. Something to break up the club of White men. So Marvel is taking steps towards that. And it gets called out as a publicity stunt. To some degree, it is. But I think it’s also a good sign in some ways.

    Ultimately, the question is not whether it’s a gimmick but whether we end up with better stories and a richer universe. Time will tell.

    At least until they bring Steve back to coincide with the next movie. (Either that or kill off Steve in the movies and have Sam – who has a contract which will keep him in these movies for the next decade at least – take over for him in the movies, too.)

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