You make some good points, but... [img]http://18.104.22.168/ubb/smile.gif[/img]
"The scenario you describe - Dc cancelling all its books and going reprint is a credible one. So credible that I suspect it has already been examined seriously by both Marvel and DC and rejected."
True. But Time Warner have new management, which means new thinking, and a new look at everything.
"If they were that desperate to save money and they rejected the obvious option of sacking 90% of editorial and going reprint there had to be a valid reason."
Marvel were more of an indepedant entity that was far more reliant on new comics for revenue. But they are hanging on for the killing they expect to make from the X-Men and Spiderman movies.
"1. The domestic publication of the new material may not make money but it underwrites the international sale of the rights. A mid-level Marvel or DC title may (I'm guessing here) make or lose a few hundred dollars doemsticly - then the company sells the material again in 5 or 10 different foreign markets (everywhere from South Africa to Poland to the Phillipines to Israel to Brazil)."
Yes, but they don't neeed new material to do that - in most countries comics are far more disposable, and turnover their audiences every generation. You could keep reselling the same 60 years worth of back catalogue for generations. In Europe this is what Disney do - they package up old material and keep it in print, because they know that new readers will keep coming in who have never seen it before.
"As I understand it, the companies work similarly to the movie studios - if you want Superman or X-men you buy a package which might include several less popular series as well."
True, but you don't need to keep coming up with new series to do this - sell the rights to Hawkman or Silver Surfer again instead.
"I also think it's misleading to say that DC hasn't produced a successful media property since the'40's. It depends on your definition of success. For example, Warlord was optioned for a movie (several times I believe) and was the basis of a toy line."
I think a Warner suit would define success as a property that brings in large, regualr amounts of money because it has lots of merchandising potential. When was the Warlord toy line? Late 70s? How many non comics fans (or even current fans) know who Warlord is, could recognise him, and would buy merchandise (which is where the real money is, as I'm sure you're aware) today. Not many. Warlord hasn't slipped into the zeitgeist, hence he is not terribly successful from a suit point of view.
""Steel" may have bombed as a movie but Dc probably earned a six or seven figure sum from it anyway. Ditto for the Human Target tele-movie."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Warner's still paid for them. DC may have made some money, but at the cost of another division (film, TV). Why prop up one division at the expense of another?
"Remember that "success" to corporate suits doesn't mean critical or artistic success or even a completed product - it means a positive dollar return to the bottom line."
I agree completely - but DC is a small fish in a very big sea at T-W, and the overall bottom line is far more important than that of one division.
"Half the comics on the stands today are there as prospectuses for movie and tv properties. Whether they actually turn a proift from the comic is largely irrelevant provided the company's overall hit rate is acceptable."
But DC's hit rate is negligible (in the 90s: the Batman movies, Lois & Clark, that's about it). Even when they sell their rights, they mostly get sold to Warner Bros or one of their subsiduaries - so T-W loses. Like I said - why bother publishing comics, if you're only making money out of old stuff anyway?
"One "Blade" movie pays for an awful lot of comics."
Yet Marvel are still massively in debt.
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