Movies & TV / Columns

Is Nostalgia Bad For the Comic Book Industry?

August 14, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
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I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Last week we covered House of X #2, Absolute Carnage #1, and more!

On with the show!

Last time we asked What’s the Future for Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood?. Here’s what some of you had to say:

TheCapn3001©2001: “showing my age but on first read I literally thought it was a remake of the Rob Lowe junior hockey movie”

Gil: “If I was Liefeld and had to split my properties into three, I would think I would keep Youngblood. Must have been in the details that Youngblood ended up with one of the the other guys.”

Feather Wifflebottom: “The Future? A trash can”

cheesus rice: “Rob Liefeld is the comic industry’s biggest hack. We might not get the Youngblood movie but thank god he still owns bloodwulf blood spawn and death spawn of bloodblood…”

Al Lobama: “Wasn’t there a 411Comics article last year about how Rob Liefeld was going to be publishing a Youngblood revival series with a new artist? What the heck ever happened to THAT?”

Ken Wood: “Finally had a chance to read the whole article. It’s a shame what happened but I’m not surprised. Rob never seemed like a wise business person.

I think I still own some of the original Prophet comics. They were okay but needed work back then. Not sure where it went, hopefully it’s good now.

Like I said before, Brigade and Blood Strike are great!”

To read all of the comments go HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we ask…

Is Nostalgia Bad For the Comic Book Industry?

The comic book industry has had a love/hate relationship with nostalgia. As much as they try to go in new directions and introduce new characters, they always circle back to the “tried and true”. Even if it’s the same characters and storylines that have been around for decades. And decades. And decades.

DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has been vocal about this and has expressed his frustration at the “overreliance on nostalgia” in the industry.

DiDio followed up on his remarks he made during Comic-Con about DC’s Facsimile Editions, reprints that reproduce classic comic book stories with the original ads and content intact, and their popularity among fans.

At ICv2, DiDio made some interesting points about influences that he feels “artificially” inflate the size of the market and hold back growth.

“Where my concern comes from is more about the overreliance on nostalgia, speculator marketing, variant covers, and a lot of things that seem to be driving numbers in sales to give the appearance of a healthy industry, but it’s not built on the ongoing success of the individual titles in order to keep those numbers successful and maintained,” DiDio said. ” If we’re creating these artificial highs on a continual basis, if something pulls that apart, does it break the infrastructure overall, and how do we change these buying patterns in that fashion to build something that is a more healthy business going forward?”

Oddly enough, DiDio flipped on this while he explained DC’s strategy for MAD magazine. DC recently announced MAD wouldn’t be sold on newstands and grocery stores; instead it would focus on subscriptions and direct market sales thanks to low sales.

“Our choice right now, though, is to go primarily with mostly reprint material because we feel that the nostalgic material is really what people have been enjoying most, and we want to go back with again,” DiDio explained. “There’ll still be a smattering of original material in several of the books going forward. We have a plan that still pushes out for the next year, and we’ll be reviewing how this strategy has worked over the next year to see whether or not we continue on moving past that. Right now, we’re still publishing. We’ll still have new material. We’ll still have the Mad 20. We will still have other things that people come to look forward to in MAD.”

“The biggest change was that we had to get it off the newsstand. It was bleeding the magazine, and unfortunately, we have to make tough business choices sometimes … And right now, we’re going to make sure that it exists through subscriptions and Direct Market.”

The comic book industry isn’t the only one that uses nostalgia. Movies and television are just as guilty of mining the well. Yet, comic books have a deep anchor in the past. Will that eventually be its final downfall?

What are your thoughts on nostalgia?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!