These things go down
CBR has data on Marvel's relaunches and how they affect sales (or, ultimately, don't). It's kind of sad to see that steady, almost unstoppable decline on every book (i do wonder how much of it is made up by digital sales, though).
Not the main point, but the article also gets to my personal bugaboo; the reason i bother to gripe about this:
Another unintended consequence of the repeated relaunches is, it makes recommending past story arcs increasingly challenging. Individual issues are available digitally on comiXology, the Marvel app and Marvel Digital Unlimited. It is no longer possible to easily point a casual reader in the direction of a good story arc with just a title and an issue number. Explaining to a casual reader which issue of "Captain America" starts the storyline which is the basis for the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" movie requires referencing volumes, creators and story arc titles. One volume too early, and they get the "Enemy" arc by John Ney Rieber. One volume too late, and they get Ed Brubaker's "American Dreamers" arc instead of "Out of Time." Unfortunately, that bell can't be unrung.
It's not just new readers on comiXology. It's an annoyance for any reader trying to locate some story arc that they've missed; it's been a challenge for me in the past on several occasions. And then there's the admittedly minor nuisance of cataloging this stuff, not just for my Timeline project but even just my personal list of comics i own. I think that's the sort of problem a lot of long term fans will run into but it's not one that Tom Brevoort has any sympathy for.
By fnord12 | May 6, 2014, 11:56 AM | Comics
As someone who quit reading any new comics around 2007 is that Marvel is now in permanent reset mode. From year to year a series' numbering, creators, and premise, and certainly the characters' personalities, may have no relation to what came immediately before, let alone what happened back in the days when I learned to care about the heroes. The last series I followed closely were relatively isolated ones with new heroes, like BKV's Runaways, Heinberg's Young Avengers, and PAD's Captain Marvel. I dabbled with other titles after those got canceled--Kirkman's Marvel Team-Up right as it was getting canceled, for example. And I still followed sites about new comics, but now I can't keep track of things or bring myself to care even from reading synopses, which were what brought me back in the early 2000s after quitting comics in '96. There just seems to be no permanence and no sense of Marvel as a universe with a history, it's just a meaningless series of reboots.
(That first sentence in my post above shoulda begun, "My sense as someone...)
My reaction to Brevoort's attitude, for what it's worth, is that I'm not interested in "good" stories by Brian Michael Bendis or whatever other stars the industry thinks it has; I'm interested in stories about characters I cared about a long time ago. If the characters aren't consistent, even in an arc of growth or cycle of recurrence, and the characters' personal histories have no cumulative significance, I'm basically being asked to care about a story only because it features a character who has the same corporate brand name as a totally different character from decades ago, and this new character appears in a a new story by a creator who thinks he's hot stuff. It's fine that Brevoort's company can sell this stuff to someone, but it's not stuff an old Marvel Zombie wants to buy.