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Author Topic: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?  (Read 3063 times)

Mistwell

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2021, 06:20:26 PM »
Just look at Marvel as a good example. The Marvel print Comics division is shit. Perpetual declining sales numbers, annually laid off staff, with no upswing in sight.

I keep hearing this. I guess it made some geek news circles and nobody every questioned it and just takes it as gospel.

So let's start with comics in general:

"The comic book industry saw record growth in 2019, averaging $1 billion in the combined graphic novel and single-issue sales. The comic book industry experienced record growth in 2019, with combined sales of graphic novels and single issues in the United States and Canada equalling a total of $1.21 billion -- an 11% increase from 2018. The massive shift to graphic novels as the preferred format for comics continued in 2019, bringing sales in the book channel above the comic store channel in North America for the first time in the history of the medium. The biggest driving force behind sales were graphic novels, which tend to be sold in bookstores and comic book shops. Graphic novel sales accounted for around $765 million, while single issues totaled close to $355 million. Digital comics accounted for about $90 million, while sales made in bookstores totaled were closer to $570 million. Finally, approximately $525 million in sales came from local comic shops and $25 million in sales came via "other methods," including crowdfunding sites."

"Marvel dominated the market share for periodicals with a 44.72%-30.74% lead over DC in unit share and a 40.2% to 29.29% lead in dollar share. That roughly echoes 2018’s market share numbers, with a slight uptick in Marvel’s favor."



Now obviously Covid has messed with a lot of this for 2020. But, the comic book industry isn't like people seem to think it is.

BronzeDragon

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2021, 06:22:45 PM »
We'll see how it does, but looks like it will be released as a major movie.

So was Warcraft.

$160,000,000 budget (x2 for advertising is the standard for blockbusters, more for Disney)
$439,048,914 worldwide gross (20-40% of this is retained by cinemas and distributors)

This movie, riding a far, far larger customer base and general popularity, very likely lost about 100-150 million dollars.

Now think about what kind of story will be filmed for the D&D movie and what sort of scenario is probably going to develop for the production. I am positive it's heading towards a blowout of "Cutthroat Island" proportions.
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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2021, 06:46:42 PM »
Just look at Marvel as a good example. The Marvel print Comics division is shit. Perpetual declining sales numbers, annually laid off staff, with no upswing in sight.

I keep hearing this. I guess it made some geek news circles and nobody every questioned it and just takes it as gospel.

So let's start with comics in general:

"The comic book industry saw record growth in 2019, averaging $1 billion in the combined graphic novel and single-issue sales. The comic book industry experienced record growth in 2019, with combined sales of graphic novels and single issues in the United States and Canada equalling a total of $1.21 billion -- an 11% increase from 2018. The massive shift to graphic novels as the preferred format for comics continued in 2019, bringing sales in the book channel above the comic store channel in North America for the first time in the history of the medium. The biggest driving force behind sales were graphic novels, which tend to be sold in bookstores and comic book shops. Graphic novel sales accounted for around $765 million, while single issues totaled close to $355 million. Digital comics accounted for about $90 million, while sales made in bookstores totaled were closer to $570 million. Finally, approximately $525 million in sales came from local comic shops and $25 million in sales came via "other methods," including crowdfunding sites."

"Marvel dominated the market share for periodicals with a 44.72%-30.74% lead over DC in unit share and a 40.2% to 29.29% lead in dollar share. That roughly echoes 2018’s market share numbers, with a slight uptick in Marvel’s favor."



Now obviously Covid has messed with a lot of this for 2020. But, the comic book industry isn't like people seem to think it is.

Most of those sales are legacy sales.  A few years ago 100000 copies sold was a big triumph (which would have been sad back in the 1990s), now 40000 copies sold of a new comic would be an epic success. The supposed "super popular" SJW characters like Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel have routinely sold in the 10000 and 8000 range respectively.  The new SJW GI Joe was lucky to sell 2000.

No one is buying the new comics. Note that even those figures are inflated because marvel ships extra unpaid copies and lists them as "shipped", which most people think of as 'sold'.

The vast majority of the money Marvel and DC are making now are from, as you point out, OLD Comics in graphic novel format now. Watchmen (the original, not any of the garbage sequels) probably makes DC more money THIS YEAR than any comic they are currently paying people to make.

How long can that industry exist in this current form that way? 
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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2021, 07:15:38 PM »
The thing about the D&D movie is that we can wait and see - so it seems pointless to argue about whether it will be a success or not.  (And it's all probability anyway).

It's certainly not guaranteed to be a success.  Properties that are not based on a recognisable pre-exsiting narrative have often struggled (but not necessarily - eg Pirates of the Caribbean).

It may be a resounding success.  It's hardly guaranteed.

Greywolf76

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2021, 07:37:37 PM »
I mean aside of drama queens wasn't Werewolf practically in 88% of campaigns played as heroic werewolves vs bad corporation poisoning crops of normie people?

Never seen the drama queens in Werewolf. Vampire, on the other hand... ::)

Anyway, you're partially correct. W:tA was pretty much like the old Captain Planet cartoon, but instead of kids with magical rings fighting bad guys who wanted to pollute the planet you had werewolves fighting a big bad corporation who wanted to pollute the planet.

Pollution wasn't their goal, however, but means to an end: turning the planet into a literal and spiritual cesspool.

I saw potential there, but removed all the tree-hugging and "punk" elements that turned the setting into a self-caricature.

I added elements of myth and folklore, planar traveling (the Umbra, with all its different Realms, was full of potential), urban fantasy, and political intrigue. I added many different villains, from secret societies (like the Enlightened Society of the Weeping Moon from "Werewolf: Old West") and corrupted werewolves and humans, to old evil spirits (heavily inspired by the Great Beasts from John Byrne's Alpha Flight) and other supernatural creatures. 

I treated the werewolves as the mythical guardians of Earth, not as eco-terrorists fighting Pentex, but literally as protectors of both physical and spiritual worlds who fought many different menaces (and, believe it or not, this was a few years before "Werewolf: the Forsaken" was published).


Pat

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2021, 01:11:20 AM »
Most of those sales are legacy sales.  A few years ago 100000 copies sold was a big triumph (which would have been sad back in the 1990s), now 40000 copies sold of a new comic would be an epic success. The supposed "super popular" SJW characters like Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel have routinely sold in the 10000 and 8000 range respectively.  The new SJW GI Joe was lucky to sell 2000.

No one is buying the new comics. Note that even those figures are inflated because marvel ships extra unpaid copies and lists them as "shipped", which most people think of as 'sold'.

The vast majority of the money Marvel and DC are making now are from, as you point out, OLD Comics in graphic novel format now. Watchmen (the original, not any of the garbage sequels) probably makes DC more money THIS YEAR than any comic they are currently paying people to make.

How long can that industry exist in this current form that way?
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

Unit sales of the comics being measured (Diamond, sliced a few ways) are down since 1997, but it's been up and down quite a few times since. There was a low in 2000, rising to a high around 2007, another low in 2010, and another high in 2015/2016. It's been down since, with a particularly steep drop in 2017, but it's still up from the previous lows in the aughts and teens. You can definitely argue there's been a drop since 2016, but 2019 (the last year) was a bit of rebound. Dollars aren't adjusted for inflation, but they're way up overall (estimates for the whole industry), and even up when only looking at comics not graphic novels (Diamond again). Graphic novels are definitely way up.

So it may be down from the years of iron and holograms in the 1990s, but in the last two decades there's been very strong growth in dollars overall, though that's more due to alternate formats like graphic novels than traditional comic books. Can't directly comment on how much of that is legacy, but just looking at traditional comic unit sales, which are probably all new as opposed to reprints, there's more evidence of a cyclical core industry than one in a death spiral.

Agree that movie sales eclipse the comic industry, that should be obvious. Can't comment on fraudulent accounting practices.

hedgehobbit

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2021, 08:22:48 AM »
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

The only segment that is growing is graphic novels and, according to comichron: "Sales of kids graphic novels in the book channel, which includes chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs were once again driving the format." These kid's graphic novels are things like Raina Telgemeier, Babysitters Club, Sunny, etc. They are not superhero comics. Traditional superhero comics are falling hard and sales of these kid's books are in no way helping Marvel or comic shops.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 08:49:17 AM by hedgehobbit »

RPGPundit

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2021, 03:02:16 PM »
Most of those sales are legacy sales.  A few years ago 100000 copies sold was a big triumph (which would have been sad back in the 1990s), now 40000 copies sold of a new comic would be an epic success. The supposed "super popular" SJW characters like Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel have routinely sold in the 10000 and 8000 range respectively.  The new SJW GI Joe was lucky to sell 2000.

No one is buying the new comics. Note that even those figures are inflated because marvel ships extra unpaid copies and lists them as "shipped", which most people think of as 'sold'.

The vast majority of the money Marvel and DC are making now are from, as you point out, OLD Comics in graphic novel format now. Watchmen (the original, not any of the garbage sequels) probably makes DC more money THIS YEAR than any comic they are currently paying people to make.

How long can that industry exist in this current form that way?
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

Unit sales of the comics being measured (Diamond, sliced a few ways) are down since 1997, but it's been up and down quite a few times since. There was a low in 2000, rising to a high around 2007, another low in 2010, and another high in 2015/2016. It's been down since, with a particularly steep drop in 2017, but it's still up from the previous lows in the aughts and teens. You can definitely argue there's been a drop since 2016, but 2019 (the last year) was a bit of rebound. Dollars aren't adjusted for inflation, but they're way up overall (estimates for the whole industry), and even up when only looking at comics not graphic novels (Diamond again). Graphic novels are definitely way up.

So it may be down from the years of iron and holograms in the 1990s, but in the last two decades there's been very strong growth in dollars overall, though that's more due to alternate formats like graphic novels than traditional comic books. Can't directly comment on how much of that is legacy, but just looking at traditional comic unit sales, which are probably all new as opposed to reprints, there's more evidence of a cyclical core industry than one in a death spiral.

Agree that movie sales eclipse the comic industry, that should be obvious. Can't comment on fraudulent accounting practices.

This past month only TWO comics, in the entire industry, was estimated by diamond to have shipped more than 100K copies. Only 17 in total (including the first two) shipped more than 50K.  SEVENTEEN COMICS in the entire industry.  The SJW-favorite Captain Marvel in a special issue that was also a number one, written by SJW writers that Marvel constantly insists are super famous and super popular writers (though numbers seem to always, always prove the opposite), DIDN'T EVEN MAKE 25K.

The "Magnificent Ms Marvel", which we are assured by Marvel is the Muslim Teen Fascist Superhero EVERYONE Loves, and they've forced her onto every cartoon, and soon into the Marvel Cinematic Universe despite ZERO actual evidence that ANYONE wants her, is shipping 13K copies (and again, anything up to 3/4s of that might be from forced free shipping to comic stores, unsolicited by comic store owners, and doomed to rot in a 5-cent bargain bin forever unread).

I don't know why you're trying to insist that the Communist-run Horse-and-Buggy factory is a thriving industry run by a proven ideology, but you're full of shit.
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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2021, 03:05:07 PM »
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

The only segment that is growing is graphic novels and, according to comichron: "Sales of kids graphic novels in the book channel, which includes chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs were once again driving the format." These kid's graphic novels are things like Raina Telgemeier, Babysitters Club, Sunny, etc. They are not superhero comics. Traditional superhero comics are falling hard and sales of these kid's books are in no way helping Marvel or comic shops.

The Scholastics scam is Communist SJW comic writers making products NO ONE would ever voluntarily buy or read, then getting Communist Librarians to push them through Communist School Boards to get Communist Teachers to force kids to make their parents buy books that will attempt to subvert their very children into destroying the family.
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Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
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Pat

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2021, 04:13:24 PM »
Most of those sales are legacy sales.  A few years ago 100000 copies sold was a big triumph (which would have been sad back in the 1990s), now 40000 copies sold of a new comic would be an epic success. The supposed "super popular" SJW characters like Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel have routinely sold in the 10000 and 8000 range respectively.  The new SJW GI Joe was lucky to sell 2000.

No one is buying the new comics. Note that even those figures are inflated because marvel ships extra unpaid copies and lists them as "shipped", which most people think of as 'sold'.

The vast majority of the money Marvel and DC are making now are from, as you point out, OLD Comics in graphic novel format now. Watchmen (the original, not any of the garbage sequels) probably makes DC more money THIS YEAR than any comic they are currently paying people to make.

How long can that industry exist in this current form that way?
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

Unit sales of the comics being measured (Diamond, sliced a few ways) are down since 1997, but it's been up and down quite a few times since. There was a low in 2000, rising to a high around 2007, another low in 2010, and another high in 2015/2016. It's been down since, with a particularly steep drop in 2017, but it's still up from the previous lows in the aughts and teens. You can definitely argue there's been a drop since 2016, but 2019 (the last year) was a bit of rebound. Dollars aren't adjusted for inflation, but they're way up overall (estimates for the whole industry), and even up when only looking at comics not graphic novels (Diamond again). Graphic novels are definitely way up.

So it may be down from the years of iron and holograms in the 1990s, but in the last two decades there's been very strong growth in dollars overall, though that's more due to alternate formats like graphic novels than traditional comic books. Can't directly comment on how much of that is legacy, but just looking at traditional comic unit sales, which are probably all new as opposed to reprints, there's more evidence of a cyclical core industry than one in a death spiral.

Agree that movie sales eclipse the comic industry, that should be obvious. Can't comment on fraudulent accounting practices.

This past month only TWO comics, in the entire industry, was estimated by diamond to have shipped more than 100K copies. Only 17 in total (including the first two) shipped more than 50K.  SEVENTEEN COMICS in the entire industry.  The SJW-favorite Captain Marvel in a special issue that was also a number one, written by SJW writers that Marvel constantly insists are super famous and super popular writers (though numbers seem to always, always prove the opposite), DIDN'T EVEN MAKE 25K.

The "Magnificent Ms Marvel", which we are assured by Marvel is the Muslim Teen Fascist Superhero EVERYONE Loves, and they've forced her onto every cartoon, and soon into the Marvel Cinematic Universe despite ZERO actual evidence that ANYONE wants her, is shipping 13K copies (and again, anything up to 3/4s of that might be from forced free shipping to comic stores, unsolicited by comic store owners, and doomed to rot in a 5-cent bargain bin forever unread).

I don't know why you're trying to insist that the Communist-run Horse-and-Buggy factory is a thriving industry run by a proven ideology, but you're full of shit.
I'm not insisting anything. I looked up data, and presented what I found. The results surprised me. I thought there was going to be evidence of a decline, but there simply wasn't.

You haven't presented any counterargument, at all. Because the sales of a single title, or even the sales of the top 2 comics, over a single year, don't tell us a damn thing about whether the industry is growing, shrinking, or remains relatively stable. How many were sold last year? The year before? Ten years ago? In order to assess the state of the industry, we need to have data from previous years, to compare.

Since you haven't presented any real data, or any sources, and your entire post seems to hinge on an obsession with a concentration camp worker, it's a safe bet you're just flat-out wrong.

Pat

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2021, 04:25:02 PM »
Evidence doesn't really support that. Here are many different ways of looking at the size of the comics industry, going back to 1997 for much of the data:
https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

The only segment that is growing is graphic novels and, according to comichron: "Sales of kids graphic novels in the book channel, which includes chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs were once again driving the format." These kid's graphic novels are things like Raina Telgemeier, Babysitters Club, Sunny, etc. They are not superhero comics. Traditional superhero comics are falling hard and sales of these kid's books are in no way helping Marvel or comic shops.
I wondered if there was a shift. I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown. But the links I've provided show that while sales of graphic novels are way up, traditional comic book formats unit sales haven't been dropping. Has there been a shift in that market, as well? I haven't seen anything like a comic book rack in traditional book stores, and I don't know enough about scholastic book fairs to know how many sales they can drive.

Anecdotally, the last time I stopped at a comic book shop I saw a young girl and her mother come in. The girl had never been there before, but had clearly begged her mother to bring her. But she was looking for manga and left disappointed because that's not the store's focus. Then a second group of girls showed up, with similar interests. Given that was literally half their foot traffic during that period, if that's at all representative, they're making a business mistake by not catering to them.

Mistwell

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2021, 05:35:05 PM »
Just look at Marvel as a good example. The Marvel print Comics division is shit. Perpetual declining sales numbers, annually laid off staff, with no upswing in sight.

I keep hearing this. I guess it made some geek news circles and nobody every questioned it and just takes it as gospel.

So let's start with comics in general:

"The comic book industry saw record growth in 2019, averaging $1 billion in the combined graphic novel and single-issue sales. The comic book industry experienced record growth in 2019, with combined sales of graphic novels and single issues in the United States and Canada equalling a total of $1.21 billion -- an 11% increase from 2018. The massive shift to graphic novels as the preferred format for comics continued in 2019, bringing sales in the book channel above the comic store channel in North America for the first time in the history of the medium. The biggest driving force behind sales were graphic novels, which tend to be sold in bookstores and comic book shops. Graphic novel sales accounted for around $765 million, while single issues totaled close to $355 million. Digital comics accounted for about $90 million, while sales made in bookstores totaled were closer to $570 million. Finally, approximately $525 million in sales came from local comic shops and $25 million in sales came via "other methods," including crowdfunding sites."

"Marvel dominated the market share for periodicals with a 44.72%-30.74% lead over DC in unit share and a 40.2% to 29.29% lead in dollar share. That roughly echoes 2018’s market share numbers, with a slight uptick in Marvel’s favor."



Now obviously Covid has messed with a lot of this for 2020. But, the comic book industry isn't like people seem to think it is.

Most of those sales are legacy sales.  A few years ago 100000 copies sold was a big triumph (which would have been sad back in the 1990s), now 40000 copies sold of a new comic would be an epic success. The supposed "super popular" SJW characters like Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel have routinely sold in the 10000 and 8000 range respectively.  The new SJW GI Joe was lucky to sell 2000.

No one is buying the new comics. Note that even those figures are inflated because marvel ships extra unpaid copies and lists them as "shipped", which most people think of as 'sold'.

The vast majority of the money Marvel and DC are making now are from, as you point out, OLD Comics in graphic novel format now. Watchmen (the original, not any of the garbage sequels) probably makes DC more money THIS YEAR than any comic they are currently paying people to make.

How long can that industry exist in this current form that way?

Most graphic novels are new and not reprints of monthly published prior comics. The market shifted. It's not Watchman. It's not old comics in a new format. For the most part, it's brand new stuff.

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2021, 09:50:19 PM »
I mean aside of drama queens wasn't Werewolf practically in 88% of campaigns played as heroic werewolves vs bad corporation poisoning crops of normie people?

Never seen the drama queens in Werewolf. Vampire, on the other hand... ::)

Anyway, you're partially correct. W:tA was pretty much like the old Captain Planet cartoon, but instead of kids with magical rings fighting bad guys who wanted to pollute the planet you had werewolves fighting a big bad corporation who wanted to pollute the planet.

Pollution wasn't their goal, however, but means to an end: turning the planet into a literal and spiritual cesspool.

I saw potential there, but removed all the tree-hugging and "punk" elements that turned the setting into a self-caricature.

I added elements of myth and folklore, planar traveling (the Umbra, with all its different Realms, was full of potential), urban fantasy, and political intrigue. I added many different villains, from secret societies (like the Enlightened Society of the Weeping Moon from "Werewolf: Old West") and corrupted werewolves and humans, to old evil spirits (heavily inspired by the Great Beasts from John Byrne's Alpha Flight) and other supernatural creatures. 

I treated the werewolves as the mythical guardians of Earth, not as eco-terrorists fighting Pentex, but literally as protectors of both physical and spiritual worlds who fought many different menaces (and, believe it or not, this was a few years before "Werewolf: the Forsaken" was published).

That’s how the Manitou in The Everlasting worked. Manitou were humans who were empowered by nature totems, which could be animals, plants, or even minerals. Although they did deal with humanity’s despoiling of the natural world, invasions by the setting’s equivalent of Lovecraftian aliens was considered a more pressing issue.

I suspect The Everlasting influenced nWoD/CoD because some of the jargon is identical (e.g. blood potency, numen).

Somebody once told me that nWoD/CoD was a creative disaster not because it tried to do something new but because it tried too hard to distance itself from its predecessor. They pointed to Mage as the most extreme example: it changed from a broader philosophical question to weird Blavatsky stuff.

I agree that Blavatsky might have been too extreme to use as the basis for an IP about DIY magic, but I don’t think “consensus reality” is all that great either. It plays right into science denial and postmodernist critical theory. E.g. flat earth belief, anti-vaccine sentiment, “woman is a social construct.” I don’t want to see those promoted as truth even in a fictional context.

But I digress

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2021, 10:24:12 PM »
Most graphic novels are new and not reprints of monthly published prior comics. The market shifted. It's not Watchman. It's not old comics in a new format. For the most part, it's brand new stuff.

Are you referring to manga? The western "graphic novels" I'm aware of are 99% reprinted monthly stuff. Marvel and DC did produce original graphic novels back in the 80's but you don't see those on the shelves these days.

Up until a few years ago I was a lifelong comic geek, starting in the 70's. But, you drive to the comic shop and don't see anything worth buying one too many times, and you stop going.  That's how you lose a customer for life. I've been using the Comichron site for quite some time to see the industry trends. It's a great site! You can go down quite a rabbit hole with this, if you care to.

Overall, I have to agree with Pundit here. The woke books just don't sell (Saga being the ONE exception, which is written by one of the best, and pubished by Image).

While it does look like the Marvel stuff is making a comeback, and with the consideration that other publishers ate into Marvel's market share during the "peak woke" period, you should look at what happened then. Notice the slowdown in 2016 and the dip in 2017.

https://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales.html

Drilling down a little deeper take a look at this

https://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2017/2017-02.html

Marvel would generally have at least half of the top 20 spots, with Spider Man, Wolverine, X-men and (Avengers in the new milennium) being perennial best sellers. Seeing only Spider Man and Star Wars selling "well" must have freaked them out.

Looking at the last month before COVID 19, Marvel is back where it had usually been using the original characters. Captain Marvel doesn't crack the top 50 and Ms Marvel is clearly in the "dud" category.

https://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2020/2020-02.html

A few years back I read that 6000 sales was the break even point for a Marvel comic. I can't imagine that number has gone down.




Chris24601

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2021, 12:10:44 AM »
I agree that Blavatsky might have been too extreme to use as the basis for an IP about DIY magic, but I don’t think “consensus reality” is all that great either. It plays right into science denial and postmodernist critical theory. E.g. flat earth belief, anti-vaccine sentiment, “woman is a social construct.” I don’t want to see those promoted as truth even in a fictional context.

But I digress
The digression is more interesting than the actual topic though and is at least game related.

The thing to remember about “consensual reality” is it’s pretty much jargon in the same way that “disk drive” is in this era of solid-state flash drives... or the fact that the save icon looks like an old 3.5” floppy disk; it’s a term used even though it’s not actually all that accurate because it’s familiar and still somewhat covers the part related to magic.

Because, since pretty much late 2e and continuing through Revised and V20, the ACTUAL cosmology would be better described as an objective universe with will-based reality warping as an overlay.

That’s because late 2e on introduced the idea of “cosmological constants”; gravity, linear time, a round planet that orbits the sun, basic physics and chemistry; all of that stuff (among others) in Ascension has been established to exist independently of any will.

They also clarified “effect-based determinism.” i.e. the result of your magic is limited by the spheres used to produce it... you can’t use Correspondence to coincidentally get quickly across town by having a Taxi show up (that would be results-based determism... Correspondence allows quick travel from place to place so a coincidental use is that a Taxi just happens to be there and gets all green lights the whole way).

Rather, to just happen to have a Taxi waiting on the corner you’d need matter (to create a taxi), life and mind (to create a meat puppet taxi driver), prime (to create those from nothing), forces (to control the traffic lights) and correspondance (to affect anything beyond your line of sight) and a generous helping of knowledge in engineering (for the taxi) and biology (for the meat puppet driver).

In other words, Correspondence alone doesn’t cause reality to subjectively produce a taxi and driver. You have to deliberately warp reality using specific knowledge of many spheres of magic coupled with principles of physics, chemistry and biology.

Another example is that if you want to survive being shot by the bullet coincidentally hitting a whiskey flask in your pocket, then you better either already have a whiskey flask in your pocket (and either entropy or forces to guide the bullet to the flask) OR have matter magic to create a whiskey flask in your pocket.

M20 also clarified “hypothetical average observer” for coincidental/vulgar magic which further defines a less subjective and more objective reality. If you walk into a dark alley, no average person watching would think anything of it. Even if they were following you and couldn’t find you when they entered the alley they wouldn’t think “magic” they’d think you slipped out via a route you didn’t see.

Similarly, if you walked out of a dark alley on the other side of town, no one is going to think “magic” unless they knew for a fact you were 5 miles away 10 seconds ago (though if they did know that’s now vulgar with a witness).

Basically, all of these combined establish a non-consensual reality that mages are able to warp using their belief (bolstered by the tools and practices they believe work) to the specific limits of their avatar and will/arete... and which gets pushback from both the degree it violates objective laws (vulgar without witnesses) and even more severely from the unbelief of Sleeper (vulgar with witnesses).

Reality warpers with security blankets (their paradigm, practices and props) is really the only sort of system that can allow “everyone’s magical practices work” in any sort of coherent fashion. It’s also the version that best interacts with the broader World of Darkness and it’s need for certain objective truths for their settings to function.

The alternative is basically the largely rejected “one true way” approach that Awakening used.

So if it’s majority objective, why do they call it “consensus reality”? Because it’s an easy shorthand for explaining the fundamentals of the “reality warpers” abilities and limitations, but it’s about as accurate as claiming E=mc^2 is the whole of mass/energy equations.