Monday, October 25, 2010

Is Boom! REALLY a Bust? No, But...

While I'm trying to find the time to catch up on my comics reading, I ran across this take on Boom!'s handling of the Disney comics line. I'm definitely in agreement with "The Hyperionites" on the issue of Boom!'s reliance on continuing story lines. Not that Boom! should abandon the notion entirely -- I'm fine with the serialization of Casty's stories in WDC&S and the treatment of the material in DARKWING DUCK in a manner more befitting a superhero -- but there's no point to running multi-part stories simply for the sake of running multi-part stories. For sure, MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS #300 would have been a lot more special had Boom! run "300 Mickeys" in its entirety. Of course, the book would have been more expensive, but Boom! seems to have no problem raising the prices of individual issues for the flimsiest of reasons ("foil-embossing," anyone?). Asking readers to pay an additional $1 or $1.50 for a complete, "300-friendly" adventure wouldn't have cost too much in terms of circulation.

One reason for hope regarding the issue of "lack of sufficient content for the money" is that we are starting to see backup stories with a fair amount of regularity. The reduction of advertising pages is a welcome trend, as well. No longer do we see multiple pages bringing the latest MUPPETS-related releases to our attention. In fact, I think that Boom! would do well to imitate Harvey Comics (which "The Hyperionites" correctly finger as a very kid-friendly line) and put "coming issue" information for all of its Disney-Pixar releases on a special page, together with brief blurbs about what's in each issue. Even Star Comics did the readers that favor.

Boom! can certainly improve how it packages and markets its collections. The article's praise of Bongo Comics' trade paperbacks is interesting in that Bongo has done nothing but reprint SIMPSONS COMICS issue-by-issue -- just as Boom! was doing with its entire line at one point. And therein lies the difference: be judicious about what recently published material you collect. It's clear that Casty and DARKWING (plus, I imagine, RESCUE RANGERS when it becomes available) are Boom!'s strongest selling points at the moment, so, by all means, give those works a handsome paperback treatment -- but DON'T reprint every single story arc separately; try to package where appropriate. Also, Boom! should consider giving those willing to buy the paperbacks something extra -- perhaps a potted history of the Darkwing Duck TV series (which would also fit well as part of the collection of DARKWING stories from DISNEY ADVENTURES that Boom! will be letting loose in a couple of months) or a longer interview with Casty. As for the hardbacks, I'm already on record as favoring classic, Gemstone- and Gladstone-style material for those, should Boom! see fit to revive them.

Perhaps Boom! will address these and other issues during "Boom! Kids 2.0" next year. The mere fact that they're going through such an exercise suggests that they're ascending a "learning curve" of some sort. Only time will tell whether said "curve" leads to the plateau of Shangri-La or to a plummet off a cliff.

1 comment:

Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Interesting article. I obviously agree that Boom!'s handling of the license has frequently been highly questionable, to put it diplomatically. I can only assume that their obsession with serialization--even for stories that were never meant to be serialized--was meant to hook readers in a Scheherazade-like fashion, but it doesn't appear to me that the validity of this strategy has been borne out.

Things like Around the World in 80 Bucks would irritate me much less if they were published in digests akin to Gemstone's Donald Duck Adventures. That would be appropriate. But making them the company's centerpieces? Argh.