The Future of Transformers comics?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Hans, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Hans

    Hans Secret Agent

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    You make a very valid point, especially in your first sentence. I was talking to a guy that owns two comic shops in Germany recently. He told me that he's hardly selling comics these days. Superheroes are more popular than ever, yet comics aren't selling anymore.
    He said people see a couple of movies, dress up as that hero on a convention, buy a single trade paperback on Amazon, and then they call themselves "fans". It may be a bit sarcastic, but it certainly illustrates a point ;) 
     
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  2. rikkomba

    rikkomba Retired Minicon Guru

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    IDW comics have become the primary engine of advertising, lore building and brand development for Transformers.
    The only other new medium, the Machinima cartoon, is impossible to follow without having read the comics. IDW writers have created so many assets for the franchise, which is impossible to understate the value these comics have been bringing to the shareholders' table.

    Moreover, with Michael Bay Hasbro has to embark on a very expensive project, making major stakeholder happy and dealing with a terrible storyteller.
    With comics, Hasbro has been able to push IDW around as needed, interfering in carefully laid storylines to advertise the Hasbroverse.

    The crossover with Visionaries is the natural consequence of IDW comics' value as a channel: you can't piggyback on Transformers if the gap is too wide, and something had to be done. "magic", that is.

    I think there's too much value to the IDW universe for a full reboot. If Unicron's return is the last great story IDW has planned so far, in 2018 we'll probably see a "castrated reset" in DC comics style, with a fresh new start which will connect to the old continuity after 6 months or so.
     
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  3. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    Optimus Prime 14 was more of the same: More pointless inner monologue, More intro dumps, More characters IDW and its writers feel we are not supposed to care about get killed like it's nothing. More inane babble by the usual suspects. Having Bludgeon act as subservient as he did towards Starscream was pathetic writing. And a final that revealed an interesting alliance you know Barber will spin into a boring "the heroes save the day yet again" story.
    I doubt we will get anything better if IDW G1 gets replaced by something new, but I'm up for the experiment. Unicron can eat them all, let Hasbro sort them out.
    It would at least be an original and innovative ending to this universe which gave us a lot of good and a lot of bad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  4. GoLion

    GoLion No longer a collector

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    That's IDW to a T. Long winded buildup with extremely weak resolutions.
     
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  5. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    IDW problem is with the Crossovers and they need to get back to writing stories for Transformers alone. I think they had too many events that tie into the toy lines of Hasbro owned properties.
     
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  6. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    Comichron: Industry-wide Comics and Graphic Novel Sales for 2016

    According to that analysis, in 2016:
    $590 million was (potentially) spent on trades & graphic novels.
    $405 million was (potentially) spent on monthly floppies.
    $90 million was (potentially) spent on digital downloads.

    Or, by channel:
    $570 million was (potentially) spent in comic shops.
    $405 million was (potentially) spent at retail outlets.
    $90 million was (potentially) spent via digital outlets.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  7. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    I wasn’t saying new is bad. But I am saying that to sustain long term health of a franchise you have to bring in AND sustain those new fans AND your old fans.

    Look at sports teams as an example: The Patriots (from the NFL) are a really good team (that hurts to say), and have had sustained success with Tom Brady as the QB and Bill Belichick as HC. Before that? They had NEVER won anything and were a regional team at best, though now they are a national/international brand. However, they aren’t the sustained franchises in the sport, yet. That goes to teams like the Dallas Cowboys (ouch), or the Pittsburg Steelers (ouch x2), or the Green Bay Packers (ouch x3) - the sustained success, even-when-they-are-down-they-fill-stadiums-franchises. When Brady and Belichick retire, will the Patriots be able to sustain success? Will all those new fans buy tickets and merchandise for the Patriots if the Pats don’t win big as often? That remains to be seen, and unfortunately that’s a lot like Transformers.

    Transformers has always been a niche, a regional power. We aren’t a big name franchise, even with big movie titles. We are the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Star Wars/Star Trek are the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers. Coming back to IDW, did all those new fans from a few years ago continue to buy books and merchandise? Obviously not, or otherwise sales wouldn’t be roughly HALF of their totals from what they were a few years ago. So, either IDW did an AMAZING job alienating long time fans so that the only fans left are new fans, or the new fans got bored, or it’s a combination of lost readers from both groups. So what happens to the franchise when the new fans’ favorite authors leave or the title they originally bought is canceled? Are they going to jump ship or are they going to help sustain the franchise?

    Granted, I am someone who grew up with G1, and lived through its rise and decline, and BW, and RiD, and then DW, and now IDW, and I will continue to buy TF books and merchandise afterward because I’ve passed it on to my kids (much like I’ve done with my sports teams and other intangibles), and I suspect the average poster on this board is more committed than most, but it’s still not going to maintain long term franchise health for a niche product. For that, you need a quality, sustainable product that resonates with new AND old fans. I just don’t know IDW is ever going to be able to achieve that with their current status quo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  8. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    Nothing wrong with that. Well, the comics don't have anything of that.
    I think it was Iron Maiden who tracked where most of their songs were pirated and made a concert there, because there were most of their fans.
     
  9. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    I'd rather have they continued Robots in Disguise and More than meets the eye with their respective names and numbering and that they would not build-up all the time to something. I would like that they would really have many different adventures. Well, the books always have titles, but it does not feel like we read different adventures, it feels like we're watching them on their way. The Lost Light never really having reached Cyberutopia in the past felt frustrating. It felt like an endless episode with many things happening, but no end in sight and people just doing things. I would like maybe sometimes having a plot that takes only 1 or 2 issues, than some that run for 6 issues, etc. When I think of the old Marvel comics, I know exactly different adventures they had. The old comics under Furman also had this. But the new ones are reeeeeeaaaaaallyyyyyyy long singular stories in a way. What is the word for the opposite of that? More serialized? I like overarching plot points, but I also like clear closed adventures in between on the way to getting their. And I also like getting there...

    It's now YEARS that they are on their way to Cyberutopia. I would have loved if they reached that after a year or two years tops and then the next overarching plot. I enjoy the comics so far, but if it was different, I would like it better.

    This way I don't remember plot details that happened two or three years ago that suddenly might be of importance again. And new readers will not know those either.

    Stories like ROM Vs Transformers could have taken part in either the RID or the MTMTE book.
     
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  10. Danny-Boy

    Danny-Boy Centurion

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    Not really. Not is it 200 years in the past, but half the cast comes from a different comic series. It needed to be its own separate mini.
     
  11. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    In other comics we also have guest stars. That's how they could have treated that. And we also had stories that played in the past of Cybertron in either of the books. It would make the books stronger if the stories were more diverse.
     
  12. Danny-Boy

    Danny-Boy Centurion

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    But what about all the ROM readers who would miss out because they don’t follow TFs or are otherwise forced to buy a title they don’t care about? Isn’t that the exact complaint TF fans lobby against the crossovers now?
     
  13. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    They could put it on the cover "featuring ROM THE SPACEKNIGHT!" or something like that.

    I don't know how many Marvel comics I missed where some of my favorite super heroes were guests in books that I don't follow. That's how it is.

    Also that was just an example of what kind of stuff I would have loved to see.
     
  14. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    This. I don't know why, but pretty much ALL their writers share this weakness.
     
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  15. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    Blackest Night from DC suffered heavy from this.
     
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  16. dj_convoy II

    dj_convoy II Remix!

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    Sticking the landing on a big story is often a problem, particularly in the land of continuing, serialized fiction. Most often, you have to put the toys back int heir box or return to some sort of status quo. Definitely not just a Transformers problem.
     
  17. DecepsRule7

    DecepsRule7 Well-Known Member

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    No arguments here on any of the points raised so far. I like the idea of a reboot, but with a shared movie verse on the horizon I think it’s more likely IDW continues the current path. I’m not saying I agree with or advocate this.

    I also can’t help but wonder if there has been a bigger shift with the direct market in relation to all IDW titles, not just TF’s. When the TF titles were around 9-10k consistently (I think that was prior to resetting the numbers back to 1 following the issue 57’s), I think TMNT was consistently in the 17-18k range followed by MLP friendship is magic in the 14-16k range. It appears those titles have taken a big dip in the same time frame as LL and OP.

    For a long time the word has been that digital sales were not cannabalizing print sales. Could that have shifted? Has there been a decrease in LCS’s? Are there more indie companies competing for shelf space and is that hurting IDW titles across the board? Could IDW have done something to tick off retailers? I’m just “spit-balling” because it seems the sales decrease may be a larger issue vs a TF issue solely as most IDW titles seem to be down from where they were a year ago even.

    Chris Ryall was recently moved back into the role of Editor in Chief. I don’t think this was a coincidence.
     
  18. Hans

    Hans Secret Agent

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    I don't think retailers are unhappy with IDW, they are practically the only company that offers returns on all their titles (I believe. At least all Transformers comics are returnable. Oh, and since the comichron numbers only mention the amount of issues shipped, not including the returned copies, it could be that sales are even lower...).

    If the other titles are seeing a sales dip as well, I have no idea why that happened. Maybe the quality of the writing and\or art has dropped there as well? I think the crossovers didn't help for Transformers, but there could be other factors at play across the board too.

    Oh, and I'm definitely not looking forward to a shared movie universe. I barely tolerate the Michael Bay mess as it is (actually, I can only manage to see it because Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are in it). And the GI Joe movies are terrible. Putting those two together can only result in an even bigger disaster.... : P
     
  19. DecepsRule7

    DecepsRule7 Well-Known Member

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    Just saw this article on Bleeding Cool:

    IDW Announce Better Terms For Comic Book Retailers - And An Artifact Edition of X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga - Bleeding Cool News And Rumors

    I didn't mean to imply that retailers were unhappy with IDW. But some of the business side of things may have started to cause a shift in retailer buying patterns. This type of move shows IDW is trying to provide incentives to the retailers. I work in sales and many times there are decisions made by the higher ups, such as how much of a cut distribution gets or the retailers, etc. Those types of decisions can many times help the field team when dealing with end users or cut our legs out from under us. It could be that other publishers were starting to make some of these deals more enticing to compete with IDW, which resulted in line wide decrease of IDW titles. That was my thought when I noticed all titles going down. Because the likelihood of all of their comics instantly sucking is low. Now IDW is responding with something like this.
     
  20. Rodimus Prime

    Rodimus Prime Sola Gratia, Sola Fide TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think that things are going to get... interesting. Some comic youtuber (no, not the diversity guy -- one that I have never heard of before ) decided that he was really tired of how the IDW writers act online towards fans. He called HASBRO up and spoke to a customer representative, giving several examples of bad behavior online. The rep then said that since he gave specific examples from a company that is representing their brands, they will make sure to send the complaint up the chain.

    Can't link due to political stuff, but the guy's user name is umbrella something or another. Never heard of him before someone sent me the link.
     
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