Now that Avengers has landed and Batman and Spider-Man are close behind in the summer movie schedule the question always gets asked: What does this mean for comics? Does it raise sales on the books? Is the success of these power house comic movies going to cause a flood of new fans to attack the comics stores in mass like a zombie invasion?
As I mentioned in my previous post about Free Comic Book Day many kids asked for Captain America and Iron Man sketches. The awareness created by the films is obvious and widespread. These films and the advertising around them generates interest but what happens when these new fans want more? Where do they get new product and how do they know which books to pick up?
In the past I've blogged about how important I think it is for the Big Two to push the comics business through the other product. You can read my thoughts about it here: What Should Marvel Do?
Packaging comics with every single toy. Converting the main line of comics into exact duplicates of what the mainstream fans see in the movies, trade paperback end caps in the toy aisle next to the toys based on the movies were just some of the ideas I talked about. If the big companies wanted to really make a larger business out comics there are ways. Sure it would take some money to make it happen but that's what it takes to grow and maintain a business. I'm sure after the ATM machine that is the The Avengers they could throw a little bit at the comic industry to help rebuild the perception of the industry in the minds of the mainstream consumer. In print or digital It's a revenue stream that still has a huge upside and unrealized long term potential. It just needs fresh and more aggressive marketing techniques.
In the post digital download era music industry we've seen artists try some interesting sales and marketing ideas based around their live performances. VIP packages that include CD's and concert swag sold along with your seat comes to mind. I don't understand why they don't do this with comic movies. How many people would pay $50 bucks to see The Avengers in 3D that comes with a t-shirt a graphic novel or collectable exclusive comic? Imagine a kid pack that comes with a comic book adaptation of the movie and an Iron Man toy. Even something as simple as everyone who sees the movie in 3D gets a coupon for a free comic they can redeem at a comic or book store. From a brand loyalty perspective it makes perfect sense. You are building an army of new comic fans that as we know are the consistent supporters of the brand as well as early adopters and taste makers. In the world where word of mouth and social media can make or break a project why not invest in a new generation of fans.
The issue for comics in the last 20 years has been availability and awareness. How do you get new readers when they don't know where to buy comics and which comics to read? Piggybacking them on the backs of Multimillion dollar movies is a good start. Putting the source material first is not only smart, it's good long term business.