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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Do comic-book movies make you want to read comic books more than you already do?

Already this year we’ve had The Green Hornet. Thor and Priest are upon us. Still to come this summer: X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America. If it’s summer, it must be time for the comic-book movies. But is there something else at work besides getting butts into seats with familiar characters with built-in appeal? Could it all be a nefarious plan to turn non-comic readers into comic buyers? Chris Thilk at Ad Age MediaWorks thinks there may be:

Could all these comic-book movies turn non-readers into comic buyers? That’s certainly part of what Marvel and DC have in mind.

Some tactics both Marvel and DC have employed before, and will probably trot out again this superhero-heavy summer, include:

Jumping-on Points: There’s so much history with superhero characters that non-readers complain it’s impossible to just buy an issue off the shelves and know what’s going on. So the publishers will heavily promote certain issues this summer as a “perfect jumping-on point for new readers” — one not part of a 12-issue story arc and not dependent on plot points first introduced 30+ years ago.

New or Limited Series: Probably the most-popular tactic employed, this achieves the same goal as the above but in an even more substantial way, providing new or casual buyers an easy point of entry into a character’s mythology. Often these new series will pit the hero of the movie against, conveniently, the villain he’s facing in the film.

Collections: Why sell a single issue when you can sell someone a collection of a half-dozen issues connected by a single story arc? Particularly popular for how they translate to mainstream book stores, trade paperback collections can act as ways for people to catch up on a character or characters in one fell swoop and hopefully get a large enough sample that they’re hooked. Bonus points for collections that use the word “Origin,” which is especially attractive among new buyers.

Thilk reveals more of the plan, as well.

What do you think? Will it work?

Do comic-book movies make you want to read comic books more than you already do?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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