Nearly 30 years experience running a comic shop…
90% (at a low estimate) of people who reserve their comics don’t bother to tell you when they quit. I use an “honour” system, so no money up front, and I usually keep the bag going at least a couple of months.
It isn’t just the loss of money - it’s actually surprisingly hurtful personally. These are people I’ve probably interacted with for years, listened to their most intimate secrets and troubles. It’s pretty rare for them to flat out die - I usually see them in the street - they just couldn’t be bothered/were too embarrassed to come and tell you. That’s a reality.
Last year Marvel screwed the pooch spectacularly with Secret Wars. Long story short, nobody wanted it so we essentially had no Marvel product for 4-6 months. I personally lost at least 4k.
and while diversity is good, you need your bread and butter sales. This is how things look for the average person right now:
Thor isn’t Thor
There’s no Fantastic Four
Iron Man isn’t Iron Man
Hulk isn’t Hulk
Spider-man isn’t Spider-Man
Wolverine isn’t Wolverine
CivilWar 2 is not only stupidly late, it’s boring.
And before anyone brings up Marvels lovely diverse 2nd and 3rd tier books, I don’t disagree they are good - they just don’t sell.
So, when the bread and butter company isn’t producing the product it’s known for, you’re going to get a slump.
As for diversity in product - I can’t beat Amazon or on-line retailers, and now the big stores stock a huge range of TPBS and merchandise. Brexit did horrible things to the conversion rate (I’m in the UK) and peoples wages have been essentially stagnant or shrinking for 30 years.
so… it’s not a pretty picture right now. I’m pretty sure I can survive another year or three, assuming things don’t slump even further, but Marvel really needs to stop with the constant relaunches, and ship product more than 10 people want. On top of that, without getting too political, I’m expecting a big downgrade in western living standards over the next 20 years. Not third world, more eastern europe during the cold war levels, so money will be increasingly tied up for esentials.