Welcome back to another edition of "How to Get Kids to Read Comics Again". You can read the first column on the topic here.
The comics industry is hanging on by a thread as far as sales go, there's no question and the single biggest thing the industry can do to flourish is to bring kids back in to comics. For too long, the industry has been completely dominated by comics designed for people who understand 20 years of complex continuity and isn't doing much to compete with Yu-Gi-Oh cards.
My suggestion for the publishers in this column is this:
Cross-promote the comics with the movies.
When was the last time you saw a trailer for a comic book before a movie? The answer is never. How many kids are going to see Iron Man this week? Why couldn't Marvel have attached a 30 second spot chiding kids to visit their local comic-book stores? Why not get all the movie actors to do spots as their characters telling kids to do the same?
Even if these spots only ended up on YouTube it would hit the right audience.
How many people watch Smallville? Ever been told you should read a comic book while doing so?
It's virtually free, effective advertising and they're just not doing it. The easiest should be DC comics. Warner Brothers owns DC and distributes all of manner of DC movie, cartoon and TV show. Why doesn't the Justice League open with a quick PSA telling kids to read Justice League comics?
It simply doesn't make any sense.
The movie distributors get it. I can't pick up a comic (Marvel, DC or otherwise) without seeing an ad for a comic-book movie. Why can't this work the other way?
I really think that there are a lot of kids who genuinely don't know what the hell a comic-book is. You think they'd make the trek to their local comic-book store if Tony Stark told them to before the movie started?