I think I’ve been pretty clear in all my rants that “not good enough” is the main problem with comics today. Price and other concerns exacerbate the problem.
Quality is key.
The comic book industry today is rife with creators who don’t know their craft — creators who are in love with their ignorance and defiantly cling to their destructive self-indulgence. That’s the greatest reason for the decline of the industry. It’s not poor distribution, lack of promotion or anything else. If there was a comic book shop on every street corner with big neon signs, people still wouldn’t buy un-entertaining, impenetrable, rehashed, derivative masturbatory crap.
Ill-conceived storylines, reliance upon “shocking” or sensational events, dependence on gimmicks and marketing ploys, oppressively derivative material and the dearth of new ideas are all evidence of visionless, clueless creative leadership at the top and untrained, clueless (though often very talented) creators on the firing line.
It’s really not the corporate execs. Yes, they want to generate revenues and increase shareholder equity, but almost without exception they have no idea of how to make that happen and, therefore, rely upon the comics people, from creative management to the troops.
Whether Aunt May dies or not isn’t the question. If she dies, does it mean anything beyond a brief sales spike because collectors/speculators think they’ll be able to make a profit selling the book later? That is the question. Back when, Stan and company won our hearts and minds. I cared about Spider-Man and the other Marvel characters as though they were friends. I cared every time Aunt May got sick. That’s what good creative work does.
Sometimes I think that unless you’re around my age and you experienced the total involvement we, the readers, had with Spider-Man and the other Marvel peoples’ lives — yes, they seemed more like people than characters — back in the early 1960’s, courtesy of Stan, Jack, Steve, Dick, and many other creators who had a clue, you just can’t grok what it should be like.
If we as an industry now routinely created wonderful, compelling works, if comics were as good as they could be and ought to be — and as clear and accessible as most TV, movies, books and other entertainment media offerings — the audience would find us. Just as the audience found a wonderfully well-written property in a genre that had pretty much been confined to the fringes before, Harry Potter.