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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

People are People

During the dawn of the film industry, a film was a film was a film. There were no horror films, no romantic comedies, and no action flicks. Because of the novelty of film during its inception, people would watch whatever was being shown. It was the fascination toward the medium that lent to the success of film in the early years.

Now, however, movies run the gamut of subjects, concepts, plots and twists. And, unless you're a serious movie critic, you wouldn't watch every single movie out there even if you had the time and money. There are just some offerings that don't tickle your palate, and even some you'd rather be caught dead watching.

When you create your comic book, knowing exactly who your readers will be and acting on that knowledge can spell the difference between success and failure. Time was when an aspiring comic book creator would put together a standard issue superhero story and try to get into the Diamond catalog. Unfortunately, while that strategy is still sound, it could ultimately be a waste of money the creator relied solely on that kind of marketing.

Let's take a look at two movies: The Bourne Identity and Casino Royale. Both movies rely on action and thrills to get the male audience into the cineplexes. But understand that these two movies are different, in that they address two different age groups. Because of the tone and treatment of these films, the male audience for Bourne is slightly younger than that of Casino.

Same goes for Thirteen Going on Thirty and Something's Gotta Give. The former stars Jennifer Gardner, while the latter stars Diane Keaton. By casting alone, you can tell that the "target market" for these two films are different, despite both films being romantic comedies.

So why am I telling you this?

Presently, comics are no longer boxed in the superhero genre, one completely dominated by Marvel and DC. More and more graphic novels covering various topics are making it into the marketplace, backed by large publishing firms that a decade ago would never touch comics even if their stock prices depended on it.

As a comics creator, it is highly recommended that you veer from the superhero genre, unless you're very, very sure that you've created the next best thing in superhero comics. Marvel and DC have cornered that market successfully, and with their foray into video games, film and other media forms, the genre is practically their own playground.

But if you must make that superhero comic book, do ask yourself who you want to tell the story to. Is it kids? Teens? The mature set? Women? Comic book fans? Note that a comic book fan who adores Superman wouldn't automatically pick up Spiderman. The People element comes into play here because your target audience will help you define your marketing strategies:

PRODUCT: Your story and art should appeal to your chosen audience.
PRICE: The price you set for your comic book should be reasonable to your chosen audience.
PLACE: The venues where your comic book will be sold should be where your chosen audience goes.
PROMOTION: The way you advertise your comic book should be in a tone that can pique the interest of your chosen audience.

This makes up the core of your comic book creation efforts. In future blog entries, we'll get into more detail as well as throw in some tips and hints.



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