I always like to tell the story of a friend of mine who, discouraged that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was leaving the airwaves, felt we should be paying for each show we like so that we can continue to get new episodes even though networks had given up on them.
Turns out he may have been way, way ahead of his time, although it turns out channels may work better than specific programs.
WHAT IS ‘DC UNIVERSE?’
If you go to this link, you’ll be able to check out exactly what DC Universe is. It’s a place fans can go to experience DC on a great many levels, including videos, digital comics, animation and an encyclopedia of information.
In other words, for a long-time fan such as myself, it’s just what I’ve been hoping to find for years.
Of course, just like many cable channels, DC Universe will likely make its bread and butter on original content. Recently the first season of Titans debuted, and apparently it’s done so well that that show has already been picked up for a second year.
Granted, you have to pay to access it, which drives some folks crazy. But I think we’ll be seeing many more comics companies following suit before long. So many people swore they’d never pay to watch Star Trek: Discovery, and yet it’s also a success! “My show has always been free, so I’m not going to pay for it!” I often heard. Remember that the original Star Trek aired when there was only a handful of networks on the air. It’s a totally different animal now. And where it will be in five to 10 years is anyone’s guess.
I think, though, that this blending of video and digital will be successful. But only time will tell.
WHY DON’T COMICS SELL MORE THAN THEY DO?
Every time I talk with folks who predict the demise of comic books, they point to whatever the current trend is as proof that they’re finished. Video games, digital comics, movies, TV – you name it, it’s the handwriting on the wall for sure!
And yet, there remains a core group of fans who love to hold those paper products in their hands and read them. It doesn’t seem that this number is growing much, if at all, though.
On the other hand, when I talk with my video game friends, they are also worried about the future of their favorite industry. They point to declining sales in gaming and the fact that the generation that grew up with them is finding their “fix” in other areas, so many of them are having the same discussions comics fans are having—can the industry survive?
And recently there was a crack in the Netflix wall regarding Marvel shows on that pay channel. Iron Fist seems to have been cancelled after two seasons. It wasn’t long ago that this was considered inconceivable to many folks. What this means for the future is uncertain.
Now, I still do love my paper comics. But DC Universe is taking advantage of the many of the ways we can access the characters we’ve come to know and love. There are certain classic stories I want to reread from time to time, and being able to log into the service and dive into them without having rooms full of paper comics has its appeal!
Another thing I’m hopeful for is that I won’t have to keep buying discs to watch animated movies and the like. Much like comics, you get several of them in a stack, and they can take up a LOT of room! My computer is really helpful regarding that.
In fact, I remember when I was hired at a certain newspaper you all would recognize if I were to mention its name. During employee orientation, the leader of the group asked how many people bought the daily version of that paper. Nearly every hand went up. But when asked how many read it online, my hand and a few others rose. The person shyly said, “Well, we think you all are the future.” Turns out he was right!
THE FUTURE IS A MIXTURE
Again, I know that there are still a lot of folks who buy the daily newspaper. It’s important to them, so they keep doing it to keep informed. But to me, the paper versions of these publications are cumbersome and unnecessary. If there’s an article that’s important to me, I just save the link. What a savings of space that has turned out to be!
As far as the future goes, I think websites like DC Universe are what will be the wave to ride on for the next few decades. Is it perfect? No, not nearly, not yet. But it’s a serious step in the right direction, in my mind.
When the day comes and there will be new comics only available through websites like this one, well, you’ll know they’ve arrived!
However, I remember so many discussions in which people said that folks would log onto an FTP site and download their comics each week instead of making the trek to the local comics shop. That never happened. So, saying that DC Universe is how things will go in the near future is a step I’m not ready to take. At least, not yet.
With the conclusion of the first run on Titans and the advent of Young Justice: Outsiders, the site is off to a strong start! I’m anxious to see what else they will offer soon!