Comic books are so easy to begin to write and draw, yet at the same time so difficult to finish. Unlike practically all other forms of media, they only require a few months of actual production. This, in some cases, makes for a truly amazing and dynamic industry, yet other times leads to unfinished ideas, scripts, or artwork. Such as J. Michael Straczynski's Grounded storyline in the Superman title or even his Odyssey story in the Wonder Woman comic. Straczynski has had a long history of really digging deep and finding great premises for modern superhero comics, yet abandoning the comic before he can finish his story. In his Superman comic Straczynski sought to have Superman reconnect with his fellow Americans by walking across the United States. Straczynski had a point to make in this comic book, but he wrote only five issues of the 13 part storyline. His intentions and voice were washed away in that short amount of time. Another example is of course the Wonder Woman title in 2010 that was supposed to be very important to the company due to the costume change and new origin for the character. However, once again, only five issues of The Odyssey storyline were written by Straczynski. All too often in this industry, without warning, there is a new creative team; even worse in some cases a cancellation.
With such a small readership, comic companies are forced into leading to massive reboots. DC Comics rebooted its entire publishing line in September 2011 with The New 52. The publisher cancelled the entire line of comic books and restarted with all new number ones throughout September. The New 52 attempted to use newer talent on more comics. Beloved independent comic book writers like Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder were given brand new comics to stretch their creative muscles on. Important talent at DC Comics were also given new comic books to revitalize. Geoff Johns, a staple talent at DC Comics, transitioned into writing Aquaman along with rising star Ivan Reis illustrating the comic book. This radical reboot was seemingly imitated by Marvel Comics in June 2012 with a new publishing initiative called Marvel Now! The publisher is not cancelling all of the titles they are publishing, but are coming out with several new number ones throughout October of 2012. Marvel also hired new talent with comedian Brian Posehn writing the new Deadpool comic. Veteran Marvel writer Brian Micheal Bendis is changing super hero teams from the Avengers to the X-Men.
Besides new publishing strategies, what can the industry do to obtain new readers, or where is it going? According to some, the answer seems to be digital. If people were to realize how easy it is to turn on their iPad and download the Comixology app, comic book distribution could be wider. Fantastic comic books are available for very affordable prices on the app itself. The app is available on practically every device we come into contact with, from iOS to the Android tablets. Some titles are made specifically for the digital application like the DC comic book Legends of The Dark Knight. This Batman comic lets some interesting new talent tackle writing like Daemon Lindel of show runner of Lost and Joshua Fialkov, writer of Last of The Greats and I Vampire. In fact some titles are cheaper digitally than they are in print like Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1 The Apocalypse Solution is available for only seven dollars. The comic book industry still needs a way to measure if sales are going up or down.
What can comic book companies do to fix this situation? Find a relevant way to measure sales of digital comics. This industry could be moving towards print, or it could just eventually die. The modern comic book definitely has some huge strides to take in the coming years.