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21 June 2011 @ 04:47 pm
Well, it does seem meant to appeal to Homer Simpson  
So, uh, DC comics just said that they'll be catering to males 18-34. Out loud.

Since I'm sure most people will be focusing (rightfully) on the male angle, let me take a moment to call bullshit on "18-34" too. If Barry Allen is the Flash, than most of their supposed target audience couldn't read before Wally West was the Flash. Likewise with an unmarried Lois and Clark.

Also, I'm pretty sure that demographic wasn't born when Barbara Gordon was actively in-costume as Batgirl. So...

Oh, and if you grew up watching Justice League Unlimited and now you're 18, so you want to read about John Stewart and Vic Sage, fuck you. Likewise with anyone who grew up with Stephanie Brown, Cass Cain, or the current incarnation of Young Justice/Teen Titans, since most of them are being completely rewritten (or have already had their personalities drastically altered by Geoff Johns).
 
 
( 23 comments )
Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 21st, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
Jesus Christ.

This is pretty much going to destroy the industry as a whole, because it's going to fail so hard that it's going to sink the direct market and ensure that publishers will remain leery of digital for a long time, even though that's the ONLY idea coming out of this that's actually GOOD.
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Heathermiss_tress on June 21st, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
The target audience are men age 18 to 34 though they do realize that they have readers in other demographics.
Lovely. The realize that I'm not in their target audience. They just don't care.

Thanks DC! I'm so glad that I've been paying $150 a month for your product for almost 10 years just to have you say that you really don't care about me.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 21st, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I thought they were talking about the ad campaign, the way that's written.

Though either way, I don't think that's some huge thing. Most action-oriented products produced by American companies view that age group as their primary demographic.
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Except that a) the decreasing fortunes of the rest of the media proves that catering primarily to that narrow demographic is SUICIDE, and b) as was pointed out in the original post, they don't even know how to cater to THAT group. Not only is its goal a proven failure, but it also fails at meeting that goal. As overused as the phrase is, it LITERALLY fails at failing.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 22nd, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
a) the decreasing fortunes of the rest of the media proves that catering primarily to that narrow demographic is SUICIDE

Seeing as virtually all of the top money-earning films still earn primarily either from that demographic or from children, I don't see how that's suicidal.

Theatre attendance is certainly an issue these days, but the primary cause of that is changing technology (same with TV).
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
Most of the top-earning films are also the most expensive to produce, which is why it's actually more profitable to diversify your market into genres that don't require so many special effects, and which appeal to broader audiences, especially when your primary audience is as fickle as men ages 18-34.

Also, and more importantly, part of the reason why dogshit like Twilight sells so well is because there's such a dearth of decent mass-media material targeted toward women, even of the same age group as the men who are typically catered to.

The reason most of the biggest box office earners are more popular with men ages 18-34 is precisely because most pop culture as a whole is made for men ages 18-34.

The fact that you're seriously trotting your justifications out as a valid argument is a logical fallacy on the level of claiming that more women aren't politicians, not because of any institutional biases, but rather because more women simply aren't interested in or qualified for politics.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 22nd, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
The reason most of the biggest box office earners are more popular with men ages 18-34 is precisely because most pop culture as a whole is made for men ages 18-34.

There's a certain chicken-and-egg aspect to this, but this particular blockbuster format owes quite a lot to changes in cinemagoing over the last several decades caused by new technologies. In ye olden days, middle class people went to the movies every week (or more than that), before TV and home video; since the latter invention, in particular, regular cinemagoing by many groups (older people, especially, and parents, unless they're going with their kids to a family film) has dropped off dramatically. Blockbusters have refocused on younger people, the people most likely to show up at the cinema in the first place. This refocusing has undoubtedly also exacerbated the existing trend.

In an era where it's not normal to go to the cinema every week as a matter of course, advertising has to construct an audience for a movie each time (which also explains the preference for preexisting brands); young men seem to be the easiest audience to motivate to go the movies. Even the really successful adult-oriented dramas don't do comparable numbers to the big blockbusters (The King's Speech, for instance, which was a huge success within its genre, but only made about $100 million domestic; if it or The Social Network had done $300 million, that would have really shaken things up).

Hence, blockbusters aimed at young men (and also young women, because they'll see movies that men will see, but the reverse is not necessarily true; the demographic skew for the Twilight films is not one that you'd see replicated the other way for a major male-targeted blockbuster). Targeting at young women (theoretically an equally good demographic, as proved by Twilight hitting mega-blockbuster numbers) has been a lot more sporadic, though that aforesaid franchise is prompting the expected attempts to duplicate its success.

But DC's main product is a super-genre (action/adventure) that has always, in any era, been primarily marketed to men. That hardly precludes it from having a female fanbase as well, of course.
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
But DC's main product is a super-genre (action/adventure) that has always, in any era, been primarily marketed to men.

Yeah, and look at where that got them. The fact that they're rebooting their entire line all at once, and retooling their line-wide continuity to such a significant degree, is a direct admission that the preexisting audience that they're built up by doing business as usual is NOT ENOUGH, even before you factor in the fact that they've DIRECTLY STATED that they're using day-and-date digital to try and seek out a new audience.

Then again, I'm wondering why the fuck Dan DiDio is being allowed to do this in the first place, since he's overseen so much of the failure that led to the rot in the DC line in the first place. It's like Joe Quesada complaining that he wanted to "fix" Spider-Man by getting him back to his roots, when he was the one who approved so many of the changes that took the character away from his roots in the first place. If you preside over a line that winds up being so inaccessible to new or old readers that it requires such a massive reworking as what DC is doing now, your ass should be FIRED, full stop, so that someone else can be in charge of that reworking instead.

That hardly precludes it from having a female fanbase as well, of course.

Except for all the misogynistic genre conventions that have been so prevalent precisely because the publishers perceive the need to appeal primarily to the 18-34 male audience, which is why rancid dogshit like Identity Crisis is being kept in canon, no matter how much it makes even LESS sense when you make all the characters younger, and why the Superman "love triangle" is likely on its way back, because the Captain Yesterdays who are helming this regression can't relate to their favorite superheroes unless they're bound to gynophobic and tired old tropes that are even more unrealistic now than when they were first conceived.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 22nd, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, and look at where that got them. The fact that they're rebooting their entire line all at once, and retooling their line-wide continuity to such a significant degree, is a direct admission that the preexisting audience that they're built up by doing business as usual is NOT ENOUGH, even before you factor in the fact that they've DIRECTLY STATED that they're using day-and-date digital to try and seek out a new audience.

DC's current situation isn't related to their product being targeted primarily at men. It's a factor of way the direct market limits the reach of their product. A new audience, in this case, means expanding their reach to include more of the people who already buy their product, which is what any marketing consultant would identify as the first route to increasing sales (identify your traditional audience and whether you've maxed out on the people who currently buy it; in DC's case, the answer to that is obviously no, as the nation has millions of 18-34 year old men who have never bought a comic but who like the properties in other, more accessible media).
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Except that, if DC's decisions were actually based on consulting a marketing expert, then as seriousfic already pointed out, the front-and-center versions of Green Lantern and the Atom would be John Stewart and Ryan Choi, since that's who most 18-34 males know from the Justice League and Brave and the Bold cartoons, which means that the whole "18-34 males" thing is (just as it is in advertising and movies and TV shows) nothing more than a cop-out which allows the middle-aged males running the show to continue making media that appeals to their own tastes exclusively. Most 18-34 males actually have much broader tastes than the old white guys making this shit, and in cases where they don't support female-centric media, it's often because that female-centric media is such condescending bullshit that even many women consider it unforgivably misogynistic (Twilight, Sex in the City, etc.). By contrast, My Little Pony (of all things) has cultivated such a crossover fandom that even the virulent homophobes of 4chan have become "bronies." Quite seriously, if you can't manage to make superheroes cater equally to both genders, without alienating one or the other, when fucking MY LITTLE PONY can do it, you're too goddamned dumb to deserve to even a fraction of the big bucks that the people in charge of these franchises are earning to premise over their ever-shrinking audiences. Then again, speaking as someone who works in the media, the vast majority of media executives are nothing more than Peter-principled subhuman sacks of shit anyway, so there's that.

The old ways of doing things are NOT WORKING, and the people who are in charge of this mess are RESPONSIBLE for the fact that it is a sea of inexcusable failure. These really aren't debatable points.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 22nd, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
I agree with the OP on the stuff about the characters themselves, at least with certain characters (Wally West, most notably). But that doesn't have anything to do with the concept of focusing on expanding to reach more of your traditional audience.

The old ways of doing things are NOT WORKING, and the people who are in charge of this mess are RESPONSIBLE for the fact that it is a sea of inexcusable failure. These really aren't debatable points.

I don't think anyone would dispute that the current market setup doesn't work. But the current direct market setup predates Quesada and Didio by, what, 20+ years (10 years, maybe if you date it from the implosion of the speculator bubble), and that's what they're attempting to escape now. So they really aren't responsible for that.
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
Except that the current setup really isn't working for other media either, because by continuing to limit yourself to the conventional wisdom that you should focus primarily on 18-34 men, all you're going to do is compete for an ever-shrinking share of the market and repeating a whole bunch of already-made mistakes in the process. That sort of self-perpetuating thinking is what leads idiots to say that movies with female leads don't sell. I am saying that the current status quo for ALL media is INTOLERABLY unacceptable, which is why entertainment media needs to stop ghettoizing itself by focusing on an age-and-gender demographic that has demonstrated itself to be a) the LEAST loyal to brands, and b) the MOST no-growth segment of the market. The fact that Quesada and DiDio inherited many of these problems does not excuse the fact that, at best, they've responded with well-intentioned but utterly uninformed ineptitude, and at worst, they've actively and knowingly perpetuated several aspects of the current market that they themselves MUST know are driving away potential customers. FUCK giving them a pass. If it's too fucking hard for them to fix these problems, they need to quit the industry and let people with original ideas have a go, rather than just wallowing in their masturbatory nostalgia. They deserve ZERO pity.
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colonel_greencolonel_green on June 22nd, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
Except that the current setup really isn't working for other media either

They seem to be doing okay on the whole, though with the usual technology concerns.

I'm not clear on how the 18-34 male market is "ever-shrinking" (and if it was, the 18-34 female market would likewise be).
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Jonn Wood: Defective human, return to factorymcity on June 22nd, 2011 04:18 am (UTC)
>Quite seriously, if you can't manage to make superheroes cater equally to both genders, without alienating one or the other, when fucking MY LITTLE PONY can do it, you're too goddamned dumb to deserve to even a fraction of the big bucks that the people in charge of these franchises are earning to premise over their ever-shrinking audiences.

Mind if I metaquote?
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Shooting You with My Smilebox_in_the_box on June 22nd, 2011 04:21 am (UTC)
Please! :)
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Jonn Wood: Defective human, return to factorymcity on June 22nd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
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escapayescapay on June 22nd, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
I can't tell you how bitterly disappointed I am with the whole new set up. It's like DC have taken everything I read and just crushed it. You enjoy the current BoP? Tough. Secret Six? Shelved. Babs as a unique, tough character and a role model for a vulnerable demographic? Fuck that. Powergirl, Zatanna, all cancelled. I wouldn't be surprised if Renee wasn't even The Question any more.

Why do I bother DC huh? Why?

I mean for god's sake, Original Black Canary, Poison Ivy, fucking Starling (who??), and Katana. I just don't understand. I think this might be it ya know, this might be the end. So long DC, we had some good times.

Fuck.
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Jonn Wood: Defective human, return to factorymcity on June 22nd, 2011 04:31 am (UTC)
> Babs as a unique, tough character and a role model for a vulnerable demographic? Fuck that.

There's only so much hand-waving they can do about the fact that she really, really wants to walk again, yet she hangs out with superheroes.
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escapayescapay on June 22nd, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Ok fine, give her back her ability to walk, thats really not the main issue I have. Its the fact that they are taking away a fantastic, and I say again, unique, character and replacing her with some kid in a bat-cowl. I side with seriousfic's thing in the main post, most 18-34 year olds wouldn't even remember Babs as batgirl so I really see no problem with establishing Steph as the batgirl.
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Jonn Wood: Defective human, return to factorymcity on June 22nd, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
That presumes the existence of some strange, parallel universe where DC would actually just commit to someone other than Babs being Batgirl.
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escapayescapay on June 23rd, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
I wouldn't even presume such a place exists. I mean woah, god forbid anyone other than the original incarnation actually fill the role better.

Well, there's bugger all I can do about it, I just wanted to get my fannish anger off my chest. We'll just let the sales speak for themselves.
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jlbarnett on June 22nd, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
I think Starling is the only original idea out of the reboot that I think is a good thing. Dinah could use a directly tied to her type sidekick.

And I'm pretty sure that the reason why catering to 18-34 year olds is a problem is they're really not all that similar in this day and age. I'm 31 and my younger brother is 21 and we're looking for totally different things in mass media.
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418 Error: I'm a Teapotrenshai on June 22nd, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
......

Well, I guess that relieves me of any responsibility to actually check out the new line-up. Think of the money I'll save!
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