Comic Store Owner Perch reacts to Marvel’s cancellation of “The Unstoppable Wasp”
One of the more objective & insightful voices commenting on the comic book industry is Perch, an anonymous comic book shop owner who has appeared on several social media channels including the Larry King and Alterna Comics YouTube channels.
Below are Perch’s thoughts on Marvel’s cancellation of The Unstoppable Wasp, and what major comic book publishers could learn about marketing to teenage girls in the current entertainment environment.
After 10 issues, the second run of the “Unstoppable Wasp” is coming to a close. (and in the process, teaching a valuable lesson about putting adjectives like unstoppable in the title) The title was aimed at a specific market, but it begs the question if there was a better way.
The market for a teen/tween girl’s book is strong; Raina Telgemeier proves this with 6.6 million copies sold and a constant position on the NY Times best seller list. There IS a market there, but this comic isn’t hitting it.
Should Marvel try? Well of course they should try.
But I think there is a lesson here about floppy, 20 page books sold at $3.99 and maybe that’s going to be a struggle to land this market. Maybe it’s time to go full-manga and produce a larger GN style volume (ala Telgemeier) and just hit the audience directly with what works.
I think there’s a lesson in here about taking one concept (ala, books aimed at teen/tween girls) and shoving it into a product that isn’t appealing to that audience. The product in this case being the 20-page floppy. I struggle to believe any comic in this format will do well.
Nobody can claim that the audience Marvel is aiming for doesn’t exist. It does. But the audience consumes the content radically different. So dragging that audience into a comic shop and selling them a traditional product feels wasteful and foolish.
It’s not working.
I’m not the right person to say if Raina Telgemeier is far superior to Jeremy Whitley. I read both books. Whitley’s work seems fine enough and aligns with Telgemeier. So what’s the difference? It’s the format and where it’s being sold. So set the book up for success already.
It feels like we are in this roundabout where we take Subject Matter A, aimed at Audience B, and try to sell it in format C. None of the three are properly aligned, so it does poorly, people mock it, they try again, and around and around we go.
So why not try something new?