Comic Books in the Digital Age

12465864_10153416155348403_3486582431548565508_oThe trailer for the new Batman movie, Batman: The Killing Joke, just recently debuted and social media is buzzing about it. The film will be animated and it will be released directly to streaming/DVD/Blu-ray. It clearly will not be nearly as widely viewed or generate as much revenue as Batman vs. Superman, but many fans of the comic book icon are much more excited about this new animated film then the most recent big budget theatrically released Batman film.

View the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnTSqgJPVl8.

Modern comic books have been in existence for many decades now and strong communities based around those comic books for almost just as long. However, social media has ushered comic book related communities and connections into a new era.

Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other sites now give fans glimpses into the lives of comic book artists. These artists can now give fans access to content that was once only available to attendee’s of conventions and other events. Comic book fans can now even converse with artists through social media on some occasions.

An even more interesting development in the relationship between comic books and social media are the marketing possibilities that now exist for comic book companies. One such way in which comic book companies could promote their products is this is through vloggers on Youtube. There are many Youtube celebrities who are enormously popular and even many of those who aren’t that popular still have loyal followings. Furthermore, there are very many individuals with tremendous following on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The influence and potential of these individuals as promotional tools is undeniable.

Between the two biggest comic book companies, Marvel and DC, social media observers say that Marvel has been getting the upper hand over DC. Relatively recently Marvel had planned to put out their first trailer for their soon to be released film Avengers: Age of Ultron in the middle of the Marvel TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, a show that exists within the same fictional universe as the movie.  This idea alone was a smart one, but was even more impressive was their response to what happened next. The trailer ended up getting leaked on the internet one week before Marvel planned to debut it. Instead of giving up on the idea of releasing the trailer during the show Marvel still released it and included extra footage their new version of the trailer that was not included in the original leaked version. Furthermore, they posted a tweet blaming the leaking incident on Hydra, the antagonist organization from the Marvel movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not only was this great marketing but it also saved the company from having to go around sending out a copious amount of Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to site hosting the leaked trailer in a futile attempt to prevent it from being seen. (2)

DC Comics, on the other hand, has not taken any actions on social media as impressive as the one described above.

Social media also lets fans discuss content amongst themselves on a scale that was never before possible. This discussion is many times monitored by the creators of that content. When speaking to a group of reporters, Marc Guggenheim a writer for the show Arrow said that the writing staff of the show “has never made decisions because of (or in fear of) fan response on the Internet.” (3) Maybe he was lying about this and maybe he wasn’t. What is clear is that he and the other writers definitely seem to be seeing what the fans on the Internet are saying about the show.

 

  1. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/2015-05-19/marvel-vs-dc-whos-winning-social-media
  1. http://comicbook.com/2016/04/05/arrows-marc-guggenheim-on-the-social-media-firestorm-from-tomorr/

 

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