Friday, March 12, 2010

[Comics] The "Jim Cornette Analysis" on the Four Groups of Comics' Target Audience

About a hundred years ago, I'd mentioned on this site that I was planning on shamelessly ripping off an article I read about an interview with pro-wrestling's James E. Cornette, where he opined about the "Four Groups of Wrestling's Target Audience".  Original article, here.

I hadn't done so yet, as I really hadn't been motivated to talk much about comics at all.  I feel I've become far too "familiar" with the industry... and as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.

I was flipping thru a few copies of the more recent Marvel Previews while waiting for the shower to heat up, and suddenly became painfully aware of something.  Though I've been supporting Marvel Comics for the past twenty-odd years, I am not their target audience.  Seeing blurbs of "From the writer of Entourage", "From the writer of Heroes"... tells me that Marvel (and mainstream comics at large) are becoming more about the singer and less about the song.

What follows is word-for-word what Jim Cornette had said in regards to the Four Groups of Wrestling's Target Audience... with all the mentions of WRESTLING removed and changed to fit the comics industry.  There's a bit of salty language... which I'll cut out.  I guess I'll never get a job at DC with that kind of attitude, eh?

The First Group: "There are this many people who buy anything in a comic shop. They're going to come and buy anything comics related no matter what. They're hardcore. They are on the internet. They want to come because either they can't get enough comics or they want to b**** and complain about something and say how they could do it better."

The Second Group: "This crowd likes good comics. Not old comics, not new comics, just good comics. There's two kinds of comics: good comics and bad comics. I don't care who presents it or what it is, that's this crowd, that's the second crowd. They want to read good comics and if you present a good product for an extended period of time to where it gets the point across, they will come to see you.

The Third Group: This crowd comes to see the star, comes to the see the big event. "The Writer of Entourage", Kevin Smith, Civil War, Ultimate Final Crisis part 7. Either somebody really gets hot like Claremont/Byrne's X-Men two decades ago or Image Comics in the 90's or whatever. Or the Summer Crossover is hot. That's the crowd where no matter what you do they aren't going to come all the time, and they're not going to read every month, but they know it is around. That's the third group, the people who will come for the big stories or the big stars.

Everybody else in the world is in the fourth group. They don't give two flying f****. You could put a reincarnated William Shakespeare behind a book, they don't give a s*** because it's comics and they don't want to read it. They want to read magazines, Harry Potter and I don't give a f*** what else. You ain't going to get them.

So you've always got these people [group one] right. And I'm not saying you should s*** on them because they are your ticket purchasing patrons, but you have always got these people. If you've got a good product, you've got group number two so concentrate on that. There's really no way that you control group number three because how do you just say 'Ok, this guy is going to be the next Wolverine. Or the next Sin City or Sandman'. You can't do that, they've got to come along. That's when you get the really big sales, record months, whatever.

And the fourth group, who gives a flying f*** what you people want to see, if you people are going to read g-d Harry Potter, f*** you! Because we're doing comics. And the people who try to say 'Well, we're going to give people who don't like comics something to read'. They've got something to read, it's in all the other f****** books while your books don't sell you dumb son of a b****! So why do you do s*** that's not related in any way to comics in the comics industry. They don't stop Saturday Night Live to have Curt Gowdy give the g-d Olympic freestyle skating report. The people watching Saturday Night Live don't give two flying f***s about the god damn Olympic freestyle skating. So WHY DO IT is all I am saying?

You've got group one. If you're good you get group two. When you're lucky you get group three, and the rest of them it don't make a f*** because they're not coming anyway."

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