I logged into Facebook
this morning for my monthly round of friend request confirmations and whatnot, and on a lark, I decided to use the iLike
application. It was pretty user-friendly, automatically parsing the list of my favorite bands on my profile and offering up some of their songs for me to share. Now, people visiting my profile can check out some of the music I like. Okay, cool.
There's a similar Facebook app from Flixster
for movies. It, too, automatically parses the favorites in your profile. It also allows you to contribute your own ratings and reviews for movies in Flixster's online database, which your friends can access via Facebook. There's even a Shelfari
application that does the same for your books.
So why the devil isn't there anything like this for comic books?
Whenever I want to recommend a comic to my friends, it's a challenge. It's not like recommending movies. Everyone knows you go to the theater to see them, and if you want a preview or want to know what's new, you only have to turn on the TV. Hardly anyone knows where to get comics, and those who do don't necessarily know where a comic shop is. If I don't have some kind of preview—a cover image, sample pages on a website, a copy they can flip through—the recommendation probably won't make an impression.
You know what I'm talking about. Your boy enjoyed the last Spider-Man flick, and he says, "Oh, hey, you read the comics, right?"
"Oh, yeah," you say. "If you like the movies, you'd probably dig Ultimate Spider-Man.
Maybe you have the first trade paperback on you or in the car or something, maybe you're both going back to your place, and you can loan it to him. But if not, what's gonna happen? Maybe
he'll walk by a comic shop by chance while out somewhere within days of your suggestion, and maybe
he'll still be interested enough to pop inside...
...and even in the best circumstances (clean store, no fanboys, logical shelving), he's gonna be confronted with The Amazing Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, Spider-Man Family, Sensational Spider-Man,
and even books like The Amazing Spider-Girl
and, shit, there's Spidey on the cover of New Avengers
and which one was the one my friend recommended for me again? And holy God, what are all these collected volumes on these shelves?!
You can appreciate the problem. And yet...I mean, Diamond publishes its shipping lists weekly and maintains a searchable database of retailers. Most publishers solicit their books months in advance. Most of us who follow the periodicals have pull lists at our preferred shops. Why the Christ isn't there an online pull list application for one of the major social networking sites? Why can I not have, right there on my profile, a regularly updated little gallery of books I'm reading, maybe even with my ratings and reviews, with cover images and links to more information? Why can't my friends see that shit, click on something that catches their eye, and find out where they can get it for themselves?
Is this not a no-brainer? The whole problem with marketing comic books nowadays is that no one knows where the fuck to buy them or where to start reading. House organs hype every fucking title in the line, and company-wide crossovers intimidate new readers. Most of my buying is influenced by social interaction that guides me to the stuff I like, talking to people at the shop and participating in message boards and blogs. Is it not an intuitive leap that leveraging the power of sites like Facebook could fix the problem?
Labels: Internet, marketing, social networking