I'm going to nitpick something here, and please do not take this personally, shanecdavis, as I don't think it is something you meant to bring up; but you used the word "exposure" in the following response to the relatively low sales of GI JOE comics:
Just not enough exposure.
I've heard this sentiment from many comics fans when they lament the low numbers of comics in general. "Not enough exposure" or "Not enough advertising" is the rallying cry of those that seem to think that if Wolverine was on every bus stop bench and Green Lantern was on the side of every downtown building, we would all be back in the Promised Land of 1991.
But, let me ask you this: when have comic book characters EVER received as much exposure as they have now? Wolverine, Iron Man, The Hulk, Green Lantern, Superman, Captain America, Spider-Man and Batman HAVE been on every street corner for better parts of the last, what, ten summers? Batman: Dark Knight is one of the biggest box office winners of all time, making nearly a BILLION dollars world wide. The Avengers is possibly the most anticipated movie since that Batman sequel. Even our GI Joes had their own MOVIE.
And comics are all over the television as well. Batman has had three separate tv series in that same span. The Justice League had two successful runs not too long ago, and Young Justice currently airs on CN. The Avengers have a cartoon on Disney XD and Spider-Man and will join them early in 2012. G4 currently has, I think, 4 imported anime series based on Marvel characters as well. And, of course, our Joes had a run, too.
Not to mention the fact that we can find super-hero tee shirts and other paraphernalia at our local Targets and Wal-Marts. Thousands of students show up to school every day in this country sporting Cap's shield or Superman's S on their shirt. There are at least seven separate toy lines featuring comic characters in every action figure toy aisle in America. And comic heroes and villains have been featured as part of toys aimed at smaller children, like Fisher Price's Imaginext toys, as well.
Yet, comic sales still plummet. DC brass said in one of their SDCC panels that "The New 52" initiative was a direct response to seeing most of their books selling under 20,000 copies a month. Marvel has recently gone through a "Cancel-pocalypse" where they are slashing their monthly output.
"Exposure" is not going to "save" comics.
Comic companies try desperately to "cash in" on what they think will be a surge coming with every movie released, with the coming "exposure," but it never materializes. Marvel changes it's books right around the release to have "reader-friendly" storylines running in the months around opening day and also floods the market with books starring those characters. There were, I believe, 273 Thor and Cap titles last May-Aug! And Marvel's upcoming Avengers Assemble title (or whatever it's called) is a MU Continuity book that just happens to star the same team we will see on the big screen next summer.
Alas, talk to any comic shop owner you can find and they will tell you, this does NOTHING to boost sales. And it has the same effect on bringing in new readers: none. Sure, maybe a few dozen people see "Thor" and think "I want more" and walk into a comic shop (if they can find one). But when an industry needs thousands upon thousands of new devotees to sustain itself, 150 new readers every summer is not going to cut it.
There are three things holding comics back (in my opinion, anyway):
After that, there are debatable detractors like "bad" books being the most popular, the inaccessibility of a universe (which I think is SEVERELY overblown), the "clique" mentality of the fanboy community and the lack of good service in many shops . But exposure is not even on the list. We can advertise the hell out of every single comic book and character and it would not make ANY difference as long as the product itself is just too damn expensive for the casual fan.
Sorry... Just ranting. I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
"I... I don't believe it..."
"That. Is why you fail..."