EDITORIAL: How Comic Book Media Is Becoming Just Media

During this year’s Super Bowl contest between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, something really stood out to me. It wasn’t the contest between the players, but how the commercials for upcoming films like Jurassic World were covered by sites like ComicBookResources.

It has long been the practice of sites like CBR and others to cover anything tangentially related to comic books. With the casting

News sites are hunting your clicks like a pack of hungry velociraptors.
News sites are hunting your clicks like a pack of hungry velociraptors.

of Chris Pratt in Jurassic World’s lead role, the connection is readily apparent. What concerns me is that, with the rapid proliferation of comic book movies, this sort of loose connection is going to lead to an overwhelming of these sites with news that really has nothing to do with comic books.

As of 6:05 PM Central Time on Sunday, four out of the five top news stories on CBR’s home page were about Super Bowl ads for Jurassic World, Furious 7,

Consider the number of actors, directors, and writers who have now left their mark on super-hero and other comic-centric film properties. Now consider how many of those actors will go on to work on properties which have zero relationship to comic books. There is nothing, other than Pratt, to connect Jurassic Park to this particular segment of geekdom. Will any trailer for Zoe Saldana’s next appearance merit the same consideration? What about Bradley Cooper? Andrew Garfield? Robert Downey Jr.?

Increasingly, sites which were once devoted to providing their readership with a stream of information about their chosen topic are instead becoming little more than carbon copies of every other media outlet, providing links to any content which could conceivably get clicks, with no consideration given to thematic integrity or relevance to their audience. Comic book media, like so many other niches, is being slowly consumed by the trend towards complete coverage. We exist in an era where sports sites cover politics, music sites cover movies, and every conceivable intersection is up for grabs.

Some would defend CBR for its coverage by stating that the content was pop culture related and therefore the content was relevant to its audience. I would counter by asking “what isn’t pop culture?” Are we soon to see sites like CBR and Newsarama covering Fox’s Empire or ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy? Will every Disney movie begin to receive spots atop their news-feeds since the parent company also owns Marvel Comics? Will every Warner Brothers Oscar-bait film now be fair game for journalists whose field is supposed to contain the likes of Scott Snyder, Rick Remender, and Robert Kirkman rather than Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Halle Berry?

The answer, of course, lays in the hands of the readership. If users continue to click on links to such content, sites will continue to produce them. The result will be that these sites will become not collections of content related to comic books, but hubs for any content which might be of interest to users whose primary interests include comic books.

So, good luck comic book fans. Soon your favorite outlets will be marketing the same content as everyone else. Which begs the question: why go there in the first place?

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Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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