Comix Tawk

Cosmic Treadmill Presents… Comix Tawk, Episode 6: “The Four Kinds of Fans”

Two Comix Tawks in a row?

Well, yeah… but not because I’m uploading them two days in a row.  This episode of Comix Tawk was released to the main feed well over a year ago (March 17, 2019), as both a way to buy us a week while Reggie was dealing with illness, and to let the listeners know what sort of content we were providing as Patreon Exclusives.

This episode’s topic is one I was very excited about… and, had honestly been looking for any way of shoehorning it into the conversation.  This is an examination of the fandom… of all fandoms, I guess… and the lengths purveyors of consumable entertainment go to serve as many of them as possible (sometimes/often “robbing Peter to pay Paul”).

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The inspiration for this sort of episode, wherein we analyze the “four kinds of fans”, came from an interview conducted with professional wrestling personality, Jim Cornette probably sometime during the mid-2000’s.  I had stumbled across it was back then, and had even written a piece about it on a long-defunct blog I used to maintain.

When asked about ways to “improve business”, Cornette explained how he viewed potential recipients of professional wrestling by breaking them down into four groups… which, if you stop and think about it (which I did), are pretty universal to any sort of media.

  • Group 1: Fans.  These are the people who will watch/read/buy your product regardless of its quality, simply because they are fans of… comics, movies, music, pro-wrestling, tv shows… etc.
  • Group 2: Fans of the Good Stuff.  These fans are “aware” of your product, but will only buy/read/watch/attend when there’s a “buzz”… when they hear good things about it.
  • Group 3: Bandwagoners.  They know you’re out there, but will only pop in for the biggest events, and multi-media tie-ins.
  • Group 4: Non-Fans.  These are people who don’t care about your product… and never will.
His stance was… you’ll always have Group 1.  You’ll get Group 2 when you’re good.  You’ll get Group 3 when you’re lucky.  And, most importantly for this episode… you’ll never get Group 4, because they just don’t care.

So why is it that media, comics included, are always trying to lure those Group 4’ers into the club when it’s obvious they don’t wanna be there?  Well, the clear answer is, as it normally is, “money”.  But what is the cost of largely unsuccessfully luring these folks?  What happens to those folks in the other three groups… who it’s possible to get… when you stop caring about what they want?

It’s a pretty fun conversation, if you care to listen.  This was an episode like 12-13 years in the making for me… a topic I really wanted to discuss, and I’m so glad  we found the opportunity to do so.

One thought on “Cosmic Treadmill Presents… Comix Tawk, Episode 6: “The Four Kinds of Fans”

  • Walt Kneeland

    I remember listening to this as a new episode! Enjoyed it then, and look forward to it again.

    I know I often refer to the "'mythical' new reader" in stuff. While I've no doubt "more people" would check out certain comics, say, digitally for 1/4 the cover price (99 cents or so) I don't think there's enough of a purely "new" audience likely to stick around these days for single issues, given the issues almost entirely being serialized graphic novels rather than truly, fully standa-alone units themselves.

    I'm definitely Group 1 for TMNT; they're my exception to other stuff; I give 'em a "pass" I don't give other stuff (be it pricing, variant covers, whatever).

    I was probably Group 2 for Walking Dead, even having "let it go" for years. Last year when it picked up buzz again I got back in, caught up, and was ready to move forward awhile before that other shoe hit.

    I was Group 3 for the CW Crisis crossover late last year/early this year. Biggest event, hype, etc; jumped on, appreciated it, haven't been back.

    And I must be Group 4 for… well… I dunno. Dollar-Store Oysters-in-a-can. I know they're out there, but I don't care what fancy tin/color/etc, I ain't touchin' 'em!


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