Competition in an Outside Market changed Comic Books Forever!
Humans have never had the opportunity to create as much as they do today, thanks to the internet and technology. A person can create their own empire from their kitchen table as long as they have a good wifi connection and the work ethic to make their ideas become reality. Combine that with a free and open market and you have the recipe for creating new products, technologies and services that could change the world and have.
The tools for being able to produce whatever is in your mind's eye are more accessible than ever, but there is also a major factor that can drive a person or business to reach new heights, no matter what the pursuit is. That factor is competition! The competitive drive to be better or make something better or out perform what you see in the market is the spark that fuels innovation.
Companies have always competed for the top spot in their market. This competition is good for the customer. I was going to say "consumer", but I don't like that word. I'd rather be a customer. To me, "consumer" sounds like a person who has no control over themselves or what they are purchasing. "Customer" sounds like a person that should be treated with respect, so that they will hopefully decide to purchase your product and keep purchasing your product. Okay, I'll step off of my soapbox and get back to competition in the market place.
In a free market, companies are trying to make their products and services more attractive to potential customers. This means companies have to create incentives to get the customers attention. These incentives could be lower prices, better services, or a better made product. Let's take a look at the comic book industry.
Marvel Comics and DC comics, the two biggest comic book companies in the United States are always competing for the top spot in the market. Both companies are always creating new characters and books. If one would create a book that was selling well, the other would create a similar book or character, sometimes really similar in order to get that competitive edge. This competition led to two types of events in comics that were major purchase incentives for customers. The "Crossover", where a character or characters from one book would show up in another character's book. For example, Spider-Man would show up in an issue of The Fantastic Four. The other event was the "Limited Series". This is where a particular book and story arc would only last for a pre-determined amount of issues. Usually, a limited series would total three or four issues. Both the crossover and the limited series were great incentives to purchase those books.
What happens when you combine the crossover with the limited series? Lots of purchases and comic book history! Although, you may be surprised how Marvel found this out with their Secret Wars Limited Series. Watch the video on the RDP YouTube channel to see the full story of how competition in a completely different marketplace changed comic book history forever!