DC's New 52 compilation crushes the competition

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Our review copy of THE NEW 52, the $150, 1216-page collection of EVERY SINGLE NEW 52 #1 issue has arrived. Future uses: pressing flowers, anchoring papers during hurricane. This thing is HEAVY. And big. We’ve shown it here next to a cup of coffee for size reference.

Meanwhile, James Robinson is on Twitter drumming up support for the non-New 52 SHADE which is selling badly and in danger of cancellation. Which, if it had been a New 52 book, would probably be selling as well as BATWING or OMAC.

Comments

  1. Martin says:

    Man, I wonder if anyone will actually be dumb enough to buy this. I mean, seriously, quality aside, this basically assumes you want to read every single New 52 Book and get them for a grand total of only $5 cheaper than actually getting each comic individually adds up to.

    Especially when you can get about 50-plus issues of the continuing story of Invincible for $65 on the shelves, if you need a giant superhero fix.

  2. Mikael says:

    Unless you got it at a discount, thereby making it much cheaper than the individual issues. Or it’s a novelty coffee table book which could turn potential nieces/nephews into readers. Or you could give it to a lapsed comic book reader as a way to be evangelical and get them back into comics, not just superhero, but potentially all genres.

    In other words, why be so negative by calling people dumb? Look at the positives or, you know, don’t comment at all if it bugs you that much.

  3. The Invincible Compendium ($65) is 47 issues, and softcover.

    The Invincible Omnibus ($125) is 24 issues, and Oversized HC.

    The New 52 book is more comparable to the second one.

  4. Ricardo A says:

    The performance of Shade just proves that this kind of book should go straight as a TP or at least at some sort of Prestige Format. It’s pretty obvious that this is a trade book, especially considering Starman Omnibus has JUST finished coming out.

  5. Darren says:

    “The performance of Shade just proves that this kind of book should go straight as a TP or at least at some sort of Prestige Format. It’s pretty obvious that this is a trade book, especially considering Starman Omnibus has JUST finished coming out.”

    I never understand this argument. If something doesn’t sell well as a monthly, overwhelming odds are it sells even worse as a OGN. And if something’s a sales risk, it’s cheaper for a publisher to cut a monthly series off partway than it is to take a hit on a completed OGN.

  6. Martin says:

    “Unless you got it at a discount, thereby making it much cheaper than the individual issues. Or it’s a novelty coffee table book which could turn potential nieces/nephews into readers. Or you could give it to a lapsed comic book reader as a way to be evangelical and get them back into comics, not just superhero, but potentially all genres.”

    I raised the comment because making what for all intents and purposes is a gateway into comics a big, unwieldy, expensive thing is just that….dumb. Why not put it out in a more affordable edition?

    The comparison of its price to the Invincible Omnibus just drives home the point. It SHOULD for the work’s intents be reproduced and sold in a similar model to the softcover volume, not the collector’s hardcover volume. Going for the collector’s hardcover volume means going for collector’s mentality…and ehhh, that just rubs me the wrong way.

    Maybe it would be better not to comment, but I think my point is valid and concerned with this thing reaching the audience it’s supposed to reach – the kind that isn’t trigger happy enough to try all 52 number one issues in one expensive book all in a shot.

  7. Tyler Ragan says:

    It’s more of a novelty item. The thing about it that doesn’t work is the fact you’re paying $150 for a collection of incomplete stories. Where’s the entertainment value in that? Are they going to come out with a collection of every new #2 of the new 52? Or a collection of every new #3.

    It’s just pointless.

  8. Ricardo A says:

    Darren:

    It’s a simple matter of publishing economics: a Prestige Format series or a TP sells more over time and usually has better margins. A monthly title HAS to sell in one month and at a lower margin. Format is not only a matter of quantity. Otherwise, all books would be published as mass market paperbacks.

  9. uthur says:

    so THE BEAT gets a free book from DC (which will go to The Strand, I’m sure) and then takes potshots at their publishing of a book no one cares about.

    Stay Classy, BEAT…

  10. uthur, do you even bother to read your own corporate brown-nosing? The irony just seems so obvious.

  11. Joe S. Walker says:

    I expect the Encyclopaedia of Fantasy is a better read.

  12. So let’s hit up The Strand in like 2 days.

  13. KentL says:

    In regards to The Shade: If DC wants to push the title, why don’t they run a one day sale on Comixology to drum up interest. They could actually do that will all of their titles that are selling lackluster. Run one of those 99c deals for the first issue or something. Instead, they’ll probably just let these titles die.

  14. Torsten Adair says:

    1) Yeah, there’s a collectors market out there. Has been for decades, at least in the regular book publishing market. This is a landmark event in DC Comics history (I’ll let future historians analyze the outcome), and so DC publishes a cool edition.

    2) This is not the only printing of the issues. There will be single trade paperbacks and hardcovers for each ongoing series.

    3) If you use this as a way to get people curious about comics, you are a fool. Better to tailor the comics to what the “innocent” currently enjoys. Paranormal fantasy? Universal monsters? Westerns? Superhero erotica? Li’l Abner? Species the movie?

    4) If you complain about this, then you should also complain about The Complete Far Side ($150, 1272 pages) and The Complete Calvin & Hobbes ($150, 1440 pages). In my college days, we complained about having to lug the Riverside Shakespeare to class every day. (2000+ pages, $138)

    5) My concerns:
    Is the binding strong enough? (7.5 pounds)
    Why pick such an awful cover?
    How are the issues arranged?

  15. I’m loving the comments, especially because this is the only thing I’ve explicitedly asked my wife to get me for Christmas. Let me slink off to my dumb, pointless corner.

  16. “It’s a simple matter of publishing economics: a Prestige Format series or a TP sells more over time and usually has better margins. ”

    Wait… what?

    The reason that a reprint volume has “better margins” is that the creative costs have already been paid for by the serialization.

    If what you were saying were actually true, the industry would have switched over to OGN production at least 5 years ago (and more like 10)… and yet, the largest publishers are clearly very skittish and picky about the format.

    A 240 pages original SHADE HC by James Robinson would be extremely unlikely to even sell 6k in it’s first year — I don’t think that would earn back creative & overhead at that point.

    The actual real-world fact is that OGN spinoffs of serialized series (like, say, SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS) only sell a fraction of their parent title’s sales — even over the long term… and STARMAN is hardly some kind of amazing fountain of nonstop money.

    -B

  17. Torsten Adair says:

    Of the six heaviest DC volumes, The New 52 ranks fifth, with all five Absolute Sandman volumes taking the other spots (#5 = 8.75℔, 520 pages)

  18. Synsidar says:

    There is quite a bit of interest in DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: a rank of #4,111 at Amazon, #17 among DC collections, and #23 among superhero GNs. Amazon is also pricing the tome at $89.99. No mention of a digital version. At that price, it might be a good coffee table book.

    SRS

  19. If these #1′s were all one-shots then this could have been an incredibly cool book….but from what i read of the new 52 every single one of them were just “to be continued” set-up issues. Kinda makes reading a tome like this a bit awkward.

  20. Here you go…This is the cheapest I have found it selling for:

    http://www.amazon.com/DC-Comics-New-Geoff-Johns/dp/1401234518/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322680102&sr=8-1

    yes, it’s from amazon. Dont want to piss off retailers, just want to show people that it can be bought for a more reasonable price.

  21. The concept here is great. If it was released at a “disposable income” price, this would have been BRILLIANT!

  22. Spike says:

    About Shade. Its not really for new readers. As an older reader I’m enjoying it, but I thought today that if they were smart they would have shipped issue 1 and 2 today as part of the smaller week release. I’m hoping Shade ( and Huntress)will actually lead to the revalation of it being on Earth 2

  23. Ricardo A says:

    Brian Hibbs

    I could go a long way showing how comics publishing as it is today doesn’t work by showing stats, but let’s rewind for a bit.
    Books also started as a serialized endeavor (on magazines) – let’s consider our pulpy market, not traditional ones. Gradually, it died and we went to the following structure:
    Hardcovers (limited run, more expensive, higher margins)>Paperbacks (not as limited, cheaper, lower margins, more volume) > Mass Market Paperbacks (very cheap, big volumes, low margins.
    In comics, it’s all different: we keep on doing serialized books, at a quite expensive price, because the margins HAVE TO BE big enough for all costs to be paid at this point, even though what you get is the worst product possible. Then, if all goes well, you milk it by putting a version in a better format (TP) that has already been paid to, but also at a high margin.
    Yes, I know DC tried the Deluxe Format back in the 80s, but that didn’t work at that time. However, newsstands still made a dent at that time and this is not exactly what we are talking about here.
    I also think that there is a very oiled machine of periodical books that is tough to break, even though it is clearly showing a lot of rust: most books can’t keep a writer-artist team for 3 issues, even though 2 pages have been cut. Fact is: most indies do work out of the periodical business and are slowing gaining ground. Digital can also change the system, if all periodicals went digital and print was kept for Deluxe and TP formats. It does make more sense from an economical standpoint than the current format, that seems to be dying.

  24. Who’s gonna buy this? The DC Diehards who’ve already bought mutliple (1st, 2nd) editions of the #1 floppies and have a Digital Copy of those on their notepads just to “complete” the set?? People who’d want the first, initial entry of (mostly decompressed) Superhero sagas with the built-in need to buy the additional
    4+months’ worth of suceeding issues for those 52–Separate–Storylines?? Mainstream, spandex-loving Comics Fans with THAT much of disposable income to throw at this thing?? Book collectors thinking this’ll be the latest TWILIGHT/HARRY POTTER teen-lit phenom??

    Think I’ll wait when the price comes down to 50¢/lb Used— or just get those #1s when they start appearing at the Discounted longboxes at next year’s Comic-Con (for 2, 4 for $1?)… and save some of my money buying up that POGO reprint series instead.

  25. Ricardo: The one thing I hate about The Beat is how things scroll off the front page and there’s no “you’ve had a response” functionality, so any rounds past this one *I* certainly am not going to see. Thus, as my “last word”….

    I strongly suspect that I can show you reams more of “statistics” that show that the OGN plan is a poor one. I spend half of my life reading industry stats and analyzing them, and I’m very confident that I am correct.

    I don’t know a publisher that doesn’t want to make MORE money, and I thin… no, I KNOW, that if OGNs were a big massive money maker for publishers, they would have all shifted to it yesterday, full stop.

    I can further say AS A PERSON WHO DOES NOTHING BUT SELL COMICS, that “most” indy books most assuredly do NOT “work outside of the periodical business” — a very small handful assuredly do, but most couldn’t even begin production if it wasn’t for serialization in the first place, and those that do, barring a few edge cases, are from creators who are long established.

    If all periodicals went digital-only, at least 60% (and probably more like 80%) of comics production would shut down overnight.

    -B

  26. The Beat says:

    Brian: I might be able to add in some notification functionality via a plugin…something to explore over the quiet time.

    Also, you can get an RSS feed just of comments.

  27. MBunge says:

    “Books also started as a serialized endeavor (on magazines) – let’s consider our pulpy market, not traditional ones. Gradually, it died and we went to the following structure”

    And how many people in the book industry wish they had viable commerical formats for serialized fiction?

    Mike

  28. brandon says:

    The more important concern is: what’s the DD coffee flavor or is it plain?

  29. Synsidar says:

    And how many people in the book industry wish they had viable commerical formats for serialized fiction?

    You answered your own question.

    When people treat storytelling as a job, that inevitably affects how they go about completing a task. Serialization of stories benefits the producers much more than it benefits the consumers.

    SRS

  30. MBunge says:

    “Serialization of stories benefits the producers much more than it benefits the consumers.”

    If you’ve never experienced the thrill, excitement and anticipation of a well told, serialized story, I fell sorry for you.

    Mike

  31. MBunge says:

    AGH! That’s “feel” not “fell”.

    Mike

  32. Synsidar says:

    If you’ve never experienced the thrill, excitement and anticipation of a well told, serialized story, I fell sorry for you.

    There really isn’t any difference between dreading what’s going to be revealed on the next page of a novel and waiting for the next installment of a serial, except that the dread factor might be greater for the guy reading the novel. If the novel has an unhappy ending, the reader’s stuck with it. He can’t demand that the writer retcon the ending out of existence. And, if the novel’s been a satisfying read, he can anticipate the author’s next novel every bit as much as he can anticipate the next issue.

    How often has the ending of a good Marvel or DC story resonated for longer than weeks? The ending of a good novel can be remembered until you die.

    SRS

  33. MBunge says:

    “There really isn’t any difference between dreading what’s going to be revealed on the next page of a novel and waiting for the next installment of a serial”

    Again, I feel sorry that you can’t appreciate serialized storytelling.

    “How often has the ending of a good Marvel or DC story resonated for longer than weeks? The ending of a good novel can be remembered until you die.”

    There have been plenty of DC and Marvel stories that have stayed with readers for a loooooooong time. And if you can remember the ending to good novels, you obviously haven’t read enough great ones.

    Mike

  34. Mbunge is just like, this creature designed solely to attack things on the internet.

  35. Torsten:

    “$14.95 was the price of the first Essential volume, Wolverine (1995).”

    I think they started out at $ 12.95. That’s what the first printing of my SPIDER-MAN volume from 1996 says, at any rate.

  36. (Argh. Wrong thread.)

  37. MBunge says:

    “Mbunge is just like, this creature designed solely to attack things on the internet.”

    But…there’s just so much to attack!

    I mean, you get some joker trying to argue not just that novels are better than serialized storytelling, but that novels provide the same sort of entertainment experience. Really? When Denny O’Neil introduced Obadiah Stane in Iron Man in 1982, that was the start of a story that didn’t conclude until 1985. Unless you spend 3 years reading a novel, you ain’t going to get the same sort of thrill or payoff.

    Mike

  38. >> Again, I feel sorry that you can’t appreciate serialized storytelling. >>

    Heck, when I read TERRY AND THE PIRATES and STEVE CANYON on microfiche copies of the Boston Herald, years ago, I was able to tell that the benefit of serialization goes far, far beyond “what’s on the next page.” When those strips are collected in a book, your eye can simply travel from one to the next. When I had to scroll through a day’s newspaper, find the index, find the comics page, it built in enough of a pause to make the suspense all the stronger. An actual day-to-day pause, as in the original publication, would have been all the more compelling.

    But overall to the thread — I don’t think the fact that comics serialization is still hanging in there a whole quarter-century or so after collections started to get a foothold is evidence of something warped about the business. How long did the transition take for pulps to die off? For novel serialization a la Dickens? If it makes money, it’ll hang around.

    Add to that that comics have much higher per-page costs, especially when you’re talking about color comics, both in terms of printing and editorial cost,* that OGNs would have to strongly outsell novels or have equal sales at a much higher cover price before they could make the same money from book sales.

    kdb

    *yes, the per-page rate for Stephen King novels is probably higher than that for THE 6TH GUN, but generally speaking, a page of text is cheaper to produce than a page of script/art/lettering/coloring, and even those Stephen King prose pages are far cheaper to print.

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