JLA #1 initial orders more than 200,000

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201108230002 JLA #1 initial orders more than 200,000

Is the New 52 here to save DC…or to save comics? Over the last few weeks, the messaging on this has changed a bit, and this LA Times piece lays it all out for you: DC Comics hopes revamped heroes and digital will save the day. Here’s the whole unvarnished story with graphs and charts.

As part of a two-pronged strategy to try to revive its moribund business and draw newer, younger readers, the nation’s oldest and best-known comic-book publisher has also decided to start over from scratch. Beginning Aug. 31, all 52 superhero comics it publishes — including the well-known like “Wonder Woman” and “Batman” as well as more obscure titles like “Static Shock” and “Blue Beetle” — will begin again at No. 1 and feature a mix of new costumes, new origins and simplified story lines.


So yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, comics sales were in the crapper. DC co-publisher Dan DiDio had his road to Damascus moment when he witnessed only two people came into a comic shop over the course of an hour on a Saturday afternoon. “The walk-in, casual fans have gotten away from us. We are down to just the die-hard buyers,” he told the Times.

Hence the call for the defibrillators in the form of a new DCU. And has it worked?

The first actual numbers have been released since this wild ride began. JLA #1 has more than 200,000 pre orders, and six other #1s have more than 100,000 pre-orders.

Not bad, then.

The last time a #1 comic topped 200K was Amazing Spider-Man #583 in January, 2009, the Obama issue, with 352,847, according to Comichron.

The last non-Obama issue with over 200K was SECRET INVASION #1 in April, 2008, with 250,213.

And the last DC #1 was August, 2006 when 212,178 copies were ordered of…JLA #1.

History repeats itself.

At the New 52 panel at the just finished Baltimore Comic-Con, creators were more frank about the fact this was done because something had to be done.

“The industry is in trouble, and DC is doing this to help keep the comic book business going,” said Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer on I, VAMPIRE. “I don’t understand the hostility.”

“This is a very ballsy move that has to happen now,” said Greg Capullo, who’s drawing a Batman book.

This message is a lot more direct — and dire — than the one that was being presented in the first interviews. I guess since June 15th the matter has become even more pressing.

See for yourself:
heroicdecline JLA #1 initial orders more than 200,000

Over the weekend, I was told the pre-orders for DC’s September were “Spectacular.” Even the digital sales are surprisingly strong. The talent on a book that regularly sold under 20k before told me orders on the new #1 were more than double that. So yeah, it’s going to be a huge month for DC.

The defibrillators worked. The patient is back to life.

But is he back to life…or just walking around a little while before he keels over?

Comments

  1. Chris Hero says:

    They’ll see big sales for a month, maybe two, then stores will go back to realistic orders and copies of JLA #1 will be found for 10 cents or given away on Free Comic Book Day. Same old, same old.

  2. How about:

    They’ll see solid sales for a month, maybe two, and things will hold relatively steady. Fans will like what they’re reading, and continue to buy the books with the slow attrition that usually sets in. However, digital sales will be surprisingly robust, and comics will eventually transition to an e-media, like newspapers, magazines and journals. Later comic fans/historians will applaud DC’s gutsy move, and see it as a major turning point in the life of the medium.

    Or: we can sit around and talk this down so that it fails, and then pat ourselves on the collective back about how smart we were for predicting it. And then find a new hobby.

  3. You mean digital sales of all the stuff they have now and their Flash 101 sales have gone up?

    Preordering is not available for the new 52?

  4. Look, if the stories are actually well told and grab people’s attention then the sales will continue to be strong. Obviously there is enough interest from the comic reading public to determine that it’s worth a shot and it’s not like people are buying these books because they think they will be worth money (although I’m sure some are). This is a great opportunity for DC to grab the attention of readers for a prolonged period of time. The subject matter will speak for itself. Good books sell.

    And I agree, people continue to belittle this but what is anyone else doing except sitting on their asses and hoping it gets better? Either support the initiative and hope that strong titles are released or just let comics go the way of the dodo. It doesn’t have to be that way. THe industry needs a shake up and I think the comic “bigwigs” need to get out of their ivory tower, stop making TV shows and dealing with other distractions and actually pay attention to the industry they are not trying to save.

  5. That’s no real surprise everyone with half a brain knows these books would sell big for the first couple of months.

    But to me in the end this will end up with Dan and company falling in their face. Because the only thing the New DC has done is drive me away from it after being a big DC fan for the past 7 years. I have zero interest in anything they are doing and I know i’m not the only one.

    So once the shinny and new DCU buzz dies off, I expect a massive drop off that will make them wish they had their current sales on their books. This is basically heroes reborn only worse and DC in 5 years time this will be remembered as one of the dumbest moves in comic history.

  6. Chris Hero says:

    I think it’s really funny the only two sides are either buy into this DC thing being the great comic resurgence or give up on comics altogether. What, I can’t be on the Acme Novelty/20th Century Boys/Roger Landridge team and still have an opinion on the superhero sales?

    It’s an overhyped event that will spike sales for a few months and then everyone will lose interest and things will go back to normal. This is nothing new.

  7. Nawid A says:

    Awesome, I hope books like Demon Knights, Grifter, All Star Western, and I, Vampire find their audience.

  8. Ron Thibodeau says:

    What isn’t mentioned is that the large spike in numbers for DC’s ‘new 52′ books, is the returnability.

    41 of the new 52 books are returnable to the company if they don’t sell well for retailers.

    Of course, in order for retailers to be eligible for the returns, they have to do this: ”

    To qualify for returnability, your total post-FOC September orders (including Justice League #1) in retail dollars for DC periodicals must be 125% or more of your May post-FOC orders for DC periodicals.”

    So, I am assuming that having to order over 100% of your normal order in order to qualify for a return on a still unknown may be the driving reason for these high numbers.

  9. I’m always amazed at people who bitch about something before they see it.

  10. James says:

    Great news for DC. Pleased that this is turning into a success for them.

    Haha…The trolls don’t give up do they? First it was – “these won’t sell, what a stupid idea, I’m stopping all my DC titles” – now its changed to – “I alway knew it would be big at first, now give it 3 months”. Pathetic.

    I’m curious what the other 6 titles are. 5 are easy:
    -Action Comics
    -Batman
    -Wonder Woman
    -Aquaman
    -Green Lantern

    This 6th is a toss up, either:
    -Batman: Dark Knight – Finch
    -Batwoman – because it should be! :)
    -Batgirl – getting alot of attention.

  11. Yay, DC business plan?

    Generally-non-Big-Two Comics reader wants to know:

    How many of those 200K/100K copies are going to UNIQUE comic buyers? Ie, what percentage of those issues are going to be bought by the hoped-for “new” and “lapsed, but returning” readers? And how much are being bought by the ‘old’ and ‘not scared off by the reboot’ ones… with, you know, one ISSUE #1! to read, 2-3-4 extras to bag and board?

    (These are probably the people who’ll show up at the Midnight Sales Premieres. Cause the Digital Downloaders won’t have the NEED for a dead-tree hardcopy, at all.)

    And making sure I got this right:

    These 200K/100K/lesser numbers are LCS pre-orders— and not ACTUAL sales (yet)?

    Just wondering if there’ll be those unsold “overstock” issues to be found in the discounted longboxes next Summer for me to pick through and sample just what I’ve missed out on…

  12. Heh heh heh.

    Good luck with those early-retirement-financing first issues, speculators.

  13. James says:

    If the idea is to get casual, walk-in buyers, then these pre-orders mean pretty much nothing, right? Because casual, walk-in buyers will walk in on the day or days after the books actually come out.

    What these numbers represent, as usual, is retailers’ expectations. Whether those expectations will be met, well, we’ll know when they’re placing their orders for issue #4.

  14. svenj says:

    “What, I can’t be on the Acme Novelty/20th Century Boys/Roger Landridge team and still have an opinion on the superhero sales? ”

    if you are going to be on someone’s “team”, you might want to learn to spell their name correctly.

    don’t worry, the recess bell is gonna ring soon anyway.

  15. “I’m curious what the other 6 titles are. 5 are easy:
    -Action Comics
    -Batman
    -Wonder Woman
    -Aquaman
    -Green Lantern
    This 6th is a toss up, either:
    -Batman: Dark Knight – Finch
    -Batwoman – because it should be! :)
    -Batgirl – getting alot of attention.”

    Superman and Detective Comics. It’s difficult that Aquaman will sell more than 100k.

  16. “I’m always amazed at people who bitch about something before they see it.”

    I’m always amazed about people who actually expected another reaction. Not everyone has been buying into the hype machine for months now, so why would all-too-predictable pre-order numbers for JLA #1 suddenly be something different? Give us a call when the likes of Resurrection Man breaks 100,000 copies.

  17. KEELS OVER!!!

  18. Andre says:

    Ket- I think it’s the fact that it’s selling twice the amount of what you’d expect for a hit title [100000], AND the gravy of having *six* other titles also sell 100000+. How long has it been since we had 7 titles selling 100000+ copies? Add to that Marvel’s Wolverine and the X-men which’ll probably do well, and Sailor Moon’s forthcoming relaunch [which has consisntently topped preorders everywhere] and wow, Sept=a big month for comics retailers everywhere.

  19. comicsatemybrain says:

    So seven titles have high pre-order numbers. What about the other 45 titles? If selling over 100K is considered to be a success, then this is only a 13.5% success rate. To be fair, that is a higher success rate than the market has seen for some time.

    I think the larger definition of success will be more important than just that single metric of 100K pre-orders. In the end, we’ll want to take into account returnability, the sales profile across the entire line, and the sustainability of the sales across the entire line. So it is still way too early to declare success or failure.

  20. We do need to bear in mind that these books have a returnability scheme, which will be boosting sales; and that the numbers announced presumably include sales outside the USA (since why would you NOT include them in your press release?). Even so, it’s a very good number for DC.

    I’m not sure I understand the comment about digital sales either, unless there’s some pre-order option I’m not aware of.

  21. Naveed says:

    Unfortunately, after 1,2,3 months the market will be back to where it was, with a “succesfull” title selling 30,000 copies; this is the reality of today’s market.

    I am particularly excited, (but have to admit I was in doubt at the begining) aout the relaunch of DC. I am a big Marvel/DC fan and this will be as exciting as it has been in my 23 years buying comics. It may also be the last attempt by the big 2 to reviving a declining industry. With all the store closures and digital conversion, the industry is on borrowed time.

  22. Jerry Smith says:

    If comics have a future, I’m saying it has to be in digital format. Civilians don’t want to have to seek out a specialty store every Wednesday to get their entertainment fix. But downloading every Wednesday from their home? I can see consumers doing that.

  23. saipaman says:

    Remember, these are orders by retailers not sales to individuals. The retail community may have simply bet wrong on this thing. If so, they will pay the price — perhaps the final one.

  24. patrick ford says:

    If comic books were like films then the big opening week might be indicative of success or failure.
    What this shows is that even after the 80’s era of collectible mania some people still don’t get it, and “special” issues, and #1’s still tend to result in a percentage of fans buying multiple copies for “investment purposes.”
    For the real story check back after three or four months, and see what these books are selling.
    Based on the current direct market sales it would appear that mainstream super hero comic books selling as low as 20,000 copies are today’s decent sellers and are in no danger of cancellation.
    The problem for the direct market is retail shops are having a very difficult time.

  25. Have you seen the new logos? DC apparently seriously needs to hire a new graphic design team. Cause most of the new ones kinda blow (and this is coming from a comics fan, AND graphic designer. :)

    http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=44008

  26. I am so excited to see all the positive press given to comics and am happy to report that a lot of people who never tried any of these titles have told me in Baltimore they are going to give a few a shot. I am also excited that this is a great opportunity for comic shops to get some new readers into their stores, and sell them on the wonderful world of comics and their diversity…beyond just the DCU.

    I am one of many that celebrates the success of ANY comic book and any plan that helps get the word out about our industry.

    I understand all the doom and gloom of the internet, but I will continue to hit everY show there is and continue to do store signings,showing people how exciting this industy is , and how many great books there are out there for everyone of all ages.

    My guess is that the following months after september will be a very exciting time in comics as we all speak and compare notes on every single book coming out.

    Yeah…I am staying super positive, because I find this kind of behavior can become quite contagious. ;]

  27. blacaucasian says:

    “Yeah…I am staying super positive, because I find this kind of behavior can become quite contagious. ;]”

    And this is why Jimmy Palmiotti is one of the industry’s best.

  28. Apollo9000 says:

    This is good news. Of course we know that the true test will be after the 1st couple months inregards to how the books are doing. If DC ( and the comics industry as a whole) can get the word out about their books toas wide an audience as possible, all the doom and gloom talk might seem pointless.

    Comics, more than any other medium of arts and entertainment, has a wealth of solid stories.

    It only needs to let the world know so.

  29. Jon_in_Austin says:

    Jimmy P, it’s great to see creators of your caliber involved in this relaunch. Your enthusiasm is a great thing.

    If that story about Dan in the NJ comics shop was true, then good for him for observing his customers in action. That would be the most honest piece of news out of the mountain of relaunch coverage. No hype, no distractions about Wonder Woman’s pants, just the facts. The trajectory of the industry is unsustainable, and something dramatic has to be done.

    I only hope they are making these books as accessible to readers as possible, and that the writing/storytelling is several notches above what we’ve seen from the mainstream over the past few years. New No.1s won’t “paper over” bad storytelling for long.

    Jon

  30. And Jimmy Palmiotti once again shows why he’s a class act.

    Thanks for the great run on Jonah Hex. Looking forward to All-Star Western.

  31. Chris Hero says:

    @svenj

    Calling me out for a typo? Sorry, it’s Langridge. My bad. My point still remains…just because I’m skeptical of how sustained this sales success will be doesn’t mean I’m anti-comics. Reading these comments, it’s like the only two options are throw a parade for DC or just give up on comics entirely….

    There’s this whole world of comics out there that the typical Marvel/DC reader will never look into. That’s a shame to me….

  32. Thomas Wayne says:

    Maybe it’s me and my “this DC thing is doomed to fail” attitude…but does JLA breaking 200,000 and five or six other titles of the new 52 breaking 100,000 sound like DC has clearly failed in their attempt to bring in new readers?

    My point is this….without rebooting the entire DC universe, if DC had announced that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee were taking over a brand new JLA book, the first issue would have probably sold between 150,000 and 200,000 anyway.
    If you had Jim Lee on Ambush Bug it would sell nearly a hundred thousand copies in the first month on the strength of one of the most popular artists of all time alone and slowly taper off.
    Remember…these are orders…not sales. If the new reboot can only muster 200,000 orders out of it’s flagship title with two of the biggest names in comics today at the helm it shows you how feeble comics retailers think the “demand” for the new 52 will be at bringing in new customers or getting back old customers who have strayed.

    I think this says a lot about how tired readers and retailers are bored of b.s. gimmicks and sales bump attempts.

    I scream this from the rooftops daily…TELL GREAT STORIES AND THE READERS WILL COME….you don’t need a reboot or any other kind of gimmick, all that does is give you a sales bump for six months to a year.

    Does anyone really believe that roughly half of these new DC 52 will make it past the two year stage…???

    Here is my less than bold prediction….regardless of any initial sales books like Captain Atom, Mr. Terrific, Demon Knights, Resurrection Man, I Vampire, BlackHawks, Blue Beetle,Frankenstein, OMAC, Hawk and Dove, Voodoo, and Static Shock….will never see the two year mark in print publication….any takers? Anyone want to bet any of these make it to a 24th printed issue?

    I think this is the key to the reboot for DC…these titles will continue for the die hards that want them..but not in print…when these books get cancelled on paper they will continue in digital form.

    Take Voodoo for instance….lets say paper sales fall below 12,000 per month….it makes more sense to stop paper and go digital…most of those die hards will follow it to digital and DC removes all costs from production and shipping save the actual writer and artists.

    Unfortunatley I have to bide my time until someone comes back with Classic Superman, Classic JLA, etc in the next two or three years…telling stories from before the “reboot” so myself and so many more like me will feel like DC gives a damn about us.

    That is the heart of the problem…DC cares more about who isn’t reading comics and trying to get them to read than catering to the men and woman who have been there all along.

    So, so sad.

    TW

  33. Thomas Wayne says:

    And before anyone calls me on my Jim Lee Ambush Bug comment..no…I don’t really think it would sell a hundred grand in first issue copies…it was an exaggeration to prove a point on the popularity of Jim Lee.

    Now back to scheduled programming….

    TW

  34. Thomas Wayne says:

    Does anyone have the sales numbers from about a decade ago…I’d like to know how many copies of Batman #607 were sold and how many copies of Batman #608 were sold?

    I believe that is a clear example of what I was saying about Jim Lee and a sales bump.

    TW

  35. blacaucasian says:

    “Maybe it’s me and my “this DC thing is doomed to fail” attitude…but does JLA breaking 200,000 and five or six other titles of the new 52 breaking 100,000 sound like DC has clearly failed in their attempt to bring in new readers?”

    I doubt DC expects all their 52 books to be ordered as 100,000. They don’t need them to be ordered at that number. From their history, it would seem most books have to sell no less then 20,000 books a month to stay profitable or at least not canceled. Above, it’s being reported that most books coming back are being ordered at least double before the relaunch. I would say that DC would be fairly happy if the majority of the 52 books sold between 30k and 50k, which is possible, especially if many f the relaunches have their #1 titles doubled.

    “If the new reboot can only muster 200,000 orders out of it’s flagship title with two of the biggest names in comics today at the helm it shows you how feeble comics retailers think the “demand” for the new 52 will be at bringing in new customers or getting back old customers who have strayed.”

    Or, if you look at Heidi’s numbers above, they feel it’s the best chance for a comic to sell over 200k in three years and for a DC book to sell over 200k in 5. Regardless, both estimates are better then anything that’s been sold in immediate recent history. Seems to me retailers aren’t looking this as feeble at all.

    “DC cares more about who isn’t reading comics and trying to get them to read than catering to the men and woman who have been there all along.”

    Right. Because there’s way more of the former then the latter. And the former is what is going to keep the industry alive. The latter, as proven over the last 5 years of sales, is ever dwindling and will be the eventual death knell of the industry.

    I’m glad DC is worrying more about people who aren’t reading then are. It means they are attempting to look long term instead of short term stunts that artificially increase numbers.

  36. Torsten Adair says:

    To quote Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines
    “Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.”

    http://www.viget.com/advance/the-customer-isnt-always-right-but-the-customers-are-always-right/

    Toxic fans. They should cosplay as Moltar or the Human Bomb so other fans will have a visible warning and know to avoid them.

    Yeah, I get that comic book fans are just like baseball fans… they love the team and hate it when the teams in the cellar. But this type of pre-complaining has been tiresome since 1989, when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman.

    But you know what? All of these comments are archived for eternity. A simple Google search will discover the negative comments, and we can publicly mock each individual ten years from now. The Revenge of the Letter Columns! (Oh, and you might want to practice… “May-uh macks-uh-muh kul-pa”, or, if you really want to do it right, recite The Confiteor.)

    Sorry for the negativity. I try to be a nice person, but I spend too much time on the Internet.

  37. Thomas Wayne says:

    Here we go…

    Batman # 607 (no Jim Lee) Sept. 2002 -43,600 copies.

    Batman # 608 (Jim Lee, HUSH) Oct. 2002 -113,000 copies.

    Thats roughly a 155% increase in sales from Sept. to October..all thanks to Jim Lee.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that if the JLA reboot # 1 didn’t have Jim Lee it would be around 100,000 at best.

    Like I said….this reboot is doomed (at least from a print copy standpoint).

    Now…the waiting period for the Classic era begins.
    TW

  38. Justin H. says:

    Funny- whenever I see that someone is amazed that people have an opinion about a product before it comes out, I usually get very sick of the “quit yer bitchin'” bitchin’ that tends to follow.

    Some people don’t seem to understand why a number of fans are “hostile” or why we have to “bitch about something before they see it” or why we need to “belittle” this relaunch or whatever (as if total, unwavering support or outright hostility are the only two reactions)… Do we really need to justify ourselves? Maybe it’s because DC doesn’t always have the best track record when it comes to stuff like this. Maybe we are worried about editorial decrees trumping the creative instincts of storytellers. Maybe we have a right to be doubtful or cynical or JUST NOT INTERESTED.

    That’s okay, too, you know.

    If all of the hype hasn’t turned people around by now (and that’s what hype is for- they’re trying to get us to preorder these comics, so it makes sense that we would want to FORM AN OPINION BEFORE THE BOOKS COME OUT), it’s probably not going to.

    In my opinion, DC has gone out of it’s way, with this wishy-washy, not a reboot reboot nonsense to all but drive me away (Jimmy, I’m still buying your book- for now). It seems like it’s neither fish nor fowl- not a complete restart… but trying in a half-assed way to hold on to long term readers by saying that “the important stuff still happened” with some big exceptions (see Superman). I don’t have much faith in this- see, I was there in 1986 when they tried this. I was there in 1994 when they tried this. Some of the books were fantastic. Many weren’t. I feel like they’re concentrating on the wrong things- pushing folks away when they should be trying to reach EVERYONE. Some people feel that this relaunch is the way to do that- some feel that this relaunch isn’t enough. There’s a wide spectrum of feelings about this. And people are entitled to those feelings.

    If you’re not into this relaunch (or whatever they’re calling it), it’s fine. Many fans seem have the good vs. evil, us vs. them mentality that they project on to stuff like this. I don’t understand why not being onboard for this, or thinking it doesn’t look good or being skeptical about it is bad. It’s okay to have an opinion about something. It’s okay to not be on board. It’s okay to be pissed about the changes to Superman’s history or to not like the overthought costumes. It’s okay to be skeptical based on a creator’s previous work. It’s okay to be wary of making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again. Etc, etc.

    It’s also okay to be into this relaunch, and to be enthusiastic about it- but belittling (there’s that word again) people for not buying into it is just as pointless as me standing up in the middle of a comic store and yelling at people for buying, I dunno, Firestorm.

    I’m only buying three books because most of the rest didn’t look particularly good to me. And it’s my money, so… in the end, that’s the only consumer I have any influence over. It’s up to DC to prove me wrong in regards to buying more books. I’m not obligated to blindly decry or support them.

    And neither is any reading this.

    It’s your money- trust your instincts and buy what you like.

  39. blacaucasian says:

    “Does anyone have the sales numbers from about a decade ago…I’d like to know how many copies of Batman #607 were sold and how many copies of Batman #608 were sold?

    I believe that is a clear example of what I was saying about Jim Lee and a sales bump.”

    Batman#607 was estimated at 43,603
    Batman#608 was estimated at 113,061

    I don’t think anybody doubts or didn’t expect that DC’s two top selling creators wouldn’t boost sales. The encouraging thing one could argue however is word that their mid line, non top ten selling books are doubling their orders…this is the thing that is a cause for interest and quite honestly where those new readers may flock to, especially in the way that DC has setup the lines from each other, at least in the recent marketing. This is where retailers are showing a real confidence in at least how DC has marketed these new books.

  40. Thomas Wayne says:

    blacaucasian wrote:

    I’m glad DC is worrying more about people who aren’t reading then are. It means they are attempting to look long term instead of short term stunts that artificially increase numbers.

    Looking long term to find readers that don’t exist doesn’t make a lot of sense. Baseball does the same thing…before the all star game or world series they get someone like Bruno Mars or Coldplay to sing a hit or two before the start of the game and then get Kelli Clarkson or whatever American Idol is available to sing the National Anthem in an attempt to bring baseball to a younger audience. Do they really think a ten year old or 12 year old boy or girl is going to watch Coldplay do their thing and then say “wow..that was cool…I think I will watch some baseball now”. No, they turn the channel after words.
    So how does baseball survive? How does it get new fans? The old fans pass down the love to new fans…that’s how most of us learned to love the game.
    Comics can be done the same way…if the stories are good enough. Look at Watchmen. Initial sales of that comic in 1985 weren’t other worldly. It gained an audience over the years and when the movie came out people bought the trade paperback by the thousands.
    Good story….reaching a new audience.
    Thats how its done. Tell great stories…no gimmicks and let the foundation of old time readers spot the greatness of comics and new readers will come.

    And I hate to tell you this…the new 52 is a short term stunt to increase the numbers…DC knows from previous expirience what will last and what won’t. There are very few STARMAN like series out there that catch people off guard and are popular in all formats of print.
    Make no mistake…the new 52 is a sales bump stunt…no more, no less.

    TW

  41. Remember the guy who got himself hired on the new Yankee Stadium build for the sole purpose of burying a Red Sox jersey in the foundation to forever curse the Yankees? Is he hardcore, toxic, or just a true Boston fan?

    I think the Jim Lee point is very well-taken. No new comics reader knows who he is. That’s not meant as a knock, just in support of who might be pre-ordering these very impressive numbers.

  42. blacaucasian says:

    “Tell great stories…no gimmicks and let the foundation of old time readers spot the greatness of comics and new readers will come.”

    1)How do you know these stories won’t be great? You haven’t read any of them yet.

    2)So the only people who can save the future of comics are people who have been reading all along spotting greatness in these “great stories.” First, the sales data of the last 5 years proves this to be false. Second, the nature of this part of the industry proves that it’s will simply be impossible to put out “watchmen” in multiple books every month. And finally, the fact that peoples opinion on what is “good” and “not good” is for the most part subjective makes your entire argument faulty.

    I have no doubt DC is doing this to increase sales. They are a business. But they aren’t just putting their top creators on a couple of relaunch books, they are relaunching an entire line of 52 books day and date print with digital. You can stand with your opinion of no more, no less all you want, but I stand by mine just as steadfastly that there’s oh so much more to this then your allowing yourself to see.

  43. blacaucasian says:

    “I think the Jim Lee point is very well-taken. No new comics reader knows who he is. ”

    But lapsed fans who bought his books in the millions in the 90’s do.

  44. good point

  45. blacaucasian says:

    DiDio has been just as vocal in trying to recapture lapsed fans as he has new ones in all his talking point on this initiative.

  46. Torsten Adair says:

    You know something:
    The first Batman: Hush hardcover?
    Barnes & Noble placed it on their “Dads & Grads” table. One of the first graphic novels to be added to a themed sales table at B&N.

    That hardcover? Sold out nationwide. (Dunno the sales at B&N… but it must have done well, since they started selling exclusive editions of other mainstream comics like Dark Tower.)

    Sure, a lot of that was due to Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb. But it was a good Batman story, people knew the character, and it was priced at $20. (It might have been discounted, I don’t remember.)

    I handsold “Superman: Red Son” to many average citizens. My spiel:
    “What if Superman’s rocket ship landed in Soviet Russia instead of Kansas in 1950?”

    There are many lapsed and lackadaisical fans out there. Will they read a serialized comic? Probably not. A collection? Or something they can buy online in a chunk? Most likely.

    Sure, great stories will sell lots of copies… just look at Captain Britain and MI:5, or Agents of Atlas, or Blue Beetle, or Thor: Mighty Avenger, or…

  47. Mo Walker says:

    I am happy to hear about the strong pre-order sales for JL. However, I am curious about the sales figures for titles from the ‘dark’, ‘edge’, and ‘young justice’ families. These are the titles that will need the most support. It is unfortunate there has not been much press or sneak peeks for some of the dark and edge titles. I have seen previews/read articles featuring many of the established DCU titles and creators.

    I know the Batman titles, the Green Lantern titles, and JL (now) are DC’s bread-and-butter. However, I do not believe that DC will be very viable long-term if their mid-to-lower tier titles do not start off (and maintain) decent sales figures. The only way to do that is to promote the lesser known creators and titles.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about. I was blown away by the preview art for I, Vampire that was posted to Bleeding Cool. I also just came across an interview with the series’ writer, Josh Fialkov, on tfaw.com. Now I am trying to figure out how to purchase the first few issues without breaking the bank.

  48. saipaman says:

    It’s not all doom and gloom. I only cut my DC buys by 60%, not a 100%.

  49. NadaMucho says:

    Mo,
    DC could promote the fuck out of their vampire book and still not succeed. Promotion helps, but you also need to have a willing audience for what you’re trying to sell.

    Honestly, while I’m not psyched for the reboot, I do see why DC is trying it. I’d have done it differently. I wouldn’t have jettisoned any continuity or anything, just had strong relaunches of core properties. Think about how the Marvel U started. You didn’t walk into a publishing line of 52 books. You had a few key titles and if a character or concept proved itself strong enough, it got a shot as an ongoing.

    DC should’ve had a relaunch of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and JLA. That’s it. Build excitement for guys like Flash, Aquaman and GL by showcasing how great they are in JLA. A few months after the 1st wave of books, do a 2nd wave with Flash/GL/Aquaman and perhaps a Batman spinoff. Follow that up with another few months and another launch with a Superman spinoff, a team book like Titans or Legion, and maybe something a bit off-kilter like Authority or Swamp Thing (who would’ve shown up in well-written and well-drawn JLA stories or in an anthology series) and build the brand and demand at the same time.

  50. >>>DC could promote the fuck out of their vampire book and still not succeed. Promotion helps, but you also need to have a willing audience for what you’re trying to sell.

    Yeah DC must be crazy! There is no audience for vampires!

  51. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    You know, there are some changes they’ve announced that I’m not thrilled about, but in general, I feel very positive about this. More comics are selling! How is that bad? Of course no one event is going to Save Comics Forever, but if this heralds a new era of comics with a broader audience appeal, I’m all for it!

  52. NadaMucho says:

    Dear The Beat,
    I don’t know that comics are where vampire fans go to look for vampire stories. Twilight books sell millions of copies, but Blade can’t even hold down an ongoing series. But thanks for the sarcasm.
    Best,
    Zach

  53. >> I don’t know that comics are where vampire fans go to look for vampire stories.>>

    I don’t know that vampire fans have a proscribed number of places they go for vampire stories. They seem to go where the vampires are, provided they know about it — novels, movies, TV and more, including the New York Times bestselling AMERICAN VAMPIRE comics from DC/Vertigo.

    >> Twilight books sell millions of copies, but Blade can’t even hold down an ongoing series.>>

    So unless Blade can support a regular series, no vampire comic will sell, eh? This will come as a surprise to DC (American Vampire, as noted), Dark Horse (Buffy), IDW (30 Days of Night) and even Marvel, who keep recycling TOMB OF DRACULA in as many formats as they can figure out to package it in.

    I have no idea if I, VAMPIRE is going to succeed. Bt if it doesn’t, it won’t be because there’s no willing audience for vampire comics.

  54. blacaucasian says:

    “Blade can’t even hold down an ongoing series.”

    Much like everything else in life, vampires alone won’t necessarily sell a book, especially if people aren’t even aware vampires are involved.

    Blade books have barely been marketed to anyone outside the hardcore Marvel reader. As such, most people probably don’t even realize Blade is a vampire book. PLus, I don’t believe Marvels attempted a Blade ongoing since well before the Twilight craze started.

    Blade and Twilight are apples and oranges.

    All the promo released so far for I,VAMPIRE (notice vampire in the title) make it a much easier sell to the Twilight fans then Blade would ever be.

    The whole point of this relaunch and espceially I would say a book like I, Vampire is for DC to try and capture that crowd.

  55. NadaMucho says:

    Let’s be honest here. If DC had an honest intention of getting I,Vampire into the hands of the mainstream audience that consumes Twilight Books and watches True Blood, they’d have done it as a Vertigo-style OGN, not rolled it out as part of a line-wide reboot of its superhero characters.

  56. NadaMucho says:

    Sorry for the multiple postings, but I forgot to say: Kurt is correct when he says that vampire fans will go to where the vampires are, “provided they know about it.” That’s really the key. The promotions I’ve seen for the reboot outside of our own comic world have focused on superheroes. The radio ad text mentions the big time superheroes, calls them the world’s greatest heroes, etc. The commercial I saw focused, again, on the big time superheroes. If you want to reach a non-comic reading vampire fan with your book, you’re gonna need to A) let them know it exists and B) convince them that it isn’t tied up in what happens in Aquaman or Adam Strange, which the new DC doesn’t seem to be doing.

  57. blacaucasian says:

    “If DC had an honest intention of getting I,Vampire into the hands of the mainstream audience that consumes Twilight Books and watches True Blood, they’d have done it as a Vertigo-style OGN”

    Actually, I would argue the success of American Vampire informed them wanting to release I,Vampire in the line because it’s a concept born from the DC books of the 70’s. The success American Vampire also being the reason they wouldn’t want to flood Vertigo with another vampire book.

  58. I’m always wary when someone begins a comment with “Let’s be honest here,” because it seems to assume that everyone secretly agrees and is just lying for the sake of fun or something.

    Sorry, Nada, but I was honest before. And I don’t agree that if DC wants to sell I, VAMPIRE they’d have done it as an OGN, any more than I assume the fact that AMERICAN VAMPIRE didn’t launch as an OGN means they didn’t really want to sell that. I think they want to sell both as print comics, as digital comics and as book collections.

    I also don’t think that vampire fans are so insular a group that the only way to reach any of them is with specifically-targeted promotion, which in any case would be lost in the overall relaunch promotion anyway. I think DC probably knows that there’s a fair amount of the vampire audience already being brought in to comics stores and bookstores, as shown by the sales of those non-Blade vampire comics, and that a big influx of readers to the superhero line will probably bring in more, because the two kinds or readers aren’t mutually-exclusive camps — just as the customers already there support Buffy and American Vampire and such, a portion of new customers will be interested as well.

    If they want to reach the non-comic-reading vampire fan with their book, the time to do that probably isn’t when the first issue of the comic hits comics stores (we’re talking non-comics-readers, remember) but when the first collected edition hits bookstores, where those non-comics readers are more likely found. And I’d expect they’ll be pushing it to movie and TV producers as well, as another avenue to try to reach other fans, since DC Entertainment is specifically about developing projects that can be successful in other venues — I’d expect that’s behind most of the non-superhero comics in the new batch.

    No idea if it’ll succeed — most things don’t, after all — but it seems like a better idea to reach out in available and appropriate ways, rather than pre-declaring the book a failure because the relaunch promotion is about the biggest names or because vampire fans don’t support Blade.

  59. The Beat says:

    Nada: It’s an internet comment board so backpedaling is a necessary maneuver, and I agree — marketing to the outside is not necessarily the strong point of this campaign. But the tossed off vampire line was also hooey.

    The anecdote about DiDio in the comics shop reveals what a lot of us know: high level execs at most companies are very insulated from the situation on the ground. I can think of several, off the top of my head, who have never been in a modern comics shop.

    NEVER BEEN IN A MODERN COMICS SHOP.

    It’s not a sin — they are busy people. And maybe they don’t have advisers who are more in touch. And then you start to just listen to the echo chamber of your own head. And then come the preconceived notions and the platitudes and before you know it, we’re all making stupid generalizations.

    We all need to examine our own strongly held beliefs in order to move forward.

  60. MBunge says:

    Do any of the people ragging on DC’s effort here think Marvel’s approach of doing nothing except raising prices is better?

    Mike

  61. HeftyMissiles says:

    Mike,
    In terms of growth and marketing strategies, no, but Marvel straight up has like 3x as many books that I want to read.

  62. “Blade can’t even hold down an ongoing series.”

    Yeah, ignore the series of movies that grossed over $200 million. And the live-action TV series. And the animated series.

    For that matter, James Bond can’t hold down an ongoing comic series either. But I’d be quite happy to get my hands on the rights and give it a shot.

  63. Nick Jones says:

    The reboot may well have accomplished its goal of picking up new/lapsed adult readers, but it’ll be a while before we know. The whole returnability issue almost certainly bumped up what the average retailer ordered to qualify for the program and it would also have allowed them to be more liberal in ordering things that they weren’t sure would sell. What really matters is whether people will be coming into the stores and buying any of it, plus whether those customers that buy the first issues are retained in the longer term, all of which we’ll only find out about in orders way, way down the line.

    Of course, whether DC’s goals are being met or not, I’m still going to be critical of the fact that they didn’t use this reboot to try and pick up the kid/teen audience instead of adults. I think that’s going to come back to bite them in years to come.

    “Do any of the people ragging on DC’s effort here think Marvel’s approach of doing nothing except raising prices is better?”

    Not everybody is broken up into Team DC and Team Marvel. You can completely abhor the DC reboot and simultaneously think that Marvel is run by zombies, apes, or whathaveyou.

  64. Chris Hero says:

    I’m just jumping in now to amuse myself….

    Why does it *have* to be Marvel vs DC? Why does it *have* to be one of these companies has huge success or we hate comics?

    The headline to this story is sales stunt causes higher sales one month. Will it last? Doubtfully…and no, that’s not being negative, that’s just how sales stunts work.

    But beyond all that, no matter if you hate superhero comics or love them to pieces, there’s a whole world of comics out there that is totally unaffected by DC and Marvel. Comics will survive no matter what!

  65. Those numbers only mean that RETAILERS have been preordering a lot of DC comics. This is has nothing to do with actual sales.

  66. James says:

    Regarding I’ Vampire. (and some of the other lesser known titles) – they need a bit more promotion.

    At first I had ZERO intention of buying I’ Vampire – I though it was going to be a cutesy tween book about sparkling vampires like Twilight. But I’ve seen a preview page and I loved it! It looks dark and gothic, and something that could be interesting.

    But apart from that ONE PAGE (with no words!), where is the promotion? I’m now curious about the title, but there are no other preview pages. The interviews? I’m not going into the title blind. So it may turn into an impulse buy if I like what I see when it comes out.

    Ok, thats the end of my rant! :)

  67. James says:

    To every second person who says these are only orders – and haven’t been brought yet?

    YES, WE KNOW! The title of the article STATES – initial ORDERS. The book isn’t even out for another week, so of coarse no one has brought it! But give the retailer some credit please. I’m sure they know their clientele to some degree. They didn’t just pick a ramdom amount to order I’m sure.

  68. MBunge says:

    “Why does it *have* to be Marvel vs DC?”

    Because right now, the two dominant businesses in comics are presenting us with two approaches to collapsing sales figures.

    1. A fairly dramatic effort to reach out to new and lapsed readers in both a commercial and storytelling way, or…

    2. Raising prices.

    I am a Marvel Zombie from way back, but it seems like the company trying #1 should get a little credit and the company trying #2 should get a little disdain. That is, if you care about comics as an industry or an artform. If you don’t care about anything more than one company currently publishing more books you like, don’t worry about it.

    Mike

  69. Mo Walker says:

    NadaMucho,

    I agree that DC launching 52 titles in one month may not be the best idea. Like it or not we are stuck with it. I do not want this industry to fail so I will support the DC titles that appeal to me. I have been purchasing comics for nearly 25 years. I have my preferences but sometimes it is nice to venture out of my wheelhouse. The only way to learn about new titles is to do some promoting. If your company is going to publish a title, it should not be afraid/embarrassed to promote it.

  70. Chris Hero says:

    “That is, if you care about comics as an industry or an artform. If you don’t care about anything more than one company currently publishing more books you like, don’t worry about it.”

    See, this is what I’m talking about. This backhanded, snooty disdain for not picking a side in the fight.

    I don’t like either Marvel or DC and really, neither one does a thing that affects the comics I buy. So now I don’t care about comics as an artform? I just don’t get it….

  71. Rikk Odinson says:

    I tell ya, I really hope this works and DC ( and comics in general) gets some new readers.

    Not for sales or to save the industry.

    What we really need are new posters on comic book websites because a lot of the old ones that have been posting here and all the other ones are just a bunch of cynical, angry old jerks that can’t think about anything besides what’s important to them.

    They vex me and I tire of them oh so much.

  72. Nick Jones says:

    The suggestion that either you support the DC relaunch or you don’t care about comics as an art form is a false dichotomy. The suggestion that either you support the DC relaunch or you approve of Marvel’s business plan is also a false dichotomy. For that matter, the suggestion that the only thing Marvel is doing to counter declining sales is raising their prices is a straw man argument (at the very least, they’re also putting out massive, obnoxious crossover events back to back with no breaks).

    I realize that this is the internet and standards of are generally lower for any given discourse, but if you use nothing but logical fallacies to make your points then nobody with any sense is going to pay attention to you.

  73. Bill K. says:

    “The anecdote about DiDio in the comics shop reveals what a lot of us know: high level execs at most companies are very insulated from the situation on the ground. I can think of several, off the top of my head, who have never been in a modern comics shop.

    NEVER BEEN IN A MODERN COMICS SHOP.

    It’s not a sin — they are busy people.”

    Yes it is a sin, or at least a serious mistake. I have worked on marketing campaigns for a variety of companies small, large and in-between. The senior executives for all of these companies do store visits. And almost invariably the best run and most successful companies have C*Os that combine formal store visits, which can become stage managed dog and pony shows with informal unannounced visits where they go out to stores wherever they are traveling and see how their products are displayed, advertised, reacted to, etc. “in the wild”

    Yes senior executives in many companies are insulated from reality and out of touch, but never visiting your primary retail channel? That’s a whole different level and completely inexcusable. No matter how busy you are. And it explains a lot about the current state of the industry.

  74. Torsten Adair says:

    DC executives not visiting a comics shop?

    DC is located at 1700 Broadway, at 53rd Street, across from the Late Show.

    From 1700 B’way, walk south on Broadway to the 50th Street subway, and board a #1 train in the direction of South Ferry/downtown.

    Exit at Times Square/42nd Street (the next stop). Exit the platform at the far end (front of the train) at 40th Street. This will place you at the intersection of 40th Street and Seventh Avenue.

    Midtown Comics is located on the southwest corner of the intersection, above the Maoz restaurant. (You will see various superhero posters covering the second floor exterior.) The entrance is located on the south side of 40th Street, about three entrances west of Seventh Avenue.

    Or catch a taxi on Seventh Avenue and ride south to 40th Street. The fare will cost about $5-7, and take five minutes if traffic is normal.

    Look on the bright side… because of the Midnight signing for JLA #1, both the COO and co-publisher of DC Comics will be visiting that store.

    In regards to the Warner Brothers Studios in California, there is House of Secrets on West Olive Avenue.

  75. Comic “executives” are completely out of touch with comic retailers (the small, bread and butter shops). If they’re going to make this a success they need a strong marketing campaign that works with and for retailers. They are doing some noteworthy things but I honestly believe they can be doing a lot more. Marvel, in my opinion, cares even less.

    I’m not complaining, my store does quite well, but the level of ineptitude from these publishers when it comes to reaching out to the people that sell their product and jump through hoops for them is quite staggering. It really, really is.

  76. MBunge says:

    “The suggestion that either you support the DC relaunch or you don’t care about comics as an art form is a false dichotomy. The suggestion that either you support the DC relaunch or you approve of Marvel’s business plan is also a false dichotomy.”

    No, what’s false is characterizeing petty insults and bitching and “not supporting” the DC relaunch.

    Not supporting the DC relaunch would be ignoring it, not commenting on it and not buying the books when they come out. Actively maligning the DC relaunch, especially when the attacks are based on nothing more than bitter prickishness, is willfully attacking an effort to, you know, sell more comics to more people.

    Will it work? How the hell do I know? I do know I’m sick and tired of “Worst. Idea. Ever.” Comic Book Guy snark.

    Mike

  77. Nick Jones says:

    “No, what’s false is characterizeing petty insults and bitching and “not supporting” the DC relaunch.”

    Actually, not supporting the relaunch includes everything other than supporting the relaunch, including petty insults, bitching, ignoring it completely, not buying the books because they don’t interest you, and not buying the books because you’ve lived in a wooden shack off in the wilds of Siberia for your entire life and have never heard of DC Comics. Supporting/not supporting is what you call a true dichotomy. :D

    “Actively maligning the DC relaunch, especially when the attacks are based on nothing more than bitter prickishness, is willfully attacking an effort to, you know, sell more comics to more people.”

    You seem unable to grasp that people might have motives other than “bitter prickishness” to speak ill of the DC relaunch. There are valid cases to be made on both sides of the issue, and there’s no reason that people with a negative opinion should stay quiet while those with a positive one are free to shout it from the proverbial rooftops.

    “I do know I’m sick and tired of “Worst. Idea. Ever.” Comic Book Guy snark.”

    While it might upset you to see people criticize something you like or approve of, try to keep in mind that everybody has their own point of view on the matter and a right to voice it. If you’re sick and tired of what you see as snark, just try to avoid it; nobody is obligated to stop anything they’re doing based on your sensibilities.

  78. andrew brown says:

    wow both the beat and kurt busiek railing on a poor guy for making what seemed like a good point to me.
    Last time i looked American Vampire had the name “Stephen king” in the credits at first, that usually helps.
    Or maybe not. Kurt, didn’t you do a book with vampires recently? how many millions did it sell?

  79. Torsten Adair says:

    Apparently, Mr. DiDio was at the Midnight Madness party yesterday, so he has visited a comics shop recently.

    Does anyone have sales figures on the paper/digital polybag JLA #1? (I bought the buggywhip edition this morning.)

    And here’s another question… DC has inserted digital codes in their videogame titles, for players to download special objects. Given the push on JLA#1, why not do the same for a free digital comic?

    That’s when iTunes went critical… when they gave out free download codes via Mountain Dew. I visited, saw the library, saw how easy it was to download music…

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