The Retailer’s View: On Lenticular Covers

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029.DCC.Sprmn.1.0 384x591 53756291c78960.07133668 The Retailers View: On Lenticular Covers

By Brandon Schatz

[As always at The Beat, we’re trying to get more viewpoints out there, and here’s a new one: retailer Brandon Schatz will be giving some views on retailer issues, and first up, let’s look at those darned lenticular covers. The opinions expressed are those of Schatz and do not necessarily reflect The Beat’s.]

There’s very little chance you’re at this site, reading this article about comic book retail, and do not have a working knowledge of recent comic book history. That said, it never hurts to add a little context to current events. So.

In September of 2011, DC Comics relaunched their entire superhero universe with fifty-two brand new ongoing series functioning in a bright new continuity. Since then, the company has used September as a large-scale event month, using 2012 to flashback to the unexplored “early days” of the new continuity, and 2013 to unleash their villains across each and every one of their titles. Conceptually, there’s nothing wrong with this. The comic book industry thrives off of the occasional event as the eyeballs gained from the news of a line-wide disruption usually translates into higher profits. It was the reason why DC’s line-wide relaunch in 2011 was shatteringly successful for that month (and several after), and why their flashback month in 2012 garnered a slight bump in sales, despite a comparatively lower profile concept and easier execution.

Based on those two specific data points, it’s easy to see why DC came to realize “bigger” and “more complicated” would be the preferred road to take for their future events. Sales increased along with the size of the circus they brought with them, and so for their Villain’s Month, they brought one of the largest sideshows they could muster.
BAT GIRL 3D Cover A 580 537575086fe492.18507993 The Retailers View: On Lenticular Covers

Building from the simple touchpoint of “a villain for every title”, DC set about constructing a complicated structure of moving images and complicated numbering. Each and every title would have a lenticular cover that featured moving “3-D” images so entice the eye. This would balloon the cost of each month book from the more typical $2.99 to $3.99 for the month across the line, increasing the bottom line for retailers. Again, this is a simple enough idea in concept, one that’s still a painless hop, skip and jump away from “business as usual”. The first real complication came in the form of DC’s intricate publishing schedule and numbering strategy. Because the books wouldn’t necessarily further an ongoing’s overall plot, the company decided to employ the sub-numbering system Marvel had been toying with, changing what would be Action Comics #24 into Action Comics #23.1. In theory, I have no problem with this strategy – when employed properly, and used by retailers correctly, sub-numbering can have benefits for all involved. In this case, it would benefit the retailers and customers by clearly marking stories that could, for all intents and purposes, be skipped should there be budgetary concerns on the part of a customer who just wants “the story”.

Of course, the very last thing DC wanted was for these comics to be “skippable”, so they did everything in their power to make them “must-haves”. Their main ploy, of course, took the form of their lenticular cover design. Their other failsafe was a publishing schedule that saw their lower selling books wiped from the schedule to make room for multiple shipments of their larger books. In the early days of dealing with this event, this was the biggest problem. Books like Dial H and Katana were given strange She’s All That make-overs and disguised as Justice League titles, while certain titles (like All-Star Western) were moved from the schedule completely. This created a complicated landscape where retailers had try to discern how to add certain books to files without causing too much of a disruption. The headache was enormous.

For my part, I attempted to let everyone know what was happening to the best of my abilities. I came at customers with a list of books and recommendations, asking all comers to choose one of three options: pick which specific books they wanted themselves (so that, say, a hardcore Justice League fan could skip on the Dial H issue of the title, which might have been well outside of their areas of interest), allow me to choose for them (so that Batgirl and Catwoman files would get those issues of Batman: The Dark Knight that would affect the ongoing stories from those titles), or skip the event completely. It was a lot of hard work, but in the end, it was almost worth it. Had DC stuck to their guns and honoured all orders placed before the final ordering deadline, the whole event would have gone smoothly, even if it had required a lot of extra work to do so.

Then came the allocations.

As the story goes, DC didn’t anticipate the demand that the lenticular covers would garner, and had printed far too few. Recently, the company also admitted that a chunk of the books had to be destroyed due to some fuzzy imagery that had resulted during the early stages of production cycle, which limited supply even further. In any case, retailers were eventually told that their orders for the 3D covers were going to be highly allocated, and as a result, the company would be producing a line of 2D covers to match at the $2.99 price point in order to meet demand. There were several problems with this, starting with the fact that the company waited to make this announcement the week after final orders were placed for the first week of the event. To make matters worse, DC didn’t announce allocation amounts until three days before they wanted final orders for the 2D covers they were using to “cover” what would amount to intense product shortages. For me, that meant I had three days to try and contact each and every one of my customers, and try to explain the changes that were going to happen. Suddenly, I was forced to tell people that I had lied to them about there only being a premium $3.99 edition available, many of whom had previously sworn off the month of publication to save money on their already strained budgets. In many cases, I had to essentially barter with people who expected a complete run of lenticular covers because DC had decided to allocated book like the aforementioned Dial H issue of Justice League using a store’s orders for Dial H – meaning a book that was selling an estimated 11,086 copies industry wide in August 2013 hiding within the covers of a book that sold an estimated 103,936 for the same month was being used to fill orders. That’s almost a 90% difference in sales. The allocation for most stores reflected that, creating a bit of a gap between what could feasibly make its way into the hands of customers, and what would have ordered to hopefully placate the frustrated.

To their credit, DC made the entirety of the event returnable in order to take the bulk of the financial strain away from the retailers (though as a Canadian retailer, the returns process is financially questionable at the best of times), but there was never a question about the event’s financial success. With a line-up theoretically consisting of their highest selling titles and a crop of titles at higher price points with guaranteed sell-through, the money was always going to come in. On the other hand, the amount of heavy lifting a retailer had to do to frantically adjust numbers at the very last second and satisfy customer demand far outweighed the price benefits… if you were the type of retailer who sold things at cover price. Many didn’t but that’s another topic completely.

The result was a catastrophic mess that I will never forget, the result of over a solid month of stress dreams involving missing product and irate customers. While nothing in reality quite approached the level of anger and despair I felt in my dreams, and while the store had fantastic sales for the month, it wasn’t worth the strain and effort – especially when the collector mentality it garnered did nothing positive to our bottom line moving forward.

Flash forward several months to February 27th, 2014. A nondescript man in England was sitting at a pub. He lifted his glass to finish his third pint when a sharp pain suddenly shot through his soul. He dropped the glass, and people stared, some of them clapping. He ignored them, taken aback by the great feeling of empty horror and loss that struck so quickly and left just as fast. He doesn’t know that DC was at a ComicsPRO retailer announcing a new round of lenticular covers for this September, and he certainly didn’t realize that my sense of horror ran so deep that I could radiate waves of crippling despair from the frigid norths of Canada.

Okay, so maybe that psychic resonance thing didn’t happen, but that’s the closest approximation I can make in regards to my feelings about that announcement – something dark gripping my heart immediately and violently, crying out to be empathized with, before dissipating into something that resembled… weary acceptance. Of course they were going to try again – only this time, they were going to try to “fix” some of the problems they had with the first round. It started with soliciting the line well before the typical time frame, requiring retailers to set numbers for the September shipping titles alongside ones that would find their way to the stands in July. As with the previous event cycle, this in and of itself is fine. Even enforcing a strict Final Order date of May 29th was workable, given the popularity of the lenticular covers, and the need to get those orders locked in early. However, in solving one problem, DC opened a door to another set of troubles that are somehow far more distressing than those that marred the previous year’s events.
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As they announced the slate of 41 books that would be getting the lenticular treatment, the company also listed the plots for each of the titles. Beyond that, there was no information. No creators, no covers, nothing, just raw data of the shape of events to come. While the event structure always implied that the circus was more important than the performers, it had yet to be alluded to so overtly. It opened a pit in my stomach that only widened when Dan Didio told attendees at a Diamond retailer summit in late April that the creative teams for roughly half of the line’s books were confirmed as the allusion turned into stated fact.

Most companies don’t publish books out of the goodness of their heart, and a good retailer knows that. It’s the reason why any given Batman title will move a certain amount of copies on a consistent basis, and a title like All Star Western lingers near the bottom of the charts trying to stave off cancellation with each passing month – we have a general sense of what will sell and how it will sell, despite a title’s inherent quality, and we order to match demand. That’s business. That said, if you’re running your store or comic publishing concern properly, there can and should be room for art inside of it. Without the art of comics, there would be no business, and without business, there would be no art. It’s a cyclical pattern that requires both to survive. In crafting this new event, however, DC decided to lean so heavy on the business aspect, that the art became an after-thought.

The history of this industry is rife with people who have chosen the quick dollar over the long game. By and large, the peak is usually pretty tall, but the low is ruinous, as evidenced by the big crash in the 90s. The way DC concocted this year’s event, coupled with last year’s clear lack of preparation and forethought, smacks of a company seeking the dollar at the detriment of anything else. While the company has since released the names of the creative teams attached to each of the 41 September shipping titles, the lingering after effects remain. Forgetting for a second about the lazy retailers who will order blind based off the initial dabs of information contained within their copy of Previews (which only features the plot information), there remains the issue of content, and what it means to the larger market. While the line will undoubtedly post numbers that will dwarf DC’s usual month-to-month orders, it will all be in the name of the event and the lingering effects of their previous round of special covers. Armed with a sense of foreboding and vowing to account for every dollar they potentially lost from a lack of product last year, retailers will undoubtedly order deep on each and every one of the offered 3D covers. With an unencumbered supply, DC will happily reap the benefits of this ordering practice, as they make their dollars when they sell their product to retailers, and not when retailer sell product to their customers. After the book are in retailers’ hands and the cheques are cashed, DC could probably care less about sell-through, as the majority of the product they sell is non-returnable. So there will be a glut of product on the stands – what about the contents? This is where the balance of art and business come into play. Batman will sell enough to keep the lights on almost regardless of what is found within the pages of it’s covers, but the is a correlation between perceived quality and sales. One look at where all the different Bat-books are on the shelves will tell you that with ease. Now, when you take those numbers and start looking at attrition from month to month, you can see the effect that contents will eventually have on the line as a whole. If the contents are sparking something inside a readership, the numbers will remain fairly level or increase. If not, they will drift downwards with stunning velocity.

The nature of this year’s event being an after-thought beyond the more lucrative business aspects is stunning in its short-sightedness. There is a severe lack of art at play within the business model, and it will eventually cause a collapse which will be all the more devastating for those retailers and companies who have been counting on the quick dollar that suddenly no longer exists. I believe that the effects of this are already in play from last year’s event. While I sold through copies of the 3D covers with ease to speculators and collectors, a large swath of my regulars found the stories contained within the Villain’s Month issues to ill-suit their personal likes. It was a feeling compounded by the large buy in the event required, and the darkening of the already uniformly dreary line of comics the company currently publishes. Add to the mix a weekly series that leads into this new event, and I have a customer base that is approaching “apathetic”. I can work with angry. I can’t work with apathy.

A solution to this would be for me to cinch up and work a little bit harder. I could always pound the pavement and find more of the crowd that the current line of DC comics will appeal to. That is, after all, my job as a retailer – to match people with comics that they’ll love – but to do that, I need DC to meet me halfway. I need them to let me know that I’m finding customers for books that they are proud of, with contents that they have put time and effort into. What I heard in April was the vocal equivalent to that shrugging emoticon that’s been doing the rounds on the internet lately. DC wants their quick dollar, and they’re willing to do anything to get it, including burning down the road forward. Eventually, they’re going to see diminishing returns from this tactic, and again, when they do, the results will be far more catastrophic than they would have been had they put their focus on the content of their books and the ideas of their creators all along. Let’s all just hope they can do this before they take some of us down with them.

[Brandon Schatz has been working behind the comic book counter for eight years. He’s spent the past four as the manager of Wizard’s Comics and Collectibles in Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, he writes about the comics he likes over at Comics! The Blog and stares at passive keyboards and empty word documents, making secret wishes and bargains that will surely come back to haunt him.]

Comments

  1. Dave Hopkins says:

    Really excellent article, sums up most of what I’ve been thinking but much more eloquently than I could

  2. Superb piece; can’t find a word to disagree with.

    -B

  3. Glenn Simpson says:

    The does seem to be some concepts here that I’m a little unsteady with.

    That retailers will not use the subsequently released creative information to make better choices about what to order. Really? Why wouldn’t they? The information was released weeks before the final cut off.

    That the fact that DC didn’t have the creatives pinned down at the time of the initial information release is somehow a clear indication of a lack of quality in the final product. I’m more inclined to assume that these creatives were selected as early if not earlier than normal for a book coming out in September, it’s just that because of issues around production times on the covers, the information had to go out even earlier than that. None of which has anything to do with the final quality of the stories inside. They could all be written by unknowns, that doesn’t mean they are going to be bad.

    How is DC making retailers purchase books for which there will be no sell-through? If you don’t think you can sell them, don’t purchase them.

    There is a profound lack of mentioning here the fact that DC also modified the plan such that each book (for the most part) is tied directly to an ongoing series and will be labeled as such, so sales from the ongoings can provide good information on what sales will be for the specials.

    Just not seeing the problem here.

  4. I was wondering when the internet would happen.

    As the article states, the fact that DC assigned stories to books before creators is the main problem. It indicates more faith in the gimmick than the contents, and one could look at several of their recent moves as points that bolster that particular outlook. Please also note that I never said DC was making me purchase ANYTHING beyond what I think I’ll require for customer demand.

    My concerns have more to do with an apathetic readership – evidence of which I see every day in the store, and every month when DC’s share of the overall market pie becomes public knowledge. I would like DC to do better, as their success is somewhat by default, my success. Unfortunately, their current practices and launches fill me with an overwhelming sense of desperation and dread, which is disappointing, more than anything. I wish their books would sell, and I wish they didn’t have to resort to cheap parlour tricks to do so, but here we are.

  5. Glenn Simpson says:

    I can see where you might have concerns about the plots being assigned before the creatives are ANNOUNCED, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have writers at that time. And even if they didn’t, editors are a part of the creative process, they aren’t just there to make sure deadlines are met. We owe most of the Silver Age of DC to Julius Schwartz who didn’t write a darn thing – half the time he had a cover commissioned around an idea and then hired a writer to create a story that matched it.

    You said “So there will be a glut of product on the stands” – why would there be a glut if retailers purchase according to what they believe their customers will buy, any more than any other month?

    The stories may be good, they may not, but I guess I don’t understand where that is tied to when the creators get announced. Especially when it’s a once-a-year event that, yes, is making allowances for the production of the covers.

    Is it a fair assessment of your opinion that DC simply should never do this kind of cover if it prevents them from being able to announce the creatives within the initial solicitations?

  6. Glenn, the problem with not pinning down the creative teams before announcing big events can lead to the one thing that could tank the event…delays. Yes there are guys out there who can write or draw 20 books a month, and then there are those who take 3+ years to write a 6 issues series.

    About 2 months ago DC did a 4-issue crossover between Batman/Superman and World’s Finest. Part 1 was in B/S with part 2 in WF the next week. Part 4 came out in WF and the next issue of WF came out before the issue of B/S with part 3 was even released. This also happened with Marvel back in Civil War, the Thunderbolts tie-in was released before Cviil War Issue 2 which spoiled the “Big World Changing Revelation” which was arguably the crux of Civil War Issue 2.

    These events are what are causing longtime fans of the genre to turn their backs and stop buying/collecting. Thus regular sales drop, causing the publishers to put out more “special events” to spike sales, which causes more customer apathy, and the cycle continues.

  7. “That retailers will not use the subsequently released creative information to make better choices about what to order. Really? Why wouldn’t they? The information was released weeks before the final cut off.”

    Less than two weeks before.

    I know that for me, at least, it is much harder to effectively communicate information to my customers with less than a full solicitation cycle. Getting a majority of subscribers to even respond to an email can be a 6 to 8 week process, believe it or not!

    Only a small minority of customers are dialed in the way that anyone who bothered to click through these comments might be. For most customers, comics are a very casual thing, a thing that they see what’s what when they walk in the store — they’re not following it on the internet. Probably 60% of my pull list customers get the majority of their information about comics from my store, and about a quarter of them don’t come in or want contact much more so than quarterly.

    In a situation like this where the explicit message from the publisher is “preorder or else”, well, I want to take them at their word on that. And, on a purely mechanical level, the Best Practices in this case for Generating Preorders is “give us AT LEAST five weeks” (we get solicitation data before it goes “live”) to do so.

    There’s a BIG BIG difference between JUSTICE LEAGUE by Geoff Johns, and the same by Matt Kindt. I adore Kindt, but the actual audience sell-through is vastly different, and, in trying to generate preorders, it is relatively key to be able to TELL the customer if it is Johns or Kindt.

    Will we figure it out? Well, sure! We’re all Big Boys who do this for a living, but I’m fairly certain that I’ve generated fewer preorders because DC didn’t actually have their Shit Together. Further, because it appears from the outside that this is “just” product — especially because they are generally “What Ifs”, not integral works — not having creative teams in place for announcement just magnifies that perception.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but in my stores a large number of customers buy comics for the actual content — NOT the character or the completism or the strict habit of it — and when you change that content, the sales change to reflect that. So saying “Well, it’s an actual issue of BATMAN (or whatever), so order it just like that” is really wildly inaccurate in my personal experience. There is a reason that BATMAN is the #1 best-selling ongoing comic, and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT got cancelled — the audience for “Batman, generically” might be higher than the audience for most A-list characters, but it certainly isn’t a full prescription for orders in and of itself.

    I’m going to have a financially better Sept than I will Aug for “The New 52″, if only for the price hike, the rubberneckers, the two versions, the stunty panic creation, and the removal of many of the worst-selling titles, but, like Brandon, I think it will create a worse long-term picture for the “brand” of DC and/or “New 52″ as customers use this as a jumping OFF point.

    It’s great that I can make more money for a month — it really really is! — but the real game that I desire to play takes place twelve months a year, not just in Septembers.

    -B

  8. Co-signed. Though honestly, I really feel as though another read through the article is in order – especially the link wherein Dan Didio told retailers specifically that they didn’t have their creative teams together. Not sure if it’s in that specific link or not either, but it’s also worth noting that Axel Alonso noted that a company should really have their schedule in better shape than that for product that close to publication. Regardless, if you’re taking the information to the retailers, that information should be complete. There’s a couple of TBAs in the latest Marvel Previews for August. Will they announce who the artist is before the FOC? Almost certainly. Will their inability to match an artist to a book at this juncture effect my orders for those books? Absolutely. But hey, at least that’s one or two books, and not an entire line-up.

  9. 3D month was a DC skip month for me last year. The only DC books I bought that month were the usual Vertigo titles I read.
    This 3D month will be essentially the same for me. I won’t be buying any of the 3D books.
    I read for content, not for gimmick.
    I want cohesive content that builds an ongoing story, not some one-shot that is mostly forgettable. It is about what is on the inside. Anybody can put a pretty or interesting cover on a bad comic book. I don’t want to pay for the cover, I want to pay for the long form story.

  10. Blake Dabbas says:

    As a retailer, myself, The first go around with the 3D linticular covers was a disaster. I had TWO customers at opening trying to buy all of 7 copies of “Joker’s daughter” because they were already selling on ebay at the time for $100.00. I allotted them one apiece, and as a result they both dropped their pull lists. I had plenty of that book ordered, BTW. but like the article mentioned “allocations’. then there was the fact that Diamond Comics distributors, the monopoly that distributes all of the major Companies like Marvel, DC and Image Exclusively, didn’t send me part of my order that was actually invoiced! This is, of course NORMAL for them, and when i call to complain about it and get my books, they issue “credits” and tell me they are “back ordered” which is Diamond -speak for “you’re not going to get them!” This only compounded the problem I had with some of my customers over these books! so, when i saw that they are doing this AGAIN, I got wary. Yes, i ordered a few more than i normally would. But no, i’m not going crazy with it!

  11. Glenn Simpson says:

    @Guest – the thing is, there is no indication that the creatives for these books are being selected later than normal. The only thing that we know has changed is that the books themselves are being solicited much earlier than normal.

    For any book where the creative for some reason isn’t going to be the person who did it the month before, this might have been the same amount of time allowed, for all any of us know. Assuming that they are being selected at last minute because the solicits went out first is a false assumption.

  12. Glenn Simpson says:

    I guess you guys are right about what you are dealing with. I confess that as someone who is character-oriented and does preorder through DCBS (which means I generally am ordering two months out), it’s hard for me to imagine being someone who just wanders into the store and then wants specific books based on who wrote them, and expects you to have them to the point of getting upset with you (or DC) if you didn’t. Things sell out. That’s like deciding to go to a concert at the last minute and then getting mad because it’s sold out.

  13. Ed Sherman says:

    What about rack space? Do the fan boys posing as management at DC ever exercise any common business sense at all? Where am I supposed to rack 41 new DC titles for a month? I am located in a very small and very expensive shopping mall space in San Diego and I do not have infinite rack space to display cheesy gimmick books for a quick buck.
    As I sit here finalizing my May Diamond order I wonder why I still sell comic books. Thanks again DC for making what should be a wonderful way to make a living miserable…..

  14. Dan Long says:

    As a reader/collector, I have two comments.
    1 – I stopped reading somewhere in the paragraph about the history of the industry. Blah, blah, blah. Dude, be concise. You ramble and go on more tangents than than a DC imaginary story.
    2 – Now, to the cruz of your ramble. As a reader/collector, I don’t give two flips for the lenticular covers. I was pissed when I discovered I’d been tricked into buying them when a $2.99 option was available. And, because they were more expensive, I didn’t order as many. When $2.99 options were available, those I bought more of! And I still didn’t get a Dial E issue, despite being a constant Dial H reader.
    I certainly didn’t blame the retailers. I knew it was DC fault.
    And now DC is going it again? Talk about a great jumping off point!
    Here’s what DC needs to do: offer both covers and see what sells. Seriously. See if the gimmick cover will sell more than the non-gimmick cover. And I mean REAL sales, not sales to retailers. What readers buy, not what retailers order. Because if the gimmick cover is going to outsell the regular ones, and the gimmick cover is going to bring in more sales/buyers, then that means YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT EVERY MONTH!
    Oh….that’s not going to work…see what you did there.

  15. From what I’ve seen so far, DC handled this way better than the Villain’s Month 3D covers. The earlier soliciting and final order dat is understandable to avoid last year’s production issues, and actually being related to the regular series with a lot of the same creative teams or at least being close enough.

    But DC did jump the gun by initially announcing the event without any creative team attached. It shows a complete diregards for the creators on their part by focusing only on the gimmick of the month. Even if they made amends soon after, it still remains a terrible move on their part.

  16. Glenn Simpson says:

    @Ed Sherman – since these take the place of all of the regular series for that month, why wouldn’t you rack them in the place you would normally have racked DC comics for that month?

  17. Julio Aguilar says:

    “The way DC concocted this year’s event, …, smacks of a company seeking the dollar at the detriment of anything else.”

    And that’s why I don’t buy any DC anymore.

    Good read.

  18. Glenn Simpson says:

    @Dan Long – DC is offering both versions. I’m not sure how they would track actual sell-through though, other than asking the stores to report it back.

  19. Jason Dickson says:

    Glenn, I don’t know how much DC is paying you to excuse their predatory behaviours, but kindly take every penny and shove it up your ass.

  20. Um, yeah. Can I have the next issue of Superman Unchained please?

  21. Glenn Simpson says:

    They aren’t. I just don’t like it when people just kinda yell things out in a public forum that don’t necessarily make sense. “Predatory” somewhat implies a lack of power on the part of the “victim” that I’m not seeing here.

  22. I’m someone who went from buying most of their output to not buying a single thing by them at the current time.

    The heavy application of gimmick and it’s emphasis is why I left. It tended to render the stories boring as shit.

  23. rob e says:

    Dan Long:
    You might not have gotten a copy of Dial E because it wasn’t a “Dial H” comic, but rather a Justice League book.

    And that’s my main problem with “Villians Month” last September. Instead of actually doing “one title, one villain”, DC issued up to four editions of certain titles, mainly (of course) Superman, Batman, and JLA books. A perfect example of this is the Creeper one-shot. Creeper in the New 52 had been established as a Katana villain, tying into her backstory. Instead of Creeper being in a Katana Villians Month book, he was in a Justice League Dark edition—a book that had nothing to do with Katana, who up to that point made her New 52 mark in Birds of Prey and Justice League America. Just another example of DC throwing their entire marketing/promotional weight behind a select few characters/books, while leaving most out in the cold to sink or swim with no help.

    As for the regular vs special covers, as a reader as opposed to a collector, I’ll be happy with the standard copies of the titles I already read only.

  24. Paying more for a specially printed cover, with no idea of the creative team at the time of placing the order? Think about this. Why are you buying under these circumstances? Just to be a completist?

  25. Al , that is any easy one. As a long-time retailer , 90% of my customers buy character or storyline. With a few exceptions : Scott Snyder , Geoff Johns and a few others . Most creators do not really move the needle on DC/Marvel comic sales. As a retailer , I am looking forward to Sept , DC has taken what is traditionally a down month and has turned it into our best $$ sales month of the year

  26. Glenn Simpson says:

    @AL@: As Gerry says, there is a large group of readers who read the books based on who the characters are. Sure, there may be writers or artists we like more than others, but its rare that DC hires writers who are so bad or artists who are so bad that it makes it not worth still buying the story to see what happens next with our favorite characters. A long time ago on CBR someone did a poll to ask what people’s preference was, and within that group it seemed to run about 50/50 in terms of people who focus more on the creators and those who focus more on the characters.

  27. Other Chris says:

    “its rare that DC hires writers who are so bad or artists who are so bad that it makes it not worth still buying the story to see what happens next with our favorite characters”

    Boy, I WISH that was true!

  28. george allen says:

    Well I’ve made it easy for my retailer instead of waiting for September I’ve cancelled all my DC books (except for Batman last month) :)

    I have zero interest in Futures end and the more I see of it the less interest I have. being one of those readers who buy for content I am less than pleased in having the stories interrupted by these September events.
    I actually looked forward to the villians month unfortunately nearly every one fell short of the regular stories they interrupted so even if I was interested in Futures End I wouldnt be interested in the Sept issues.
    these days it seems like every DC book is involved in some sort of crossover and I’ve finally had enough.
    So from twenty books a month DC have p***** me off enough that I’m only buying one title now.

  29. george allen:

    Yeah, like Marvel doesn’t do crossovers. Compared to them, you could almost call DC’s crossovers rare.

  30. It isn’t a binary “Marvel vs DC”. That’s not how the overwhelming majority of people act in the real world.

    -B

  31. Brian:

    Who said Marvel vs DC? Just comparing crossovers. You cannot deny that Marvel goes straight from one crossover to the next, lather, rinse, repeat. DC’s have been spread out much better to where they’re not exactly bleeding on each other.

    Nope, not a binary DC vs Marvel. Just a comparison of how two different companies handle a similar situation—-you know, just like most people do in the real world.

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