I wonder how well Final Crisis would have done if Countdown simply had never happened.
Scale-- I would have been more excited about it.I wonder how well Final Crisis would do if there hadn't been a Crisis last year...
Also, this is what people mean when they say "DC isn't doing well." For instance.
I don't think Countdown had anything to do with it. Final Crisis caters to old school DC Fans. Which A lot of us aren't. I jumped on board DC in the 90s and I don't know a lot about Pre-Crisis DC and I was confused as hell.
And that's the thing, too. Fan response to SI is either wow, cool! or eh, wait for the trade with maybe a few people still in the middle. Imagine if this was a Marvel crossover fans all loved.
Good. Final Crisis #1 was underwhelming and confusing. I felt like I was missing whole chapters in the storylines when I read it. I kept thinking maybe I need to pick something else up to get perspective on the events.Then I'm told that it doesn't matter if you read Countdown or Death of the New Gods because they totally contradict each other. This is after the whole marketing avalanche of a interweaved universe. If you are going to sell that, put it the effort to show it's true. What's the point of having a head editorial position if organization and continuity is not emphasized.This is coming from a huge DC fan also. I bought the first issue and then dropped it from my pull list. Life is too short to waste time and money on a bad comic.
I don't know if Final Crisis was neccessarily for old school fans. I jumped on in the 90's, but I've read a lot of Pre-Crisis stuff.I think it's the fact that the story, and the editorial force and much of the creators at DC have a very "exclusive" take on comics, as opposed to "inclusive."Yes, they've taken baby steps and realized that maybe they need the gays' money after all, so they throw them a bone every once in a while. Every once in a while, they'll throw "the women" a small bone too. But for the most part (Not all of it), it's still and exclusive boys' club. A geeky boys' club, but boys' club just the same.It's time to be more inclusive. You sell more comics by not excluding people, which is what I feel is a philosiphy Val has been trying to champion on this blog.
I jumped on board DC in the 90s and I don't know a lot about Pre-Crisis DC and I was confused as hell.I know what you mean. I started reading comics around the Death of Superman/Knightfall period (which probably explains my affinity for Chuck Dixon, Azrael, and the Scarlet Spider). When Infinite Crisis came out, I had to do actual research into the Infinite Earths concept, and I also read the original Crisis. Not that I'm complaining. If only real work was more like that.When Countdown started, all I knew of the New Gods was from Superman: The Animated Series, and I figured I'd need to know a bit more to appreciate Final Crisis (if there is something to appreciate--and again I'm thankful I don't have to get into that Countdown nonsense). And hey, if nothing else, Final Crisis has put the Jack Kirby omnibuses on my buy list.
Scale:"I wonder how well Final Crisis would have done if Countdown simply had never happened."About the same level of sales. Countdown has nothing to do with it. Any previous 'event' has nothing to do with it.You want to know why Marvel typically outsells DC? It's because retailers have to order $5000-$6000 retail value in product monthly in order to get their 55%, and DC only requires $3500.When you have that large a discrepancy in orders and as a retailer you NEED that higher discount, what are you going to order more of? I'm amazed when DC (or anyone else) actually gets anything into the top ten in orders.
So what? one piece #50 sold over 1,000,000 of copies this week,and it wasnt a special issue or anything like that.http://comiquero.com/manga/comenta/one-piece-rompe-record/source http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/ranking/55402/full/
"You want to know why Marvel typically outsells DC? It's because retailers have to order $5000-$6000 retail value in product monthly in order to get their 55%, and DC only requires $3500."That may be true, but:a) I don't see all retailers buying more product just to get a bigger discount. Some surely do, but (as a future retailer myself) I'd like to think that most retailers are using good business sense and actually buying what they need and what they think will sell through, vs. just buying more to save a little, which may leave them stuck with a bunch of books they can't sell.b) your theory still doesn't account for the quality of the books. Countdown, to put it nicely, wasn't very good, and it seems that quite a number of other people felt the same way since the book shed quite a few readers during it's run, including myself. If the highly-publicized lead-in to an event, doesn't get people excited, I think many of them will avoid the actual event itself, or at least remain extremely cautious about it, maybe waiting for the trade, or for word of mouth before committing to buying it.That 55% discount thing can't explain why DC has experienced large sales drops in a number of their books. Remember OYL? Remember how exciting a concept it was when we first heard about it? Remember how badly it sucked once we read the books? Many titles saw large sales drops, and that's not because of Marvel's requirements for their 55% discount, it's because the books were poorly done, plain and simple.-r-
brightraven (same as on the old DCMB? I used to be IRWINSHWAB;) as a former retailer of 8 years, I can say I never worried overmuch about hitting 55% on Marvel. Sure, I ran two small shops, and I did have an anti-Marvel bias thanks to the Heroes' World nonsense. Still, I did good business at 50% for both DC & Marvel. I pushed DC heavily back in the day, but the simple fact remained Marvel dominated sales by a large margin. I made headway on DC sales, but Marvel had a culture and history DC just could not compete with. If you were not white or loved intra-company continuity or strong characterization, Marvel had a good quarter-century over DC in courting your purchasing power. I bought what sold, and that was Marvel. There was a window in the 90's when DC was the better publisher in all respects, but it passed and Marvel recouped in the 00's.
I think what's really hurt Final Crisis is how understated it is.Final Crisis is supposed to be the last of a trilogy - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and now Final Crisis. COIE had George Perez and Marv Wolfman - both the top talent at the time, both used to working with huge casts and dealing with large amounts of superheroes and supervillains and setting up the idea that this is a huge event for them, bigger than anything they've dealt with before. Same goes for Infinite Crisis - top talent in the industry while continuing the story of some of the people who hadn't been really seen in twenty years. Final Crisis? Well, it's okay SO FAR, but instead of the grandiose feeling of something coming or something changing that we had in COIE and 8C, we have a few unrelated events rather understated because of their street-level significance.The covers are also a huge problem. COIE and 8C each had powerful imagery on their covers, showcasing a whole lot of "Holy shit, this is big!" kind of stuff happening. Final Crisis? 2/3 of the page are a blank color with "FINAL CRISIS" written down them. It doesn't make it look more like a professional novel, it makes it look like the artist was lazy, which we know he wasn't.
Richard Melendez: "I don't see all retailers buying more product just to get a bigger discount. Some surely do, but (as a future retailer myself) I'd like to think that most retailers are using good business sense and actually buying what they need and what they think will sell through, vs. just buying more to save a little, which may leave them stuck with a bunch of books they can't sell."Logically, it would seem they would do this, but my experience with retailers has shown otherwise. Granted, many of the retailers who don't at least attempt to do this end up going out of business, but for every shop still in business, I can point to 3-5 shops who have gone under in the past decade. When you know a guy who liquidates failing comics shops and has bought out more than 1,300 shops in the past seven years, you see a lot more of the patterns of personal behavior and business attitudes of these failed enterprises, which show a lot more of why many comics shops are failing than anything you'll get out of the online chats or the media released market research. ********Frank:I went to the DCMB once upon a time, yes. We've talked at Val's message board before, too. I don't know your two store locations, what kind of size of stores you had or what kind or size of clientele you had, or if you ordered both stores under a single order form or what. So it's really impossible for me to determine why things sold for you the way they did.I don't deny that Marvel sells well. But I also know that they structure their publishing schedule towards crossover arcs and events dictating cross pollination in sales. I also know they give retailer incentives to overorder on certain titles be it "limited edition" covers or whatever. (DC does this too, to a lesser degree.) I know that Marvel has sported an aggressive open guerilla style of marketing since Jemas took over and Quesada and Buckley continue that trend. Controversy or any generalized (i.e. non-comics specialty) publicity for their books is good for their business, as far as they are concerned, and they market to that end. All of these factors contribute to their sales, and make it easier for you to sell their product as a retailer. And I'm sure you preferred to just put books out on the shelves and have them fly out the store, instead of actually have to be a sales person.DC is much more tempered and even-keeled in that regard, and sales are reflective of this.
algyea:"So what?one piece #50 sold over 1,000,000 of copies this week,and it wasnt a special issue or anything like that."Okay. And? This fact affects this conversation how? Oh yes, comics in Japan sell more than American comics. What a newsflash.Now, take your manga back to Japan, since you're too fucking cheap to reciprocate and translate the American comics to Japanese. We have plenty of original content over here in te States that could be published reasonably priced if you weren't undercutting them on the cheap with your dollar to yen conversion rates. Have a nice day.
"You want to know why Marvel typically outsells DC? It's because retailers have to order $5000-$6000 retail value in product monthly in order to get their 55%, and DC only requires $3500."thanks for straightening that one out. For a second I thought a lack of quality, a long line of wretched & botched events, and extreme instability in creative teams might have played a role as well. But I guess that's not what's really key, and that's not what readers or retailers really care about.
lbrightraven, Wow. That is possibly the most xenophobic, hateful thing I've ever read regarding comic books. It's not the Japanese who are, in your words, "too fucking cheap to reciprocate and translate the American comics to Japanese." It's the American comic books companies' poor business practices that aren't allowing them to compete in a global market. Viz, the publisher of One Piece, sells comics here in the States. They do so by offering a product more people are interested in buying when comparing against American comic book companies. True, the 1 million copies of One Piece sited were copies sold in one week in Japan, but when was the last time an American comic book company sold 1 million units in a given sales period anywhere in the world? And to correct alegya, there aren't any floppy issues of One Piece. One Piece is serialized weekly in Shonen Jump and then every 9 installments are packaged into a collection. The 50th collection sold 1 million units in Japan last week. American superhero comics are *dead*.
Really, all purchasing more Marvel books means is the potential for stacks of Secret Invasion to collect dust on the shelves. It does not mean automatically more copies will sell. FC could have outsold Secret Invasion regardless of how many more copies of Secret Invasion the stores had to buy. The fact that it did not says something more than just "more copies to get the discount."
"thanks for straightening that one out. For a second I thought a lack of quality, a long line of wretched & botched events, and extreme instability in creative teams might have played a role as well. But I guess that's not what's really key, and that's not what readers or retailers really care about."Books are ordered before anyone reads them, quality has nothing to do with it. Its all about hype.1. Marvel has more fans2. Marvel events are very simple concepts that are easy to understand get excited about3. Nobody even knew what FC was going to be about, so its not like Civil War where anyone who wants to see Spiderman fight Iron Man will jump on and check it out.Good or bad is irrelevant to comic sales most of the time, its all hype. You fav Incredible Hercules is supposed to be excellent, but its sales are dropping like crazy because there is no hype, and its not a popular character. I bet if they billed FC as Batman vs. Superman: One of them will die! it would have sold 300,000 copies, regardless of quality.
kenny: "American superhero comics are *dead*."And we've been hearing this for how many decades now...? Seriously, from Wertham to the speculator boom, loss of the newsstand market to the growth of manga and digital downloads, American comics have supposedly been on its deathbed due to some market trend or event or something since forever. Yet, American comics are still around. I won't argue the fact that manga far outsells American comics. And I won't argue the fact that the American comics industry will have to adapt and change if it wants to survive in the long run. But American comics will be around for quite some time in some shape or form. The industry has problems. The art form doesn't. ---lbrightraven: "When you know a guy who liquidates failing comics shops and has bought out more than 1,300 shops in the past seven years, you see a lot more of the patterns of personal behavior and business attitudes of these failed enterprises, which show a lot more of why many comics shops are failing than anything you'll get out of the online chats or the media released market research."Okay, not a diss, but why is it that whenever someone on a message board has a view that's contrary to the majority, that guy somehow turns out to be an "expert" or knows someone with insider knowledge, or otherwise has experienced stuff that nobody else on the board has?Assuming you're being 100% truthful (and at 1300 shops liquidated a year for 7 years, brings us to about 186 failed comic shops that he buys out per year, which, forgive me if I'm wrong, sounds a bit dubious to me), I still don't buy your claim that Marvel outsells DC primarily because of their discount structure. Again, surely some, perhaps even many retailers follow that carrot regularly, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of comic shops, particularly those who have been around for some time, or are consistently turning a profit, don't care enough about that 55% discount to beef up their Marvel order. If the quality isn't there, if the customers who love Marvel aren't there, buying more to save a little just isn't worth it. And again I'm willing to bet that these successful stores with some history behind them, and a strong customer base, impact the Diamond sales charts more than the fly-by-night retailer who has to close shop within a couple of years.-r-
Richard, American comics will be around as long as the US is around. But American superhero comics? It's just a matter of time now. The superhero will live on in movies, but superhero comics will go the same way as the radio drama and the pulp novel. The sales already show that.
kenny, If the music industry were to collapse, people will still be making music, as well as making money off of their music, whether just from performing gigs or selling CD's from the trunk of their car. And in the most extreme (EXTREME!!!) worst case scenario where every American publisher of comics and graphic novels were to suddenly go belly up, American comics as an art form will still exist.And for what it's worth, superhero comics are just a genre. When I use the term "American comics", I'm referring to all American comics, including non-superhero, non-genre works. But even focusing on just superheroes for a moment, as long as the art form exists and people are making comics (even if it's at a completely grass roots, DIY level), somebody out there will still be making superhero comics, too, I'm sure. Will superheroes dominate comics in the future like they do today? I can't say, nobody knows that. I certainly hope not. But my point is that all these statements I've read from manga-philes that "American comics are dead" are false. Again, the industry has problems, and who knows, the industry may very well collapse in the not too distant future, but the art form will continue to exist (and by extension, the industry would probably eventually rebuild itself, hopefully in a different form). It wasn't too long ago when folks were lamenting the death of Broadway and theater. I don't have to point out that Broadway has experienced quite the revival in recent years.-r-
Kenny:"Wow. That is possibly the most xenophobic, hateful thing I've ever read regarding comic books."Is it also Xenophobic to be against say, a company closing down their American factories and taking their production overseas, leaving hundreds to thousands of Americans unemployed and devastating local and national economies in our country? Change the factory worker to the comics creators in this country, and it's the exact same principle in play. I think it's pathetic how Marvel reprints American comics overseas in different languages and the creators get no additional pay for that - no page rate, no royalties. NOTHING. I don't know what DC's policy is so I have no comment there.I also find it pathetic when I see hundreds of foreign books being translated into english for the American market, but virtually none of the American content outside of a fraction of Marvel / DC superhero content gets translated in reciprocation. After all, comics sell a hell of a lot better in both Japan and in Europe than they do in North America. I see no valid reason why the publishers overseas can't reciprocate.You want to globalize the comics market? That's fine by me. But make it equitable for all cteators and publishers across the boards. I don't think that's too much to expect or demand. And if the Japanese or Euro publishers don't want to do that (and they generally don't, as I've seen many creators attempt to get their creator owned works translated), then I don't want their books on my shelves, no matter how good they may be. Not when I am fully aware of how much original American content gets passed over in favor of these cheap reprints that by all rights belongs in the American comics market first.So it's simply that I believe in taking care of my own first and foremost, rather than supporting the rest of the planet. Does that mean I don't like the foreign talents or that I think they don't do good work or anything of the sort? No. But I don't find them to be superior in any fashion to those available in my own country, either. And to me, when you hire outside of your country and keep your own unemployed, that's when your national economy falls apart, because now your people don't have the money to put back into the economy. Just sayin'.
Val writes: "For a second I thought a lack of quality, a long line of wretched & botched events, and extreme instability in creative teams might have played a role as well. But I guess that's not what's really key, and that's not what readers or retailers really care about."I can't see how, seeing as lack of quality, long lines of wretched and botched storylines, and instability of creative teams have been the trademark for both DC and Marvel for the past two decades. I mean, really, was the Spider-Clone Saga that much worse of an idea than One More Day, or Gwen Stacy having boinked Norman Osborn? I think not.Am I to believe that KNIGHTFALL or DEATH OF SUPERMAN or EMERALD TWLIGHT were that much better executed or more conceptually sound as stories than FINAL CRISIS, IDENTITY CRISIS, OMAC PROJECT, or other more current messes? Sorry, but to me it's all been one long continuous steaming pile of crap, Val. And I'm not saying the creators are bad, or that they aren't trying their best to entertain the readers within the structures of their employment. I'm saying that said structure was effed up from the get go, and that the old adage "too many cooks spoils the stew" applies in many cases, and that the companies and the creators alike are not doing themselves any favors by maintaining this farcical manner of doing business.
Richard:"Okay, not a diss, but why is it that whenever someone on a message board has a view that's contrary to the majority, that guy somehow turns out to be an "expert" or knows someone with insider knowledge, or otherwise has experienced stuff that nobody else on the board has?"Allow me to qualify my "expertise" if you will.I've been working in the comics industry since 1992. I've been an editor, a submissions director, an inker, a ghost writer, and I've done some minor pinup work for various independent publishers including Arrow Comics, Ronin Studios, and Hyatt Art. I've written comics reviews, interviews with a variety of comics creators and Science Fiction / Fantasy Fiction writers, and have done comics market analysis for various publications both online and in print, including such publications as STRANGE HORIZONS E-Zine, COMIC BOOK LIFE E-Zine, and COMIC EFFECT fanzine. I've also worked in the role playing industry for Steve Jackson Games. I usually can qualify when, where and how I get my information. For the past thirteen years, I have been doing various market researches in the book and magazine industries. In July 1997 I released a budget plan for a line of original graphic novels to Steve Saffel (then of Del Rey Publishing). This presentation had letters of potential interest to submit materials from Peter David, SF author Michael Bishop, and SF author Steven Utley, and I followed that up with a petition signed by more than 100 creators at SDCC that year who wanted to be considered should Del Rey wish to pursue that course of action, be it my specific plan or one of their own. When this failed to get any response, the proposal was shopped to Tor Books, then Random House, in 1999 and 2000 respectively. With each presentation, I had to reexamine the reasons why these publishers were claiming no as well as adjust expectations in accordance to market changes of the time.Since then I've had to do additional research so as to build a full financial plan so as to acquire the additional creators and projects necessary to get a financier's interest. This had lead me to extensive research through COMICS RETAILER, COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, and a variety of other news sources covering the comics industry, the magazine industry, and the book publishing industry. Now I'm not saying I'm working with all the information, or even all the right information. I often come across diametrically opposed data and I'm constantly talking to retailers and buyers from book distributors and other sources to try to keep it all straight. As for the liquidator, I'm not at liberty to cite his name or EBay ID because it might affect his sales negatively if people knew he was selling books en masse that he acquired for a penny a copy. (And I should clarify that while he liquidates stock, he does pay significant prices for high profile Silver Age and Golden Age books.)