Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Wizard Of Sales

Marvel's Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 is sold out of Diamond -- as well as my local NYC comic book store.

Hey, all-ages comics are supposed to sell poorly! Remember? "Comics aren't for kids anymore."

Wonderful Wizard of Oz seemingly had everything "against" it (according to conventional wisdom):
1) All-ages book
2) Non-superhero book
3) Female protagonist
4) "Classics" adaptation

So why did the comic book succeed?

1) Parents are hungering for appropriate comic book entertainment for their children.
2) Amazing art.
3) Marvel's giveaway "sketchbook" promotional strategy worked.
4) Perhaps readers are looking for "happier" comic book stories?

Is this a start of a trend? If Wonderful Wizard of Oz continues to sell well, will this encourage Marvel to launch similar projects?

And who is the audience of Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Who is reading this comic book? What is the gender breakdown of the readership? The age of readers? How many issues were bought for other people?

Does Dorothy Gale qualify as a "superheroine?"


  1. I have to say, I LOVED this comic. It's beautifuly drawn (Skottie Young!) and incredibly charming. I bought a copy for myself and one for my 7 year old cousin. I hope the next issue sells out too.

    Now if only it wasn't 3.99...

  2. Let's not forget reason for success #5: The comic draws from a story that has already been popular among children and females for some time.

  3. I'm planning on buying it when it comes out in collected form. I'm not an Oz fan by any stretch, but the previews make it look charming and the art is absolutely stunning.

    Makes DC's decision to pass up on that Cooke/Bone all-ages Wonder Woman book a touch more foolish, yes?

  4. I love Skottie's art and suspect that this will sell amazingly as a trade, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see it sell out.

    I'd be interested to see the print run on it, though.

  5. What I don't get it is that the style of the book is a blatant rip-off of Slave Labor's Wonderland but that didn't sell NEARLY as well, despite playing up the Disney angle.

  6. I work at a library. We have a graphic novel collection which draws lots of adults. Many of these adults have kids, and would love to introduce comics to their children. Problem is: there aren't that many good kid-friendly comics out there. So when one comes along people gobble it up!

  7. Anonymous10:24 AM

    I'm a 33 year old college bookstore manager and I bought it for two reasons: 1) I'm a huge Age of Bronze fan and would buy virtually anything with Shanower's name on it. 2) I like comics that both my girlfriend and I can read and enjoy. She's not nearly as likely to pick Nova or Iron Fist out of my Wednesday pile as she is Fables or Vixen, so it's kind of a no-brainer to figure she'd like Oz.

  8. Anonymous10:51 AM

    First off, good for Skottie Young, I think he's a phenomenal talent, about time he started getting the huge coverage he deserves.

    Second, I really do think that there's a growing (slow, but steady) resurgence of all-ages/"kids" comics. The continuing publication and success of the Marvel Adventures line should attest to that, even I love MA Avengers and I'm 25.

  9. I bought it because my 4-year-old daughter is a huge Wizard of Oz fan and also a comics fan. We already have the Editions Delcourt translation published by Image and the IDW collection of Shanower's Adventures in Oz. So this one was a no-brainer, esp. as I'm a fan of Skottie Young's work.

    Also, as you've hit on, we've had problems finding comics that she enjoys. It's hard enough finding kid-friendly comics, but finding GIRL-friendly comics is nearly impossible, esp. from mainstream publishers.

  10. My shop only got the sketch book. Never got the main book. Although Scottie's art, I can take or leave. Mostly leave...

  11. For some reason I was really drawn to the Oz books a little kid. I remembering pouring over the map at the start of them, reading the names of all these places. I know for me, picking this book up was because I already loved the place and love going back to visit.

    Hoping if this sells well they begin adapting the other books in the series.

  12. Can't wait for the zombie variant.

  13. I'm NOT buying this, just because the sketchbook convinced me to buy the nice hardcover when it comes out. I can't wait!!!

  14. Why did it succeed?

    5) Strong Oz fan base, of which Eric Shanower has been a very visible member.

    6) Shanower's strong reputation as an Oz storyteller.

    7) The many fans who purchased Eric Shanower's "Adventures in Oz", a $30 paperback collection from IDW (republished from First Comics).

    8) Shanower's reputation from Troy.

    I bought the comic. I don't read many Oz graphic novels (got halfway through the Baum's canon before losing interest) but knew his expertise, and felt it was worth it.

    Now, most people know I disdain the MGM adaptation. (If you think the movie was faithful, you're in for a shock.) However, it continues to expose many people to the work. Same goes for Wicked.

    So, will we see other successful series like this? Well, perhaps, if Marvel continues to steal the playbook from the First/Berkeley Classics Illustrated line. Get noted comicbook writers and authors to adapt their favorite classics. The general public will read a familiar story, comics fans will check out known talent, and us Seducers of the Innocent will us it to get kids to read comics.

    The other Marvel Illustrated titles? *YAWN* (and that includes the modern adaptations from King, Hamilton, and Card. Now if they adapted the Merry Gentry series...)

  15. Yeah, that cover art looks adorable. I don't see why more all-ages books can't have that kind of appealing art rather than cheapo Cartoon Network knock-off stuff with no life to it.

    Hmm... I wasn't interested in this at all until I saw that cover. Now I'm thinking maybe someone could do more of these with this level of quality.

  16. I bought the first issue when it came out and I am going to follow the whole mini ! I like it a lot! And yes, this is a comics for all ages, where the kids are not taken for stupid monkeys... The whole thing has been handled nicely so far. I hope it is not going to be late at some point...

    This is a comics I can read with my little girl ! This one and Supergirl adventures in the eight grade...

  17. the re-telling of the story is so-so at best, but the art is quite engaging, it's the main reason i picked it up.