According to the January sales charts, WildStorm sales have plummeted almost 30 percent in just one month -- from an average of 10K for each title to around 6,800.
Analysis from Marc-Oliver Frisch:
"The reason for the dramatic decline of WildStorm periodical sales is simple: The imprint currently stands on three pillars, none of which seems able to support its own weight. The traditional WildStorm Universe superhero properties, based on characters created by WildStorm founder Jim Lee, have been waning for years commercially; none of the more recent creator-owned properties have been remotely able to recapture the early success of Astro City or Ex Machina (the one notable exception being The Boys, which was promptly taken elsewhere by its creators due to creative differences with the management); and the vast majority of WildStorm’s licensed titles adapting videogame, television or film properties fail miserably."
But Frisch's analysis, as it applies to WildStorm's video game properties, isn't exactly true. The first issue of Gears of War sold around 450,000 copies. And these video game comics sell like hot cakes via video game shops.
For years I've heard the complaint that video games stole the attention of young people, making them forsake comic books. Doesn't it make sense, then:
- To put the comics where the games are
- To make comics out of the games
- To license out the comics to the games
- Wash, rinse, repeat
Of course, when the vogue eventually becomes downloading the games directly from the vendor, there will be a problem. The video game stores may turn more towards selling game-related merch like t-shirts, toys, and maybe even special edition comic books.
At any rate, I think WildStorm should be considered DC's "go to" studio for all adaptations -- video game, TV, and perhaps even licensed material for kids. Split the rest of the titles (the viable ones, at any rate) up between the DCU and Vertigo. This is not the time to overextend imprints, but to consolidate, and to identify specifically what each one does best.