Yes, it’s a fourth part to my ongoing quest to answer your questions. I’m sorry if this is going on too long, as I really didn’t intend for it to drag out like this. But I’m still fighting an illness, and answering these questions a few at a time is, for the time being, easier than trying to generate a whole lot of content on my own. So, to all of you who participated, I really do appreciate it. You’ve made this week go by a lot more easily, and without having to resort to another “low content mode” series of posts again.
Anyway, on to your questions:
- Ryan wants to know
“How poorly is The Amazing Spider-Man selling compared to before the Brand New Day mess?”
For us, sales are Amazing Spider-Man have been generally declining (aside from, oh, say, the Obama issue), and I think they’re at lower sales levels than before the sorta-weekly relaunch. Now, at the time I thought maybe we’d experience a dip below normal ASM sales, but that sales on three issues per month of ASM would still be higher than sales on one monthly issue of ASM and two issues of the other monthly Spider-Man series. However, I suspect the numbers may have dropped even further than that, though I don’t have our cycle sheets right in front of me to see exactly how they’re doing.
On the other hand, Spider-Man sales prior to Brand New Day were mostly one crossover tie-in or special event after another, so average sales were sort of on the inflated side anyway before the whole Mephisto boondoggle. After Brand New Day, there weren’t all that many heavily-promoted event issues of ASM, aside from the Anti-Venom story and the aforementioned Obama comic. Without the constant onslaught of events, sales couldn’t help but average lower than before.
Of course, I’m just talking about our sales. Maybe the comics are doing great elsewhere. But judging from the sales chart someone dropped into my comments a while back…well, while we have learned that those sales numbers people keep posting aren’t necessarily 100% accurate, they’re good enough to present general trends, and ASM certainly seems to have been trending downward.
- Ray Cornwall ponders
“Who’d win- Swamp Thing, Man Thing, or Herbie in a three-way fight at the Nexus of the Universe?”
With such a horrific conflict among such powerful and influential beings, there can truly be no winners, only losers, as we all face total and utter destruction at the cosmic conflagration that would certainly result.
Shorter answer: Herbie.
- Thwacko dares to ask
“Is it true J*** B**** once drew a guy’s penis in a mainstream comic?
Oh, wait, wrong column.”
I believe the column you’re looking for is this one, where the kind and good Brian Cronin takes on that very topic, with pictures and everything! But I’m going to respectfully disagree with Brian’s negative response to said rumor…man, that’s totally a penis sorta hangin’ on down there. Nobody looked at that panel and didn’t think it. Even if that wasn’t the intent, that’s what you got.
(I’m sorry, Brian…but when it comes to penises, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.)
- Snapper asks
“Do you think Swamp Thing would be even cooler if he had Batman for a left arm?”
I don’t know about cooler, but he’d certainly have a conversation starter.
- g23 comments
“You can make at least one post out of Gail Simone’s Twitter challenges… they are brilliant.”
I’m kinda vaguely aware of these challenges, as I don’t follow Gail Simone on the Twitter, but I’ll occasionally see a bunch of folks I follow suddenly send a bunch of messages her way, all seemingly on the same theme. They’re in response to Simone’s commands, like this one:
“Your Twitter Mission for the Day…give me a superhero’s post-coital comment, six words or less, and no cursing. I dare you.”
I wouldn’t want to make a post out of her particular Twitter game, as it’s specifically for her Twitter followers and not fodder for weblog content. Er, not that it stopped me from writing a couple of paragraphs about it, but you know what I mean.
- Nik must know
“What canceled comic book would you bring back if you could?”
Yes, I know, everyone expects me to say Swamp Thing. And that would be the obvious answer. But I suspect we’ll get a new Swamp Thing series sooner or (more likely) later, so no special wishing power on my part is really necessary.
If I were to pick a cancelled comic that’s not likely to return, I’d pick Jupiter by Jason Sandberg. The ongoing narrative starring Pelasgus and the continuing building of a society around him was compelling reading, and I was sorry it ended so abruptly.
Plus, Customer Rob is still kinda steamed at me for turning him on to that comic, only to have it stop. Sorry, Rob!
- CW has a couple of questions for me
“Mike, what do you think of Avatar’s Crossed? I think it’s actually a satire of the horror genre, since it’s so over the top.”
I think there are certainly some satirical elements to it, yes. But the horror element is really horrific and just beyond the pale, and the end of that one issue (oh, you know which one) still has just kinda stuck with me in a way most horror comics don’t. Now that’s what I want from a scary comic. An actual honest-to-God impact.
“Also, can we have high DPI scans of old funnybook characters pointing angrily?”
All seriousness aside…for a “low content mode” week, the amount of work I put into those posts was just stupidly crazy. Remind me never to do that again.
- Philip asks
“Now that I’ve mentally worked through all of my ‘can I borrow 20 bucks?’ and ‘what’s that on your face?’ type questions:”
1. You’re asking a guy who sells comics for a living for money?
2. That would be my ritualistic tribal Native American tattoo, in honor of Star Trek: Voyager‘s Chakotay, as portrayed by Robert Beltran.
“Did you set out to be comic book retailer or was it thrust upon you? And, in your career as a retailer, what are some things that surprised you (good or bad) and what might you take a do-over on if you could?”
Basically, I needed a job, hey I liked comics, I was in the right place at the right time (pushing previous job holder Ray out the door), and next thing you know, here I am writing a blog about comics every night because I don’t get enough of the things during the day.
I think the next part of that question requires a dedicated post on the topic, but…huh, what surprised me? I think the sudden burst of comic book faddishness in the late ’80s/early ’90s and the huge mainstream interest in the collectibility of comics certainly came as a surprise. ‘Course, it nearly resulted in the end of the industry, but it was a surprise nonetheless.
And related, what I’d do over: more conservative ordering in the early ’90s, ordering more for rack sales than for estimated back issue sales…essentially, read the writing on the wall a little more quickly than we did for the impending market crash.
- Jamee asks
“Does your store have a manga section? If so, does it sell well? I ask because of all the stores I’ve shopped at over the years, only one had anything that could be called an actual manga section. Maybe manga does better in bookstores?”
We do have a large manga section on several tall and full bookshelves at the front of the store. It sells well enough, though some books certainly sell better than others. I’ve seen the manga shelves at the local bookshops…I certainly see a few kid in those aisles, sitting on the floor mooching free reads, but if they’re buying one for every five they read and put back, I’d be surprised.
Let me amend that…I used to see kids in the manga aisles. The last few times I’ve been at the bookstores, I’ve seen no one in those aisles.
- K26dp wonders
“Did you ever in a million years think that the Death of Batman would generate so little buzz?”
I’m grateful it didn’t, since I’m still getting the occasional walk-in customer wondering why there are still Superman comics since, you know, didn’t he die a few years back?
Besides, we know he didn’t die for good, we know he’s coming back, we know Warner Brothers wouldn’t allow DC to do permanent harm to one of their most valuable properties. And, for the people who actually read the comic instead of just grinding axes and bitching about it, we know that this is clearly not the Final Fate of Batman. It’s just a plot twist in an ongoing serial. Surely nobody seriously thought it was anything but.
That there wasn’t an onslaught of real world news stories about “the Death of Batman” is…well, I want to say it was a sudden outbreak of common sense and restraint, but, you know, c’mon. I don’t know if DC tried to get real world news in on it, but if they did and the story didn’t catch on…well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Which is why retailers don’t order books assuming freak sales based on news coverage.
- Andrew Leal leals
“Who do you think would win in a fight amongst Nancy, Lulu, *and* Audrey?”
Ah, geez. Well, Audrey would be out right away, I think, narrowing it down to a close contest between Nancy and Lulu. While Nancy may have a slight edge physically, Lulu is perhaps a bit more cerebral. Assuming Nancy’s brawn doesn’t end the fight early (though it should be noted Lulu is bit of a scrapper herself), given enough time and opportunity Lulu would likely think of a clever way to ensure her victory.
- Caleb demands answers:
“–Have you ever considered maybe possibly blogging about Batman and Robin (the movie)?”
Stand a little closer…I want to show you this wooden baseball bat.
“–How come you won’t mention that person you won’t mention on your blog? Please explain in great detail, without mentioning that person or that person’s identifying works and characeristics.”
If we’re speaking about the same person we’re not speaking about, it’s because that person, who used to be a favored creator of mine, has very clearly become, via his online behavior, someone I don’t necessarily want to promote or even really discuss.
“–I’ve been reading Essential Man-Thing lately, and noticed the covers of some bill him as ‘The Most Startling Slime Creature of Them All!’ Were there mutliple Slime Creatures in comics at the time? Were they calling Swamp Thing out? Is Swampy really a slime creature? I always thought of him as more of a plant creature.”
Well, if you have a bunch of wet swamp plant life in your body, some of it is bound to be pretty slimy. I’m guessing, too, that they probably didn’t want to use the word “Swamp” in their slogan, reminding folks of their crosstown rival creature. Thought it should be noted that “Swamp” was the word used on the early issues.
“–Is it true that you’re a cheater pants? According to the Internet, you are.”
If it’s on the internet, it must be true.
(Here’s where that started, by the way. Like most things of this nature, it’s ultimately my own fault.)
Okay, and that’s enough of that for today. Will I wrap this up tomorrow? Come back and see! You know, if you really want to.