§ June 8th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Bat-rambling.

  • Batman and Robin #1, so far, as sold very well for us. It’s the first of the “New Batman” titles out the gate, it features a high-profile creative team, and has an extraordinarily eye-catching cover.

    I’m curious about how the next two comics involving the New Batman storyline, due out this week, are going to do. One is Batman #687 by Judd Winick and Ed Benes, which is a solid enough creative team for this sort of thing, but not quite the pull that Morrison/Quitely are. This issue is a direct follow-up to the Battle for the Cowl mini-series, which did sell well and was, at least at our store, positively received. Also, you’ve got Superman and Wonder Woman popping up in this issue to check in on New Batman, so there’s a draw for the fans right there. I imagine the first issue will do very well on curiosity’s sake alone, but we’ll see how it goes after that.

    The other related title is Red Robin #1 by Christopher Yost and Ramon Bachs, and this one is kicking off with a four-part story in which the title character is searching for the original Batman, whom he believes not to be dead. Okay, everyone who read Final Crisis knows that the Bruce Wayne Batman isn’t dead. Heck, anyone familiar with comics in the slightest should know he isn’t dead. It’s too early to really assume where this particular storyline is going, but I think it’s safe to guess that, since DC seems committed to New Batman for the time being, Red Robin isn’t going to find Batman by the time part four of four rolls around. But I do wonder if we’re going to get any actual clues as to the eventual reintegration of Original Batman into the DC Universe. Again, probably too early, but Fanboy Mike is still curious.

    So, in both cases, curiosity is likely to drive the early sales on these titles. My customers do seem genuinely interested in following current Batman events, which is of course the goal of stunts like this. Even ol’ jaded yours truly, who, with the rare exception, has mostly followed just the Bat-titles based on the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini-era cartoons (and of course the Miller and Morrison stuff), has found myself likely to at least check out some of these new Bat-books. But the question is how long the curiosity in this event will continue, and when will the sales begin to drop if and when the novelty wears thin. For some reason I can picture this event going on about two months longer than anyone reading it would really want it to. I hope it doesn’t…I hope it keeps people involved ’til the very end. Sell more comics that way.

    I suspect ultimately Batman and Robin will remain the strongest seller of the bunch, even with Quitely only drawing every other story arc. Partially on the strength of Morrison (attracting readers who normally wouldn’t read Batman comics), partially due to this being a new series, and partially to what I feel is the sense of this series being the flagship of the New Batman event. “If you read only one New Batman title this year, read Batman and Robin!” …You know, like that.

    So anyway, let’s all meet back here in about a year and see how things worked out. It’s a date!

  • In other Batman news, for some reason we’ve had a handful of people asking us this weekend where All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, America’s most beloved Batman book, has disappeared to. The most recent issue came out near the end of last September, so, you know, it’s been a while. Not to get into it again, but I really dislike this sort of delay on what is allegedly a periodical. But lateness is rarely punished in the direct market for high profile books…orders don’t drop significantly, readers just sorta shrug and accept it, since that sort of thing is becoming business as usual. I don’t think we experienced any significant difference in sales from the beginning of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk to the end, and that had a three-year-long gap in the middle.

    I know the response to that is “well, if sales aren’t hurting, why are you complaining?” Well, it just doesn’t seem very professional, is all. And just because sales aren’t hurt much on specific titles doesn’t mean consumer confidence in general isn’t hurt. I wonder how many people pass up high-profile titles or series, preferring to wait for an eventual paperback collection if they want the story at all, simply because they don’t want to put up with delays in the story’s production.

  • Also due this week is the first extra-sized, extra-priced issue of Booster Gold, featuring the Blue Beetle back-up. I’ve only had one fella at the shop take the title off his pull list specifically because of the price increase…but he’s since asked to have it put back on again. It helps that Booster Gold is actually a good, fun comic, but I’m not quite sure word has got around to all of our customers yet re: the bump in price.
  • Just so it’s not all sales analyses (or what passes for same): Rick Veitch briefly discusses one of his Swamp Thing covers.

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