But perhaps I’m not being too cynical.

§ June 24th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on But perhaps I’m not being too cynical.

Lots of good discussion (and the occasional cheap joke!) about comic book covers in the comment threads (1 2) from the last couple of days’ worth of posts, so feel free to join in. I’m still trying to think of how I’m going to sum it all up in a day or two, if at all. But anyway, give the comments a read, as folks have had some interesting things to say.

In the meantime, “Anonymous” has a couple of questions for me:

“1. How did you stock Herogasm at your store without (much) embarrassment?”

Well, hell, after Pee Soup and Blowjob, a title like Herogasm can practically have “Walt Disney Presents” in front of it.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate slightly. After all, Pee Soup et al aren’t exactly being put on the rack next to Supergirl and Marvel Adventures: Avengers. We are displaying Herogasm, but on racks where the bottom half of the cover is obscured by the top of the comics in the row just below it, so that mitigates the embarrassment a bit. Of course, it does still have a big ol’ “HEROGASM” across the top, so, uh, yeah, anyway. It hasn’t been a problem, and we haven’t had any young’uns giggling at the title and trying to get their hands on it, so, so far, so good. We’re keeping an eye out for any trouble that may arise, but I think we’re okay.

That it doesn’t feature any of the major known-by-the-public properties helps as well, so it’s primarily ignored by the folks who are likely to be offended by it. If this were Spider-Man: Herogasm, we might have a problem…not to mention a completely insane and possibly fantastic Spider-Man comic. (And yes, I’m aware of this article about someone discovering some excessively nekkid Batman story, which would seem vaguely related to what we’re talking about.)

“2. How can Captain America and Incredible Hulk have #600 issues WITHOUT having #500 issues like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Superman, Batman, Thor, Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man, and Uncanny X-Men?”


Restarting a title from #1 usually creates a temporary sales bump, as retailers tend to order a little more on first issues, even if sales on the previous title featuring the same property were fairly moribund. For example, when Spider-Girl was relaunched as Amazing Spider-Girl, it experienced exactly that. Sales were up for an issue or two, then fell down to the sales level that it has when the previous series approached issue #100.

In some cases, if the previous series was close enough to an issue number divisible by 100, a new series that no longer has the “first issue sales bump” going for it will revert back to the previous series’ numbering (adding in the number of issues published under the new numbering system), just in time for an Extra Special Large Size Anniversary Issue that would hopefully bring about yet another temporary sales bump.

In Captain America‘s case, I think I’ve even heard that there was an error made in figuring out the title’s numbering if it had never been restarted, so that what they’re calling “Issue #600” actually isn’t #600. I’ve no idea…I’ll let other folks worry about it. It’s just a big mess, anyway, and I’m sure a century from now, if anyone still cares, it’ll be awfully confusing for anyone trying to figure it out too long after the fact.

Keep in mind a lot of that second answer has been run through my Cynic-Filter™ and thus perhaps I’m making a too-downbeat interpretation of genuine customer outreach via such attention-grabbing efforts as renumbering and anniversary issues, required in this marketplace of overcrowded racks, declining readership, and a damaged economy.

Anyhoo, Anonymous, I hope that answers your questions. If anyone has anything to add to what I said, I’m sure they’ll pop into the comments and let us know. Also, why use “Anonymous?” If you don’t want to use your own name, then make up a new one! Have fun with it!

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