Okay, I’ll stop talking about Zero Hour after this.

§ January 18th, 2011 § Filed under retailing, this week's comics § 2 Comments

Well, without overly belaboring the topic again, thanks to you folks for responding to my query yesterday about Zero Hour sales. I’m going with It’s Just One of Those Things in regards to why it’s experiencing a sales bump at our shop, a possible combination of my throwing it on the featured book rack, and the Dan Jurgens/possible implications for future events factor. As pal Andres noted, just by my putting the trade on display I obviously contributed to its increased sales, but that alone wouldn’t explain the sudden demand for the actual back issues, except for, as mentioned, possible ties to current DC shenanigans.

In response to commenter Joe, who suggests I put other books on the Featured Graphic Novels shelf and see what happens…that’s pretty much what we do. Right now, we’re using that space for the Walking Dead hardcovers (which have slowed down in sales since Christmas, but still move occasionally), Chew (one of the current Hot Things), Ex Machina (which had bit of a sales spurt up until we put it on the Featured Shelf rack, go figure), and Zero Hour, plus what new books get released each week. Joe suggested that I throw Dark Knight Strikes Again up there, but frankly, that and its predecessor, Dark Knight Returns, already sell pretty regularly from the Batman shelf as it is. Anyway, it’s not working with Ex Machina, as noted, but maybe I’ll try another DC “event” book and see what happens. (Shame Final Night seems to be out of print.)

Commenter Nimbus wonders if maybe, given the involvement of Green Lantern and Parallax in the Zero Hour storyline, that maybe interest in the forthcoming Green Lantern film might have had something to do with it. I actually haven’t seen a GL movie sales bump just yet, aside from some very infrequent requests for “early Green Lantern stories” (which the Green Lantern Chronicles and Showcase Presents Green Lantern books satisfy quite nicely). The GL franchise comics are still selling quite well, having dipped only very slightly since the height of the Blackest Night hoohar, but if there is usual pre-movie release uptick in interest from the general public, they probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to sample a GL comic, what with all the event tie-ins and multitudes of characters who aren’t Hal Jordan and the Red Lanterns vomiting blood or whatever it is they’re doing. But hopefully any of these theoretical new customers will go for the paperback collections, where the worst that’ll happen is that I’ll have to explain/apologize for the whole calling-his-sidekick-“Pieface” thing.

Did I say “without overly belaboring the topic” at the beginning of this? Why, yes, I suppose I did. Um…sorry about that.

Let’s see, what else is going on…ah, I know: folks seem generally pleased that most of DC’s comics have dipped to $2.99 across the board. Too early to tell yet if this is going to have any kind of significant increase in sales…mostly it seems that people who were already buying the $3.99 series are glad to be only paying $2.99 for them now. Haven’t heard any complaints or even many comments about the story page count dipping down to 20, but most of the DCs I’ve read in the last couple of weeks have been pretty heavy on plot and dialogue and the two extra pages weren’t missed. Of course, that may simply be the result of 22-page scripts being squeezed into 20 pages (which I’ve heard at least one comic writer confirm was the case with his script), but we’ll see what happens once we’re sure everyone’s writing for 20 pages. So long as we’re not getting half of those pages as splashes, everything should be fine.

Speaking of new comics, here’s some stuff coming out this week:

  • Smurfs Vol. 4: Smurfette – I sincerely hope that, when the movie comes out and crashes in the box office, that it doesn’t kill this reprint program. The Smurfs comics are fantastic.
  • Wolverine & Jubilee #1 – Wolverine should just regularly team up with teenage girl superheroes who then become ninjas over the course of the story.
  • Steampunk Palin – well, that’s certainly some timing.
  • Hellblazer #275 – two things come to mind about this comic. One…good gravy, I’ve been buying this on a monthly basis since #1. This is about 30 issues longer than the Silver Age Flash’s original comic book run. Two…$4.99, for this “special oversized anniversary issue?” Urgh. Good thing the other DCs I’m buying are $2.99.
  • Not a comic, but horror film mag Fangoria is releasing its issue #300 this week. We’re usually good for selling at least one copy of this to somebody every month. Mostly, I’m just amazed it’s still hanging in there during a time when this kind of showbiz publication is barely surviving in competition with free online sources. Good on ’em. Wouldn’t be the same without something horrible and bloody staring back at me from the magazine racks. I mean, aside from any comics featuring the Red Lanterns.

2 Responses to “Okay, I’ll stop talking about Zero Hour after this.”

  • suedenim says:

    I think for a proper experiment, you need to put something up on Featured Graphic Novels that you haven’t sold a copy of in ages. But which is recognizable – a DC or Marvel GN with familiar characters. Then see if anything happens.

    I remember seeing this sort of thing work. At a long-gone comic store in the ’90s, they had way too many of some Image title (or Image imitator, at a time when everybody was doing that.) It might even have been a case of accidentally entering “30” on the order sheet instead of “3” or somesuch. (They really did stock *everything*, which is why part of the rack looked like a Solson Museum. But I digress.)

    Anyway, one of the guys put a “Limit 3 per customer” sign on this thing, and it actually moved some comics!

  • Pantsless Pete says:

    Explaining the Pieface thing is easy.

    Hal Jordan is such a douche that, after meeting the first and only inuit he would ever mee, he invented a racial slur and proceeded to immediately incorporate into a nickname.

    The previews of the movie would seem to support this interpretation.