We are living in a world where there are two different Abin Sur solo comics on the stands within a month of each other.

§ June 13th, 2011 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments

So Abin Sur, the alien Green Lantern who crashed on Earth and passed his ring along to Hal Jordan, will have two number one issues out this month. One is part of the prequel one-shots to the film, which I couldn’t find the proper cover for online, and I don’t have one to scan since it’s not out ’til Wednesday, but all the prequels basically just have the promo posters as their cover images, that’s what I used up above there.

The other is the first issue of the three-part Flashpoint tie-in, one of the first four tie-in series that launched a couple of weeks ago. And of the bunch, this has been the fastest seller for us, necessitating a second reorder just this week for more copies. As much as I’d like to credit this to a strong but previously-unexpressed demand among fans for poor ‘ol Abin Sur to finally get his due, I’m guessing the impending release of the Green Lantern movie might have more to do with it.

But then again…while all the Green Lantern comics have been selling exceedingly well at our shop (and we’ll see if they take the usual post-movie sales drastic decline nearly all comics have once the film is released), the two movie prequel books released so far (Tomar-Re and Kilowog) haven’t really sold to expectations for us. I didn’t expect them to sell like the regular GL books, since they’re (gasp) outside of continuity, but the covers are appealing, and I was expecting some pre-movie interest in GL titles and I figured we’d move a few at least a few that way. But so far…eh, not exactly flying off the shelves here.

Now, the Flashpoint: Abin Sur book…nearly all of the first week’s batch of Flashpoint tie-ins either sold through completely or very nearly, with Secret Seven being the one that moved the slowest. The two that moved the fastest, requiring me to place immediate reorders, where the Batman tie-in and, as I said, the Abin Sur book. It could simply be that the two tie-ins focused on and titled after specific characters attracted the most reader interest, while Secret Seven and World of Flashpoint just didn’t grab the reader as readily.

The second week’s batch of tie-ins, with Citizen Cold, Deathstroke-whatever, and the other two…are selling, but not nearly as quickly. It could just be this next batch of series wasn’t as attractive…or that having four new #1s of mini-series tie-ins on top of the four #1s that came out the previous week scared folks off. And when four more new #1s come out this week…well, I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

Flashpoint itself has been selling quite well and certainly has been grabbing customer interest, and I noticed an upward bump in demand when word started getting around that this was leading into DC’s September renumbering hoohar. But…and this is probably too soon to be worrying about this sort of thing, maybe, as I’m only going off a couple weeks’ worth of observations…watching the sudden dip in hesitance about buying a bunch of first issues in subsequent weeks has me wondering if we’ll get great sales on the first week or two of DC’s #1 releases in September, with First Issue Fatigue setting in once the fourth or fifth week rolls around.

The situations are not entirely analogous, I realize. The Flashpoint tie-ins are in addition to DC’s regular monthly output, and they are “parallel universe” stories that don’t impact the “real” (ahem) stories (except in this case they sorta do, since everything’s restarting as a result of Flashpoint, but let’s not confuse the issue). The new #1s are, at least in part, carrying over from currently published series. Chances are…well, mostly good that the folks who buy Action #904 will continue buying when the numbering rotates back to numero uno. It’s the new series we’ll have to watch…not that we weren’t going to be watching the sales closely anyway. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that I suspect a Mister Terrific #1 coming out in the first week may have more of a chance than, say, a Blackhawks #1 coming out at the end of the cycle, when folks reach the end of their willingness to try out new titles after keeping up with their regular series and sampling other new #1s in the previous weeks.

And there are other considerations, of course. A new tights-and-capes superhero #1 coming out in week 5 will still likely get more sales than a comic that is less obviously a superhero comic (i.e. Blackhawks #1) coming out in the first week.

So anyway, near the end of July, if you see me tearing what’s left of my hair out as I’m hunched over the retailer order form, you’ll know I’m trying to nail down numbers for these books. I can feel the migraine already.

7 Responses to “We are living in a world where there are two different Abin Sur solo comics on the stands within a month of each other.”

  • Jer says:

    Has DC stated outright that ALL of their rebooted titles are going to be on a monthly schedule?

    I ask because I notice that Scott Lobdell appears to be writing about half of their new output[*]. Combined with the fact that 52 new titles are a huge number of new titles, it makes me wonder if they’re going to put some on something other than a monthly schedule.

    The arbitrary 52 number is a bit weird too – it would make sense if we were looking at a “staggered” reboot of 1 title a week for a year, or 4 titles a week for 3 months, or something like that. Otherwise it’s arbitrary – i guess it’s a call-back to the days of “52”, their most successful weekly series, but it’s a bit early for a nostalgia call-back to 52 isn’t it?

    [*]Yes I’ve exaggerated for comedic effect – still, there do seem to be an awful lot of books with a “written by Scott Lobdell” tag associated with them.

  • Jer says:

    Hm. Right after posting this I saw a compiled list of all the creators and Lobdell only has 3 books on the list.

    I could have sworn, from the trickled out releases, that I’d counted about 7 books for Lobdell in the mix. Apparently I miscounted. So I take it back – they actually have a large enough mix of creators looking at the compiled list that they really all could be monthly books.

  • Ron Hogan says:

    This newfound enthusiasm for Abin Sur made me realize something: If he was the Green Lantern for our sector, where the heck WAS he in the months and years before crashing on Earth? I mean, we had plenty of super-powered crime before Hal Jordan got the ring. Did the Guardians just tell Abin Sur to let the Kryptonian handle everything?

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    There was a DC Presents or DC Legends ongoing in the 90s that showed Abin Sur in the 1880s chasing some bad dude here, years later. That series had some decent arcs and I wish more issue had been reprinted.

  • Boosterrific says:

    Mike, I love this sort of post: an investigation into sales trends. I know that you are just one store on the opposite coast of the country from where I live, but I find it illuminating. Thank you.

    Despite having paid much attention to sales trends for years, I really don’t know what to expect sales-wise about the upcoming books. I find that long-time collectors such as myself have traditionally had the mindset that we intended to keep what we’re buying forever. (We’re like hoarders; we just want to be physically near the fantasies we love.) DC’s day-and-date initiative seems to be targeting an entirely different mindset: digital comic readers who aren’t collectors in the traditional sense but people who just want to read stories. What happens once collectors like me realize that DC has devalued their long-boxes going forward by turning comic books from a limited physical commodity into an unlimited virtual commodity?

    Will this fundamental market shift cause an immediate change in buying strategy in long-time readers, the buyers most conditioned to pick up new number 1 issues? Probably not. But maybe.

  • Anonymous says:

    The best Abin Sur story is still SWAMP THING #97-98 (July-August 1990)–obviously!

  • Arynne says:

    In justice to Abin, he DID come to Earth in at least two or three stories I can remember (including a Wild West romp where he teamed up with an ancestor of Hal Jordan’s)…and he had a very large ‘beat’ to patrol.

    I remember the Guardians chastising Hal for spending so much time fighting crime on Earth, which was adequately supplied with protectors already, and neglecting the other planets in his sector, some which had no native superheroes at all.