I’ll try not to go on about DC Comics all this week, too.

§ September 12th, 2011 § Filed under retailing § 14 Comments

“Do you have any copies of Action Comics #1 left?”

“Sorry, no, all our copies pretty much blew out the door. We’re all sold out.”

“Wow. So, what were you selling them for?”

“Um…cover price.”

“Really! …Do you have any more copies in the back room?”

“No, we’re all sold out.”

Had a variation or two of that particular conversation over the weekend, as we experienced a phenomenon we hadn’t quite planned for: lots of out-of-towners, unable to find copies in their area as their stores have run dry, driving many, many miles to come buy them at our shop. So, as we were planning our orders, in addition to the extra copies we ordered to accommodate the estimated increased demand from our own regular clientele and then some, we should have ordered even more copies to cover regular customers from other shops.

This is the sort of thing, like the not-always reliable media coverage-driven sales, that makes it really difficult to order comics, sometimes. And seems to have caught a lot of people short.

Yeah, I know, “boo hoo, we’re selling comics,” but still. Like I noted before, we ordered what we thought were plenty, but this New DC thing really took off beyond expectations.

I had a customer ask me the other day when I thought DC might revert to the old numbering on some of their titles. Honestly, as I told that customer, I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while, as that would be tantamount to an admission of failure of this new initiative. Frankly, if things get that bad that quickly, I think “renumbering the titles” will be the least of DC’s worries. And on a related note, I don’t expect any of these new series to be cancelled right off the bat (even ones like the awesome OMAC, which might as well have a “SOON TO BE CANCELLED!” banner right above the logo) for the same reason. I’m guessing a year’s worth of issues, minimum, for the bottom sellers. …I have no idea, really…that’s just a gut feeling, is all. (EDIT: Further rumination on this point here.)

The other thing I mentioned in response to that customer is that there are built-in future sales boosts already evident in the titles. Like, for example, Superman…as soon as the court-ordered Superman: The Man of Steel movie wraps up its break-even-plus-maybe-some-change run in theaters, the need to keep the comic book version of the character close in appearance to the mass media version will diminish, and we’ll probably get the attention-grabbing “The Return of Superman’s Original Costume” Saga. Or in Green Lantern, when we get “The Return of the Green Lantern Everyone Knows…No, Not The Black Guy, The Other One” Saga. And, you know, other similarly marketable events.

Of course, it won’t be long before it all goes back to the old standbys, like death (“In this issue, a character with no mass media presence but all you fans claim to love dies!”) or crossovers (“Crisis of Batman Appearing in Multiple Books You Wouldn’t Ordinarily Look at Otherwise”). And as I noted before, assuming things last that long, we’ll see acknowledgements of the 1000th issue of Action and other such milestones, without necessarily renumbering the books.

Okay, perhaps I may have been slightly too cynical up there. All that aside, I can say customers are still really excited about what’s going on, and that’s good to see.

Also, Omac really is a hoot. Trust me on this.

• • •

In related news, pal Dorian reviews the first week of DC’s new titles. He liked Omac too. Just buy the stupid thing.

14 Responses to “I’ll try not to go on about DC Comics all this week, too.”

  • Allan says:

    I hope you did the honorable thing and explained to them that if they REALLY wanted to read ACTION COMICS #1, it was available as a digital download. Because, y’know, reading it is obviously their first priority.

  • Jason says:

    Thank you for plugging OMAC. I’ve promised myself I’ll stick with it as long as Giffen will.

  • Rich says:

    Maybe this isn’t what a B&M retailer wants to hear, but I’m puzzled why anyone would drive a long distance even if they wanted the physical/tangible copy of Action #1. It’s still available for cover price on most of the online comic stores I use. Perhaps I’m just more patient than folks like that.

  • Is is true that there is no credit for Jack Kirby on OMAC?

    I know DiDio didn’t want to put my creator credit on Black Lightning Year One and actually tried to get away with that to the extent that the first printing of the first issue lacked that credit. Then he got my credit wrong for two or three issues, using “Anthony Isabella,” a name I have never used professionally.

    But…no credit for Jack Kirby?


  • CW says:

    No credit for Kirby on OMAC #1? Wow, that’s a slap in the face.

  • philip says:

    Please do go on about DC all week. I find it damned interesting. No, I am not being sarcastic. And damn it if I am not finally breaking down and picking up OMAC this week. Unless my local shop is out of them. In which case… VENTURA ROAD TRIP! Or, y’know, I’ll just call.

  • Greg Burgas says:

    In opposition to your statement about DC giving these books a while, I heard from an industry insider (I know, look at me!) recently that DC is giving these books even less time than usual – like 4-5 issues. We’ll see!

  • Casie says:

    Just read OMAC last night. So fun!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Mike, I’m guessing even the worst sellers will get at least enough of a run that a trade would be published, so six months on some, twelve on another? (Just to save DC some face.)

    I am fully unaware of the way Marvel handled their “Heroes Reborn” thing, I hardly buy any Marvel even now. Do you know of anyone who has written at length on it, because Wikipedia gives me the basics. I’ve heard HR mentioned more than once at my LCS, as well as the one I go to downtown.

    I’m buying 3 or 4 issues a week of the new 52, and of my choices so far, only Batgirl was horrible. So DC is getting my money, but somewhere between New Krypton and Blackest Night, my love for DC dwindled. My point is, even if I end up buying/trying 12-16 of the new 52, I was down to buying maybe 8-10 DCs a month prior to the change. Right now DC will get more of my money, but make me a Marvel customer and put me back in 1996 (?) and tell me how crazy fans were during HR. I just turned, well, 52, last week, so I’m sure there are people who were in their 40s griping fifteen tears ago. Thanks, as I enjoy hearing everything you bring to the table.

  • Dan L says:

    With Giffen using his old more Kirby-esque style, one would have thought they would have given Kirby the credit he deserves for the creation of OMAC. To paraphrase The Who (based on Tony’s comments above): The new DC…same as the old DC.

  • Mikester says:

    Re: Kirby’s credits on Omac – no, there isn’t a Kirby credit on that title, and there really should be. Hopefully that mistake will be rectified.

    Greg Burgas – That does make sense, too…given DC’s recent cost-cutting (from dropping page counts to no longer shrinkwrapping their hardcovers) and the financial imperative that is behind this entire rebootalaunch in the first place, I can see no mercy being shown to the weak. …In my idealistic imaginings, I pictured DC wanting to save some face by not canceling titles right away, but realistically…yeah, “throwing good money after bad” is not a strategy that matches up with DC’s current behavior.

  • Why not?
    I personally throw good money after bad…

    Oh, I know…the self-loathing of the comic nerd. The PAIN of it all! I hate myself. I do. I do, IdoIdoIdo…*

    *to be read using the voice of Jonathan Harris a’la Dr. Zachary Smith from Lost in Space.

    OK. I kid. I spend good money, but I love these darn things.
    I do, I do, IdoIdoIdo… *


  • Steven E. McDonald says:

    The word I have is that the DCnu rebootalaunch titles all have guarantees of six issues, with creators required to be working three months ahead (which is playing hob with some of the teams, apparently) and “mid-season replacement” titles already in the pipeline.

    I’m predicting that forty of these titles will be gone within the next twelve months, and that the final outcome of this effort will be thirty or so monthly titles with a small core supported by a shifting second tier.

  • JAMES WALEY says:

    Also,seeing as DC is basing the very formation of their lynchpin book, the JUSTICE LEAGUE, on a Kirby creation, DARKSEID, being the key villain I’m wondering why people aren’t as up in arms at them as they are at MARVEL regarding their treatment of the King — unless his estate worked out a sweet deal with them sometime in the past (though that oversight on OMAC is really quite a slight!).