Still kind of wondering what 250 consecutive issues of Youngblood would have been like.

§ December 12th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 14 Comments

So I was being a little sarcastic on the Twitters the other day (“what? Sarcasm? On Twitter? The devil you say!”) and posted my surprise at being asked about new issues of Spawn.

That wasn’t just me randomly abusing a comic for no good reason. I was actually genuinely surprised to encounter real Spawn fandom in the wild, after years of my usual Spawn-related in-store interactions primarily being 1) “They’re still making Spawn?” and 2) “What’s my Spawn #1 worth?” (and related, “Will you buy my Spawn #1?”)…oh, and 3) someone busting through our ceiling and stealing Spawn comics.

Now, I am in a new location with a new store, which means a new marketplace with new customers and new demands for product and I’ll stop saying “new” now. What was a mostly moribund seller at the old shop may be a best seller at the new one. Okay, perhaps “best seller” is pushing it a bit, but that anyone is exhibiting any enthusiasm about Spawn at all, and I mean enthusiasm about current and future Spawn issues, not just “ah, I remember reading Spawn 20 years ago,” is bit of a refreshing experience for me.

The other possibility is that Spawn #250 is coming out, with the attendant promotional push, and perhaps that’s helping to stir up some interest in the title again. I made a somewhat mean joke on that darn Twitter account a while back about there being more variant covers for Spawn #250 than I had customers looking to buy it, but perhaps the joke is on me. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I hope I’m not super-offending any Spawn fans out there. I’m really not trying to. Yes, I poked a little fun at the comic, but you have to give it credit for still keepin’ on keepin’ on, after all these years, with Savage Dragon as the only other original Image Comics launch title still hanging out on the racks with a mostly-consistent publishing run. And, at my previous employment, we did sell Spawn…just not a whole lot. I had a few pull list customers who got each issue, and then we’d move fewer-still copies on the rack.

Perhaps in a marketplace where every other comic has a Big New #1 Issue! Relaunch! Reboot! about once every year or two, a comic that just keeps coming out, ticking up those issue numbers into the triple digits, without drawing any attention to itself, simply generates that contemptible-familiarity you’ve all heard about. It’s always there on the stands, no longer the exciting monthly event it once was, but instead a semi-regular missive to those few fans still hanging in there and enjoying it.

I am curious if anyone reading this has been following Spawn for its entire run. I don’t mean “I read it back in 1992, and I just picked it up again recently.” I mean, you started with that first issue way back when, and stuck through the title through thick and thin, never missing an issue, and are now about to buy issue #250 which should be out Any Day Now. I know those fans are out there…there’s always someone who’s the lifelong fan, or maybe simply someone who kept getting and reading each issue out of inertia, or whatever. I would like to know what they think about having read the series as a whole. I mean…is it good? Am I missing out on something? Can someone even just give me a brief synopsis about what’s going on? The title seemingly has taken some fairly wild changes in direction over the years, and I have no idea what it’s even about at this point.

But anyway…250 issues of Spawn. That ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.

14 Responses to “Still kind of wondering what 250 consecutive issues of Youngblood would have been like.”

  • Alex says:

    I have not been buying, nor have I ever bought, any issues of Spawn. But I thought I’d chip in re: your “inertia” comment… I’ve been buying Futurama Comics regularly since Day 1, so something like 10 or 12 years worth, and I think I quit reading around issue 18 or 20. Still buying it. Still not reading it, not out of contempt or anything, but… I dunno.

    It doesn’t hurt that I realized some of those early print runs were pretty low and the entire run altogether is worth a (to me) decent chunk of change. Maybe some Spawn readers are the same way? Banking their retirement on a complete run?

  • Walaka says:

    When I was in college, I sold lawn care services door to door, and one sale, a retired couple, paid with a check that had a check number in five digits – IIRC, it was check number 23245 or something like that. I marveled at how long they must have banked at the same place to get their check number that high, and I still do.

    It makes me wonder what things would have been like if the Big Two hadn’t stopped the sequential numbering and bought into/created the “new-number-one” syndrome. What number could comics that started publishing in the thirties be up to now? Wouldn’t Action be at or nearing a legitimate #1000 if it hadn’t been renumbered in 2011?

    Frew, the Australian publisher for the Phantom, is up to issue #1740 or something like that. It would have been nice to see the longevity of some characters reflected in their flagship titles here. But I guess that train has left the station.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    I can’t speak to Spawn but I can speak to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. In 2010, IDW let Larry Hama pick up where he left off in 1994 with a Free Comic Book Day issue #155 ½ to promote the resurrected series which has produced to date another 53 issues and an annual. The comics have been exactly what I, as a fan of Hama’s handling of the property/characters, expect and enjoy. But when I look at sales data, I realize what a minority I am.

    In the book’s first year, it sold an average of 11,654 copies per issue. Year Two it dipped to 9,005 per issue. Years Three and Four were solid at 7,867 and 7,604. We’re only a little into the fourth year of the series but it’s still averaging 6,853 per issue.

    The odds of me running into another person who reads new issues of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is staggeringly low. Luckily, I’ve got what I need in the comics which continue on at a steady pace. (As opposed to IDW’s new-continuity GI Joe books which have been relaunched three times since it started in 2008.)

  • Erich says:

    I wonder how different the comics industry would be today if, right from the start, the publishers had simply put the month/year date on the cover instead of an issue number.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    Another G.I.Joe ARAH reader right here! Odds low, not impossible.

    I miss seeing all kinds of comics with 3-digit numbers. When I first got into them I liked reading about the history. I actually preferred diving into a comic that had been and would be around for a while.

  • Bruce Baugh says:

    Now that you’ve brought it up, Mike, I’m also curious what Spawn’s story is like these days.

  • Bully says:

    Walaka mentioned Action above: this month’s Action Comics would be #943 with straight numbering. Even though it’s an older title, Detective would be at #919. (Thank you, couple years of Action Comics Weekly back in the 80s!) DC’s actual highest number currently belongs to Looney Tunes #222.

    In the UK, 2000 AD hit #1911 this week, and The Beano is at #3764.

  • Eric L says:

    I found myself reading the wikipedia entry for Spawn a little while back. It was terribly confusing, but to be fair it’s not like any comic would seem all that great if you judged them by their wikipedia entry.

  • Corey says:

    I work in a comic store, and we still get a decent amount of Spawn readers. Not a lot of people who still buy the new issues, but a decent amount of people who will buy back issues or toys when we have them. The first issue is still a pretty easy sell.

    The most surprising thing is the average age of Spawn fans. Millennials LOVE Spawn. (To be fair, millennials have bad taste in just about everything. Look at the success of Mumford and Sons for proof.)

  • Darius Smith says:

    SPAWN is FAR BETTER than ANY Granny Morrison or or Affable Al Moore or Fraction or Harlan “City on the Edge of Forever” Ellison! Except, of course, when these guys ACTUALLY WRITE SPAWN. At those times, grudgingly, I co0ncede that they MIGHT be SOMEWHERE NEAR TODD McFARLANE’s BALLPARK [Mark McGuire Million Dollar BASEBALLS FOR ALL MANKIND FOREVER!] Obviously, if you don’t dig SPAWN, you are most likely DEAD. ‘Nuff Said!

  • Andrew says:

    Never actually read an issue of Spawn except for the Batman crossovers. I am kind of an easy mark for cross-company crossovers and in addition to those have also been able to claim Gen13/Fantastic Four and Gladiator/Supreme as part of my collection.

  • Kid Kyoto says:

    Another GI joe reader here, loving the continuing series (though I only read it in TPB, like everything else).

    I met Hama at a con this year, great guy.

  • Brett says:

    I have collected every spawn 1-230something plus specials and only just stopped buying about a year ago. I stumbled across this page because I wanted a rough evaluation. I have the rare cgc graded McFarlane signed 150 in there too.
    I also have all preachers, crossed, y last man and transmetropolitans if anyone could value

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Still Kind Of Wondering What 250 Consecutive Issues Of Youngblood Would Have Been Like.”

    Like a massive waste of paper?

    “with Savage Dragon as the only other original Image Comics launch title still hanging out on the racks with a mostly-consistent publishing run.”

    and it’s been READABLE the entire time! :D

    “In the UK, 2000 AD hit #1911”

    it would be cool for 2000AD to make issue #2000!

    “Can someone even just give me a brief synopsis about what’s going on?”

    I think Spawn has a talking horse now!