So let’s rap about Batman’s penis.

§ September 24th, 2018 § Filed under batman § 6 Comments

So when I initially ordered Batman: Damned, there were a couple of points against it that kept my orders on the conservative side:

First, its dimensions. It’s larger than your standard issue comical book. It is, for all intents and purposes, a graphic novel, a nearly-identical format to the Marvel and DC graphic novels from the 1980s. 8 1/2 by 11 inches and thin. Magazines and magazine-sized comics are generally harder sells.

Second, the price. Yes, okay, cover prices are creeping up (the coming Uncanny X-Men relaunch has a $7.99 price tag on the first issue, egads) but price is still a factor, Raise that price, lower those sales expectations.

On the plus side, it’s a strong creative team, and the book was bound to look gorgeous. It’s the opening salvo from a new DC Comics imprint. It’s Batman. It’s John Constantine. All factors that can push those numbers up.

Thus, a couple months ago, and again a few weeks back when I had the opportunity to rejigger those numbers, I decided what I was going to order and that was that. Not terribly high, but it certainly seemed like plenty to me, based on my customer base ond likely demand.

Then last Wednesday came along, and throughout the day the book sold about how I had expected it to sell. It moved briskly, and at some point in the day I decided to put in a reorder for some more copies, as once I’d actually seen the final product and saw how my customers responded to it, I figured it had some legs and was good for more sales. My assumption was that it would be treated as a trade paperback by the publisher, kept on the backlist for the foreseeable future, but I wanted to grab a few more while it was still currently available, rather than wait for DC to go back to press after the eventual sellout.

I was left with one copy at the end of the day. And then the phone calls began.

As you’ve probably heard, there’s a scene in the comic featuring a fully-nude Batman (or Bruce Wayne, I guess…feels funny to call him Batman without the Bat-costume) that reveals his…well, look, it’s totally his penis. Obscured by shadows, yes, but there it is, regardless. Holy short arm inspection!

After this particular bonus content was noticed, DC quickly announced that the Batpole would be stricken from digital editions and all future reprints. And of course, being comics, you know what that means. INSTANT COLLECTIBLE.

Probably a good 95% of the phone calls received at the store since Thursday morning have been people asking for Batman: Damned #1. Sunday I think I had only one call that wasn’t someone asking for that comic. The majority of those calls were not from anyone that I recognized, so the plus side is that new folks are seeking out comic shops and finding me, America’s Most Powerful and Beautiful Comic Shop Owner. The downside is, of course, not having that book they want. And they’re not wanting any future editions that may come down the pike…they want that first printing.

Now the reordered batch (ahem) I’m expecting is all pretty much already spoken for. Assuming of course they show up not damaged, which is sometimes the trick with these shipments. I mean, beyond folks looking for the aforementioned INSTANT COLLECTIBLE, there are those who may have been waiting to buy the story once it was completed and collected into a final edition, or were on the fence about picking it up, or whathaveyou, but were goosed into action by realizing if they wanted the uncensored version, they’d better grab it now. And I understand the impulse…when I finally got around to buying a CD copy of “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” I didn’t want the U.S. version with the stupid and insulting black box over (gasp) a lady’s naked bottom, I wanted the cover that didn’t treat me like an idiot, so I had to hunt around for the Canadian release.

So anyway, in the true Streisand Effect fashion, by trying to hide Batman’s Boy Wonder, DC has only drawn even more attention to it, even to the point of the comic being mocked on late night talk shows, and the brave new launch of an upscale line of serious comic books has been reduced to a vector for dick jokes. I know, I’m not innocent, there’s a couple in this post right here, but the whole situation is ridiculous, it’s hard (ahem) not to make fun of it. But I guess at least people are laughing at it rather than saying “LOOK AT WHAT THEY’RE SELLING TO KIDS, WE MUST BAN COMICS” though that’s probably out there too. There’s always somebody.

On a related note: I sure sold a lot of magazine-sized bags and boards on Wednesday.

6 Responses to “So let’s rap about Batman’s penis.”

  • Aussiesmurf says:

    Didn’t DC steer into the skid by instantly making demand for 1st print skyrocket, and increasing interest in future printing?

    From a commercial standpoint (not a comics retailer) it seems they’ve dealt with it perfectly.

  • Gareth Wilson says:

    How many kids read Batman comics these days?

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Aussiesmurf, DID DC increase interest in future printings? It seems, rather, that it has made the second printing seem an inferior, less desirable thing to many people.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    My LCS actually put this issue in my inbox and I had to turn them down. I normally don’t mind when they do that with comics I might like, especially since with something like this it might sell out before I can get to the store on Saturday. But $6.99, for an ultra-dark Batman comic? No thanks.

    Glad to know they shouldn’t have any problem moving it.

    “not wanting any future editions that may come down the pike…they want that first printing”

    DC’s missing a big opportunity for a “complete-the-drawing” type coloring book feature here.

    “See if you can finish drawing the Bat-junk. How hard can it be? (Uproarious laughter)”

    “the coming Uncanny X-Men relaunch has a $7.99 price tag on the first issue”


  • BobH says:

    Was there this kind of fuss the first time Swamp Thing showed his… tubers?

  • HoorayForGooba says:

    I read the headline — “So, let’s rap about Batman’s penis” — and then my eye naturally jumped down to the second paragraph and I read: “First, its dimensions. It’s larger than your standard issue…”

    Oh boy…