I’m making a lot of assumptions, I realize.

§ April 15th, 2022 § Filed under market crash, retailing § 5 Comments

So way back when on that post I made about Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1’s solicitation, Chris V flew in with

“I never realized that Turok was considered a sales failure. I was always under the impression that it sold really well.”

To be fair, I did state that first issue experienced “relative sales failure (relative to its massively excessive orders, I mean).” I’m sure it did sell an enormous number of copies. There had been a lot of anticipation for it at the time, after all. But as I said, compared to the huge numbers retailers actually ordered and still had stuck in their backrooms (until they were dumped in the shredder, natch)…well, it didn’t sell up to preorder expectations.

It was technically a success for Valiant, as they still got paid for all the copies they shipped. (Though it was perhaps the beginning of the beginning of the beginning of the end for that iteration of the company.) But it was a marketplace failure, in that many copies were left unsold, and it was a retailer failure, most of them ordering way too many to begin with.

The comic because one of the symbols of the excesses of 1990s comics retailing, maybe not directly causing that decade’s market crash but it certainly didn’t prevent it. As such, despite actually being a not half-bad comic, it gets lumped in with Deathmate and other ill-received books from the time, symptoms of a sick marketplace that needed to get worse before it got (slightly) better.

More of your questions/comments responded to next week! Stay tuned!

5 Responses to “I’m making a lot of assumptions, I realize.”

  • John Lancaster says:

    It’s nice to occasionally be reminded that I’m “internet famous”…at least a little.

  • Joseph P Gualtieri says:

    Questioning whether or not Turok #1 was a sales success is a good reminder that sales charts for comics only show how many copies retailers order, not how many copies fans actually bought. A success in one doesn’t mean success in the other. See also, dead or discounted stock ordered to get variant covers.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    John: I mentioned you and your quest to rid the world of Spitfire and the Troubleshooters during a comics & data Zoom discussion just this past Friday.

  • John Lancaster says:

    Re: Matthew – I just acquired 6 more copies of Spitfire in the past month! One of my friends recently told me that he didn’t think he could actually destroy a comic, no matter what the reason. I loaned him a copy of Spitfire #1 and he changed his mind. I then let him read Shadow of the Groundhog, that Manimal comic from Renegade Press, and all four issues of Steel Pulse. I got a note back that said “I thought we were friends?”. I hope he learned his lesson.