Tired of NEW 52 news yet? That’s too bad because that’s still the talk of the town as DC’s massive line wide relaunch hit it’s second week, with more in sight across September!
– Diamond Comic Distributors released their initial sales figures for August 2011 – just what sold in the Top 10 and percentages of dollar and market share between DC and Marvel Comics (and everyone else). Suffice it to say, JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which debuted on August 31st, was the top selling comic of August ’11; with FLASHPOINT #5 at the second spot (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/august-2011-comic-book-sales-110912.html). Despite that, Marvel still outsold DC and dominated the market share, although that is expected to change in September. Overall, DC had 4 comics in the Top 10 sellers list last month (compared to six from Marvel), and 10 within the Top 25. Overall, comic sales are up since July, although still down 4% from last year. DC also had three titles in the Top 10 Graphic Novel list, compared to two from Marvel (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/09/12/justice-league-1-was-the-top-book-in-august-as-overall-sales-rose/). Diamond should release hard sales numbers later in the week. However, that hasn’t stopped DC Comics from touting their own sales estimated for promotional bragging rights.
– Via DC’s own blog, “The Source”, the company have officially announced that JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee is the best selling comic book of 2011, with over 200,000 copies sold across at least two printings (with a third on the way). This also makes it the best selling DC Comic since 2006’s JLA #1 relaunch by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes. Atop of that, NINE other DC titles under the New 52 launch have apparently shipped at least 100,000 copies or more. The other nine include ACTION COMICS #1 (from Grant Morrison and Rags Morales, which is expected to hit 200k with a 2nd print), DETECTIVE COMICS #1, BATMAN #1, BATMAN AND ROBIN #1, SUPERMAN #1, GREEN LANTERN #1, FLASH #1, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1 (the David Finch title), and much to DC’s surprise, BATGIRL #1 by Gail Simone. All of DC’s New 52 comics which shipped on Sept. 7th will get second printings, with all 13 of the New 52 issues from this week selling out via pre-order and also set to get second prints (http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/09/12/inside-the-numbers-justice-league-1-is-officially-the-best-selling-comic-book-of-2011/). Now, as a caveat, “selling out” in the direct market means that DC managed to sell every copy of a comic that was ordered in advance by retailers, plus any extra copies printed in anticipation of demand or damages – figures most companies keep vague. DC often notoriously overprinted in comparison to Marvel, however. While DC is owed some bragging rights after being second fiddle to Marvel for decades (including the 21st century), virtually every market watcher knew that DC was likely to dominate September’s charts. The real test of the New 52 won’t be how many sell in the Top 10 or 30 at debut, but how many are still selling there, or above sales numbers from June and July, in about 3-4 months time. However, these initial figures should make Marvel nervous; they’ve struggled to sell so many titles at 100k or above for years. It will be interesting if DC enters an era where BATGIRL outsells WONDER WOMAN, albeit likely due to the controversy surrounding the end of Barbara Gordon’s tenure as Oracle, and othe longtime mishandling of WONDER WOMAN by editorial. Again, the true success of the New 52 overall will likely not be known until December at best, when many books are stilling a 3rd or 4th issue. By then, word of mouth and/or any publication delays could take a toll, especially with new readers. Typically, sales for second issues fall about 20% from the debut, with many second issue drops being more harsh lately.
– DC have notified comic retailers with an email detailing their efforts to promote THE NEW 52 via TV commercials. The networks for which they’ve bought ad time are CARTOON NETWORK, BBC AMERICA, SYFY, MTV2, IFC, and COMEDY CENTRAL. Strangely, no ads have appeared on THE CW, the network channel where “SMALLVILLE” aired for years and which once hosted DC cartoons under the Kid’s WB/CW 4Kids banner. Online ads also are featured on Facebook and Twitter (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-marketing-programs-110909.html). One wonders if Marvel, which is now owned by Disney, will eventually follow suit on their networks. Given that the goal of the NEW 52 is to attract new or long disinterested fans, this is a good approach.
– How about the other side of the New 52 launch – releasing digital comics for paid downloads at the same time physical copies are sold, in a move that riled/terrified retailers? Comic Book Resources has an interview with SVP of sales Bob Wayne and Executive VP of Sales, Marketing and Business Development John Rood about that along with many other topics (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34357). While initial print sales for the New 52 books have “exceeded expectations” thus far, Rood stated that while he “can’t provide specific numbers. I’ll tell you were delighted by the digital sales, but I can’t say that they’ve exceeded expectations in a way that the physical sales have exceeded our forecast and expectations.” He further detailed their digital sales to date as the “nice to have” category. Before the New 52, DC execs told Bleeding Cool that the print-to-digital sales ratio was roughly 630 to 1; which meant digital sales for many lower selling comics were likely in triple digits. However, those sales were not “day and date” nor were they being promoted as heavily. The fact that DC is boldly bragging about print comics selling over 100-200k while being coy with exact digital figures likely means they’re not high enough to brag about. Many voices have claimed that selling digital comics at the same price as printed comics (as a gesture to not undercut direct market retailers) despite the fact that there’s no printing or shipping costs is folly to grow that market. Marvel’s digital store, at least, occasionally offers sales of .99 cents for some comics every week. However, undercutting direct market retailers would also be bad because while digital comics may be the future, DC (and Marvel) still need to survive until said future comes. One suspects in the worst economy since the end of the Carter administration, the amount of people who have enough cash to buy iPods and iPads is less than some estimated. At any rate, Wayne and Rood are hoping to keep the creative level of DC Comics fresh for subsequent issues in their launch. This may be a problem as some creative teams had barely 2-4 months notice of The New 52, and fill-in’s have already been announced for some artists.
– Michael Shannon, who has been cast as General Zod in Zack Synder’s “MAN OF STEEL” confirms that he will be wearing a CGI motion capture suit similar to what Ryan Reynolds wore in the bomb “GREEN LANTERN”. This is odd as the suit Henry Cavill wears as Superman is an actual suit, and what purpose this could have is unknown. This isn’t a good sign as part of why 2006’s “SUPERMAN RETURNS” underperformed was because it cost so much to produce – $250 million before promotions. In contrast, Marvel Studios rarely spends more than $150 million on an unproven franchise, with some budgets for other licensed Marvel films being lower – hence why Fox’s “DAREDEVIL” proved to be a modest hit in 2003. However, in better news, Shannon insists he isn’t seeking to replicate Terrence Stamp’s take on Zod and that the character is an “iconoclastic character” because he was “in charge of the entire military of Krypton” (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/168360-michael-shannon-confirms-man-of-steel-mo-cap).
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-9-6-11-jl-1-sells-out-sets-digital-record-cavill-s-super-suit
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-9-12-11-brooklyn-book-festival-comixology-3-0-s-boost-more
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-9-6-11-herc-canceled-the-fearless-the-avengers-film-nyc