– Marvel have announced that online sales for their relaunch of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 – which features the new character Miles Morales – has broken their record for digital sales (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/ULTIMATE-SPIDER-MAN-Digital-Record-110916.html). What was that record? Unknown. What was that number, period? Unsaid, as there’s no way to track digital sales without a company stating it themselves, which is rare. DC Comics once claimed their ratio of physical comic sales to digital comic sales was about 630:1, at least before the New 52 launch (which means some DC digital comics likely barely sold in triple digits). SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS, a very small indie, put their best digital seller as moving 200 copies. Thus, this could have been downloaded two thousand times and likely been seen as rapidly successful. At any rate, Marvel’s promotion of the newest Spider-Man – a creation of longtime USM writer Brian Bendis and artist Sara Pachelli – has already done well. Last week, the polybagged USM #1 hit stands and in August, the character’s first appearance in ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #4 sold in the Top 5 with over 73,700 copies sold. That’s over 29k above where ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #5 sold in the same month, and Morales only appeared for one panel. Given that ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #160 – the “Death of Peter Parker” issue – sold over 166k in June, it will be interesting to compare this new USM #1’s sales against that, or against FEAR ITSELF or even some New 52 titles. One could argue that relying on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN to be a sales champion is a time warp back to 2000-2001, which may be a sign of weakness. In related news, Marvel have also announced that via pre-orders from Diamond, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #2 and ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #2 have sold out and will get second printings (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/09/15/two-ultimates-comics-sell-out-for-marvel/). Marvel likely expected sales for the second issues to dwindle as they classically have for new or re-launches, so this is likely a pleasant surprise for them, although not retailers left telling customers to wait a few weeks for reprints. ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES is the latest relaunch of THE ULTIMATES by Jonathon Hickman and Esad Ribic. “Selling out”, before hard figures are known in October, merely means that every issue that Marvel printed-to-order was sold to retailers, in addition to any “extra” copies they printed in case of demand or damages – which companies rarely reveal in precise terms in announcements. Given that sales for ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN had fallen to lows of below 33,500 copies at the end of last year, this is likely welcome news for them.
– Marvel have released three teaser images for THE FEARLESS, their bi-weekly 12 issue series that will follow up the end of FEAR ITSELF in October (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/ff-fearless-fear-itself-teaser-110919.html). It centers around Valkyrie and Sin/Red Skull and focuses on the fate of the “evil hammers” as well as a score of characters. The first centers around Thing and the FF under the banner “DEFEAT THE FF! SAVE THE WORLD”; the second around Storm and Moonstar with the banner “INVADE UTOPIA! SAVE THE WORLD”; the third around Valkyrie fighting Sin with the banner “UNLEASH THE POWER THAT SLUMBERS! SAVE THE WORLD”. One would think having Jeph Loeb, writer of “HEROES” – the TV show that used the slogan, “Save the cheerleader, save the world” for it’s first season – is rubbing off in an irritating way. At any rate, it seems Marvel’s initial reaction to DC’s New 52 is to crank out the material based on their annual crossover, even after it ends. It will be handled by three writers (Matt Fraction, Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost) and two artists (Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier). In related news, Marvel have released the full images for THE MIGHTY, the team of heroes Iron Man has given armor that he created in Asgardian forges to help his allies win FEAR ITSELF – and those allies stand revealed as Ms. Marvel, Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, Red She-Hulk, Wolverine, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/fear-itself-conclusion-worthy-mighty-teaser-110708.html). Expect a few of these to become more alternate costumes in video game appearances.
– In further digital comics news, Marvel is announcing they will begin offering collections of their stories for digital sale for the iPod, iPad and iPhone downloads (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-digital-collections-110919.html). They collect up to ten issues at a $1 per issue discount off the total price. A layman might ask why this wasn’t done years ago when it is such an obvious, no-brainer step. Little steps for little feet, apparently. The justification for selling digital comics at the same prices as printed comics it to not undercut the retailer, especially with comics released in both methods in the same week. But trade collections – some printed years ago – don’t do that at all. The initial collections being offered are a mix of recent material – such as the first trades of ASTONISHING X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, the Ed Brubaker run of CAPTAIN AMERICA and the J. Michael Straczynski relaunch of THOR – with older material such as SPIDER-MAN: MAXIMUM CARNAGE from over 15 years ago. A wiser method to sell digital collections would be for them to be collections of key material needed for the start of a new launch or even a new storyline so readers can “catch up” without resorting to piracy, but maybe this is a step for another time…or year. Marvel’s digital shop sometimes offers sales of .99 cents for some comics as a daily special, but rarely is this used for promotional purposes, either (such as, say, a sale on last month’s issue of TITLE X as the next issue ships). Digital is a new medium, but shouldn’t that mean some willingness to risk investment at times?
– An exclusive two panel teaser for October’s X-MEN: REGENESIS one shot reveals that Psylocke is on both Wolverine and Cyclops’ X-Men teams for a key reason – she may be Cyke’s mole to funnel data (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/x-men-regenesis-sneak-peek-110916.html). Ol’ Slim has gotten so clever.
– In this latest teaser for December’s issue of FF #13 (sold alongside FANTASTIC FOUR #601), it seems that Franklin Richards is swearing allegiance to Dr. Doom, despite Doom literally sending him to Hell during the Mark Waid run several years ago (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/worlds-greatest-comics-fantastic-four-teaser-110916.html). The Richards’ seem to be very poor parents. How does one let a man named Dr. Doom even babysit for an evening?
– In a series of advance solicitations for December that Marvel sent to Comic Book Resources, a few tidbits were revealed (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34457). Not only will X-23 join the cadets in AVENGERS ACADEMY #23, but Reptil is revealed as alive – which dwindles the “which cadet will leave the team” tally to either Veil or Striker in issue twenty. Legendary artist Alan Davis will draw CAPTAIN AMERICA #6. Norman Osborn, HAMMER, and his Dark Avengers plague NEW AVENGERS and AVENGERS (both written by Brian Bendis). And the premise of DEFENDERS by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson is that the team assembles to fight the last of the evil “Worthy” from FEAR ITSELF. Given that the team features Red She-Hulk/Betty Ross-Banner and her husband Hulk/Bruce Banner is one of “The Worthy”, could it be him they’re after?
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-9-13-11-cable-returns-again-x-23-joins-academy-more
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-9-19-11-the-spectre-tv-show-new-52-creative-team-shifts-more
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-9-19-11-slave-labor-cdc-go-digital-kevin-keller-more-1