Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary













Home > Letters to CR

Alex Cox on Captain Marvel Sales in DM Shops
posted March 3, 2007
 

"Second, one has to remember that conventions have long had a traditional role as market correctives -- by which I mean someone might go to a con for something they're not getting through regular outlets -- so there's no guarantee that these kids' interest will be mirrored in North American comics shops."

I can only speak for Rocketship, but we have an ample kid's section, and get a lot of kids in the shop, and if they like BONE (which most of them do), they are getting pointed towards SHAZAM!

As I suspected, Smith's SHAZAM! is one of our best-selling comics of last month, and a good majority of those sales were kids (or parents of kids). I have relayed this to my peers as best I can, so if other shops are not getting these out to kids, it's not because they didn't know any better.

I would also point you towards this link: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/02/09/shazam-the-monster-society-of-evil-yup-kids-heart-it/

... which you've probably already seen.

have a good weekend ...

*****

Tom Spurgeon's Response: I apologize in advance for the length of this.

I know that there are plenty of good shops selling the heck out of the book; I just wanted to remind people that if someone is surprised by sales at a con, it sometimes means the con is acting as a corrective to various folks' shops that aren't as good, and may not be reflected even if you go look at the figures. For a long time I always heard slightly-higher-than-proportional sales of alt-comics at cons dismissed as a convention thing, as if there was this army of aberrations that just happened to hit cons that just happened to buy comics at the Kitchen Sink and Fantagraphics tables. Clearly, the success of certain books following their wider availability in bookstores indicates that this wasn't an aberration, that some books were being under-served by the supposed "ideal market" of comic shops. I think it's probably still the case that con sales reflect shortcomings in overall saturation for certain categories. Since it strikes me as likely we'll see this same criticism with kids books, I want that warning out there. For all I know, every kid that got a book signed from Jeff at NYCC was a Rocketship customer. But it's important to suggest the possibility that an incident of on-site appeal isn't something that can be double-checked against sales figures back in the office on Monday.