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

November 18, 2004

Bob Wayne on DC Reprinting Policy

Newsarama and DC Comics VP Sales and Marketing Bob Wayne go through another lengthy interview on the comic book publisher's reprinting policy, which is every bit as reasonable and measured as the one done in August, and, ultimately, every bit as limited in the answers it can provide.

imageIt's not that anyone doubts there is demand for individual comics like Identity Crisis that may require multiple printings. But we'll never know exactly how these demands play out until DC is more forthcoming about numbers, or until DC is really, really clear about the strategy involved behind each book. Given their company-wide fury in publishing as many titles as possible, this doesn't seem all that likely.

Also, as long as DC trumpets these subsequent printings, they must accept responsibility for the increased surge in demand that kind of news creates rather than merely reflects.

But mostly, this is a pretty interesting piece. The only issue Wayne really punts is the one on variant covers, where he seems to assume means some sort of assault on the collector's impulse.

That's not the argument. The variants difficulty is that a second or third cover -- or more appropriately, second and third covers for some titles every month from now on -- may create additional strain on a non-returnable system by tying up cash flow from a retailer whose customers may or may not want the additional item. What could DC possibly see in the current market that says an additional level of complexity when ordering is a precedent worth establishing?

So my gut feeling is that the companies don't see these things as very harmful, and they might be right, particularly in the individual case. Armchair punditry has its limits, and I'd have to speak to a lot more retailers before I could say anything worthwhile on these issues. It just seems to me these are potentially dangerous strategies for a still relatively fragile market, Pandora's mylar sleeve, and DC might want to tread carefully even if it costs them a couple places on some top ten list.
posted 8:16 am PST | Permalink

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