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

November 10, 2004

More Stabbing, Forced Lobotomy Programs and Sexual Assault for Everyone: How Comics Works

imageDC Comics announced via press release it's going back to press on a second issue of its Identity Crisis murder mystery mini-series. Like or lump the comic itself -- superhero comic book fans seem divided between a group enjoying the big-event feel and the twists and a group deploring the treatment of adult violence -- this kind of thing can be very worth noting as publishing news.

Even though DC doesn't release raw numbers and the market is therefore very open to manipulation of perception, the fact that the Time Warner company feels they need a second edition of this comic at this point in the series' roll-out is a strong indication of legitimate high sales throughout comic shops. The fact that DC goes back to press at all on comics of high demand is a break with the policy practiced by their close competitor Marvel, DC's strategy being that retailers are best supported by giving them a chance to sell earlier issues with the later ones. Whereas Marvel's policy may manipulate fan impulses by creating immediate back issues at jacked-up prices, DC's may manipulate this same market with multiple covers for the completist (the cover art here is the original one, incidentally). That DC announces this move in the usual places can also be a sign of sustained marketing interest in a series within the publisher's walls, which isn't exactly a given anymore.

With the direct market seemingly ordering more confidently at the high end of sales charts and not so well on the low end, how each mainstream company manages its bigger hits becomes more important to the industry's bottom line.
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink

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