Quick Hits 5/3

*Johanna Draper Carlson had some thoughts on Bob Wayne's interview with Newsarama and puts them in the context of the great format debate. As I've said, in general I believe that form should follow content except in special circumstances, but Marvel and particularly DC seem to have decided that they're going to make a push back to the periodical nature of comics. Which of course leads back into "collecting" comics and coupled with the overwhelming number of variants that we're seeing its a slippery slope back into speculator country. As an example, I had a customer come in today who wanted to buy every copy we had on the shelf of both Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1 (not to mention a couple of people who wanted both covers of Infinite Crisis).

*It's difficult for small press publishers to make an impact on the direct market. They're usually either one or two person operations that can't afford to put much money or even time into promoting themselves and end up taking a build it and they will come strategy. Which often leads to missing Diamond's minimum benchmark and getting cancelled. The other strategy is often to launch big and make enough of a splash to convince consumers that they should give these guys a try (Alias and Speakeasy anyone). Which often leads to segmenting their potential sales, late shipping books and a messy implosion. So it was unusual to see Superverse Comics get orders at over 20,000 copies for the first issue of Zoom Suit (for the month of March that would have ranked just outside the Top 100 and in the same ballpark as Ex Machina, and Thing). What they did was develop an enormous promotional push including an animated short, preview copies and the ever popular variant covers. The smartest thing they did, though, was offer the first issue to retailers at 75% off of retail price. That's enough to get any retailer that's paying attention to take some sort of chance on the book. The question now becomes, how will it sell through? The reviews are mixed (Graeme at the Savage Critic(s) was not much of a fan, Silver Bullet gave it a thumbs up) but at MacGuffin, we have yet to sell a copy (Mike at Progressive Ruin has seen a similar response). It's only been a week, but Mouse Guard sold five copies its first week.

*Since I tend to give Diamond a hard time (and they tend to deserve it) I should mention that they corrected a mistake in time to avoid it causing me any damage. Our order of the Star Wars/Conan FCBD book was somehow replaced by several hundred Previews Consumer Order forms for the month of May. I notified them and they had those copies air mailed to us two days later at their cost. Considering how time sensitive an issue it was I appreciate the effort they made to make sure I would have these available on Saturday. On the flip side, though, an incredibly indy friendly store in a major metropolitan area was shorted its entire order of D&Q's Mr. Jean FCBD book (which would likely be one of the books that most appealed to their clientele). Diamond was unfortunately unable top replace that stores copies because they had no more on hand (we were actually shorted about 10 copies of it, but not enough to make a huge dent). It must be difficult when dealing with the type of volume Diamond deals with when filling FCBD orders, but it's unfortunate that a store that would benefit so much from a Silver Sponsor book may not have any for FCBD.


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