We'll Give You the First One Free

DC announced that they'll be releasing a $.25 issue of Fables #1 to coincide with the release of Fables: 1001 Nights in the fall. Now this is the kind of news I love to hear. There are some books, particularly from Vertigo, that sell well in trades but have such great first issues that they should really be kept in print if only to be used as promotional tools. James Sime wrote a piece a few years ago extolling the virtues of the first issue of Losers as a promotional tool (one that I'm having difficulty tracking down, so if anyone remembers it, let me know so I can add the link) and I would say the same thing about books like Fables and Y: The Last Man. It's one of the reasons I love the Vertigo First Taste and Vertigo First Offenses books, because they offer the chance to sample these stories at a low cost (and potentially create a serious addiction to stories that run for several books).

It's the age old marketing ploy of giving just a little bit for free (or in this case $.25) and hoping to reel them in for the long haul. And the great thing about offering an entire first issue is that it's much more of a full story experience than a few preview pages. On top of that, it also promotes the (theoretically) standalone Fables GN that, judging by their fall catalog, DC is making part of their fall bookstore push (along with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier and Pride of Baghdad).

There's nothing new about $.25 preview issues, but they're usually #0 preview issues for new series, released shortly before the first issue to create more interest and demand. Promoting a long running series that sells (and often reads) better in trade format through what at MacGuffin will be a free sample of the very beginning of that story is much more effective. This the equivalent of a Free Comic Book Day title, only its actually cheaper than any of those. Even better than most FCBD books though, this is a title with significant mainstream appeal that we can use to help show that comics aren't just about superheroes.

We'll be giving them away because if we sell even 1 trade paperback for every 40 we give away, they will pay for themselves (and just about anyone who buys the first trade will be back for more).


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