The Late Returns Look Good (and Bad)

So the inevitable backlash to Civil War has begun in earnest with the unfortunate coupling of what was possibly the weakest issue of the series thus far coinciding with the longest wait and the anger caused by the delay. Personally I can't say I disagree with the negative sentiment on a story level (Brian Cronin is particularly insightful if equally brutal) but I think this issue had quite a bit of hype to live up to and, quite frankly, would be getting a pretty similar pounding from some corners no matter how good it was.

All that said, Mike Sterling is right: issue #4 is going to sell like crazy. At MacGuffin, in its first 3 days issue #4 has outsold each of the three previous issues in their first 3 days on sale. This issue has doubled sales of #1 and shown an increase of 50% over issue number three in the same windows. Only issue #2 came close and we've still seen almost a 15% increase over that issue. While some of that can be attributed to the store's growth over that period, we've only seen roughly a 15% increase in the sale of singles since Civil War started. On top of that, the Civil War tie-ins has sold an all time high for us this week with several customers who had been waiting for issue #4 coming in and catching up on the tie-in series.

There's certainly some who would love to see this series flop as some sort of payback for Marvel. While I'm all for voting with our wallets, its entirely too late to make any such statement with Civil War. Four issues of this series have already sold over 250,000 copies (or much more if you're Mark Millar). The next issue will as well because its pretty much too late for retailers to jump off the series en masse unless readers do, and even then we won't really see any effect of that until issue #6. And has been pointed out ad nauseum, we're talking about comic fans here. What are the odds that most or even many readers of Civil War are going to stop at this point and be left out of the conversation from here on out? Marvel (and the comics industry in general) is going to make a nice chunk of change off of this series no matter how good (or late) the rest of it is.


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