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Post By
mjyoung

In Reply To
Somebody

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,766
Subj: Deadpool and Incredible Hercules
Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 at 10:14:53 pm EDT (Viewed 328 times)
Reply Subj: It wasn't the crossover that boosted that...
Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 at 09:46:19 pm EDT (Viewed 302 times)

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    Quote:

      Quote:
      Okay, I should probably nuance that title a bit... crossovers DO bump sales... but ONLY for the duration of the crossover. Same as variant covers - as soon as they stop, sales go back to the original trend.

    I don't think you can say that as an absolute.

    Crossovers and tie ins to events bring new readers into a series, even if for a limited time. It's up to that title to keep the readers there.

    Anytime you can get a new reader to sample a title, you have a chance to keep them around. Besides the examples of crossovers or tieins, it can be the same for variant covers, anniversary issues, new creative teams, or hyped events. Look at the success Captain America has had when it killed Steve Rodgers. Many people bought the "Death of" issue, and some of them stuck around.

    Of course, it is hard to keep them, but it's not impossible.

See, you miss the basic problem: You and me aren't Marvel's customers. The retailers are. And retailers' default position is to assume that post-crossover sales will be equivalent to or lower than pre-crossover sales (for fairly sound reasons - if they order more than they can sell, they lose money on that title that month. Hence a natural conservatism springs into the equation - the potential upside of selling more issues is more-than-tempered by the fear of losing money) unless they have a specific reason to act in a contrary manner...

...and most of those "specific reasons" are pretty drastic. Death of Cap is an exception and a half because it hit on a slow news day and got US-wide coverage for at least a full week, including frigging OBITUARIES. Other exceptions include the complete retooling of the Thunderbolts series after Civil War, with a new premise, team lineup including high-profile villains, a high profile writer, high-profile artist, variant covers AND a promotional push.

Crossing over with one other series and without drastic changes in the process? Not likely to boost sales past the immediate crossover one iota, and even major stunts aren't guaranteed to do so - the Obamamania ASM issue was the highest selling comic since the early 90s... and hasn't boosted ASM sales one little bit.



But I think in most cases, the fans actually are the customer. Fans can pre-order their comics, purchase tpbs, or order online. This isn't like the days when fans only could choose from the comics their retailer orders. Fans also have a wealth of information at their fingertips, so they aren't surprised when something happens in a comic. They know what comics come out which week. Comics aren't a push industry, where the publishers just push whatever they want at the customers. Instead, it's a pull industry where the fans tell the publishers what they want.

We should equate Thunderbolts to Captain Britain here. There is nothing that Thunderbolts did that Captain Britain couldn't have done. CB could have gotten a more commercial purpose, more popular characters, more popular creators, etc. Marvel could have even pushed the title more. I think one important reason why CB failed was because of their followup story to Secret Invasion with the Lord of Hell. That one story saw a loss of 50% in it's readers. They should have followed up Secret Invasion with the Dracula storyline, or at least something more commercial.

The reason why the Obama comic didn't help Amazing is because it was a crappy story. The main story in that comic wasn't created to bring in new readers. The Obama story was just added to the back of whatever comic was going to be released that week. Put that Obama story at the end of the Flash Thompson in Iraq story and I think you keep some readers.

Let's look at two recent titles, Deadpool and Incredible Hercules. Both started off as tie ins to events, Deadpool had Secret Invasion while Hercules had World War Hulk. Both of those titles are selling pretty great right now, much higher than expectations. Without Secret Invasion, Deadpool would have started off much lower, and drifted down the charts. Same for Herc. Does anyone really think before that Deadpool could beat a main Wolverine title in sales? Or that Herc could be more popular than a spin off X-Men team with X-Factor?

But the reason why those books still sell well is because people stuck around on the titles. I attribute that to the writing on those titles. People stuck with Deadpool, but they didn't stick with Captain Britain. And I expect Captain Britain to sell less than Deadpool, but not 50% less.


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