Robot 6

What a difference a bunch of plastic rings makes

Blackest Night #5

Blackest Night #5

With the release this morning of’s estimates of direct-market sales for November comes this interesting tidbit: DC Comics’ “Blackest Night Promotional Rings” initiative gave a significant boost to the titles involved.

The ordering incentive allowed retailers who purchased a certain number of copies of seven titles — Adventure Comics #4, Blackest Night #5, Booster Gold #26, Doom Patrol #4, Justice League of America #39, Outsiders #24 and R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 —  to buy bags of the corresponding color plastic rings.

Blackest Night #5, which as we noted last week led a Top 10 dominated by DC, saw a 5-percent increase, with estimated sales of 145,000.

The promotion also helped to nudge Justice League and Adventure Comics into the Top 10, but it was lower-tier books that received the most obvious benefit. Booster Gold, Doom Patrol, Outsiders and R.E.B.E.L.S., which previously had skulked along the far reaches of the Top 100 — and, in one case, well beyond — shot up the chart in November.

Booster Gold #26 and Doom Patrol #4, whose previous issues clocked in at No. 98 and No. 108, respectively, were propelled into the Top 25. For Booster Gold, that little orange ring meant a difference of about 35,525 copies.

November apparently was decent for monthly comics in general, with estimating a 12-percent increase over the same month in 2008. Graphic novels registered a 26-percent drop — its eight straight month of declines — due largely to the strong performance of Watchmen last year.



I wonder how many of those Booster Gold comics are still sitting on the shelves?

Doom Patrol #4 was excellent, and R.E.B.E.L.S. was pretty good.

Not too many, since many stores required a purchase of Booster Gold to get the corresponding ring.

My store sold out of Booster pretty quickly, and the rest of them are down to less than ten copies, on orders that doubled, and in some case tripled or quadrupled the standard orders. It was harder ordering the next, non-ring bearing issues, but we ordered a little heavier, being cautiously optimistic about the books hanging onto some of those sales.

Oh, we also required the purchase of the comic to go along with the ring.

So this is what it has come to? Throwing in a little plastic ring to try and sell a comic? You wonder how many of these were purchased by someone under 21.

Splint Chesthair

December 8, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Why NOT little plastic rings? They didn’t detract from the quality of the books they came with (or contribute to the quality, unfortunately in the case of Justice League), and maybe a lot of those people who bought them will actually read the comic and get hooked on it. Booster Gold and Doom Patrol are enjoyable series by some quality creators, but probably wouldn’t get noticed without something like this.

It’s a lot better than pandering to the lowest-common denominator with lots of poorly-done guns and boobs and swearing to make them sell (not that any of those things are not fun to have around when done right, of course). As long as we don’t see DC or Marvel substitute promotional trinkets for actual storytelling to sell comics, there’s nothing wrong with this.

Hope the people who bought the comics for the rings find the stories interesting enough they’ll get the 2nd parts of all the stories this month.

But we’ll see.

My store sold out pretty quickly on all of the comics. They even had to re-order more copies of REBELS, which is saying something as they normally sell only about 3 copies a month of it…

I agree, it’s a promotion. Not unlike the cereal box freebies. Geez.

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