Robot 6

Is Marvel’s Siege a bomb?

16812Siege_cvr1-lgSiege #1 was January’s bestselling comic. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel, it’s the capstone to years’ worth of event-driven Marvel Universe storylines, and the launchpad for a linewide rebranding called “The Heroic Age.” Anecdotally, it’s generated a lot of happy chatter from readers, especially following its gut-wrenching (heh heh) second issue. It’s a major milestone in the Marvel metastory by two of the company’s most popular creators, and it’s literally a chart-topper.

So why, as Marvel Vice President-Executive Editor Tom Brevoort points out, are people saying it’s a flop?

According to ICv2’s sales estimates, Siege #1 sold 108,484 copies. That’s just a hair above the 106,444 copies purchased of the month’s No. 2 comic, DC’s Green Lantern #50, which is the eighth issue of a Blackest Night tie-in arc. Blackest Night proper’s sixth issue sold 135,695, well above the figures for the launch of Marvel’s much-hyped event.

A longer-range comparison makes for grim reading, too. Veteran number-cruncher Marc-Oliver Frisch of The Beat ran down some stats at his blog:

In April 2008, Secret Invasion #1 sold an estimated 250,263 units. In May 2008, Final Crisis #1 followed with 144,826. January 2009 saw Dark Avengers #1 (118,579), June Batman and Robin #1 (168,604) and July Captain America: Reborn #1 (193,142). Also in July, Blackest Night #1 came out with estimated sales of 177,105—and none of the five subsequent issues of Blackest Night released to date have fallen below 135,000 units.

Were one to go further back, the comparison gets ever more lopsided. Civil War #1 debuted with first-month sales of 260,804 in May 2006 and added tens of thousands more copies with reprints and reorders. Even World War Hulk #1, a comparatively “minor” event that doesn’t really factor into the Avengers Disassembled/New Avengers/House of M/Civil War/The Death of Captain America/The Initiative/Illuminati/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign/Dark Avengers/The List/Siege mega-story, sold 178,408 copies in its June 2007 launch.

So those are the numbers. But what do they mean? If you’re judging by the arguments of the comic-website commentariat — which isn’t always a great idea — they mean that DC has Marvel running scared. By this logic, yes, Reborn #1 beat Blackest Night #1 that first month in much the same way that Secret Invasion #2 beat Final Crisis #1 back in the day. But since then, Blackest Night has over-performed to the point where a tie-in title as deep into its story arc as Green Lantern #50 can give Marvel’s biggest launch in over a year a serious run for its money. Moreover, that plastic-power-ring promotion may be a lousy way to gauge reader interest in, say, R.E.B.E.L.S., but it certainly speaks to the popularity of the rainbow of Lanterns that drives Blackest Night. Meanwhile, the long-simmering rivalry between Marvel and DC has recently heated up again, at least on Marvel’s side, spearheaded by the House of Ideas’ controversial offer to swap unsold “ring books” for a Siege variant and by the outspoken commentary of Brevoort. Put the former together with the latter, and you’ve primed the pump for at least some of the audience, particularly the ones annoyed with Marvel to begin with, to believe that Marvel’s actions stem from insecurity — and to point to the sales of Siege as Exhibit A. Factor in the fannish goodwill toward newly minted DC honchos Jim Lee and Geoff Johns and you’ve got the recipe for a bona fide backlash.

And that’s even before you come to the more subjective question of Siege‘s content. Robot 6 guest contributor Tim O’Neil made a case against it based on Siege‘s comparatively slow pacing and relatively indirect lead-in from the “Dark Reign” books, while Frisch compared “Dark Reign” to DC’s similarly ambitious “One Year Later” line-wide branding, in that it debuted to high sales and reader acclaim only to lead to a sales die-off that arguably, outside of titles by Johns and Grant Morrison, persists for the company to this day.

However, there’s more to the story than just a tale of two event comics. For starters, stories of Marvel’s demise have been greatly exaggerated: Marvel continues to enjoy a commanding lead over DC in terms of market share for both units and dollars, regardless of who falls where on the top of the charts.

But more pressingly, in January, Siege and Green Lantern were the only titles to break the 100K barrier. Books with sales levels that would have qualified them to be healthy midlist workhorses a couple years ago are now Top 10 titles. The threshold for a “hit” has dropped dramatically across the board.

Is this “event fatigue” in action, as Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada has long warned? Is it a sign that the Great Recession has finally caught up to the buying habits of comics readers? Is it a long-overdue course correction for a direct market artificially buoyed by Watchmen and the Obama issue of The Amazing Spider-Man the previous year? Is it just the age-old fact of life that sales in January stink? Hell, this is purest spitballing, but could expensive Avatar tickets have taken a chunk out of readers’ genre-entertainment allowance? Is it, as Frisch and O’Neil argue, a problem unique to Siege‘s specific strengths and weaknesses? Is it a sign that readers are really just waiting around for “The Heroic Age” and the slew of (re)launches — Avengers, Secret Avengers, The Age of Heroes — that it will bring, as critic David Uzumeri suggests?

Frankly, I have no idea. That’s way too many variables on way too many fronts, from economic to editorial to creative, for me to feel comfortable even speculating. I do think it’s a bad sign when the Direct Market, a system all but custom-built in every conceivable way to sell big superhero comics, is evidently having this much trouble doing so, but damned if I know what the culprit is.

Regardless, as to the notion that Siege #1 is a failure, its editor Tom Brevoort is unsurprisingly having none of it. In a pair of tweets that inspired me to take up the topic in the first place, Brevoort wrote:

Also amazed at how fans irritated at me have decided Siege [is] a bomb. As the best-selling title last month, I’ll happily take more bombs. But if I couldn’t take their shots, I’d have curled up into a little ball during Civil War.

With “The Heroic Age” set to square off against Brightest Day in a few months, I’m sure the shots will continue to be fired at both sides …

News From Our Partners

Comments

59 Comments

My own comic buying habits have slipped lately, and I only visit the store once a month now instead of once a week; and I spend as much as I would have on two weeks instead of four; paring down crappy titles.

I think part of the problem is that its really an “Avengers” event and people who aren’t reading those books have decided to skip it. I’m sure 90% of the the people who already pick up NA and DA got Siege, but not many people outside of that group cared enough. I think the “7 Years in the Making” ads didn’t help either. I think it alienated readers who didn’t read those other stories.
You could kind of see the same trend during the Utopia crossover last year. Uncanny got a bump in sales, but Dark Avengers stayed about the same. Meaning, the people(like me) who read DA and not UXM went out and picked up the 2 crossover issues, but the UXM only readers didn’t get DA.
I know Blackest Night is a GL event, but I guess DC did a better job promoting it as a company wide event.
Also, Marvel has pretty much gave us the ending before Siege 1 went on sale. They told us Thor, Cap and Tony would be back together and a the “Heroic Age” would be upon us. I think a lot of people are just sitting this one out. Ironically, I think Avengers #1 in May will do better than Siege 1.

Brevoort’s justification of his role at Marvel is numbers, so if the absolute number of copies sold isn’t good, he’ll resort to the issue’s chart position. Of course, if an issue he produced doesn’t sell well, absolutely or relatively, he’ll blame the market.

SIEGE’s premise isn’t exciting. How involved are the readers supposed to be with the Asgardians? It’s not as if the content will have the invaders raping and pillaging. And, since readers know full well that Osborn, et al., will lose, there’s no drama, assuming there was any to be lost.

There was an absence of buildup. The ____ AVENGERS tie-ins have very little to do with SIEGE, and SIEGE: THE CABAL featured a dispute between villains, whom the readers don’t identify with anyway.

Part of the problem with SIEGE could be likened to a novelist who’s written a story in which his gang of psychopathic killers are the stars, running around killing innocents in the dead of night, and the poor, dimwitted policemen wondering, “How do we stop these horrible, insanely brilliant murderers?” When the ending comes, how is the novelist supposed to turn his stars into repulsive murderers who deserve to die? Turn his narrative upside down a few pages from the finish? If the reader’s supposed to identify with the heroes, the novelist should have made the cops the stars from the beginning.

The reaction to the dismemberment of Ares in SIEGE #2, the flimsy pretext provided for SIEGE, etc. indicate that in SIEGE, the villains are the stars, whatever anyone at Marvel Editorial might say otherwise.

SRS

Bucky is not Captain America

February 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

“But if I couldn’t take their shots, I’d have curled up into a little ball during Civil War.”

Well I think you should have curled up into a little ball for letting Civil War happen. Mark Gruenwald is rolling in his grave for what has befallen the Marvel Universe.

Pardon me while I go take a Bendis.

I would have loved to read Siege and the rest of the books related to it but it costs too much to follow and it still seems like more of the same as we’ve had for the last 6 or 7 years.
I have been a fan of The Avengers for almost 40 years and until last year, I bought the book and all it’s related titles for almost my whole life.
I hated Avengers DisAssembled but I stuck with the book because I love the characters and knowing the cyclical nature of comics, I knew it was only a matter of time before it came back to it’s roots.
Too many years of crap characterization, too many long drawn out “events” , too much death and even though there’s a “Heroic Age” on the horizon, it’s still Bendis and the same guys in charge of everything and I don’t really see anything becoming any differant no matter what they say.
Couple this with the fact that they have finally priced comics over their value (I’m sorry, a 10 minute read wasn’t worth $2 let alone twice that) and this life-long fan is done and won’t be back.

That bein’ said, I will still enjoy the movies and the thousands of back issues that I have and every time I see another one of these articles wondering where all the fans have gone while the guys in charge continue to trumpet how a comic selling 100,000 copies is a success, I’ll just sit back and laugh at the clueless buffoons that sing “Ti Tum” as the island continues to sink beneath the waves.

David, Salt Lake City, UT

February 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Even this DC snob doesn’t think the figures on Siege represent anything but a blip on the radar. Overall sales for January are up slightly from a year ago so I’m not reading anything into this.

I seriously want to vomit on anyone who brings up the name of a dead person to justify their fan entitlement over the state of a fictional universe. I’m just saying.

I don’t like Jeph Loeb’s Hulk, I didn’t like Countdown, but I’m not going to say that Jack Kirby is rolling in his grave. Because that’s presumptuous and far more disrespectful than anything anyone ever did to your favorite characters.

“Also amazed at how fans irritated at me have decided Siege [is] a bomb. As the best-selling title last month, I’ll happily take more bombs.”

Don’t worry Tom you will have more bombs now that the big event that you claimed would destroy Blackest Night flopped worse than any event in the past 10 years it’s only going to get worse for you and Joey Q.

To quote Dan Didio event fatigue is code for that event doesn’t work, and it’s true basically I was more shocked than anyone that Siege wasn’t selling close to or more than Blackest Night. It has Bendis writting it, it has a huge push from Marvel Comics and there are more Marvel fans than DC fans so it had all the making of a 200k or more seller but instead it flopped.

And people can blame the reccession or anything else they want but when you look at how well Blackest Night is selling the fact is the only explanation for this is that even the Marvel zombies are tired of Bendis lame stories and the mess that the Marvel Universe has turned into these past couple of years.

Also, why is Marvel having all these mini events at one time? Siege, Fall of the Hulks(which then leads to WWHs), Doomwar and Second Coming? I know they want to move to these “family events”, but couldn’t they space them out some more?

Steven:

Brevoort’s justification of his role at Marvel is numbers, so if the absolute number of copies sold isn’t good, he’ll resort to the issue’s chart position. Of course, if an issue he produced doesn’t sell well, absolutely or relatively, he’ll blame the market.

That’s not true. In my recent interview him he referred to the market as “a Darwinistic beast” in that it’s a survival-of-the-fittest scenario in which what readers want is what sells and what they don’t want is what doesn’t. I basically gave him a chance to say “the DM doesn’t work” insofar as books like Incredible Hercules and Agents of Atlas and Captain Britain & MI-13 were concerned, and he shot it down. For him, the buck stopped with the books, not the market.

Is it event fatigue or Bendis Event fatigue? I like Bendis’ work, so I’m not a basher. Merely pointing out that Bendis wrote the last big event, too.

I also can’t help but think that maybe Marvel shot themselves in the foot by describing this as more of a mini-event. I don’t think there has been as much marketing for this event by Marvel as there was for Secret Invasion. That could just be my perception, but as someone who follows New Avengers, Might Avengers, and Thunderbolts, and am interested in “The Heroic Age”, I’m surprised that I really didn’t see the need to buy this event.

The again, maybe I’m still stinging from the let down that was Secret Invasion.

How many people now read comics in America? 250,000? 300,000? I mean it feels that way when a major title from Marvel or DC get those figures. Now many comic book buyers like myself read multiple titles. So how many unique individual comic book buyers of one book or more of any time – including TPB? 500,000? Dang,,,,,,,

Siege is also $4 for 32 pages, the first issue having those cop-out text only pages of script they couldn’t bother to make artwork for (and half the book was seemingly online in preview pages and the CBR interviews).

Price is a factor these days, look at Ultimate Spider-Man.

Sean:

“Is it, as Frisch and O’Neil argue, a problem unique to Siege’s specific strengths and weaknesses?”

I don’t think it’s limited to that. My guess is that it’s a combination of factors: the market becoming more discriminating and less able to “multitask” due to the economy; Marvel misreading the market with the convoluted and sprawling nature of “Dark Reign,” which means SIEGE is nowhere near as accessible as CIVIL WAR, WORLD WAR HULK or SECRET INVASION; and both Marvel and DC trying to expand at a time when most of their franchises are in need of consolidation.

If there is a problem with how Siege went down, it’s that the event came out of no where.

With Secret Invasion, you had Skrull imposters lurking around the Marvel titles for months before hand. World War Hulk was an anticipated follow-up to Planet Hulk.

But with Siege, you knew Dark Reign had to end eventually, but an all out war with Asgard was unexpected. It’s like Dark Reign was just leading up to hitting a brick wall to make way for the Heroic Age.

But I’m digging Siege just the same.

That’s not true. In my recent interview him he referred to the market as “a Darwinistic beast” in that it’s a survival-of-the-fittest scenario in which what readers want is what sells and what they don’t want is what doesn’t. I basically gave him a chance to say “the DM doesn’t work” insofar as books like Incredible Hercules and Agents of Atlas and Captain Britain & MI-13 were concerned. For him, the buck stopped with the books, not the market.

Brevoort went on:

When it comes to titles like Herc and MI-13 and the other sorts of books that used to get this sort of online attention and love (things like Priest’s Black Panther), these tend to be series that appeal in a very strong way to fans who’ve been reading comics for a good long while, that resonate with them in a particular way and scratch a very specific sort of an itch.

As I commented, he should know who the series will appeal to before they’re published. Assuming that he does, publishing comics that he knows won’t sell well, and then seeing his predictions confirmed, implicitly blames those long-term fans for not working to enable the series to succeed. That allows him to respond to complaints about “different” material not being published with “Well, we published ______. You wouldn’t buy it. That’s not our fault.”

Publishing those series wasn’t comparable to insisting that fans of action-adventure stories buy Regency romances. The Marvel editor and the creators should be able to take a series concept and refine it to the point that it will appeal to both mainstream and offbeat fans.

SRS

I think the whole “event” idea is a bomb. It’s been several years and we can only take so many game-changing, life-altering, paradigm shifting, never-before-seen, epic, blockbuster, bullshit stunts that end up right back at the status quo before we stop throwing money at it.

I agree with Monetta, it really did feel like Siege came out of nowhere. The only build-up was the Siege: The Cabal one-shot….due to the creative shift in Thor, there wasn’t even a build up in that book despite it appearing to be a Thor-based crossover due to the whole Asgard connection. (Tangentially, the fact that JMS’s VERY popular run on Thor was cut off at the knees for the crossover may have soured people on it, as well.) When Marvel announced Siege, I was imagining it would hit in summer time to have a sufficient build-up, but its arrival in January felt beyond rushed.

It’s not event fatigue… it’s Marvel event fatigue. There’s a difference.

Steven: The Marvel editor and the creators should be able to take a series concept and refine it to the point that it will appeal to both mainstream and offbeat fans.

Well, sure, that would be nice. It would also be nice if every cult hit TV series were also a massive mainstream phenomenon like Lost. It would be nice if every indie rock band could hit #1 on the Billboard charts like Vampire Weekend. It would be nice if every political blog had the readership of Andrew Sullivan. But all these things are extraordinarily rare phenomena, as much a product of luck and external circumstance as anything done by Damon Lindelof or Ezra Koenig or Andrew Sullivan respectively. Not to slight their work, but there’s a reason these kinds of things are remarkable, not par for the course.

I understand that you’re not in the “cutting Tom Brevoort slack” business — to the contrary — but it’s unfair to treat “appealing to both mainstream and offbeat fans” like it’s something Marvel’s accountants can tabulate.

It’s also unfair to say that Brevoort’s saying the failure of these books “not our fault,” when that’s exactly what he IS saying. That’s the whole point of his comments–these books should have been better at appealing to more fans is precisely what he said. He’s blaming the books, not the readers.

You’re entitled to casually dislike and distrust the guy, but you’re not really entitled to claim he’s saying the opposite of what he’s saying and shore it up with expectations he can’t possibly hope to regularly meet.

Asgard out of nowhere? Have you guys been reading the same stuff I have been? Loki set this all up since Illuminati and through DR. WTF? Lol.

Also I’m not reading that Tom said Siege bombed. All he said was if you folks are calling it a bomb he’ll gladly take more – because it did sell well – and for Jan and a mini event, it did. In addition we do know the ending and it still was the top comic, lol!

Judging by numbers from 20 years ago, then both the Siege and Blackest Night would be bombs. But these days 6 figures? DC and Marvel should be happy they can get those kinds of numbers, would be nicer to see see more of them through the top 10 let alone 300.

Sean, in a perfect world Grizzly Bear, Spoon, and other great indie bands would always be number one; Black Dynamite, House of the Devil, and Fantastic Mr Fox would make huge bank; and Love and Rockets, Crickets, and more kids comics would be on top of the charts. It’s sort of sad that zombified lanterns and an eviscerated Ares are what sells these days isn’t it?

It will be interesting to see the figures for the second issue. I felt that for $3.99, Siege was short on content. And as pointed out, a significant part of it had already seen print. I think that once the customers saw that Thor’s fight with the U-Foes and Osborn’s DA took place in a cloud of dust, they took a pass on it.

Matt: Also I’m not reading that Tom said Siege bombed.

To be clear, I didn’t say he did. I don’t think anyone else did either. His point is that it’s not a bomb at all.

I generally don’t much care what people choose to say about me in places like this–that’s the nature of the game. But BuckyIsNotCaptainAmerica, you who can’t even find it within yourself to sign your own name to your opinions, you pushed a particular button with me, the sort of thing I hear fans arrogantly say to buoy up their own positons without regard for the real-world people involved.

Mark Gruenwald was a friend of mine, the receptical that once held his ashes resides in an honored place in my office. Sir, I think I can speak without reservation that I and not you have a better understanding of what he might and might not have to say about the state of Marvel today. You dishonor his memory by trotting out his corpse as your only way of justifying your position–it’s offensive to his memory and I will not have it.

Like SIEGE, don’t like SIEGE, that’s entirely up to you. But leave my dead friend’s name out of it please, will you?

Tom B

One thought I had when looking at the raw SIEGE number was that SIEGE had a lot of “high level” order incentives up to the point where there are effectively “free” copies for hitting certain benchmarks — in order words, for some stores it was CHEAPER for them to order 1200 copies than it was to order 900, and just to “throw the other 300 copies in the trash”.

So I’m wondering if the Diamond reported number was adjusted in some fashion (like the reported numbers for 52 and COUNTDOWN, among other examples, were) to account somehow for that.

Because, if not, that number is actually way worse than it looks…

One other possible explanation is that there are multiple retailers wholesaling SIEGE #1 off for $1/copy (75% off) — because they were FREE; those retailer’s may be soaking up the dollars that otherwise would have gone to Marvel via advance reorder, and reorder.

-B

I don’t have a dog in the DC/Marvel event fight, but I’ll say that comparing today’s numbers to comics of ten years ago, much less twenty (as was done above) isn’t particularly meaningful except perhaps as a measurement of how much the total pool has shrunk (which in and of itself might be depressing), and pretty meaningless in measuring a flop by today’s vastly different standards.

“…a measurement of how much the total pool has shrunk …”

It’s always about the shrinkage, isn’t it? ;)

“Also I’m not reading that Tom said Siege bombed. All he said was if you folks are calling it a bomb he’ll gladly take more – because it did sell well – and for Jan and a mini event, it did. In addition we do know the ending and it still was the top comic, lol!”

Nice spin but the facts don’t back those statements up, by any way you measure it those numbers are a huge disapointment not compared to number 10 or even 5 years ago they are a disapointment compared to numbers from last year.

It’s a flop Tom can deny it and spin it anyway he wants but in the end “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t” and right now unless a miracle happens it’s the flop of the decade.

FYI, Tom if you want people to show you more class maybe you should try showing some yourself instead of coming off like an ass at every turn whenever DC does something right. It’s one thing to root for your team it’s another to act like a classless jerk when you run the biggest company in comics, BuckyIsNotCaptainAmerica’s commments crossed the line but if you want to throw stones make sure you don’t live in a glass house when you do it.

That’s a pity. I happen to like Siege quite a bit.

I wouldn’t say it’s a bomb, but I don’t believe for a second that anyone at marvel is actually happy with the numbers they are seeing for it at the moment. I mean, they will be lucky if issue #2 sells more than 90K, and this is a major company wide event. So, not a bomb, but most assuredly disappointing for them.

I was shooting the shit with Chris Eckert of Funnybook Babylon, and credit where credit’s due since this was his point:

Siege is the first Marvel event since… Civil War, I guess, maybe even House of M, that you can’t elevator pitch. You can’t sum it up in a sentence as easily as those, or its mainstream appeal. Civil War? “They try to register superheroes, Iron Man is all for it, Cap’s against it, battle lines drawn, go from there.” World War Hulk? “They shot the Hulk off world, he got pissed, his new planet blew up, now he’s back to fuck up the people who got rid of him.”

Siege? “Well, so for the past year the villains have been running the joint, and now Loki’s manipulating them to attack Asgard, which should be in a mystical order of realm worlds, but…” there’s no central hook for people who don’t really read comics, no simple elevator pitch for “yo, this is what Siege is about.” At least, not as easily as the earlier ones.

Blackest Night, on the other hand, is basically the FIRST DC event easily elevator pitched. “Everyone who died is coming back as a zombie.” That’s it! You’re good to go. I know they tried “the day evil won” to describe Final Crisis, but that wasn’t a really accurate description, especially since evil didn’t win until the end of the third issue. I thought FC was a brilliant piece of work, but – like Siege – hard to sum up as an elevator pitch.

So, yeah: if there’s any explanation for why Siege is doing 100k as opposed to, say, the 140-150k that people feel it “should” be doing, I’d say that’s it.

Alan –

“Like a frightened TURTLE!!!”

Just to add to Brian Hibbs’ comments: people need to remember that (in the DM) orders on a #1 don’t represent what consumers bought they represent what retailers felt confident ordering of a new title to sell to consumers. So, if Siege #1’s numbers are lower than would have been expected it’s because Marvel didn’t do a good enough job convincing RETAILERS that this was a big important title that they needed to have lots of in-stock. And, like Brian mentioned, they certainly tried hard enough with all sorts of incentives.

Reasons?

I think David (and Chris) are on to something. Siege is not easy to explain to people and even harder to get them to care about. If you’re not a hardcore Marvel Universe reader would you even be likely to know that NORMAN OSBORN – a Spider-Man villain who died in the 70’s – is alive and running a government organization that controls the superheroes (I think)? I’ve been asked what Siege is about by customers who’ve seen a bit of the promo material and the pitch really falls apart when you have to get into backstory minutiae like that. Heck, Dark Reign was hard enough to explain – let alone channel into sales since there was no “one title” to push people to – and Siege really just is the end of that storyline rather than something fundamentally new. It’s always easier to sell a beginning rather than an ending.

Second, Blackest Night’s success through the fall (it does seem to be slowing from where I sit; I see a lot more unsold #5’s and 6’s than previous issues) has to eat away at retailer confidence in whatever other stuff is out there. There’s only so much money in the comic market and it can’t support everything. Now, notwithstanding that there are some people who are Marvel readers only and would never buy a DC title no matter what (and vice versa) if one company’s event is getting most of the attention it’s got to hurt the other’s a little bit. On the other hand, in my experience well done events are one of the few things that, when they get a good buzz going, push readers into stores to find out what’s going on. These tend to mostly be lapsed readers coming back to the hobby because they’ve heard something cool is going on and don’t want to miss out on the “big story” they used to follow. But between the point above and the one below Marvel’s kinda missed drawing in that crowd with Siege.

Which brings me to the fact that this event was launched in January. Seriously? JANUARY? There’s reason phrase “big summer blockbuster” includes the word “summer”! If Marvel was trying to help out during the slow months that’s admirable I guess but it’s going to impact the orders on your new title. The pattern with big launches like Civil War had been to use January to March as leading to build anticipation (and retailer confidence) so that you could launch big in April or May as students get home from school. Maybe that’s the real plan? Maybe Marvel intuitively understood that as an “ending” Siege had to take place in the winter to clear the deck for the Herioc Age relaunches in the spring/summer? That might be giving them too much credit but it actually wouldn’t be a bad plan. Marvel’s comic sales on many of their top titles over the next year will hinge a lot more on the energy that movement generates than whatever numbers Siege ends up doing.

All that said, I agree with Brevoort that it’s more than a bit of a reach to call Siege a “bomb”. A bomb is something like Amazon’s Attack folks! Siege might be below expectations of what a big Marvel event should do but anecdotally I can say that it’s enjoyed a very high degree of sell-through where I work and seems to be well received by most of the readers I’d expect to be interested in it. The core Marvel audience who’ve stuck with long term narrative Bendis has given his corner of the Marvel Universe seem to be more than satisified with what they’re getting. That’s a smaller victory than bringing in a big casual audience but it shouldn’t be completely discounted. Over at DC things like Countdown and Final Crisis, regardless of how much I might have loved the latter, have shown how a poorly executed or poorly marketed event can wear away reader (and retailer) confidence in a publisher’s entire line.

Mike, that’s another great point – every other major event has been launched in the summer, and January is historically always a huge off month. That said, Dark Avengers #1 sold more (but not THAT much more) than this, and it was a February #1.

“That said, Dark Avengers #1 sold more (but not THAT much more) than this, and it was a February #1.”

Nope, DARK AVENGERS #1 came out in January 2009.

I’m curious about Brian Hibbs’ point, though.

Usually, Diamond has purposely underreported books in their chart by (I think) 20% when they’re planned from the outset to be returnable, like the first three months’ worth of 52 and COUNTDOWN or the FLASH re-revamp (un-vamp?) from a couple years back that DC lied about in its solicitations to keep it a secret.

Did they do the same here, because of certain ordering incentives?

Usually, those books are marked with two asterisks, though. From below ICv2.com’s chart: “** — Returnable title. Order index calculated at a reduced level to account for possible returns.”
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/16810.html

SIEGE #1 doesn’t have two asterisks next to it. (Of course, this could mean that they simply forgot.)

“I think David (and Chris) are on to something. Siege is not easy to explain to people and even harder to get them to care about.”

But I was first. Nyah, nyah.

“My own comic buying habits have slipped lately, and I only visit the store once a month now instead of once a week; and I spend as much as I would have on two weeks instead of four; paring down crappy titles.”

Thanks, we really needed to know you’re broke and can’t afford comic goodness anymore. I feel so much more enlightened.

It’s funny watching one anonymous guy smack another anonymous guy around for not contributing anything of value to the conversation. Oh, Internet.

What is equally funny is people acting like posting under their real name somehow makes their opinions or thoughts more relevant when they don’t if you say something not backed by facts under an alias or your name you’re still wrong.

Regardless, as to the notion that Siege #1 is a failure, its editor Tom Brevoort is unsurprisingly having none of it. In a pair of tweets that inspired me to take up the topic in the first place, Brevoort wrote:

Also amazed at how fans irritated at me have decided Siege [is] a bomb. As the best-selling title last month, I’ll happily take more bombs. But if I couldn’t take their shots, I’d have curled up into a little ball during Civil War.

_______________________________________

To quote John Byrne, “that’s like bragging about being the tallest midget”.

By today’s standards, SIEGE #1 sold really well, and is not a “bomb”. However, SIEGE #1 did UNDER PERFORM on the sales chart.

There are several reasons why sales of SIEGE, and all Marvel and DC superhero titles, are down (and falling).

1. Event/crossover fatigue. Once again, the Big 2 has run a gimmick/stunt into the ground.

2. The speculators (who were a major reason/factor why certain popular books by certain popular creators sold well) have finally realized that they can’t get rich off of these modern day event/gimmick/stunt books.

3. There’s a growing disenchantment with the direction of the books among many fans. Many characters are either being written out of character or have had all of the elements removed from their character that made them both likable and interesting.

4. SIEGE, like most Marvel and DC superhero books, is being aimed at and marketed to the currently existing and shrinking very narrow older teen and adult readership (as well as the near mythical NEW older teen and adult reader), instead of being aimed at wide all ages audience made up mostly of new younger readers.

“By today’s standards, SIEGE #1 sold really well, and is not a “bomb”. However, SIEGE #1 did UNDER PERFORM on the sales chart. ”

Except that is simply false, Siege by todays standards flopped it didn’t underperformed it basically fell off the map as compared to every other major book put out by Marvel and DC. People can rationalize it anyway but the numbers don’t lie this is a debacle, when you can’t even outsell Dark Avengers the word FLOP doesn’t even do it justice really.

From now on whenever a highly hyped and backed EVENT, posts incredibly weak sales it’s to be referred to as a pulling a “SIEGE” well there you go Tom you just made history with this event but not in a good way.

One more thing this myth about appealing to a wide range of audiences is a joke and part of the fact that comics are in the bad shape that they are in today is because of that exact same thing. Did people suffer amnesia during the ’90’s or how about BND how did that revitalize Spider-Man. Oh yeah it didn’t when you go against the hardcore fanbase you alienate your audience and eventually have to come back to them hoping they take you back. Marvel and DC have to embrace their real fans and not worry about appeasing people who will never read comincs in the longterm because when you don’t you get what happened to them in the ’90’s all over again.

Maybe revealing what happens after your crossover ends isn’t such a good idea?

Except that is simply false, Siege by todays standards flopped it didn’t underperformed it basically fell off the map as compared to every other major book put out by Marvel and DC. People can rationalize it anyway but the numbers don’t lie this is a debacle, when you can’t even outsell Dark Avengers the word FLOP doesn’t even do it justice really.

From now on whenever a highly hyped and backed EVENT, posts incredibly weak sales it’s to be referred to as a pulling a “SIEGE” well there you go Tom you just made history with this event but not in a good way.

One more thing this myth about appealing to a wide range of audiences is a joke and part of the fact that comics are in the bad shape that they are in today is because of that exact same thing. Did people suffer amnesia during the ’90’s or how about BND how did that revitalize Spider-Man. Oh yeah it didn’t when you go against the hardcore fanbase you alienate your audience and eventually have to come back to them hoping they take you back. Marvel and DC have to embrace their real fans and not worry about appeasing people who will never read comincs in the longterm because when you don’t you get what happened to them in the ’90’s all over again.

_________________________________________

1. SIEGE #1 could only be considered a “flop” if the sold a whole hell of a lot LESS then 108,000 copies and didn’t even break into the top 25. Based on all of the hype and high expectations (on Marvel’s part) the book under performed. And while a book that under performs isn’t a “flop”, it is also NOT a huge successful hit. On the flip side, if the remaining issues of the SIEGE mini series continue to shed lots of readers at an alarming rate, then the series as a whole could be called a “flop”.

2. “Pulling a SIEGE”, LOL. Good one, I like that. And while we’re at it, any heavily promoted and hyped upcoming run by a popular and/or critically acclaimed creator/creative team that either under performs or flops can be called “pulling a Millar/Hitch FANTASTIC FOUR”.

3. And what happens when all of those long time hardcore comic readers die off? Who will the company’s get to buy their books then? Marvel and DC are embracing their “real fans”, which why we end up with (IMO) crap like CIVIL WAR,SECRET INVASION,NEW AVENGERS,the ULTIMATE line,BLACKEST NIGHT,BATMAN AND ROBIN,and SIEGE. It’s them embracing that small niche (and shrinking) long time fan base why most of their books are both inappropriate/unsuitable for and/or unappealing to kids/all ages. The Marvel and DC SUPERHERO books should be aimed at a wide all ages audience, instead of a very narrow and shrinking audience made up of a bunch of aging older teen and adults. And, due to some of the crap that was allowed in BND, I would hardly say that BND is aimed at a wide audience.

“3. And what happens when all of those long time hardcore comic readers die off? Who will the company’s get to buy their books then? Marvel and DC are embracing their “real fans”, which why we end up with (IMO) crap like CIVIL WAR,SECRET INVASION,NEW AVENGERS,the ULTIMATE line,BLACKEST NIGHT,BATMAN AND ROBIN,and SIEGE. It’s them embracing that small niche (and shrinking) long time fan base why most of their books are both inappropriate/unsuitable for and/or unappealing to kids/all ages. The Marvel and DC SUPERHERO books should be aimed at a wide all ages audience, instead of a very narrow and shrinking audience made up of a bunch of aging older teen and adults. And, due to some of the crap that was allowed in BND, I would hardly say that BND is aimed at a wide audience.”

Actually Marvel stopped embracing their real fans when they destroyed the Avengers and made Bendis the architect of their company also according to Quesade BND was all about appealing to a wider audience. The hardcore fans are the one’s who will introduce the next generation of fans to comics because they love them so much. Just like my dad and my uncle introduced me to them and I introduced them to my friends. People who love comics will always look to bring in new readers, but when companies turn away these people they are basically cutting their nose off for short time gain. Then we end up with the mess that was the ’90’s, comics are not for everybody they never have been they only work and last because of people’s love for the characters when you lose that you lose your soul sadly that’s what’s happened with Marvel with stuff like Civil War and DC with stuff like Identity Crisis.

Gosh. Looks to me like a slow decline in overall sales at BOTH companies.

Someone should really make a graph out of these figures, then it might be possible to see a pattern. But just throwing numbers around without CONTEXT is meaningless. First quarter sales on ALL comics take a hit historically.

But when you go from a BEGINNING number of 260K for Civil War and three years later it’s down to 120K for Siege. That’s SIGNIFIGANT. “Siege” is THE core Marvel book right now. If it’s not pulling Civil War numbers, then it’s NOT a success, however Breevort wants to spin it.

So FUNNY…he’ll “take” more “bombs”. FUNNY guy.

I thought he was hinting at Spider-Man’s sales figures since BND.

BA-DA-BOOM! No 200K for ANY of those books.

It’s PRETTY BAD when in order to hit 100K they have to publish and “event” book. WHY isn’t a Spider-Man book (ANY Spider-Man book) dropping 100K EVERY MONTH? THAT’S the REAL question.

..

..

Gee Tommy…you have an awfully THIN SKIN for a PROFESSIONAL.

Can’t take CRTICISM? Don’t put out garbage and call it GOLD.

It’s just ANOTHER “you-don’t-understand-fan-boy” moment from Marvel.

The way you type, Breevoort, you might as well be Dandio.

..

..

Oh, and Mr Tom Breevort, why, OH WHY have the useless plot device called The Sentry, RIP a person in half ON PANEL? Why have VIVSECTION in a COMIC BOOK.

It’s SO edgy.

Just change yer name to The Geohns and be DONE with it.

..

And thank you, Kirth, for regurgitating a bunch of useless drivel you most likely cribbed from another “Comments” section somewhere. If violence is too much for you, may I direct your attention to The Super Hero Squad.

And how can you possibly bash someone for typing when you apparently type with your forehead and liberal use of the Cap Lock key? I MEAN SERIOUSLY it’s like YOU’RE SCREAMING so loud at your COMPUTER SCREEN and just hammering your MEATY FISTS into the board with RECKLESS ABANDON!!!

But I suppose Kirth is a champion of books like “Maus”, “Watchmen”, and “Dark Knight Returns”, right? I’m certain. Most people interested in fine literature insult people for defending their deceased friend’s honor.

I just have to say, the reason I’m not buying “Siege”, or comics at all at the moment, is because they’re too expensive. I work paycheck-to-paycheck, and $4 a book, hell, $3 a book is almost too much to spend. Things like living and food expenses hiked-up right along with comic books, so I understand they’re trying to match the economy, but in this case the fun stuff lost-out. I’d be buying each tie-in and everything if I could, but them’s the breaks, I guess. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that a $10 bill will only buy you two comics now, when just ten years ago it would have been at least four or five. They really have made it an investment.

So good luck to you, Mr. Breevort. As a comic fan for 20+ years, I really find not much wrong with Marvel, just the cover prices, which of course aren’t Marvel-exclusive by any means. Someday the pay-scale may increase to match all the other increases, but I’m not holding my breath…just waiting for trades.

Note to Tom Brevoort:

If you’re going to tweet “The industry numbers that get posted aren’t accurate in the first place.” as you did yesterday — http://twitter.com/TomBrevoort — you have an obligation to say how they’re inaccurate, rather than just use the words “aren’t accurate” and imply that they’re actually higher. Somehow, I doubt you’d say that the numbers were inaccurate if the actual sales were lower.

One reason why I don’t think Brevoort, et al, try to make “offbeat” titles sell well is that the company pursues a “least intelligent customer” strategy. Emphasizing how the offbeat material appeals to selective readers who are concerned with aesthetics would make the mainstream material look crude. It’s easier to release offbeat stuff, let it die, and have the deaths reassure the LICs that they’re Marvel’s most prized customers.

SRS

..

“…thank you, Kirth, for regurgitating a bunch of useless drivel…If violence is too much for you, may I direct your attention to The Super Hero Squad.”

Let’s see: vivisection and ultra-violence have NO PLACE in mainstream comics. NO PLACE. It’s a distastful gimmick best left to Dandio and The Geohns.

“…how can you…bash someone for typing [with your]…liberal use of the Cap Lock key?”

It’s to EMPHASIZE the POINT I’m trying to MAKE. GET it? And I NEVER refer to message boards words as “speaking”, it’s TYPING. Get IT? YET?

“…I suppose [you are] a champion of books like “Maus”, “Watchmen”, and “Dark Knight Returns”, right?”

Oh, honey bear, Maus is an offensive metaphor, Watchmen is amazing ONLY the first 50 times you read it and I hated DKR. Because I HATE GARBAGE.

“…[why] insult people for defending their deceased friend’s honor.”

I had and HAVE mothing to say about THAT. My POINT was that Tommy B LOVES to throw around numbers when they prove his case, but not so much when when they DON’T.

If Tommy B wants MORE “BOMBS”, in the sense of under-performing event comics, all he needs to do is wait for the next set of figures to come out.

What NO repudiation of my knock against BND? I thought all you kids LOVED BND. It’s EGDY!!!
(You DO know what “repudiation” MEANS, right?)

BOO!

..

..

Wow. JUST read Siege #2. FIVE BUCKS, huh?

It’s a WINNER.

If your name is Geoff Johns.

..

Wow Brevoort is spinning so fast he’s can’t keep all the bullshit he’s talking about straight, Yes Tom the industry number are different from the estimates posted by icv2 and others but that goes for everyone meaning that say Siege was 20% more successfull so was Blackest Night. Either way you lose the argument, honestly the only thing worse than someone who can’t tell the truth even when the facts expose him as a liar is a delusional shill and right now he’s both.

..

@EJ That’s al well and good, but we also have to understand that Tommy B GETS PAID to spin the numbers in the press.

If he FAILED to defend the Company, he wouldn’t be doing his JOB. And if loses his job, it’s not like there’s ANYWHERE ELSE to go. DC is moving West, Dark Horse is a reprint house. IDW and BOOM! hardly pay the people they have.

WHERE could he go?

Marvel has problems that go beyond one man’s pitiful attempts to spin his dying event book. See how I snuck that in? The FAILURE of Marvel and DC to EXPAND readership over the past 20 years is what is killing comics. And as interest from the general public wanes they “have” to push ever-increasingly violent and “topical” books just to keep a slim sense of relavency.

Turning Marvel over to Bendis (who does not understand the difference between good and evil or characterization) and turning DC over to Dandio and The Geohns (who only understand soap opera and ultr-violence) are only the most recent thrashing moves of a moribound animal caught in a tar pit. The more it shakes, the deeper it sinks.

Not even turning comics back into child-friendly content will save them now. I think the real future is in Central and South America, and perhaps eventually Africa. But not American super-heroes. I’m sure their books will be regional in nature, like American and British comics are now.

But what do I know?

..

I think you’re a bit confused, Marvel and to a lesser part DC has been trying to cater to the mainstream fan instead of their loyal hardcore audience and that’s what’s hurt their product. I can’t tell you how many people I know that loved Marvel have been turned off by the product once Bendis took over while on the other hand have become fans of DC thanks to Johns.

I keep saying it but it’s true, the ’90’s were all about appealing to non-comic fans and it almost killed the medium Marvel has basically destroyed Spider-Man in an attempt to get new fans into the product but have alienated their older fans in the process.

There are alot of people who still love comics that basically got turned off to them because of the stunts of killing off established heroes or basically making the character unlikable versions of themselves. These people are the one’s that need to be lured back, not the fly by night people who jump on the bandwagon for a year or two and then leave because they don’t love the character they love the stunts.

Not Your Daddy's Comics

February 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

People don’t buy as many comics because they cost too much. Lower the prices and they will come. Siege has been excellent, but not the type of excellent that is a must read. I agree that it’s too Avengers-entric. If Marvel wanted to whoop DC, then they needed to come up with a company-wide event. Siege is not.

Blackest Night, in the mean-time, has become too drawn out itself. I loved the premise. I started with #0 on FCBD 2009, bought all the tie-ins and just when I’m hoping for something big, we get decompression.

Stan Lee could have wrote BN, Siege, any other event in 4 comics and would have moved things along rapidly. I sure miss those days when story meant more than art. It was cheaper and more enjoyable too!

Let me know when that way-back machine is finally finished!

Your first mistake was buying all the tie-ins part of the reason I love BN is because it allows me to pick and choose how deep I get into the event. Mostly i’ve stuck with BN and GL and passed on everything else aside from BN Flash it’s saved me money and allowed me skip alot of the repetetiveness some who bought everything complained about. 4 issues for BN would have done nothing this is one of the few events like COIE that needed alot of issues to tell it’s large story. One more thing i’m sure Stan lee would love BN, since it’s not like his company has put out anything close to it in years sadly.

I like the storyline, and much more than DC’s. I truly do. I don’t know why there’s been criticism at all, actually…

How do you know each other? cp top sites
eczlh

Leave a Comment

 


Browse the Robot 6 Archives