Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Single-issue sales jump 22% in February

Justice Legaue #6

Publishing | Single-issue comics sales last month were up 22.26 percent over February 2011, and graphic novels were up 15.6 percent, making for a good month for publishers and retailers. (Of course, there were five Wednesdays in February, which may have something to do with it.) As in previous months, DC sold the most comics but Marvel, with higher cover prices, topped its competitor in terms of dollar share. [ICv2]

Publishing | The top-selling graphic novel in bookstores last month was part one of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, written by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese). The Walking Dead books took four of the top 20 spots, or a healthy 20 percent of the list, and 13 of the bestsellers were manga. [ICv2]

Publishing | Marvel is cutting costs on its $2.99 comics by going with “self covers,” which just means that the covers are the same paper as the inside of the comic, rather than heavier stock. As the insides are glossy paper anyway, Todd Allen feels the difference is barely noticeable—and that the real news is that Marvel is finding it necessary to cut costs once more. [The Beat]

Publishing | Johanna Draper Carlson looks at how the different Archie Comics lines are doing, based on the publisher’s statements that are included in the comics; since she has been doing this for a couple of years now, she is also looking at trends. [Comics Worth Reading]

Batwoman #6

Creators | Artist Amy Reeder discusses her recently announced departure from Batwoman, which she will leave in the middle of a story arc, although she doesn’t go into detail: “The jist of it, though, was that it was a bad situation, and kept getting worse and more intense until it became impossible. I am a long-term project kinda girl and I was so excited about being on Batwoman … I didn’t want to let go of it and fought until it was over.” [The Reeder Ship]

Creators | Bill Willingham talks about Fairest, which is supposedly about the ladies of Fabletown but kicks off with a story arc about Ali Baba: “We wanted the perfect, princely, pretty-boy kind of guy for Ali Baba, somebody who would look at the mirror every morning and just be astonished: ‘I was asleep all night and just forgot how pretty I am.'” [USA Today]

Creators | For his latest podcast, Matt Staggs interviews Derf Backderf, the cartoonist who went to school with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and has just written a graphic novel about it. [The Disinfocast]

Comics | Just in time for the opening of the Disney film, John Kane takes a look at the John Carter of Mars comics, and how Jesse Marsh’s artwork is so much better than any computer can do. [The Savage Critics]

Review | Fairbanks, Alaska, writer David A. James critiques Zach Worton’s The Klondike, and finds that Worton gets the look of the place right: “From the first pages, it’s clear that Worton is a gifted artist with a deceptively simple style. Working in black and white, he deftly alternates between scenes dependent on heavy line work and others that are nearly blank. This approach nicely conveys the way in which northern landscapes can be filled with mountains and trees and yet simultaneously appear desolate. It’s an atmosphere that differs from more lushly forested lands to the south that would require a broader brush, but that needs a greater emphasis on details than would be required for stories set in the desert or prairie.” [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]



In regards to Batwoman, I wonder if JH Williams III had anything to do with Reeder’s decision to leave Batwoman. JH is an artist himself, so maybe he didn’t mash well with Reeder. I think that would be more likely than DC taking her off the book; I can’t think of any reason they would do that. Anyway, Batwoman’s loss is another New 52 books gain, hopefully.

“Self covers”? Why don’t they just leave the covers alone and switch to a different paper stock? I would be okay with the matte-style newsprint stock used in the late 90’s-early 00’s wildstorm books. In fact, I’d like to see ALL of the publishers do this in order to keep prices in the $2.50-$3.50 window.

I agree with Seth. I don’t really care about the glossy inside pages…I take that back because I actually dislike it. Why not make the covers like the current inside stock (like they are going to do) and then change the interior paper? I guess even if they did cut costs like that, they wouldn’t decrease the price anyway.

Unprecedented, but its not going to fly. I just can’t imagine customers first response when they pick it up. Well I can. It’ll probably be “I’m paying $3 and Marvel won’t even give me a nice cover – this is so cheap, probably not any good…” I hope I’m wrong, I’m usually not. Collectors may find them interesting.

CBR, let us know how the NOVA infinity comic sells

I noticed the different cover texture the day I bought those FF books back in February. It didn’t bother me, perse, but it was a noticeable difference.

Don’t be fooled people, Marvel says they are “cutting costs” on their 2.99 titles – you will not get them for cheaper than that, so basically they will give you something worse for the same money.

Now, they could do this change on their 3.50+ titles and then charge 2.99 for them, but that would require for them to care about us readers…

Simon DelMonte

March 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

Five Wednesdays, but at least as far as DC went, the same number of titles for the whole month. Which begs the question of whether readers always feel the need to buy something every week. And if so, what?

The big savings in going to self-covers is not the difference in the cost of paper stock which is negligible, but the combination of saving over 10% on paper cost and streamlining the process because the book only has to go through one machine with a single type of paper.

It is just funny that every time cover prices are increased, Marvel management tells us in interviews that they cannot save anything by going to cheaper paper, and it is larger business costs that are forcing the price increase, and there is nothing they can do to hold the line. But now that they have apparently hit the maximum price that the market will bear, they can suddenly find significant savings by cutting their paper quality!

@Bruce – the big saving here isn’t so much going to cheaper interior paper as from only buying a single stock and buying LESS paper overall per book.

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