Robot 6

Comics A.M. | DC Comics sticking with hardcover-first policy

DC Comics

Publishing | Bob Wayne, DC Comics’ senior vice president of sales, and John Cunningham, vice president of marketing, discuss May sales figures, which show the publisher edging closer to Marvel in market share and Batman topping Justice League. Wayne also explained why DC won’t change its practice of publishing collected editions first in hardcover, then as inexpensive paperbacks: “While certain titles do get a deluxe or an Absolute Edition at some point, we think our retailer would be leaving a lot of money on the table if we didn’t give consumers the chance to buy hardcovers first on select titles. The sales we are having in both channels on Batman and Justice League in the month of May indicate that we don’t have that many people waiting the trade, looking for that cheaper edition. A lot of people seem to want a nice durable hardcover and we plan to follow this model for the foreseeable future.” [ICv2]

Piracy | Manga scanlators (and proprietors of other bootleg comics sites, such as HTMLComics.com) have argued that reading manga on their sites is no different from checking it out of the library. Librarian and graphic novel expert Robin Brenner explains why that just isn’t so. [About.com]

Sword of Sorcery #0

Comics | If DC Comics is keeping the New 52 at 52, as Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has said, and there are four new #0 comics coming out in September, which four of the current 52 will be coming off to make room for them? Todd Allen runs the numbers and adds some educated guesswork to come up with one possible list, and the readers take over in comments. [The Beat]

Retailing | The recent uptick in comics sales has several California retailers feeling optimistic. [Ventura County Star]

Creators | Chris Schweizer talks about making comics (most recently, Crogan’s Loyalty) and also about teaching comics at SCAD in a lengthy interview with Tom Spurgeon. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | J.L. Bell points out Ray Bradbury’s classy response when EC Comics lifted two of his stories and combined them into a comic; he sent them a bill and invited them to do it again. [Oz and Ends]

Secret Invasion #1

Comics | Gavin Jasper discusses the way Geoff Johns sets up a threat that makes the reader really fear for the characters — and how Brian Michael Bendis misses the mark. [4thletter!]

Comics | Ryan Holmberg juxtaposes cartoons from the 1920s-1930s Japanese magazine Shin Seinen, which was sort of a Japanese version of The New Yorker, with later works by alternative manga creator Shigeru Sugiura, showing his influences but in the process showing some interesting cartoons by American creators including Milt Gross and Dr. Seuss. (Warning: Some racist imagery.) [The Comics Journal]

Comics | Jonathan H. Liu pens offers an introduction to Will Eisner’s Contract with God trilogy. [GeekDad]

Humor | What sort of freelance job will the main character of BOOM! Studios recently teased Freelancer actually have? The image holds some clues … [Stumptown Trade Review]

Conventions | Attendance at the second Niagara Falls Comic Con reached about 5,000, making it likely that there will be a third. “’We crushed it,’ said a satisfied co-organizer Paul Tappay, who spent a year planning the show with business partner Chris Dabrowski. ‘We’re an organizing mullet … he’s the business end and I’m the party end.’” [Welland Tribune]

Conventions | Meanwhile, Stan Lee was his usual affable self at the Albuquerque Comic Expo. [KOB.com]

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Comments

20 Comments

I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense. DC can’t be putting that much faith in the Hardcover when only a handful of the New52 series are coming out in hardcover format. DC also need to take a look at how LONG it takes them to collect material. These first trades and hardcovers for the New52 aren’t coming out until they’re about four months behind the current issue in publication. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put out a collection in time with the next issue after the last one in the collection?

Sure. Use the top two franchises in your stable as an indicator that hardcovers are what consumers want. It also doesn’t help that the hardcover is the only collected offering currently on stands. That ignores a lot of other things such as the length of time it takes for stories to be collected and then the additional length of time it takes to be collected in other formats.

The number of Marvel hardcovers bought on remainder for pennies that end up clogging half price bins at comic conventions would seem to contradict the idea that superhero fans want everything in hardcover.

Marvel readers are not DC readers. DC has been doing hardcover for so long that their readers do want them.

Oh, Wayne…you silly little man.

“deluxe or an Absolute Edition at some point.” By that you mean a Grant Morrison or Geoff Johns deluxe book.

I remember when it was (if) the softcover sold well, it got a hardcover. And of the hardcover sold well, a deluxe and absolute edition.

“The sales we are having in both channels on Batman and Justice League in the month of May indicate that we don’t have that many people waiting the trade, looking for that cheaper edition. A lot of people seem to want a nice durable hardcover and we plan to follow this model for the foreseeable future.”

That’s some horseshit. Just as C Biro stated: Use the top two franchises in your stable as an indicator that hardcovers are what consumers want.

This is way I stopped getting any trades from certain storylnes.

Slight correction: Gavin Jasper, my tag team partner, wrote the piece on Bendis/Johns, not me!

Ask DC why they sometimes cancel the more affordable trade paperbacks, which I prefer because they match the trades I already have on my shelf.

or why they can’t manage to produce a decent superthick hardcover (compared to Marvel’s), despite having the might of a giant publishing corporation (Time-Warner) behind them.

my real complaint is 4-, 5-, 6-issue trades for 12-14 issue storylines.

Fixed; thanks, David!

Who Cares N. E. Way

June 11, 2012 at 8:43 am

Maybe they are watching secondary sales on ebay for the theory that hardcovers are “hotter”. Marvel Omnibus editions are sky high on the secondary market (despite being $100 to begin with—which is sky high).

My only complaint in the Absolute Editions these days is the failure of annotating the series involved. For example, both Batman’s “The Long Halloween” and “Dark Victory” have no extensive explanations whatsoever, which included here was Green Lantern: Rebirth (compare with Absolute: Kingdom Come, it has a very extensive and comprehensive annotation, more so with The New Frontier). All-Star Superman has, in fairness, a brief two or three page explanation by Grant Morrison. Why is it called Absolute in the first place if the readers expect more than the series itself? Hope DC reflect on that matter?

They should have left the DC logo alone, it was fine the way it was before. In general, the new 52 messed up a lot of stuff.

About collections – Bob & John, if you’re going to stick to your HC policy, fine (the whole ‘retailers can make more money’ line is transparent – you make more too; at least they did until your discounts to Amazon undercut what most stores are capable of doing). At least manage it better than you up until now.

Free Comic Book Day, arguably one of the highest volume days in the year for an average comic store, and out of 52 potential collections of new material, from your big, well-publicized launch, where you could make a big splash with new readers…and you had a whopping TWO collections available that day, Justice League and Animal Man. TWO. I’d almost think you were in the business of trying *not* to make money.

Don’t get me started on your handling of the Flashpoint collections…

“Piracy | Manga scanlators (and proprietors of other bootleg comics sites, such as HTMLComics.com) have argued that reading manga on their sites is no different from checking it out of the library. Librarian and graphic novel expert Robin Brenner explains why that just isn’t so. ”

All of her comments essentially miss the point. The “it’s free FOR YOU” aspect of her article is glossed over as if it’s unimportant when it’s actually the only thing of importance to the people reading the stuff in the first place. If both scanlations and library copies are FREE for me, then there IS NO DIFFERENCE between reading a downloaded copy or checking one out of the library. Most if not all scanlators have to buy their copy before scanning it, so just like the library they buy the product and a publisher gets a sale. It’s naive articles like that one which really encourage downloads because they are so inadequate at convincing anyone to stop downloading that they decide to download more because the article which was designed to convince them otherwise failed miserably.

Free is free. Stop trying to label downloaders as horrible people and address the real problem–nobody thinks your product is worth PAYING FOR.

I feel like I have to wait years before the softcover comes out, I find it a little fustrating. I was looking forward to the Aquaman and Wonder Woman trades (for example), I just dislike the bulkiness of the hardcovers when they are so thin in the first place, not to mention the price.

If they want to put out the hardcovers first I understand they make more money, but it would be nice if the softcover at least came out within the same century.

I was just thinking how I was looking forward to the collection for The Shade, before realising it will most likely be split into 2 volumes, probably harcover and then 10 years later finally collected into one softcover.. sigh

I’m glad they’re sticking to Hardcover releases. I find myself now splitting time between buying HC collections and digital comics and not paying attention to soft-covers at all. In fact, with the new 52 I’m buying titles digitally that aren’t going to get a hardcover. If a nice HC is on it’s way I’ll wait, but DC are certainly in no rush to get them out.

The fact that all but the final issue or two of “The Shade” have been been solicited, and no collection has, makes it pretty clear that they’ll be collecting the entire series in one volume. It probably will be collected in hardcover first, but that’s okay with me. I generally prefer trade paperbacks to hardcovers, but I make an exception for larger collections like that.

The whole piracy article missed big points in a huge way.

1.) As someone else pointed out, at some point, SOMEONE had to pay for the comics that are scanned in the first place…so just like the library, money exchanged hands. And just like the Library, the artist got paid ONCE for something that a hundred plus readers enjoyed. If I was a writer and all I cared about was the profit then quite frankly I would be just as hostile towards libraries as I would towards downloaders. I read all 10 volumes of Y: The Last Man for free from the Library. That’s $140 Brian K. Vaughan lost. The same mindset that attacks sites like HTML will one day, mark my words, attack the Public Library System.

2.) HTML was truly like a library. I seriously tried to copy their comics several times to my computer and could not. They truly made a real effort into making sure that everyday people couldn’t just copy the comics into their harddrive and now possess the whole thing forever for free. I know there are people out there who are computer wizards and will say that they could figure out how to copy the comics from the site in 2.3 minutes…but that’s not the point. HTML made a FAIR effort to bar copying…unlike…THE LIBRARY which has no checks and balances to keep someone from checking out the book and then scanning every single page into their computer.

3.) Not every Library will purchase graphic novels. The Public Library System in my hometown was amazing: they had everything from DC to Marvel to Vertigo and Archaia. The Library System where I live now has nothing. When you bring up graphic novels they turn up their nose and say: “Graphic novels?? What are those? You mean comic books? Sorry…we don’t have comic books. We only purchase REAL literature..like the 100 copies of Hunger Games you see behind you. ”

She acts as if every library system is this little bubble of New England hospitality and budget.

4.) The whole reason I went into HTML in the first place was a very simple one: they had things that could not be found ANYWHERE ELSE. I don’t mind paying for comics. I own over 120 trade paperbacks and countless floppies. My “To Buy” List has almost 140 trades in it. But if I want to read all of Vertigo’s The Dreaming I can’t because they make a strictly business decision NOT to collect the whole series and release it to the public. Same with a myriad of other titles like Miracleman, Hunter: The Age of Magic, Inferno, Gutsville, Paul Jenkins’ Hellblazer, etc. etc.

The ONLY way to read those uncollected comics is either to quit medical school and travel the country trying to piece together single issues that are many times more than 15 years old or just download it, read it and then delete it afterwards.

I don’t like downloading or keeping money away from my idols Morrison, Millar and Ellis…but I really wish they thought of me as a fan first instead of a customer and actually allowed me to read their stuff instead of only making available profitable trades.

@Sandinista said:

“The ONLY way to read those uncollected comics is either to quit medical school and travel the country trying to piece together single issues that are many times more than 15 years old”

Or, just not buy a product that you cannot afford. Or feel that you are entitled to own something that you cannot afford

“Or, just not buy a product that you cannot afford. Or feel that you are entitled to own something that you cannot afford”

How do you know I can’t afford it? If every single issue of The Dreaming was collected and available right now I’d buy them all tomorrow.

Perhaps you should learn to read before opining. I used HTML for those comics because they were UNAVAILABLE. I read them at HTML and moved on. I didn’t own them. I couldn’t carry them around with me. They were in my “possession” for all of 20 minutes and that’s it. How is that different from me checking out the same trade at a local library? No money is exchanged either way.

I don’t feel entitled to anything. I would just like to read it. If I am committing a crime then every time I listen to a song I don’t buy on the radio then I guess I’m stealing from the artist.

Eightleggedfreak

June 12, 2012 at 7:34 am

I’ve worked in comics retail off and on for years, and for the most part people don’t want DC’s hardcovers. So the only people making money off of them is DC themselves, because it costs about the same to print a hardcover as it does a softcover and DC charges more for them. The stores I’ve worked at would sell a lot more DC trades if the paperback came out sooner than the hardcover, instead of the 6 months to a year that DC waits.

As far as the Marvel hardcover mess, that’s what happens when Marvel overprints their product. They overprint their books, sell them off at massive discounts to retailers and then stop printing the title. At least DC keeps their books in print. That being said, I have scored some great books for myself over the years at like 10% of cover!

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