Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Here’s an announcement you don’t see very often — a price drop. Action Lab Entertainment, publishers of Princeless, NFL RushZone and the upcoming Molly Danger series, announced at C2E2 this weekend that they plan to drop prices on all their ongoing series later this year.
Starting with the titles in June’s Previews catalog, Action Lab’s ongoing, 32-page comics will drop from $3.99 to $2.99. The licensed NFL RushZone, which is 20 pages, will drop to $1.99 and come out twice monthly. This month sees the number of Action Lab’s ongoing titles almost double, as they launch several new mature readers comics under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. These titles include Ehmm Theory, The Final Plague, Ghost Town and Night of the ’80s Undead.
Additionally, beginning with Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger in July, Action Lab will also offer “a number of 48 page oversized European style hardcovers at $19.99,” according to the press release.
“I’ve had series cancelled recently. I’ve had pitches rejected for financial reasons. I’ve seen my editors laid off. I’ve taken page rate cuts (a LOT of us have). My income from royalties have dropped. Most comic shops don’t carry my books. I have very good reasons to suspect my career in comics may be drastically reduced in the near future. Things just plain suck, but I’ve taken these hits, figuring that everyone else is having hard times too. I don’t mind bleeding a little, and one ray of hope has been digital, the potential it has to maybe, just maybe, keep some of us going through these lean times. But like I said, we can never explore that potential to even just see if its there, as long as current pricing stay locked in.
“So I’ll have to bleed a little more so that others can bleed a little less. The problem with that, to really keep abusing this metaphor, is that eventually I’ll just keel over and die from it.”
–DMZ, Northlanders, The Massive and Conan writer Brian Wood on Dark Horse’s same-day digital plans that we learned yesterday will come with a $2.99 pricetag when released rather than $1.99, a price point some retailers weren’t happy with. Wood said he planned to make the single issues “a luxury object specifically for the benefit of the retailer community, to make it a unique book with truly added-value content so that the two formats would not be in competition for the same product” — something you know he’s pretty good at if you read Demo. I encourage you to go read his entire post.
Publishing| Joe Keatinge and Frank Cho have signed a three-book deal with Delcourt, a comics publisher in France. The first book of theirs Delcourt will publish will be the first volume of Brutal, which will debut at the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angouleme 2013. Delcourt publishes many American comics in France, including Walking Dead, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Invincible, Rocketeer, Hellboy, The Goon, Haunt and many more, as well as many manga titles.
“On a personal level, French comics have had a huge influence on me. Working within that industry is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I wanted a career in comics at all. Being an author with a book debuting at Angouleme is a goal I thought was many a year away, so this has taken things to a whole new level much sooner than anticipated. While I do plan on going back in 2012, this still gives me a year to work on my awful command of the language before I have to do a signing. Being in the good hands of Delcourt makes me think it’s a good start,” Keatinge said. [Joe Keatinge]
Last month when DC Comics announced that the upcoming Flashpoint event would include not only a five-issue Flashpoint miniseries, but also 15 other miniseries that would “expanding on the events, along with several important one shots,” folks naturally wondered how much all that would cost.
Any way you slice it, 16 miniseries are going to add up if you decide you want to buy all of it, but today DC revealed the price for each comic. “The five issues of the core Flashpoint series are oversized, 40 page books priced at $3.99 each, while the other mini series and the one shots will be priced at $2.99,” said David Hyde on DC’s The Source blog.
Hydealso shared the solicitation text for the first issue of Flashpoint:
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by ANDY KUBERT
1:25 Variant cover A by ANDY KUBERT
Variant cover B by IVAN REIS and GEORGE PEREZ
Everything You Know Will Change in a Flash!
Not a dream, not an imaginary story, not an elseworld. This is a Flash Fact: When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it? It’s a place where America’s last hope is Cyborg, who hopes to gather the forces of the Outsider, the Secret 7, S!H!A!Z!A!M!, Citizen Cold and other new and familiar-yet-altered faces.
It’s a world that could be running out of time, if The Flash can’t find the villain who altered the time line!
Welcome to FLASHPOINT!
On sale MAY 11 = 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US = Rated T
So, last week Mark Millar complained that while his digital comics sold well, the cover price was less than that of the print comics, and once Apple and comiXology took their cuts, there wasn’t much left for the creators.
Millar seems to think that if his comics were priced higher, the creators would make more money, a blogger who did some analysis on e-book pricing has a different take.* Although it sounds like a paradox, creators may make more money by lowering prices in order to make more sales, according to one blogger’s analysis of e-book pricing. David Slusher looked at the prices and sales numbers that writer Joe Konrath posted at his blog in 2009. Some of Konrath’s thrillers are published by Hyperion and he self-publishes others, which means he could compare his sales on Kindle for both sets. What he found is that cheaper books sold better. Slusher graphed the numbers and after some additional analysis, came up with $2.99 as the sweet spot at which the price and sales balance out to maximize the author’s take.
This is, admittedly, a single data set, but the books were all comparable; there was no promotional push on any one of them to make it stand out from the others. Given the different type of market, the sweet spot might be different for comics. But Slusher’s point is just the opposite of Millar’s: The cost of producing your book (creative team, typesetting, whatever) is the same whether you sell 10 copies or 10,000. Distributors, be they Apple or Diamond, take a percentage, so that doesn’t change the picture either. And what Slusher is arguing is that you make more money by keeping the price low and selling more units than charging a lot and only selling a few. If anything, it seems to me this would go double for comics, which are to some extent a disposable medium. It’s a lot easier to justify spending one dollar than three on 20 minutes’ worth of entertainment; the question is whether lowering the price will bring in two extra readers — or four.
Edit: Millar didn’t say he wanted prices to go up; I inferred it from his comments. Robot 6 regrets the error.