A surprise… and not a surprise. Orbital Comics will be selling graphic novels and back issues, merchandise and artwork, but no new comics. Apparently, they will not be buying anything from UK comic book and merchandise supplier Diamond Distributors either, so it looks like they won’t even supply pull-list custom. Strange, but also daring.
While comic sales, quantity wise, are marginally up, year-on-year sales in our brick-and-mortar stores have dipped. Our regular pull-list / instore reservation customers are still there in the same numbers, but random purchases from the shelves have dropped quite significantly. The only exception to this being when certain titles or specific issues go ‘hot’, then we see them shift. While, I’m sure some stores remove these in-demand comics from the shelves in order to sell them online, cutting out the middle-man, I do try to sell these ‘hot’ issues at the standard price if a regular customer needs the issue and is continuing on with the title (for example, a first print of House of X #2 now sells for £15-£20 online, due to a spurious first appearance of mutant Moira Mactaggart).
As a reader myself, it saddens me to see so many people buying only the first issue of a series / miniseries, or ‘hot’ issues. It’s doubtful the books are being read, and regular customers who just want to read the story don’t get a look in. Absolute Carnage #1 had a print run of 250,000, but by the time #4 was printed, that number had dropped to 94,000. I am sure that #5 will be produced in lower quantities still which, ironically, will make that issue scarcer than #1, and logically, more expensive as a back-issue! This leaves nearly 160,000 people speculating on the value of Absolute Carnage #1, the highest printed issue in the series!
As a result of this change in buying habits, we are considering, like Orbital, dropping the range of new comics on the shelf for casual purchases in the coming months, but we will not stop selling new comics altogether.
Always buy what you enjoy reading and if – I say if – it goes up in value that is a bonus. I have been selling comics for a living for nearly 40 years and I still cannot predict which books will do well. If I could, I may be extremely rich by now. Just like stocks and shares, the value of a commodity can go up and down. In horse racing, never back the favourite!
Marvel Comic Solicitation Tip
Not because it is a #1, but because I love the character, I’m going for Thor #1. This relaunch, although unnecessary (see above for how #1 issues boost sales), brings a change of direction as Donny Cates takes the scripting reins. Thor is back, complete with previously missing eye and arm too – he is a god, after all. The down side is we are heading for another universe destroying, paradigm shifting story, “The Black Winter” (boooo!). As I am so besotted by the character, I will still be buying it and I bound to enjoy it. I just hope that amongst all the ‘doom’ we will have some moments of joy. Warriors Three, I love you!
DC Comic Solicitation Tip
A title that seems to be out of favour with Ace customers is Wonder Woman, despite it being an enjoyable read. However, this month is issue #750(!), so, as befits the DC method, we have a 96-page extravaganza which looks like being worth anyone’s hard earned shekels. It closes the “Year Of The Villain” storyline along with stories from her past, present and future from a roll call of top creators.
Boom! Comic Solicitation Tip
Once and Future #6 is solicited this month and I would recommend this as a title to try. It was originally going to be a miniseries, but interest has been so strong – #1 went to seven printings(!) I believe – that it will now continue. Based around the old Arthurian legend, Keiron Gillen has crafted a modern day tale that is intriguing and exciting.
Mission for the Month:
Start preparing for next year’s conventions. Something to look forward to now that the days are so short and darkness is all around!