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Thursday, August 14, 2014 

Monthly sales are still sugarcoated

The Christian Science Monitor is doing sugary takes on comics sales while talking about the ostensible success of a new book starring Rocket Racoon:
...in the weeks before the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy," the hype surrounding the movie propelled the anthropomorphic raccoon superhero into history, with "Rocket Raccoon #1" topping sales charts in what has been estimated to be the most profitable month in comic book history.
Two decades ago, they would've said the same thing about the release of the sans-adjective X-Men series, which saw many premiere issues gathering dust in cardboard boxes after not selling to many people at all. How is this any different?
According to The Beat, July's profits beat previously held records to become what may have been the most profitable month in comic book history, at least according to monthly records recorded since 1997. Customers bought comics in some form or another worth a total of $53.63 million this July, beating October 2013's record by more than $3 million.
Are they aware that cover prices are getting pretty high at 4-plus dollars, and if it keeps on that way, there won't be much point calling the next decades "profitable"? Nah, guess that doesn't mean anything to them. What makes this year's profits any more signifcant than sales in the 1960s, when far more copies were sold?
Last year, sales of comics and graphic novels generated $870 million, according to Publisher's Weekly, the largest amount for the industry since 1993. And the profits show no signs of dropping anytime soon.
Maybe not for smaller companies. But the larger ones are selling poor numbers and come to think of it, the smaller ones aren't faring much better, which doesn't guarantee long term profit. Indeed, after premiering with maybe 30,000 copies sold for their revived series, the new Valiant's output has dropped to very unimpressive numbers on the sales charts. No matter how good the books from smaller companies are now in terms of storytelling, the sad reality is that they're not selling in the millions that would make them more noteworthy.
With millions going to see movies like "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight," and "Iron Man," interest in comics has steadily increased over the past several years. The success of "Rocket Raccoon #1," for instance, owes a great deal to the hype for Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy."

With blockbuster after blockbuster making superheroes an increasingly mainstream part of pop culture, comic book stores are seeing more and more interest from newcomers in increasingly obscure characters.
Yep, they're making superheroes part of pop culture...except for the comics they began in. Nobody cares about books with bad writing and publicity stunt/collector's mentality written all over them, and those books won't be worth diddly in the next several decades.
“The 300th book [on bestseller lists] used to sell 1,000 comics, now it sells 5,000 copies,” says Milton Griepp, an expert on sales in the comic books industry, according to Publishers Weekly.
But 5000 is still very pathetic compared to movie sales, and what if it turns out Griepp's not being entirely honest here? What if sales were a bit better in the late 90s than today? Some of the sales they're citing here come from smaller publishers, and the mainstream certainly aren't doing much to prove they want an audience anymore. A few decades ago, the 300th book on the listings could surely sell 20,000 and they act like this paltry sum is noteworthy? Please.
Comic book publishers have realized the potential profits a growing base of readers has to offer.

"It's very important that we honor our tradition and, in doing so, our long-term fans, but also have an eye on the future to make sure we are always up with the times," said Axel Alonso, editor in chief of Marvel Comics, according to CBS.
Yeah, let's take Alonso seriously, why don't we. The man who was number two after Joe Quesada in wiping out the Spider-marriage is not someone to trust. And Quesada's still lurking in the background as their "chief creative officer", so it's clear why this sad affair is still continuing. Nor are they keeping up with the times if they still view conservatives as evil, think Islamic terrorism doesn't exist and regard heterosexual marriage as a plague. And their disrespectful view of Spider-Man et al is just why they're not honoring long time fans nor appealing to new ones. And how can they be honoring tradition if they blur the differences between good and evil?
"The thing about digital comics is that they are super portable, so you kind of always have access to your library," said Jim Lee, DC Comics co-publisher, according to CBS. "But there's something very charming about the print books themselves and ... people collect them."
Hmm, look who's being elusive! He's not being clear whether they collect for reading or monetary value. But since he began his career at a time when the speculator market brought down the medium, that's why I wouldn't be surprised if he still cherishes the latter.
With movie blockbusters, rising sales, and the embrace of the latest technology, the future has never looked brighter for the comic book industry.
Yes, keep being naive about it please. Not all these movies have been blockbusters. In DC's case, the Jonah Hex and Green Lantern movies were failures, and not many people are optimistic about Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even the Spider-Man films are running out of steam, and may eventually lose popularity altogether. Sure, some of these films do look to be successful. But to think they all will end up that way is being overconfident, and the company wide crossovers, another detail overlooked by the paper, only ensure those allegedly jumping sales will sink down again.

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"...the most profitable month in comic book history, at least according to monthly records recorded since 1997." Why 1997? Why not 1966? Or 1945? In the 1960's, a comic book that sold fewer than 100,000 copies would likely be cancelled for low sales. Western's "Uncle Scrooge" routinely sold 800,000 copies. And, in the WWII era, Superman may have sold over 1,500,000, and Captain Marvel is estimated to have sold over two million. Today, publishers practically dance in the streets over sales figures of 90,000.

And revenues don't necessarily indicate more copies being sold. Today's prices are higher. And even increased sales don't mean that more customers are buying. Collectors and speculators buy multiple copies of the same issue.

You can "prove" almost anything by choosing the baseline. Suppose a sports team wins four games, then loses four, then wins two. If you want to make them look bad, you say that they lost four games out of their last six. If you want to make them look good, you can say that they won six out of their last ten.

Figures don't lie, but liars figure.

You are right about the overall sales in decline....but people like Dan Slott won't admit it. Before Slott sales 100000+ in sales per issue average, During Dan's run the average is much lower and the only reason it looks decent is due to spikes created from gimmicks. Before Superior ended it was in the 70K range and still falling. When Dan took on Amazing it went down to 50K+ in sales so he said sales increased bu 20K because Superior sold more. If you look realistically his run sells 30K+ less on average than before he was on the book.

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