The shape of the world
I’m partial to trapezoidal myself.
I’m not going to put on my alarmist hat. Mr. Reed doesn’t either, though he does mull over some questions out loud that some people probably only ask of themselves silently.
For instance. The return of Steve Rogers as Captain America moved 112K units. This isn’t an Obama on SPIDER-MAN moment. This is not a well that people can come back to over and over. This was a hyped event, got mainstream coverage, broke the Wednesday new comics day, and featured popular talent on both the writing and art end of things. Yet it only sold 112K, and didn’t even beat the #1 book, which was BATMAN AND ROBIN at nearly 140K copies.
Now, it could be that CAPTAIN AMERICA just isn’t that popular (though the fury around Steve Rogers’ “death” sure got some headlines, but everyone who knew anything about comics knew that he’d be back so response outside the comics world was far larger than inside it.) Only, the response inside the world of comics is a pretty static thing. If you believe Marvel’s marketing analysts, they think the market is inelastic. People will buy about the same amount of comics year in and year out no matter the price. Another word for that is “stagnant.” And if you’ve seen a pool go stagnant, you know that it’s pretty well on its way to becoming a meadow. No, really. Wetlands get filled in by grasslands. Read up on your ecology.
Putting it in Mr. Reed’s terms, properties like STAR TREK and TRANSFORMERS move less than 10K a month. Aren’t these familiar properties? Don’t people know about these? Aren’t there movies going on RIGHT NOW featuring at least TRANSFORMERS (TREK’s long gone on the landscape). Do people even know these books are being produced or do they not go where those books are being sold?
Random factoid and rhetorical question territory. You’ve been warned.
Okay, assume that the publisher makes about a buck a book gross on these (and it’s really closer to what, a buck thirty?). Thirteen thousand gross from a STAR TREK book in the DM. How much is that property costing (rhetorical as in will never be answered.) How much are the creators of the book being paid? How much does it cost the publisher to administer themselves so that they can publish the book?
FYI, the top 300 cutoff is at about 3K books sold in a month. Wonder how many are really below that?
Let’s assume that comics readership is in the 300K range. Say 400K. That’s triple what the top selling book sold last month. 4ooK total readership. This includes people who’d eagerly buy DARK REIGN but never look once at BLACKEST NIGHT. As a medium, not genre, that’s a pretty small number. Yeah, it’s more people than are collecting wax cylinders, but it’s fewer than are watching SyFy channel. Is that because people don’t want comics? Don’t know about them? Don’t like single issues? Don’t like to read?
Don’t answer any of those. I’m scared enough as it is.
And I’m doing this instead of working. I oughta be shot.