ORDERING COMICS :: Sure Can Be A Funny Thing

July 25, 2008 at 9:42 am By:

Luckily for “nights and weekends” workers such as myself, the scut-work of deciding what and how many to order of any title is left in the capable hands of Dustin and Shawn. The minefield that is intuiting the demand for any title is–at best–akin to reading tea leaves; or if you prefer, the innards of your average ungulate.

This was put on dramatic display just yesterday, when, hot on the heels of its cool looking trailer, Heroes sold six copies of the Watchmen trade paperback and two full runs of the series. Now, you might not think of eight as a huge number, but ponder this: We have sold, on average, a copy or two of Watchmen per week for the past several years. In the six years I’ve worked at Heroes, that’s around 70 copies a year, in the neighborhood of 400 since I’ve worked there. On a book that has been continuously available since 1987!

Shawn and I had a brief discussion after seeing The Dark Knight last week that we should beef up our supply of Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke, but Sweet Nellie Furtado! Our sales have jumped 300% in one day. One day! We didn’t see a commensurate increase in demand for Sin City, nor The Spirit, nor for 300, nor any of the other (relatively) self-contained works with filmic tie-ins. We saw a considerable bump, mind you, but not a sell-out.

This leads to thoughts about the perils of ordering. Comics that we love, or are original and exciting, or are just plain wonderful, don’t often move off the shelves. In the month and a half since it was released, we’ve sold one or two of the recent Starman Omnibus, one of which I bought (or, at least, I think I paid for). This was a well reviewed comic by respected creators, and whose penciller appeared at HeroesCon. And it hasn’t sold worth a poop. Luckily, I wasn’t in charge of ordering, or we’d be saddled with ten unsold copies of a $50 book. Likewise were the sales on Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier. It sold OK, but even with all of us constantly pushing it, we maybe sell one every week. Cable & Deadpool trades sell at a more rapid clip!

In the coming months, we hope to get leaner and meaner with our ordering, cutting the chaff, while still providing the selection that you’ve become accustomed. Give us a hand, as we depend on your expertise, from unknown great creators, to online “chatter”, to trends in manga. Remember. This is your Heroes, too.


Filed Under: Comics Industry, DISCUSS

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