Marvel Month-to-Month Sales: January 2011

by Paul O’Brien

Let’s be blunt: January was a pretty terrible month for the direct market. Compared with January 2010, comic book sales were down by 23% in units and 22% in dollars. The picture for graphic novels wasn’t much better. In part, it’s because of a lack of really big titles; but to be honest, there seems to have been a lack of titles across the board. The number 300 title in January was LADY MECHANIKA #1, with estimated orders of only 1,291. That’s extraordinarily low. In December, it took more than three times that many sales to make the chart.

As usual, Marvel had the largest share of the direct market, and the margin was bigger than normal – they led DC by 39% to 26% in dollars, and 42% to 32% in units.

The big release this month, of course, is FANTASTIC FOUR #587, with the death of the Human Torch. There’s also INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500, the AGE OF X ALPHA one-shot and a handful of new minis. But it’s a quiet month.

As always, thanks to for permission to use these figures.

Crazy new MOTION POSTER for Conan movie

IGN has just debuted a “motion poster” for the upcoming CONAN THE BARBARIAN 3D movie starring Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Stephen Lang and Rose McGowan, in which he slaughters and avenges all the way across Hyboria.

A “motion poster” is like a fancier GIF, and it kind of reminds me of those photos in the Harry Potter-verse…and as such it is kinda cool. Better than a motion comic, anyway.

Creators who are MIA

Although comics are such a cool, welcoming place that sometimes it seems no one ever goes away, that isn’t true. People drop in and out all the time. Two recent blog posts rack down some of the most missed MIAs.
At Comics Comics, the indie side of things gets covered with Frank Santoro and friends recalling Guang Yap, (above) Joel Orff, Jeff Nicholson among others. The long comments thread brings u many other memories and ideas of Things That Are Best Left Forgotten:

Must read: Chris Sotomayor's Dirty Dozen with Kurt Busiek

ColoristChris Sotomayor has just begun a new series of interviews on his website, where he asks subjects a series of pointed questions regarding the state of the industry. First up, writer Kurt Busiek, whom you may remember from such hits as MARVELS, SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, ASTRO CITY, and that post here at the Beat where he made a really great point.

The whole thing comprises only a dozen questions but covers Busiek’s break into comics, followed by a swift break out of comics, and years working at Burger King to break in again, and also one of the double-edged swords that we all live with:

Tron: Uprising animated trailer

Disney’s plans for their TRON resurrection include big plans for it to be a tentpole for their boy-friendly offerings; although TRON LEGACY didn’t quite slay as much as hoped at the box office, that never stoped the Disney Army from following a plan.

TRON UPRISING the cartoon starts airing on XD in fall 2012 and it has some good folks attached: director Charlie Bean and painted Alberto Mielgo. Definitely looks like something folks can watch late at night while they come down from being party people, which is of course exactly the audience Disney planned it for.

The brave recent world of reviewing digital comics

Consider this an open thread.

When not working on The Beat, as longtime readers know, I edit the comics reviews for Publishers Weekly, among other duties there. And of late I’ve been trying to figure out what to to with digital review copies.

Up until recently, I had a pretty hard and fast rule about only sending out books to reviewers that were actual books or galleys (with a few planned exceptions.) It seemed to me that if you couldn’t afford to at least send out a handful of xeroxes or books to major review sources, you weren’t that serious about publishing. While that may seem a tad draconian to some, the other reason is just logistics: we get dozens of books a week, and have a couple dozen reviewers, and keeping track of everything is very important. It’s simply too easy to lose a pdf file or a link in an email unless you have a very careful, natural system in place.

Plus, I’ve polled my reviewers several times, and most of them prefer to review from printed copies.

The reason this is even an issue is that PW only reviews ADVANCE copies of books. Few comics publishers can afford galleys of any but the most important books, and getting the books in advance is always a race against the calendar.