CBR’s Alex Dueben talks to Humanoids E-i-C Bob Silva about the French publisher’s return to the US market after deals with DC and Devil’s Due, but Silva says the retail market has not been kind to their offerings:
When we first spoke, your plan was to release most books as miniseries before collecting them. Now, of the first three miniseries you announced, you’re canceling two of them due to low pre-orders. How does this change your publishing plan?
What we’re seeing from the numbers that we got is that it looks like the market is not ready to support multiple comic book miniseries from Humanoids at this point. Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe it has more to do with the titles that have been chosen, but clearly, with the numbers that we received, there’s no financial benefit at all to publish either “Unfabulous 5” or “Bouncer” in the miniseries format. “Whispers in the Walls” we will. “Whispers” is a new series, and maybe there’s a bit of confusion as far as what’s being released with “Bouncer” and “Unfabulous 5,” but of the three series it was the only one that really made sense to publish. What we’re going to do now is experiment and see if there are other series or titles out there that potentially have that appeal for the mass market comics format.
This is only a simpling of Silva’s stream of “that didn’t work” and “maybe someday” talk — sounds like on this particular day, the obstacles were a bit much for him.
It’s sad that the market is so unfriendly to high quality material of this kind, but Silva says digital may be the way to break through, which prompts some plangent thought from Augie de Blieck Jr.
Thankfully, Humanoids is working on something else: they’re going to release those series that the Direct Market won’t support in a digital format first, then go back and release them in printed editions afterwards. And if this works, you know what we’ve learned? That the Direct Market doesn’t matter worth a damn. That Direct Market retailers are not the final arbiters of what sells in the world of comics, and that there’s hope for a great many books that the current system fails every month. No pressure, Humanoids.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.