ICv2 continues its sit down with Marvel publisher Dan Buckley, who says many things, but also points out one of the great dichotomies of comics — everyone says they want done-in-one jumping on point comics — but when publishers put them out, the sales don’t pick up at all:
And the other thing is that you run the constant battle of people saying ‘we need one-shots for people to jump on to,’ but the ordering trends don’t play to that a lot. The ordering trends play to ‘is this tied to an event.’ It was very evident with DC’s Brightest Day and Darkest Night orders. It was very evident during Civil War. So you hear that said a lot but most of the sales are very contradictory to those desires. Making books as easily entered into as possible is something we try to pay close attention to. I’m not going to deny that we don’t get lost in our own soup sometimes which is the nature of serialized story-telling. It’s hard to keep the revenue numbers without tying in books to leverage off the big books.
Event fatigue, burn-out, whatever you want to call it, it’s really the engine that is driving the comics periodical business these days.
Buckley also talks about the D-Word — what Disney has done to help Marvel — so far, it’s the areas where Marvel is weaker and Disney is stronger, unsurprisingly:
It’s been the knowledge-sharing and support that we’ll get with our licensed publishing initiatives. We’ll get more people involved and reach out to more kids. They do an unbelievable job with getting product out to kids under twelve years old who are outside of comics, while we’re doing all the comic stuff. There are going to be stronger activity programs, sticker programs, chapter books, things along that line, both U.S. and international, which can only help us get more kids into the hard-core property set.
In the international space there’s been a lot to learn with them just through their relationships. We’re exploring what properties they have coming up in the future that we would be a good fit for publishing. We’re trying to do that stuff in a really smart way. One of the fun things that I think everyone is appreciating what we did with Tron and the variant covers of that.
Buckley calls the direct sales market the “hobby” market — a term that some publishers use and others shun. It’s a useful reality check to give a little perspective, whether you agree or disagree.
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.