Is the New 52 here to save DC…or to save comics? Over the last few weeks, the messaging on this has changed a bit, and this LA Times piece lays it all out for you: DC Comics hopes revamped heroes and digital will save the day. Here’s the whole unvarnished story with graphs and charts.
As part of a two-pronged strategy to try to revive its moribund business and draw newer, younger readers, the nation’s oldest and best-known comic-book publisher has also decided to start over from scratch. Beginning Aug. 31, all 52 superhero comics it publishes — including the well-known like “Wonder Woman” and “Batman” as well as more obscure titles like “Static Shock” and “Blue Beetle” — will begin again at No. 1 and feature a mix of new costumes, new origins and simplified story lines.
So yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, comics sales were in the crapper. DC co-publisher Dan DiDio had his road to Damascus moment when he witnessed only two people came into a comic shop over the course of an hour on a Saturday afternoon. “The walk-in, casual fans have gotten away from us. We are down to just the die-hard buyers,” he told the Times.
Hence the call for the defibrillators in the form of a new DCU. And has it worked?
The first actual numbers have been released since this wild ride began. JLA #1 has more than 200,000 pre orders, and six other #1s have more than 100,000 pre-orders.
Not bad, then.
The last time a #1 comic topped 200K was Amazing Spider-Man #583 in January, 2009, the Obama issue, with 352,847, according to Comichron.
The last non-Obama issue with over 200K was SECRET INVASION #1 in April, 2008, with 250,213.
And the last DC #1 was August, 2006 when 212,178 copies were ordered of…JLA #1.
At the New 52 panel at the just finished Baltimore Comic-Con, creators were more frank about the fact this was done because something had to be done.
“The industry is in trouble, and DC is doing this to help keep the comic book business going,” said Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer on I, VAMPIRE. “I don’t understand the hostility.”
“This is a very ballsy move that has to happen now,” said Greg Capullo, who’s drawing a Batman book.
This message is a lot more direct — and dire — than the one that was being presented in the first interviews. I guess since June 15th the matter has become even more pressing.
See for yourself:
Over the weekend, I was told the pre-orders for DC’s September were “Spectacular.” Even the digital sales are surprisingly strong. The talent on a book that regularly sold under 20k before told me orders on the new #1 were more than double that. So yeah, it’s going to be a huge month for DC.
The defibrillators worked. The patient is back to life.
But is he back to life…or just walking around a little while before he keels over?
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.