New York Comic Con kicked off with a retailer breakfast sponsored by Diamond. Held in the Galleria room, it looked great — and the bacon was surprisingly crisp — but with an all-glass ceiling and walls it was hard to see or hear the speakers and their slides.
Dark Horse announced and confirmed a few projects:
§ Brian Wood’s THE MASSIVE will be an ongoing series that will appeal to his readers from his Vertigo days.
§ Wood and Becky Cloonan are adapting “Queen of the Black Coast,” the classic Conan story co-starring the love of his life, Belit.
§ Several new STAR WARS series should entice fans, including a new Dark Vader mini — Darth Vader was the best selling miniseries last year by 20%.
§ Mike Mignola will draw a series of variant covers for every issue of HELLBOY featuring famous monsters. The covers may not actually tie in to the story but Mike will have fun drawing them, so they should look cool.
§ Next year’s Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day comic will feature STAR WARS and SERENITY.
DC was up next — the big news was the extension of returnability into April! The eligibility levels will be based on issue 3 orders. In other words, this is a move squarely aimed at eliminating the Marc-Oliver Frisch comment, “Standard attrition.”
§ Retailers will get 5% off backstock orders over Oct.-Dec if they variously have their customers fill out surveys or fill out the retailer survey themselves.
§ The DC Direct order window is getting shorter.
§ In the Q&A, Bob Wayne said that the overall DC line will stay about the same size as it is now. “If something falters we’ll replace it, but there is no set number.”
Marvel’s David Gabriel said September was the best month Marvel had in a year, and “For the industry it was very strong, so kudos all around.” Gabriel announced that Marvel’s retailer services would now be free; previously, retailers had to pay to get tools to help them sell Marvel comics, so you can see this was a popualr move. Most of the presentation was given over to showing new features on the site. Previews will now be available two weeks before on sale.
Diamond was up next, and they also mentioned how great September was — it was up 38% in dollars and 49% in units — but we didn’t catch what the comparison was to. Comics sales are down about 10% overall for the year but this should help boost that.
§ There have been 42 violations in street dates so far; the secret shopper program is working.
§ Comics will be on sale on Wednesday even when there’s a holiday on Monday; comics will also ship regularly in Christmas and Thanksgiving weeks.
§ DIamond is starting a mini-comics program to support Halloween sales.
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.