In a world where everything is dissected to death before it even drops, how do you keep it fresh? Beyoncé has becomes the mistress of the sudden drop with her last few albums but it seems that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is making a play to become the new Beyoncé.
Die! Die! Die! is a new Skybound comic by Kirkman, Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple (a former comics writer himself) and artist Chris Burnham, with colors by Nathan Fairbairn.
The comic showed up at retailers; orders this morning. Kirkman explained what was happening with a message written on the back of a giant poster:
Hey look! It’s another letter printed on the back of a poster! This is old hat now, right? Has DC done this yet? Should I stop pointing this out? Okay!
To get this out of the way from the jump, I love comics and I really love comic stores. It would be an understatement to say that the direct market changed my life. Your support of THE WALKING DEAD from its earliest of days, as well as my other successes in comics (thanks for getting behind OBLIVION SONG!), have made it possible for me to do cool things like what we’re doing today.
Maybe you’ve already seen it.. maybe this is the first thing you pulled out of the box. But you should have gotten a shipment of a brand new series today, a book called DIE!DIE!DIE! (it’s awesome) by myself, Scott M. Gimple and Chris Burnham! We matched your orders to the recent OBLIVION SONG launch, so that’s how we determined what to send you.
We’ll be doing a targeted media blast today, getting the word out that this book is IN STORES THIS WEEK! Hopefully the excitement of a surprise launch like this will bring people into your stores, and we can all celebrate another successful series launch together.
The reason for all this insanity? Well..
There’s something magical about going into a comic shop. For me, the heyday of this magic was in the early ’90s when I was around 13 years old. Back then… you didn’t know what was coming out months in advance. There were ads in comics, sure… but when you walked into a comic shop and looked at the new comic rack, it was full of something that I think modern comics is very much lacking… SURPRISE.
I remember walking across the store, seeing the new rack from afar., scanning the covers, trying to figure out what they could be as I got closer and closer. Back then you could arrive at a store and say, “What the heck is Sleepwalker?” and it was just there, on the shelf waiting for you to find out. I remember when I first saw the cover for Infinity Gauntlet. what the heck could that be? All the Marvel heroes in one comic? That’s special–it’s not like they did that twice a year back then! As time went on and the Internet started feeding us more and more information than we could ever want about every little thing in existence… those surprises pretty much faded away.
I want to bring that excitement back. I want the comic shop, the place you’re probably standing in to be a place of discovery again! I want it to be a place where a customer can come in and find out about something new and exciting!
Huge thanks to the teams at Image and Skybound for working tirelessly to figure out a way to make this happen. But most of all to you, dear comic book retailer, for working in the trenches to keep bringing us this art form we love to enjoy week in and week out!
Thank you for your time, and once again—always, in fact—thank you for your support.
The reveal was greeted with enthusiasm by a few retailers:
Die!Die!Die! Issue 1 is available from tomorrow.
Robert just won Comics marketing forever.
Get your orders in! pic.twitter.com/klUc5OVBut
— Big Bang Comics (@TheBigBang_) July 10, 2018
I’m told that retailers saw a “RETAILER THANK YOU SPECIAL VAR” plus poster on their orders for the week with a 25 copy order, although as sttaed befroe this will be based on Oblivion Song #1 orders.
Also, as I understand it, it’s not returnable because it’s…free.
Obviously only a few people could afford to do a free #1 comic for folks…and Robert Kirkman is one of them.
It’s interesting to note that OBLIVION SONG, Kirkman’s previous comic, was launched with the exact opposite of secret: previews to all retailers and press, a big press conference, as much information as possible before launch. Did hat make people weary of the book before it even came out? We won’t actually see traditional sales figures on DIE! DIE! DIE! #1 since it wasn’t ordered, so the idea of comparing issue #2 on both titles will be far more accurate.
ALso, we’ll see if press has anything to do with second issue sales, as only a handful of websites have covered the launch, and the one that went in deep has done so with a series of click-bait one sentence reveals.
Finally, as I’ve noted here before, Scott Gimple is a very good comics writer in addition to having written a few of my favorite TWD episodes! I look forward to seeing what he does back in the form.
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.