Unless you were on a particularly good vacation, you probably heard the news a few weeks back that Vertigo editors were in high demand. Karen Berger, who founded and ran the Vertigo imprint, was hired by Dark Horse and will be having her own imprint. Then Shelly Bond, who took over after Berger’s departure, was hired over at IDW to start up her own imprint.
These hires are huge no-brainers.
First off, let’s take a look at what the comparative sales are for Dark Horse, IDW and Vertigo. I looked at this a couple weeks ago while looking at the sales bands, but let’s look at it from an individual title perspective. These are Comichron’s Feb. estimates, based on what charted in the top 300 for Diamond:
Tables with the actual titles/numbers will be at the end of the article, but as you can clearly see, Vertigo’s sales figures for February are more or less mid-list for what Dark Horse and IDW these days. If they’re comfortable with those kind of sales numbers, all Berger and Bond have to do is bring what most people would consider diminished Vertigo monthly sales to the table and it’s an instant win.
Here’s the thing, though. Berger and Bond might actually get a little more buzz starting up their own imprints. They also aren’t going to be hamstrung by changes in ownership participation that reportedly gave a lot of creators second thoughts about working with Vertigo, starting a few years ago. If they can dip into their considerable networks and package some comics that sell 10K/issue, that’s moving from instant mid-list to modest hits in the continuum of Direct Market indie sales. There is considerable upside here.
You’d like to think that Berger and Bond are likely to be handling comics that should have above average lifespans as collected editions, too. That’s another level of upside and pure gravy as long as those monthly sales meet cash flow expectations.
For IDW, they really haven’t had a lot of breakout non-licensed hits since Locke & Key, so it’s also a good way for them to take a step forward with the creator-owned side of the market. (Incidentally, people really should be checking out Walt Simonson’s Ragnarok – vastly underappreciated title.)
In Vertigo’s defense, they have a presence in the world of Warner and you do see some incidents of synergy like iZombie showing up at the WB.
Oh, wait… Dark Horse and IDW both have production units and shows on cable right now. Gosh, how terrible for them to handling new imprints run by people with a history of developing properties that get picked up.
Two of the easiest editorial hires in recent history.
And let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like competition to improve the product. If you at all care for the Vertigo aesthetic, you’re going to have plenty of choices soon. It’s not like Vertigo is going away and it will be interesting to see if they find a way to turn the competition to their advantage, internally.
|Everafter From The Pages of Fables||6||$3.99||DC||5,399|
|Serenity No Power in the Verse||5||$3.99||Dark Horse||19,505|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11||4||$3.99||Dark Horse||11,169|
|Visitor How and Why He Stayed||1*||$3.99||Dark Horse||8,034|
|Aliens Vs Predator Life And Death||3||$3.99||Dark Horse||7,740|
|Angel Season 11||2*||$3.99||Dark Horse||6,681|
|Baltimore The Red Kingdom||1||$3.99||Dark Horse||6,141|
|World of Tanks||5||$3.99||Dark Horse||5,185|
|Empowered Soldier of Love||1*||$3.99||Dark Horse||4,425|
|Dept H||11||$3.99||Dark Horse||4,097|
|Batman TMNT Adventures||4*||$3.99||IDW||24,927|
|Star Trek Green Lantern Vol. 2||3*||$3.99||IDW||14,526|
|My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic||50||$5.99||IDW||11,093|
|My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic||51||$3.99||IDW||10,552|
|My Little Pony Friends Forever||37||$3.99||IDW||9,200|
|Star Trek Boldly Go||5*||$3.99||IDW||7,724|
|Back To The Future||16*||$3.99||IDW||7,648|
|Transformers Lost Light||2*||$3.99||IDW||7,534|
|Back To The Future||17*||$3.99||IDW||7,156|
|Highlander American Dream||1*||$3.99||IDW||6,979|
|Transformers Lost Light||3*||$3.99||IDW||6,770|
|Transformers Till All Are One||7||$3.99||IDW||6,426|
|Rom Annual 2017||0||$7.99||IDW||5,901|
|Jem & The Holograms Annual 2017||0||$7.99||IDW||5,088|
|Ghostbusters Annual 2017||0||$7.99||IDW||4,648|
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.