A new line of exclusive comics is on sale at another mass market retailer, as Target has just rolled out five exclusive graphic novels. Will the direct market rise up in anger?

Probably not this time, because these are DISNEY PRINCESS comics.

Target has just launched an extensive new line of Disney Princess merchandise…including five 96-page collections featuring Ariel, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Pocahontas and Belle. These are hardcover collections, all produced by Joe Books. And not entirely exclusive, as you can buy them at the Joe Books website.

Joe Books has been producing Disney comics for quite a while, including a Disney Princess periodical comic, so my guess is that these are reprints of material already offered to the direct market, so I don’t expect we’ll see a retailer brute squad descending on Joe headquarters just yet.

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It’s part of a marketing push at Target for all kinds of merch, but according to PR it’s focused on the Joe Books version of the Princesses.

The books retail for $9.99 so a pretty reasonable purchase to keep your tots quiet for a bit in the back seat.

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Disney Princesses is one of the most – if not the most –  successful licensing lines of all times, and for several years it was the #1 licensed line.  In 2012 it made $1.6 billion in North American retail sales and $3 billion globally. When the toy line went from Mattel to Hasbro it signalled a massive drop in Mattel’s fortunes and a similar lift in Hasbro’s. Luckily Mattel bounced back with the DC Super Hero Girls line, which has also been a massive success.

Given that we now know that little girls read comics, I’m guessing these books will do quite well at Target.  And I also suspect that the direct sales market won’t be too upset about missing out on them.

Plus. just like the controversial Wal-Mart DC line, it will introduce comics to a whole new audience. Outreach!

The rest of the Target line includes many products including toothbrushes, toys, disposable diapers, underwear and even soup! With enchanted pasta shapes even! Something for everyone.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Outcry? Nah. Walmart had four Marvel exclusives years ago, specially priced at $9.99.

    The Joe Books Disney titles have been moderately successful.
    The “cinemanga” titles, screen grabs from the movies, sell well, and are produced cheaply. (They have to be…Disney only pays creator royalties on the first publication anywhere in the world.)

    As for the franchise, that was all fan-driven. The head of Disney’s consumer products division attended a Disney on Ice event, and noticed numerous children in handmade princess attire.

    Of course, longtime readers to The Beat know that the success of Disney Princess merchandise to girls encouraged Disney to find similar properties which appeal to boys, which is why there are three Cars movies, plus Star Wars and Marvel. (The irony is that Disney is now marketing that “boy” stuff to girls as well.)

    This is also not the first time Campbell’s has licensed Disney merch:
    http://torstenadair.blogspot.com/2017/09/never-underestimate-power-of-soup.html

  2. Retailers are only upset about this kind of thing when they could put forth almost no effort to sell the product. You can see that in how they only complain about the Tom King Superman story and the Bendis Batman, and not the others. Given them even a modicum of work, and they’ll tuck tail and run.

  3. I’m not the biggest comic store advocate after years of bad experiences, but I’ve talked to enough well meaning retailers to understand how hard it is.

    Why exclude retailers from this stuff? Who’s going to WalMart or Target for comics and isn’t also going to a comic store?

  4. >> Why exclude retailers from this stuff? Who’s going to WalMart or Target for comics and isn’t also going to a comic store?>>

    Because Target is willing to pay for it, so they can promote it that way, even if only at some minor level.

    It’s never the supplier who wants to make a product exclusive. It’s the customer. And if Joe Books can get Target to make a commitment to more copies than the direct market will order, by making it exclusive, well, so it goes.

  5. Torsten: Those four Marvel exclusives at Wal-Mart were $4.99 — and they were essentially new printings of already-existing trades (Bendis Guardians Vol. 1, Bendis Avengers Vol. 1, Spider-Man: Big Time Vol. 1, and, timed to tie into the movie of the same name, Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol. 1)

    Not really exclusives since they’re identical to the trades released to the direct market except on cheaper paper for a lower price.

    Marvel did, however, did a rush-job release of Avengers: Season One in trade paperback form as part of a Walmart Exclusive set with the release of the Blu-Ray of the first Avengers movie. The hardcover of the book, to go along with the rest of the Season One line, was released to the direct market about six months later. The Peter David story was ruined by pedestrian art from several artists.

    If these Disney Princesses books are simply reprints of existing Joe Books books (they should rename themselves JB Books /sarcasm), then, meh, it’s not comparable to the 100-Page Giants, which have new stories. It’s comparable to the 3-packs of reprints of the early Rebirth issues that DC did for Walmart 2 years ago.

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