As we’ve told you before, the annual ComicsPRO meeting is going on right now, hence the steady flow of news. Boom! Studios president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik delivered a presentation for Boom this afternoon and announced a new full returnability program for books such as The Empty Man, which will be a Fox feature film next year.

While obviously slanted at Boom!’s interests and solutions, it’s still a valuable look at how one publisher is confronting retailer anxiety and issues. Thanks to Boom! for providing the text.

Hi, everyone. It’s always exciting to be here at ComicsPRO to speak with our retail partners.

Right now, comic books are better than ever but the challenges facing comic book retailers are greater than ever before.


We asked you. And here are the five most common answers we heard:

  • You say there are too many books in the market. Publishers tell you they need to publish more comics to grow.
  • You say your customers are tired of the constant recycling of the same concepts. Publishers tell you the money is in the old ideas, not the new.
  • You say your weekly customers are fatigued and buying all they can. Publishers tell you that new customers aren’t coming into comic shops.
  • You say late shipping titles cost you sales. Publishers tell you that there’s no way to ensure books ship on time.
  • You say you want to grow your business, but taking too many risks in uncertain times can endanger your livelihood. Publishers tell you that there’s no way to reduce your risk, but ask you to take a chance on new launches.

It’s time for publishers to stop making these excuses.

Excuses is something we don’t do at BOOM!.

There could be a long list of excuses for BOOM! to fail. After all, Ross started the company out of the spare bedroom of his apartment right before the financial crisis. That could have wiped us out. He started this company when people were saying print was dead and digital was the future.

emptyman5.jpgBut it was a relentless commitment to our core values and a no-excuses attitude that brought us to this moment today. Because we believe in making the best comics in the most accessible way. We believe that everyone should read comics, including kids and women, which we showed through our KaBOOM! and BOOM! Box imprints. These initiatives helped grow the customer base of the Direct Market. Our no-excuses commitment to our values is why we continue to succeed in comics…and beyond.

When you sit down to watch our new movie THE EMPTY MAN next year you will see the BOOM! logo flash onscreen before the film starts. The only comic book companies to ever have their company logos play in an animated sequence before their movies start are BOOM!, DC, and Marvel.

So when we hear retailers identify these 5 problems in the Direct Market and we hear they’ve been given these excuses for why these problems can’t be addressed, we reject the idea completely.

These problems CAN be solved.

And we’re going to make 5 promises to you that directly address them.

Promises we can keep because they’re rooted in what we’ve done. These are the BOOM! guarantees:

Number One – You Make More Money From Less Comics

You’ve told us there are too many books in the market. And you might remember that eighteen months ago, BOOM! pledged to cut our publishing output by 15% because we could see you are right.

We kept that promise.

We’ve also quietly reduced the number of variants we publish by 33% reduction.

The result has been our best year yet, with a more profitable publishing line for both you and BOOM!. You supported us by increasing our share of the top comic and collection sales by 20% last year. Because of your support, BOOM! has been the fastest growing publisher in the direct market over the last four years.

In 2017, we will continue to publish responsibly so you can confidently order BOOM! comics knowing that we’d rather publish less than publish more to fill some budgetary needs. We will continue to stay true to a core tenant of the company – only publishing things we ourselves would spend money on and would love reading.

Number Two – We Deliver New Concepts and Creators You Can Count On

You tell us customers are tired of recycled concepts.

That’s why we make a lot of great original comics. But instead of listing all of them right now, I have one number for you:


That’s how many copies of Lumberjanes we’ve sold. And it’s impressive enough, but our hardcore lady-types are now going from comic book juggernaut to feature film at Fox. Lumberjanes will also expand into a series of novels from Abrams. These initiatives along with some other huge developments will introduce a new audience to Lumberjanes and drive them into your stores.

And we did it without deaths, resurrections, reboots or the other stunts.

Even as we enter the fourth year, we’re staying true to our belief that retailers, fans and the market are better served by one core series that sells well. One series that offers a gateway to other similar titles like Giant Days or Goldie Vance. We sold 800,000 copies without multiple ongoings featuring the same characters that would cannibalize all of our sales.

That commitment to responsible publishing is how we continue to successfully bring in new voices to comics from all over the entertainment landscape. Novelists like Victor LaValle, whose work has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Book Award. YA authors like Liz Prince and Delilah S Dawson, who bring in younger, diverse fans that may never have been to comic book stores. Or accomplished screenwriters like Kiwi Smith, known for her incredible work on 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde, and Pamela Ribon, writer of Moana and Wreck-It Ralph 2. Singular talents like Aline Brosh McKenna, the co-creator of the CW hit series Crazy Ex Girlfriend, a true pop culture phenomenon. We will pursue these new voices who bring their own existing fanbases into your stores, but we will also continue to take chances on emerging creators like Sam Sykes, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Dan Mora, and Vanesa R. Del Rey, because we remember that four years ago names like Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen were new too.

Number Three – We Bring You New Customers

You tell us your customers are fatigued and buying all they can.

So we make comics for everyone.

That’s why we guarantee that you can walk out this door, pick any stranger off the street and there’s at least one BOOM! comic book for them.

It’s why Mighty Morphin Power Rangers sold over a million copies in its first year. That’s why Lumberjanes and Giant Days and all the titles in our BOOM! Box imprint draw fresh faces into your stores every month. It’s the power of licenses like Steven Universe and Adventure Time that offer parents a chance to safely introduce their children to comics.

That’s why these top launches and others bring new customers into your stores, customers who might’ve never stepped into a comic shop before they discovered there was a comic made for them.

The top selling comic book of 2016 was Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1 which we inserted it into Loot Crate to reach half a million fans. We placed an ad for comic shops in it to ensure the comic industry saw a real financial benefit and prioritized that ad to drive potential new customers to your stores.

And it’s why we’ve teamed with FOX and ABC to do something that’s never been done before for Free Comic Book Day. Our Fresh Off The Boat comic will tie directly into an episode this season. It’s a perfect invitation for a mainstream audience into the world of comics.

Number Four – Our comics ship on time


You tell us late books hurt your business.

In 2016, we shipped 97% of our single issues on time and 92% of everything we published on time.

You spend your dollars with us and we’ll deliver the best quality product on time. It’s not always easy, but it is simple and it is fundamental. It’s the commitment we make with everything we publish. Reliable shipping means repeat customers which means you order more.

Number Five – You don’t need to gamble on BOOM!

Instead we’ll gamble on you.

You tell us you want to grow, but taking too many risks is dangerous.

We’re going to make you a simple proposition today:

No order minimums. No order matching. No tricks.

Just full returnability.

That’s the core of the BOOM! “Guarantee” program, launching this April and open to any retailer. We’ll send you a free floor display. You’ll also get one piece of paper from us that lists six fully returnable comic books. The paper will also have recommendations for how to merchandise and sell these titles.

Then in May, we’ll send you another piece of paper with six more comic issues that are fully returnable without any strings attached.

And every month you get more new opportunities at no additional cost and no obligation.

We’ll also support this Guarantee by listing all participating stores in every comic we publish as well as on our website. We’ll send you regular point-of-purchase sales tools to make it easier for new customers to discover BOOM! titles in your store.

Quit anytime you like and keep the floor display.

Full returnability with no fine print so you can order without fear. It’s that easy.

So let’s recap:

Number One – You Make More Money From Less Comics

Number Two – We Deliver New Concepts and Creators You Can Count On

Number Three – We Bring You New Customers

Number Four – Our comics ship on time

Number Five – You don’t need to gamble on BOOM!

These are our five BOOM! guarantees to every retailer for 2017.

Success isn’t about market share, unit share, dollar share or any of those topics so often debated by pros and fans alike.

Our mission is to ensure that every one of you is back here in this room next year stronger than ever before. We do that by delivering the comic books that bring people into comic book shops every Wednesday and keep them coming back.

In 2016, BOOM! discovered it’s best year by evolving what we do and reinvesting in comic book retailers with our best product yet.

Now, 2017 looks to be the best year in our company’s history.

And, together, we want to help you Discover Yours.

Thank you.



  1. The information you’ve addressed is dead on! We will happily sign up for the returns program – and will try to increase the Boom imprint within our customers and city. We are always happy and willing to try the teamwork approach between publisher and retailer – and appreciate your reaching out to us. Thank-you!

  2. Number Two – We Deliver New Concepts and Creators You Can Count On
    Number Three – We Bring You New Customers

    This is where I feel you are wrong. Lumberjanes doesn’t sell for us. AT ALL. Giant Days doesn’t sell for us. AT ALL. 28 Days Later sold. Irredeemable sold. Incorruptible sold.

    Our customers want fresh takes on familiar tropes, not out of the blue, slice of life stores from creators they can’t relate to.

Comments are closed.