Dick Kyacinth returns and looks at this week’s sales numbers:

I certainly have had my reservations about Final Crisis, but I found the first issue to be pretty good, mostly due to the pervasive, foreboding atmosphere that Grant Morrison and JG Jones established. Of course, my reaction to the comic has very little to do with Direct Market sales, but it’s still kind of surprising to see this kind of differential. I was under the impression that folks were underwhelmed by the whole Skrull infiltration storyline, especially compared to the prospect of a Morrison/Jones epic. And DC has been promoting Final Crisis as the culmination of several years worth of stories for quite some time now, whereas Secret Invasion just seemed like the sort of by-the-numbers crossover that would have been relegated to a summer’s worth of annuals back in the early 1990s.

But maybe that’s what people want right now, for whatever reason. I think it’s worth considering that something as simple as an Invasion of the Body Snatchers rehash might seem somewhat appealing compared to what DC has been dishing out over the last year or so. In fact, it’s probably time to consider the damage done by the Countdown miniseries and its related spinoffs. As Marc-Oliver Frisch and others have noted, a book selling 70,000 copies every week is nothing to sneeze at, even if DC expected those numbers to be about 15,000-20,000 higher. On the other hand, Countdown may have done some substantial harm to DC as a brand in the Direct Market.


Val rounds up more chatter.

1 COMMENT

  1. “And DC has been promoting Final Crisis as the culmination of several years worth of stories for quite some time now…”

    It could be that Final Crisis could be viewed as a long march toward a glorious future, starting way back with “Identity Crisis”. As that journey continues, readers wander off, a few wander on, but it decreases with each series.

    Of course, as the story progresses, as word of mouth spreads, the sales may rise considerably, as they did with 52 and Countdown. I’m not reading either, but would be more inclined to read the trade of Final Crisis than I would of Secret Invasion.

  2. I think the reason why FINAL CRISIS has underperformed is because (a) MOST fans are sick and tired of the whole Crisis/multiple earths crap (b) MOST fans know that this will MOST LIKELY not be the “FINAL CRISIS” (c) FC is being marketed at and aimed at the existing and shrinking older teen and adult comic book readers (MOST of whom have been reading comics for years since they were little kids) and the mythical new ADULT reader instead of be marketed at and made suitable for a wider younger audience without talking down to the readers (d) DC is relying solely on the gimmick of FC being a huge event crossover written and drawn by a “hot”/popular creative team to sell the book instead trying to put out a straightforward entertaining story and (e) we are starting to see “crossover burnout” on the part of the fans.

    Despite it’s unoriginality (in both Marvel comics and sci0fi TV shows and movies), SECRET INVASION is a straightforward entertaining superhero comic. However, it still suffers from some of the same flaws that FC has like relying MOSTLY on the gimmick of a crossover done by a popular creative team and being aimed solely at the existing and shrinking older teen and adult comic book readership and the mythical new ADULT reader. It is also suffering from “crossover burnout” on the part of the readers.

  3. Well, ok “secret invasion” might not seem like a great novel idea on paper and Final crisis might but at the end of the day any idea can be interesting or totally wasted. Now, the events have just started but stillhere’s my feeling : Bendis : underrated, Morrisson : overrated.

  4. I’m not much of a Marvel customer and I’m not reading SECRET INVASION, so I can’t speak to its success.

    But as a lifelong DC fan until the Dan DiDio era, I can tell you I’m sick of Major Event Crossover Projects that Change Everything and Reveal That Everything We Knew Was Wrong and lead to Heroes Dying and Heroes Being Reborn and yadda yadda.

    Sell me some fun individual comics titles by great creative teams, titles that stand on their own and aren’t deeply interwoven into a “universe.”

    Don’t demand that I buy four mini-series and a dozen spinoff specials for some overhyped crap that does nothing but ret-con the joining order of the Justice League.

    Many fans just gave up and walked away. I’m one of them.

  5. As some one who’s been reading comics since shortly before the original crisis let me just say…..what Lawson said. I avoid ALL this crap by a country mile now. In fact I have to hand it to DC, they’ve done a very effective job of completely poisoning my interest in anything they publish.

    My opinion of Marvel wouldn’t be much higher but they have Brubaker and Abbnet & Lanning….. Where did those guys use to work?

  6. As Val is very vocally anti-DC, it’s no surprise she takes part in the bashing of DC.

    +++++++++++++++

    Final Crisis is a fairly self-contained story. Yes, there are a few issues that add more of the story, but it’s not going to be anything like the Skrullvasion series, where it appears you have to buy about 50 other comics to get the full story, or what will amount to being a beginning and a middle, with the end being wrapped up in 10 other titles over the next few months, just like Civil War.

  7. I have to echo Lawson’s remarks, I’m simply not smart enough to figure out what web of titles I need to buy to keep up with this story, or that story. Give me a solid storyline with my favorite title and keep your alternative, “juked you” universes out of my reading, it makes my brain hurt.

    If you ARE going to erase everything I believed true (aka fan betrayal) then the story better knock my socks off! Both these new storylines seem mediocre and now I have to watch them both bleed into my favorite titles and undoubtedly force me to read something else to figure out what’s going on in mine :(

  8. Frankly, I’m surprised people haven’t seen this coming because the writings been on the walls for YEARS.

    Dan Didio’s Reign in Hell (Heaven for him, hell for DC as a publisher) he has all but demolished consumer confidence, going for quick short term gains while compromising long term growth.

    How is this, you ask?

    Yes, many of the things Didio did sold well at the time but they were so pitfully bad, people were buying the books then realizing that used toilet paper was more interesting, people just stopped buying in droves.

    If for nothing else, Dan Didio all but restored DC to the time in the 70’s when people were claiming DC Stinks and its not difficult to see why…

    1. Infinite Crisis was an infinite mess with more than 3 or 4 artists on the book which many feel never delivered.

    2. One Year Later was such a disaster, most of the books were gone 6 months later.

    3. The Wonder Woman relaunch which took over a year to deliver the 5th issue conclusion?

    4. The Flash relaunches where Didio deceived readers into buying Bart’s book (the poster comic for DC crap) only to discover he planned on killing the character all along. Not good for consumer confidence…

    5. The Batman / Superman relaunches with the Kuberts where they never delivered, resulting in terrible delays on DC’s big 2.

    6. Didio’s murderous spree of many fan favorite characters, laughing at the fans complaints all the while, replacing them to make for a more ‘ethnically diverse line’. This never worked before and those who forget the past are doomed to repeat. Few if any of those replacements (Firestorm, Atom, Blue Beetle) performed to expectations.

    7. 52? While neat in concept, it seeded the Great Disaster. The original Crisis was successful because it attempted to the DCU more accessible by taking 6 earths and combining them into one.

    Didio went the opposite way, made it more confusing by unleashing 52 earths for readers to follow, which is impossible. It made the DCU inacessible both to new and old readers alike. To say nothing of this dunce spoiling the ending of 52 six months before the books conclusion.

    8. For the first time in 65 years, during Didio, none of DC’s big 3 shipped monthly.

    Superman, Batman and WW were advertised as monthly in DCs books but it was a joke because the only thing shipping monthly on Superman, Batman and WW were the ads.

    9. Dan Didio has repeatedly claimed ‘Online Readers Don’t Matter’. You have no idea how bad it is when you tell any consumer they don’t matter… even if it is true. To succeed in ANY business, a company must make every customer feel like they are important, not to dismiss them as irrelevant. This is common sense.

    10. Last but not least, the stories in DC Comics make no sense. People buy these things to read and when one thing contradicts another — monthly, forget continuity, there is no consistency so why bother reading? Things were so bad for a couple of years, DC Comics were printing stories out of order.

    So yeah, the Great Disaster that DC has been promoting has been a long time coming. Dan Didio has worked very hard at making DC Comics a messy disaster, for almost 6 years in fact so boom — here it is.

  9. Frankly, I’m surprised people haven’t seen this coming because the writings been on the walls for YEARS.

    Dan Didio’s Reign in Hell (Heaven for him, hell for DC as a publisher) he has all but demolished consumer confidence, going for quick short term gains while compromising long term growth.

    How is this, you ask?

    Yes, many of the things Didio did sold well at the time but they were so pitfully bad, people were buying the books then realizing that used toilet paper was more interesting, people just stopped buying in droves.

    If for nothing else, Dan Didio all but restored DC to the time in the 70’s when people were claiming DC Stinks and its not difficult to see why…

    1. Infinite Crisis was an infinite mess with more than 3 or 4 artists on the book which many feel never delivered.

    2. One Year Later was such a disaster, most of the books were gone 6 months later.

    3. The Wonder Woman relaunch which took over a year to deliver the 5th issue conclusion?

    4. The Flash relaunches where Didio deceived readers into buying Bart’s book (the poster comic for DC crap) only to discover he planned on killing the character all along. Not good for consumer confidence…

    5. The Batman / Superman relaunches with the Kuberts where they never delivered, resulting in terrible delays on DC’s big 2.

    6. Didio’s murderous spree of many fan favorite characters, laughing at the fans complaints all the while, replacing them to make for a more ‘ethnically diverse line’. This never worked before and those who forget the past are doomed to repeat. Few if any of those replacements (Firestorm, Atom, Blue Beetle) performed to expectations.

    7. 52? While neat in concept, it seeded the Great Disaster. The original Crisis was successful because it attempted to the DCU more accessible by taking 6 earths and combining them into one.

    Didio went the opposite way, made it more confusing by unleashing 52 earths for readers to follow, which is impossible. It made the DCU inacessible both to new and old readers alike. To say nothing of this dunce spoiling the ending of 52 six months before the books conclusion.

    8. For the first time in 65 years, during Didio, none of DC’s big 3 shipped monthly.

    Superman, Batman and WW were advertised as monthly in DCs books but it was a joke because the only thing shipping monthly on Superman, Batman and WW were the ads.

    9. Dan Didio has repeatedly claimed ‘Online Readers Don’t Matter’. You have no idea how bad it is when you tell any consumer they don’t matter… even if it is true. To succeed in ANY business, a company must make every customer feel like they are important, not to dismiss them as irrelevant. This is common sense.

    10. Last but not least, the stories in DC Comics make no sense. People buy these things to read and when one thing contradicts another — monthly, forget continuity, there is no consistency so why bother reading? Things were so bad for a couple of years, DC Comics were printing stories out of order.

    So yeah, the Great Disaster that DC has been promoting has been a long time coming. Dan Didio has worked very hard at making DC Comics a messy disaster, for almost 6 years in fact so boom — here it is.

  10. I just thought 52 read like such a rushed affair, with so many characters and such little character development, that I wanted out once it was down. And I have been out since it finished. Civil War raised more interesting ideas, to me, as does the Secret Invasion.

  11. > Final Crisis is a fairly self-contained story.

    That doesn’t matter, true or otherwise – people & shops order (or don’t) BEFORE they see anything of the series itself. And DC has alienated a BIG proportion of the people who might buy a comic by them at this point. So they simply don’t order, and Secret Invasion tonks Final Crisis because Marvel hasn’t pissed off such a big proportion of their audience base as DC have (OMD notwithstanding).

  12. For myself – the biggest screw-up of the past year for DC was how come a 52-issue mini/mega-series such as COUNTDOWN somehow needed spin-off series and one-shots and couldn’t be self-contained. It’s true that “52” did have the WW3 series spin-off just before the book ended which should have been a part of the book, but that was more or less a solitary incident to an otherwhise spectacular book. With COUNTDOWN, there were several “Search for Ray Palmer” one-shots which definitely should have been a part of the book rather than under their own banner.

  13. While I think the “Search for Ray Palmer” banner was both pointless and unwieldy, there was a point in doing them separately. Each book was a self-contained exploration of a particular reality. Some were good (Crime Syndicate), some were bad (Red Rain), but doing each on its own was actually better for people who were only interested in one or two of them, because they didn’t have to worry about the one story they wanted being split across two or three different issues of Countdown itself.

  14. Secret Invasion has been brewing since Secret War and New Avengers #1, so how can it be a “by-the-numbers crossover” when it seems to be “the culmination of several years worth of stories” just like Final Crisis?

  15. I’ve been reading DC Comics for over 30 years. I’m not going to stop now. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why telling a simple superhero story is such a hard thing to do.

    At no point in the last three or four years (outside of Sinestro Corps War) have I felt the feelings of “good” sticking it to “evil” after a good build up of suspense. Instead, I feel drug through a storyline that’s gone on just about since my daughter was born in 2002. No meaningful kind of resolution to the story… it just keeps going.

    I noticed a brand spanking new Superboy Prime solicit. I’m supposed to get pumped up about that? Tantrum boy has been running around since this mess started, and I’ve not seen anything that makes me think throwing him into yet another crisis story is going to matter one iota.

    Trinity may be the best book being written right now, but I wouldn’t know. I’m still licking my wounds from Countdown and passing on a couple of the best writers I know in Busiek and Niceiza. In spite of decades of reading, I have no idea what’s happening in the DCU right now, except that they decided to off John J’onzz in a crisis that doesn’t even feel like a crisis, on the heels of an episode of DC Comics “Sliders” that went no where except right back where we started.

    Sigh. I’m not leaving DC. But for the life of me, I really have to justify the expense in some other way.