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Marvel’s svp of sales David Gabriel has  confirmed that STAR WARS #1 will sell 1 million copies.  And already my inbox is jammed with missives from Brandon Schatz and John Jackson Miller.

It ddoesn’t appear that Loot Crate is part of the reason for the record sales. However, at least 38 variant covers and a switch to some new distribution outlets:

We’ve seen Marvel explore new ways of getting comics exposed to potential new readers. Everything from strong retailer support, to unconventional methods of sale like LootCrate & GameStop. Can we expect new and different outlets for the comic to be sold through?

There are a number of new outlets that we’re working with here in terms of the folks purchasing and selling a large number of exclusive covers, which in the end means that this very large number of comics will be sold in places where we haven’t necessarily had comic sales. We’re confident we’ll have lots of new fans reading issue #1. And the great thing about this for all our comic retailer friends is that they’ll be able to sell those new fans the second, third, fourth issues and on and on.

 

Gabriel went on to say that even without all the variants, this would have been a best selling issue:

I can safely say that even without the massive variant plan on this first issue, the numbers on the regular cover alone would make this the highest selling debut of 2015. When you add in the astounding numbers from the variants you’ve got one huge launch, unseen in the direct market for two decades or more! And I should also give a quick thank you to all those retailers who are showing the support for this launch and the launch parties. They’re all really taking this to new levels and making history with this issue.

MIller has some context and thoughts here.

I have written a lot about the history of Star Warscomics in the past (including having written quite a few of them myself), and the million-copy mark bears a particular historical importance for the line.Star Wars #1 in 1977 was the first comic book since Dell‘s Uncle Scrooge in 1960 to top a million copies sold. Star Wars #1 did that in 1977 not through its initial sale to newsstands, but also through a newsstand reprint and at least three waves of bagged reprints offered to department stores through Western Publishing‘s Whitman arm. Sales of the bagged editions of the movie adaptation were so strong, according to former Marvel Editor in Chief Jim Shooter, that Western temporarily suspended its program of printing variant editions for other Marvel titles to focus solely on Star Wars reprints in late 1977. At least the first three issues of the 1977 series all would have topped a million copies, and possibly more.

Just throwing in my own two cents, places where these comics might be distributed:

Disney theme parks

Target

Wal-Mart

Toys ‘r’ Us

…and so on. Just guesses but all could contribute to the massive sales. Comics at theme parks have a long tortured history; when I was at Disney Comics 20 years ago many thought this would have saved the line, but stores didn’t like replenishing small budget items that had to be moved every month. Also, giveaway comics were often discarded in trash bins….although that mind set may have changed since then.

I hope we do find out more about where and how this comic is being sold. No matter how it worked out, it’s a real achievement for Marvel. COngrats to Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Laura Martin and editor Jordan B. White on the huge commercial success.  10801823_929621647055946_5740685589630367813_n

15 COMMENTS

  1. They are saying that it HAS sold 1 million copies in preorders? Or that they will print that many and try to sell them? Who is going to buy so many comic books in 2015?? Oh, it’s all so ambiguous, or am I just tired at the end of a long long far away day….

  2. Well, the headline DID say a million copies were sold. That’s STILL to retailers. In January they’ll let us know if they were able to sell them to actual retail customers. Could be a lot of wall insulation in our future, but probably not, as we’ve got a long time to sell them, with the movie still a year away.

  3. If those retailers bought far more than they could reasonably sell, it’s really on them, not Marvel. Marvel is not making anyone buy their product offerings.

  4. I don’t know if Disney will try to keep sales on the series high after this initial issue. I doubt they will because they likely see this book as just another way to keep the hype going for Star Wars VII next year, but you never know.

  5. “If those retailers bought far more than they could reasonably sell, it’s really on them, not Marvel. Marvel is not making anyone buy their product offerings.”

    Discounting, of course, how so much of what drives Direct Market success is hype. I mean, nothing says savvy retail acumen like sitting out the Next BFD.

  6. “In January they’ll let us know if they were able to sell them to actual retail customers.”

    Uh no, those numbers have never existed, except on a retailer-by-retailer basis.

    And even if one retailer in Bumblefuck Kansas says he still has 20 copies on his shelf, so what? The book has been heavily ordered, and we’re comparing the numbers we know to the numbers of every other book we know.

  7. I’m all for comics getting into the hands of more people, but I’m not sure these kind of sales announcements are helping the health of the market. These press releases seem purely designed to goad retailers into ordering more of something that they might not ordinarily order. After all, who wants to be out of stock on the next big thing? A million copies sold, yes, but those sales figures are pretty meaningless if the numbers include hundreds of thousands of copies sold in bulk to places like Loot Crate for massive discounts. It’s the mixing of two very different playing fields and it seems a bit disingenuous. I’m worried that it ties up retailers resources so they can’t order as many smaller circulation titles for that month. I wish that the direct market/comics retailer numbers were kept separate from ginned up total numbers like these. (And obviously I’m not even addressing the variant cover market goosing. The retailers have to use their own self-control to deal with that.)

  8. “These press releases seem purely designed to goad retailers into ordering more of something that they might not ordinarily order.”

    Holy fuck, it’s almost as if Marvel were a business!

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