art by Skottie Young
art by Skottie Young

by Brandon Schatz

A few days before the book’s final order cut-off with retailers, Marvel let it slip that their upcoming Rocket Raccoon series had garnered over 300,000 initial orders, well above expected estimates for the series. Yesterday, the other shoe dropped as reports came in regarding mass quantities of the book having been ordered by Loot Crate, a company that sends boxes filled with assorted genre and video game paraphernalia to homes via subscription.

With numbers ranging from roughly 100,000 upwards to 180,000, depending on who’s been dong the digging, many feel as though this places an asterisk on the numbers Marvel so proudly announced. To put this into context, people who are subscribing to a service are receiving product, much like a shop’s regular subscription service. What’s more, many of these copies will be read and experienced by those who don’t normally make the regular trip to the comic shop, exposing the series and comics in general to a new audience – and while Marvel’s initial announcement wasn’t all that forthcoming, the information stands: Rocket Raccoon #1 has received over 300,000 in initial orders, a number that has no doubt grown as retailers made their final order adjustments with that information in mind.


  1. This is a pretty fantastic marketing idea, I’m sure the next crop of creators releasing #1’s at Image are clamoring to get included in a deal with Loot Crate. This is better in some ways than the numbers retailers buy because these are at least guaranteed going into peoples hands unlike the stacks of unsold product continually feeding dollar bins that are ordered to get variants.

  2. So, when Marvel prints these comics, will there be an ad for the Comics Shop Locator service?

    Also, does Marvel’s advertising sales department have a special offer to advertisers, that when preorders hit 100K+, they include your ad in the issue, in place of a house ad? Were I an online retailer, I’d buy an ad which directs to a specific “Marvel Movie” homepage at my website, featuring ALL of the cinematic tie-ins for 2014 and previous.

  3. P.S. Retailers:
    Since the incentive to increase the order is so cheap ($50?), why not buy extra copies, slap a store sticker on the front (with a discount coupon), and hand them out at the local cineplex Thursday night/Friday?

  4. Man, lemme tell you, movie theatres – at least non-independant ones – do not jive that that kind of promotion, in my experience. Some of the least helpful people to try and cross-promote with.

  5. On one hand, if Loot Crate has a Diamond account, as one of the links contends, then I can’t see much for an asterisk as far as the Direct Market charts go — since historically they have always included sales to mail-order houses, and this seems to be a variation on that (though with huge numbers).

    On the other hand, the original purpose of the DM sales charts — before the general public had access to them — was to tell retailers what their order levels were relative to the DM as a whole, and there, it does make the process more difficult on any book included.

    There’s a history for these kinds of big purchases. Western Publishing made it a bit more difficult to see what the real (and really bad) sales situation was for comics in the 1970s, given its enormous purchases of Marvel and DC titles for its Whitman bagged-comic program. Those nonreturnable copies showed up as sold in the postal statements, even though quite of lot of the bags never got bought. Here, at least, we know consumers are getting the books.

  6. Wasn’t there some kind of DC/video game related comic that sold huge numbers but wasn’t included on the charts? I’m not talking about Injustice or anything like that – I seem to remember it had big numbers but Marvel was crying about the validity of it since it was boosted by this very same thing. What am I saying – it’s Marvel. The PT Barnum of comics.

  7. There have always been special orders here and there — just like comics that would have made the charts based on numbers alone didn’t because they weren’t sold into the Direct Market. GEARS OF WAR #1 would have had a claim on a high ranking in the last decade but for where it was sold, and the last million-seller in comics was Pokémon, due to the bagged editions Viz did in the mass-market.

    The whole world outside the DM’s a relative gray area. Probably the highest-circulation comics I’ve written were the Mass Effect issues that were later reprinted for insertion in the video game boxes. No earthly idea how many of those exist.

  8. I suppose it’s not as bad when it happens with a #1 issue, as that one is generally inflated by all the people who just buy the #1 of everything. It’s not till about the 3rd of 4th month that sales are actually indicative of how much people like it.

  9. Any retailer that increased their orders because of Marvel’s self inflated hype machine deserves to be stuck with 100 extra unsold copies.

  10. JJM,

    At least ball park idea (not knowing which versions packaged it):
    ME (orig. release)
    2007, Xbox: 2.83m global (1.78m North Amer.)
    2008, PC: 0.65m global, not incl. N.A.

    ME Trilogy (2012)
    Xbox: 0.28m global (0.2 N.A.)
    PS3: 0.26m global (0.25 N.A.)
    PC: 0.13m global (0.05 N.A.)

    It would appear — and I’m sure VG sales are even more arcane than comics if that’s possible — that you’re possible max. universe might be 4m if it was included in all product worldwide since 2007.

    Silly but True

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