Despite the showbiz hoopla, there is usually a lot of comics news that sneaks through at Comic-Con, and with everything we’ve been talking about of late – a changing market, and the Big Two’s attempts to change with it – one would expect that to be of some interest at Comic-Con. So here’s a little informed speculation.
• DC is planning to launch several new lines, we keep hearing. In the above post I chided them on their lack of graphic novels, but word is that DC has caught on to that and will be launching many more Gn and “prestige” format projects. The new, squarebound All-Star Batman is the pilot program so to speak. I’m told that DC editors were meeting up a storm with authors and agents at BEA, and lots of material is in the pipeline. Will an official announcement be made at Comic-Con? That I don’t know, but it would make a splash.
DC has already learned that graphic novels about young teen suphero girls can be huge successes as Graeme McMillan reported in the Hollywood Reporter in a must-read ORAL HISTORY of DC Super Hero girls. I said ORAL HISTORY. DC’s vp of marketing and Sales John Cunningham has only the most glowing things to say:
John Cunningham, DC Entertainment, senior vp sales: If I look at books we shipped out of [DC’s book market distributor] Penguin Random House last year — books shipped to bookstores — DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis was our No. 2 book on units. Our No. 1 book was The Killing Joke. So our list goes, Batman: The Killing Joke, DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis, Suicide Squad Vol. 1, Watchmen, Preacher. And what that number [for DCSHG] doesn’t include is our Scholastic Book Club sale, which is of a quantity which is greater than what I show shipping out of Penguin Random House.
Cunningham: If I look at my direct market sales, Finals Crisis is my No. 19 book, with a number attached to it that makes my eyes pop every time I look at it. We did estimates here about how much we expected it to sell [in comic stores], and it has completely exceeded that.
Cunningham: DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths, which is the second book in the series, was my No. 8 book for [2016 in the bookstore vertical]. There was a number of months’ difference, but if you look at the rate, there’s no drop-off in sales that we’re seeing.
There you go, a multi channel hit! As far as I’m concerned, this enthusiasm is as important a story as David Gabriel’s hamhanded comments on diversity selling…but unlike those, they aren’t likely to be shouted all over the internet for weeks to come.
• Speaking of David Gabriel, over at Marvel, Legacy is…slogging along with all the enthusiasm of a child who has been ordered to sit down to a seven-course spinach dinner. The roll out of the PR has been hesitant, which wasn’t helped by PR manager Joe Taraborrelli ankling the house a few weeks back for a job at Playstation. I already joked that Chris D’Lando, the also departed PR guy, did the work of two people, so Andrea Towers, the new pr person, is already doing the work of three people, and that can’t be easy.
But the distaste for Legacy goes beyond this. There isn’t even a Legacy panel at Comic-Con. There’s a Secret Empire Panel because people just can’t get enough of that, and a Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel which reads:
Get a sneak preview of what the rest of the year holds in store for your favorite Marvel heroes, as well as the upcoming Generations weekly series featuring the heroes of today teaming up with their counterparts from yesterday! Editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and editors Nick Loweand Sana Amanat will be on hand with Cullen Bunn (Generations: The Phoenix) and Margaret Stohl (Generations: The Bravest) for a look forward (and backward) toward some of Marvel’s greatest heroes..
I guess looking anywhere beyond Generations just isn’t in the cards for now, although I assume Legacy will be mentioned from time to time. Internal reports I get coming from Marvel are extremely conflicted, but the general sense is that Legacy is a stop gap event for some OTHER rejigger that is more to the taste of some internal faction. As everyone keeps saying, it doesn’t really make any sense, but there you go.
There’s a lot of concern about Marvel in the industry. A weakened Marvel means a weakened direct sales market, and that affects everyone. DC knows this and they are taking concrete steps to be successful in the new world order. Marvel…is Marvel. When there’s con gossiping to be done, I expect this to be topic A.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.