I’ve been getting some questions about how DC is filling out the 100 pages in those Walmart Giant 100 comics, since it’s a 12-page new strip and 3 reprints of roughly 20-22 pages each.  That’s a fair question, especially since they’ve hyped it as advertising and new reader outreach.

There are a lot of full page titles: a teaser of next month’s installment of a story or a title page describing the premise of Teen Titans or Flash before that reprint.

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It’s either one of those title pages or a full page ad.  No, the comic shop locator does not appear in every issue, but here’s a listing of what’s being advertised:

Justice League

  • New 52 Justice League, Vol. 1-3
  • Rebirth Vol. 1’s of Justice League, Cyborg, Green Lanterns and Aquaman
  • Flashpoint
  • The Button, DC Universe Deluxe Edition, The Oz Effect, Justice League of America, Vol. 3
  • New Age of DC Heroes 2-page spread
  • A page of Johns Barry Allen Flash tpbs (that are a bit random)
  • New 52 Flash Vol. 1-3
  • Rebirth Vol. 1’s: Flash, Justice League, Titans, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
  • New 52 Aquaman Vol. 1-3
  • Rebirth Aquaman Vol. 1-3

Superman

  • (Loeb) Superman Batman Vol. 1-3
  • Geoff Johns Green Lantern (specifically Rebirth, but the whole catalog listed in text)
  • Geoff Johns Batman Earth One

Batman

  • Batman: The Dark Knight: The Master Race; Dark Knight, Dark Knight Strikes Back
  • Jim Lee spotlight: Hush, Superman Unchained, Justice League V. 1, All-Star Batman & Robin
  • Batman: The Dark Prince Charming 2-page spread
  • New 52 Nightwing Vol. 1-3
  • Rebirth V. 1’s: Nightwing, Titans, Batgirl and Batman
  • Scott Synder spotlight: Batman: The Black Mirror, Superman Unchained, Batman: Gates of Gotham, Batman Eternal
  • Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans
  • Earth One 2-page spread, Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1  on one page, everything else on the second
  • New 52 Harley Quinn V. 1-3
  • Harley Quinn spotlight: Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits, Harley Quinn and He Gang of Harleys, Batman: Harley Quinn (the tpb with Mad Love?), the Kesel/Dodson(s) tpb
  • Oh, look – the comic shop locator ad finally turns up as the very last page

Teen Titans

  • Grant Morrison Batman Spotlight: Batman & Son, Batman R.I.P., Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman: Time & the Batman
  • Grant Morrison Spotlight: Batman & Robin Vol. 1-3
  • Earth One 2-page spread, Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1  on one page, everything else on the second
  • Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans
  • New 52 Teen Titans Vol. 1-3
  • Comic shop locator ad on the last page.

And then every back cover is an ad for the line of Metal tpbs.

This whole thing is a bit of a mess from the advertising perspective.

First off, if the intent is really to drive people into comic shops, the comic shop locator ad needs to be in every issue and the very last page of the comic (i.e. before the inside back cover) is perhaps not the best placement for such an ad.  Back cover would be better.  Opposite the table of contents would be optimal, but perhaps not practical.

Here’s a key factor that needs to be considered before evaluating the advertising: while if you look at the fine print on the inside cover, they’ll list issue number and title for the reprints, you REALLY have to look for the source of where things come from and then be able to match up the copyright date with which volume of the comic it comes from.  Why is that something to consider?

Because while they frequently advertise the trade paperbacks of the comics being reprinted in serial form, they’re advertising several different volumes at the same time.  Is the theoretical new reader going to know the difference between New 52 Flash or Justice League and Rebirth Flash or Justice League?  For that matter, would a totally new reader easily distinguish between Justice League and Justice League of America?  That all could be a little puzzling to a neophyte in this increasingly continuity heavy area.  Possible information overload.

I’m also not sure I’d be advertising Dark Knight: The Master Race if I thought this might be an all-ages outreach, either.  Or All-Star Batman & Robin, AKA “I’m the goddamn Batman.”

There’s the question of whether advertising the books containing the full story arcs being reprinted would actually undermine the ongoing sales?  Maybe that’s something you just have to live with and, as I was saying earlier, they’re de-emphasizing where those stories originally saw print.  Inside cover only on that info.

Still, with the lack of comic shop locator ads in two of the four titles, you have to wonder what the call to action was imagined to be?  “Get more DC graphic novels wherever comics and books are sold” is fine for an ad in a Direct Market comic, but I assure you, I’m not seeing any DC graphic novels in the collectibles aisle at Walmart, next to the baseball cards.  I suppose you can order those graphic novels off Walmart’s website for in-store pick-up?  Are they hoping readers in more rural locations without comic shop access just go to Amazon?  Are new readers with a copy of Justice League or Superman *without the comic shop locator ad* necessarily going to know to look for a comic shop?

I fear this could have been a bit more thought out.

A large chunk of the problem is what happens when you have so much branding around short-lived relaunches.  That’s not particularly new audience friendly when you cross the streams and advertise multiple relaunch brands without an explanation of order.  In some ways, it’s a lot easier to advertise something like Loeb’s Superman/Batman.  It’s an old series that predates all the rebranding, so you can just say “Like this?  Get the whole thing in 3 volumes.”  You don’t have to mess with newer rebrandings.  Of course, when they run that ad in the Superman issue, it’s placed in The Terrifics section and not explicitly saying “hey, if you liked that story 40 pages back…”  The reader has to make the connection on their own.  And then they have to think through where they can get it.

Oh, well.  These are just the first issues.  Perhaps things will get a little more focused in subsequent issues.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think the intent is to educate new readers of the intricacies of modern comic book reading habits, complete with explanations of renumbering and continuity. I think the intent (supported by the apparently copious TPB ads) is to get the reader looking for more Superman, Batman ,Teen Titans, etc. comic books. My opinion is that the audience is the same audience that wanders into a Barnes and Noble graphic novel section and buys the cool looking Thor collection from Simonson, or the people who walk into a comic book shop and ask “Do you sell Batman comics?” That’s why it doesn’t matter whether the reprints are from the current ongoing series or some run from 10 years ago. Imagine if every rerun episode of “How I Met Your Mother” on TV started with the disclaimer that this episode was number 13 of Season 4 or something silly like that. You’d feel like you had to find a way to watch from the very first episode to know what was going on. I don’t think this Wal-Mart thing is meant to turn every random person in their store into full patrons of comic book stores. That’s just one place a curious reader might turn to find other comic books.

  2. I just want to add this in a separate comment, but I’ll reiterate that Wal-Mart stores are not predominantly in “rural” places. They’re probably more likely to be in suburban areas which also have other shopping stores like book stores and comic book stores. I’ve lived 4 places – all suburban, all with at least 2 Wal-Mart stores, all with a Barnes and Noble, and all with at least 2 comic book stores that I can think of. Wal-Mart doesn’t only build “in the sticks.”

  3. If scalpers buy up all the copies & list them on eBay for multiples of the cover price, and this is happening, the Titans 100-pager listed right now @ $64.50 as my witness, all this about how new/casual buyers understanding the contents is moot, because they won’t see any.

  4. Todd. I am hearing reports that the Teen Titans Giant is rather scarce due to it being short packed. Is this true? One Walmart employee says the have half the quantity of Titans book as the other three. Is this true? And if so why?

  5. I cannot confirm this, however someone in the comment section for the previous article on this was saying there were only 2 copies of Titans with the display and I have yet to hear about somebody having seen 3 or more copies when they went shopping. It is entirely possible. Superman Giant might also be packed at 4 instead of 5.

  6. I should also add a very important caveat: we don’t know if there’s going to be restocking or not. It is entirely possible these comics will be restocked and there’s much more than a 6K print run on this. That may take a week or more to figure out, though.

  7. I just bought mine – I noticed on the receipt that the everything else I purchased was clearly labeled as the type of item it was, but the DC Giants were labeled as MIS ENT – which I interpret to mean Miscellaneous Entertainment. They did have the individual SKU number, but what this means in practical terms is that Walmart will not be restocking these based on individual titles or names, if at all. Walmart has HUGE issues right now with having enough employees to stock its regular merchandise – something labeled as MIS ENT is not going to be high priority.

    The inventory lists for the store, at best, are going to show that they’ve sold X number of MIS ENT items – which could be all the items in that section and not just the DC Giants. By the way, our local Walmarts have halved the amount of print material they sell overall, they used to have a decent selection of paperbacks and magazines, but now it’s so little that it may as well not be there – which will probably be the next step. Walmart Corp. did this at Sam’s Club about 2 or 3 years ago – Sam’s used to be a solid place to buy mass releases for books or DVDs or even CDs – now they only have the very best sellers or what certain publishers pay a racking fee to put out. This reduction is now happening at regular Walmarts as well. So DC hitching its wagon to a company that’s reducing the amount of print material it sells seems like buying a frequent passenger plan for the Titanic.

    And I knew exactly where the trading card area was in our local Walmart – until I got there. They’ve doubled the number of self-check kiosks, and reconfigured the regular checkout lanes. So while the trading card area used to be right in the middle of the checkouts, it’s now shoved over to one side and even easier to miss.

  8. I didn’t pay attention to the numbers of each book at the Walmart I went to, but the Teen Titans was in the top left slot and did appear to have fewer issues available. Most of the bottom right slot was filled with unsold issues of the previous $10 Showcase reprint book DC tried to sell in that slot (without the now $5 sticker that I’ve seen on some issues recently).

  9. I don’t know about anyone else, but I just happened to see these at my local Walmart (only 1 Justice League and 1 Superman was left). I bought both issues to read to my 3 year old son since he loves DC superheroes and needs a good starting point to understand the content. So far these have been great and way better than when my son picks out one of my husbands Marvel comic books at random only to end up hearing about Mary Jane’s and Peter Parker’s money problems and asking what evicted means.

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