There’s two businesses to Comic Books. In one, artists and writers try (And mind you I did say TRY) to draw, write and create the most amazing, spectacular sequential story they possibly can. On a monthly title, surpassing past successes can be a daunting challenge.
In the SECOND comic book biz, lawyers and business people have to turn a buck on these colorful pieces of stapled papers. If you thought CREATING comic books is hard, you really ought to try publishing sometime!
Fortunately for publishers there’s a “Never-Fails” tactic to the game of sell, a fool proof way to bilk a sucker for his $2.99! Today friends I will let you in on a little secret called “The #1 Issue!”
ISSUE AT HAND
Lets say you know nothing of comic books, or are getting into them for the first time. Chances are you will buy NOTHING Dark Horse has on the shelves this week. It isn’t the fault of the material. The incredible manga Gunsmith Cats Burst Vol. 5 and Hellboy sister title B.P.R.D. King of Fear #4 both ship from Dark Horse this week and BOTH are on my pull list… but you’ll notice neither of them is a #1.
Maybe that’s why Dark Horse doesn’t sell as much as DC. DC has TWO #1s this week: Doc Savage #1 and The Flash #1, each with variant covers! Who knows what the shelf life of the Doc Savage title will be, but that #1 issue will probably outsell Adventure Comics #10, even though this latter will have ZOD, a gentleman famous for his kneeling desires being punched by that dreamboat Connor Kent.
See, to a speculator a #1 issue is a big deal. “Maybe,” they think,” this comic will become really valuable and I’ll be rich someday.” To the uninitiated the thought is “This looks like a good comic to start with, as I can learn and grow with it.”
Yep, you can’t fight the magical power of the number #1! Sure, DC also has Brightest Day #0 out this week, and it’s going to sell like gangbusters. BOY, if they had made it a #1, however?! ZOOOOOM!
Mad, mad Marvel is no stranger to these shenanigans. Deadpool Team-up #894 is going to feature Deadpool with Frankencastle, the Frankenstein Punisher mash-up you either love or hate. Notice that number. They’re making fun of the fact that high numbered comics don’t sell. The flip of the coin is Marvel has Black Widow #1, A reprint of Hulk #1 entitled Marvel’s Greatest Comics The Hulk #1, Iron Man Noir #1, Iron Man Legacy #1, Siege Young Avengers #1, Siege Loki #1 and Siege Captain America #1 all on sale this week and all #1s.
Image might have the critically acclaimed Chew #10 on stands this week, but it’s also putting out reprints of Savage Dragon #1 and Age of Bronze #1. Pure profit.
I’m really looking forward to John Byrne’s return to IDW’s Star Trek line with Star Trek McCoy #1. If it were a number #3, I’d probably skip it.
Still, there are those poor lost souls with “Integrity,” a trait guaranteed to lose comic book sales. Daniel Clowes, multiple award-winning creator of Ghost World has a brand new graphic novel out from Drawn and Quarterly Press this week entitled Wilson. Peter Bagge, beloved cartoonist of Buddy and Hate has a new graphic novel out from Vertigo as well entitled Other Lives.
They both look like comic book masters turning in what could be their most celebrated work to date. Too bad the sales on these titles will suck like a Mynock on a power cable. SIGH, if only you guys could’ve called them Wilson #1 and Other Lives #1!