Monday, November 20, 2006

Hey Comic Publishers...

Long time no see! Actually, according to the stats, a lot of you are still finding me even though I haven't posted anything new in awhile, thanks for coming by.

Loads of things are going on, including Comickaze being named Best Comic Shop of San Diego for the second year in a row! I do take a lot of pride in it because it took a lot of work for voters to nominate us. They had to vote for at least 15 write-in nominees, it wasn't just a check off of the coolest sounding names on a prepopulated ballot.

So thank you to all who took the time to vote for us again and if there's anything you think we need to improve on for 2007, please let us know.

Anyway on to new matters. Much like the original birth of the following idea(s), in store conversation reminded me of an idea I'd posted to my peers in the Comic Book Industry Alliance almost 3 yrs ago to the day. I'm not going to comment on it yet, just chew on it a little and see if it resonates with you.

I will be back shortly to see if I think it holds up with everything that's been visited on us in the years since it was written.

I had some epiphanies today while talking shop with a few folks about industry issues.

The other night I noticed a CBS show pimping CD's from that episode's soundtrack, a la Smallville and as usual I flew into a rage and booted my poor kitty through the nearby window*. Today I finally realized why this upsets me so, let me know if this makes as much sense to you as it did to us.

Movie and Music studios are spending millions to promote sales of CD/DVDs and are consequently moving hundreds of thousands of units, including offerings based on comic properties whose titles are selling at less than 10% of their more glamorous relatives.

Movies and Cd's cost far more to create and promote than comics and per title, are produced on a far less timely pace and at retail carry a a much smaller retail value. Why do I say this? Well, movie franchises normally release installments once every 2-4 years and music albums every 1-2 years with singles sprinkled in. SRP on DVDs seems to run $20-25 and CDs run $15-20.

Looking at comics and reviving and expanding an old analogy (from Ellis IIRC) comic issues or "singles" are released as often as monthly or 12 per year with an average cost of $2.75 or $33/yr and are often collected into at least 1 Album at $15. So a single title with one TPB, produced at a cost far less than it's CD/DVD brethern, has potential retail sales of $48/yr or 2-3x the CD/DVD.

The consumer response to movies based on Spider-Man, Matrix, X-Men, Batman and even Harry Potter and LotR prove, as do media hyped events like Death of Superman, Origin, Heroes, 1602 or 30 Days of Night (after the movie option was announced), that there is an appreciation for these kinds of stories that will translate into a demand, if the public is made aware.

So it seems to me that the difference is truly (only?) the amount of promotion applied to the project much moreso than the medium.

How much more succesful would this industry be if the same efforts were made to promote the sales of a comic with a potential retail of 2-3x the retail of a CD/DVD, that costs far less to produce and is far less likely to be ripped/pirated or otherwise obtained for free?

Is it really possible that comic/TPB/GN promotion on the scale of CD/DVD could pay of as well or better than it does for CD/DVD? And if so, then why when other entertainment companies are spending hundreds of millions to promote the sale of $15-25 items based on our product, are comic publishers so intent on just throwing their $48 items indifferently into the direct market to fend for themselves?

C'mon publishers, 50 million people went to see Spider-Man, 35-40 million went to see X-Men 1 & 2 and millions more bought the DVDs and soundtracks while only 100k are buying the damned comics.

Wake up!

* No kitties were actually harmed in the making of this rant!