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Sunday, May 19, 2024

DC’s Villain Month, How to lose friends and alienate people.


For the upcoming anniversary of the launch of DC’s 52 the publisher has come up with ‘Villain Month’, unlike previous anniversary event ‘Zero Month’ however there are big differences this time around.

 The current monthly titles are being replaced by ‘villain’ titles, this isn’t as simple as it may sound though. A vast chunk of the on-going 52 titles aren’t appearing at all for thatdc-joker month in any form at all, in there place are several books under the same parent title to bring the number up to 52.

 So for anyone currently picking up Justice League for example, instead of just one book for that month there’s 4 under the title Justice League, It’s the same for Justice League of America, Action Comics, Detective Comics and Superman. As for Batman fans well they get 4 Batman and Robin books, 4 Batman books, 4 Batman The Dark Knight books and a Batman/Superman book.

 Only they don’t really since someone who has had Batman on their pull list might not actually have any interest in Batman:The Penguin or Batman:The Riddler especially given that these are all from a different writer and art team than the regular Batman book and there’s little indication of how or even if these stories will tie into the on-going story in the Batman book.

 If you think this confusing and headache inducing as a reader of comics then look at it from the perspective of the guy/girl running your comic book store.

 It’s fair to say that the percentage of customers that visit their comic shop every week is probably pretty low, due to logistics, finances and life happening. Also it’s probably equally fair to say that a fair percentage of them aren’t that tuned into comics news, they might be aware of something they have a vested interest in but not to the extent of someone whose livelihood is built on selling comics.

dc-cyborg-superman So the owner of your local comic shop now faces a dilemma.

 Do they order in the several villian titles for every customer that has Batman on their pull list?

 If you think about this from a financial perpective, if there are say 20 customers with Batman on their pull list that means potentially ordering an extra 60 books for those customers and this is just one title. If you scale that up for the other titles using the 20 customers as a base (the numbers of actual pulls will vary but this is simpler) that’s an extra 300+ books in one month!

 Nevermind the fact that it’s probably accurate to say a lot of those customers probably can’t financially afford a rise of 100% or more in their comics expenditure in a single month think about the store owner, Jared Myland, the owner of my comic local shop the excellent OK Comics  put it this way,

Fact 1. We order around 1,700 DC52 comics each month.
Fact 2. DC are suspending many of their series in September.
Fact 3. DC are publishing two, three or four issues of many of their other series in September.
Fact 4. The series that DC are publishing multiples of in September are their better selling titles.
Fact 5. If we order the same quantity of these multiples as we do in a regular individual month, we’ll be ordering an additional 2000 comics!
Fact 6 If we order the same quantity of these multiples as we do in a regular individual month, we’ll be spending an additional £3000!

 It also bears remembering that most comic shops are independent stores, they don’t have the massive financial safety net that chain stores have where bad sales one monthbatman-and-robin-23-ani essentially have no effect since other stores can absorb the loss.

 Given how this is clearly putting DC at odds with their whole customerbase essentially it’s made even more bizarre by the revelation that according to what Dan Didio said at one of the roadshows to promote this event and attempt to get retailers onside DC is actually making a loss with every issue with a fancy lenticular cover despite them actually retailing at $3.99 (an increase on the regular cover price) and also in a further move to seemingly alienate everyone who might actually still be okay with DC

 He also addressed that creative changes are common place in the business of comic books and the seeming severity of it now is only much more apparent due to social media.

 Which translates as things have always been like this, it’s just nobody knew about before the advent of Twitter, Facebook and the internets.

 How or if these issues actually tie-in to the Forever Evil title focussing on the villains of the DC Universe which launches at the same time isn’t clear either.



Andy Haigh
Andy Haigh
Andy Haigh started writing to counteract the brain atrophying effects of Retail Hell, now it's an addiction. Andy is an unrepentant sequential art absorbist and comics are one of his passions. Other interests include Film, Music, Science Fiction and Horror novels and quality TV like Game of Thrones. He can talk about these at great length if only someone would listen. He lives a somewhat hermit like life in The Shire, spends too much time on social media and is still waiting to go on an adventure.

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