How Will Gail Simone’s Departure From Batgirl Affect Its Sales?

At the weekend, Gail Simone confirmed her departure from Batgirl. Although issue seventeen was solicited with her name attached, her last issue will, apparently, be issue sixteen. Ray Fawkes will be writing at least two fill-in issues. Naturally the internet was in revolt. But will it actually affect sales?

I asked a number of retailers about their expected ordering decisions.

Regan Clem of Clems, Lansing, tells me;

It’s a great question. I struggle with whether the stir is caused by a vocal minority on the internet or whether there really will be an exodus of readers. I hate to predict drops in sales because if there isn’t, I will have unhappy customers. So the accurate measure of whether this has hurt sales won’t be the first issue of the new writer; it will be on the third issue. With that issue, we will be ordering with a month’s worth of sales history on the first issue and a week’s worth of sales on the second. I don’t think many of us will cut our orders in the expectation that we will lose readers. We will adjust accordingly. I could be wrong. Interested to hear what others say.

Gary Dills of Laughing Ogre Comics added

There will be a slight shuffle of readers I suspect, but I don’t think that I will lose many more than I will gain. Regan’s point is more accurate in reality that a few internet noisy people doesn’t make 10% of the readership.

Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience makes an interesting point about returnability in this particular case;

Our Batgirl subs have been dropping steadily over the last four issues, which indicate an existing base dissatisfaction with the book; the controversy is unlikely to directly help that.

“Thankfully”, #17 will be different than solicited, which SHOULD (in theory) automatically trigger it for returnabilty — we’ll be watching sales on that issue very carefully for signs of if or how much to cut #18 & 19. Without that datum it is hard to say, though my instinct says “this will go to the lowest point of the entire series”… because of the underlying trend, not from Fawkes specifically.

Ryan Higgins of Comics Conspiracy writes;

When Karen Berger left, the internet’s reaction was “OMG I can’t believe it, Vertigo is dead, and DC is done.” My customer’s reaction was “Who?”

Batgirl has been selling well, and the crossover has been selling gangbusters. I expect a drift downwards, but almost zero to do with the creative team change. If the book is good, or part of a crossover, people will buy it. If it’s not, it will drop. I don’t expect any massive change, one way or another.

I love Gail Simone, she’s among my favorite creators working these days, but the honest truth is so few people that actually buy the books care who’s involved. If it’s good, and a big character, and an arc that “matters”, people will buy it.

Dennis of Wonder World had a slightly different take

That mixed with a 10-14 hour lead time for digital, yeah, those orders are going south at my store, I have already had 3 of my pulls for the book tell me to drop it for them after Gail is done. That doesn’t look good in my book. 2 of those were my hard core people keeping Secret Six alive.

So how, if at all, will it affect your ordering decision.