Comic Store In Your Future – Why I’m Hiring a New Employee

Posted by March 17, 2018 Comment

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

Not much has changed comic news-wise. So I figured an instore report might be of interest. I did hire another employee.

Marvel is seeing some renewed interest instore. A spike in sales in some of their titles. As a retailer, I love that. Though as I have written about before I do worry about the return of the relaunches killing the growth in some of their titles.

red goblin coverAmazing Spider-Man. The last issue I ordered over triple of what I had ordered a month earlier. Still blew out of every copy on the shelf the day it came out. This Red Goblin story has people excited. It is a great turnaround story. I was often times scratching my head wondering how a well-known character with a blockbuster movie that just came out months ago wasn’t selling better. DC’s Ragman along with Valiant’s X-O Manowar was giving Amazing Spider-Man a run for its money instore sales wise. Then with issue 795 of Amazing Spider-Man demand blew up for the title. How to make retailers like your product? By putting out material that sells. Again though I worry about the enthusiasm and sales hitting the breaks when renumbering of the this and other titles starts.

Thanos. Another Marvel title that all the sudden spiked in sales. Best thing Marvel can do is have people coming in wanting a title. Meaning people putting pressuring on us retailers to order more for people that are going to buy their product. Not pressuring us to by a ton of copies of a title that we cannot hope to sell just to get a variant that maybe just one person wants. I would rather sell a hundred copies of a title to a hundred people than buy a hundred copies to get one variant that only one person will want. Yes, the person may often time pay to cover what it costs in unsold product but, then a retailer is left with unsold copies that they will most likely discount heavily. Making the issue look like it was not popular. Meaning if I have dozens of Amazing Spider-man 1 issues for a dollar in our dollar bin a month after it comes due to over ordering to get variants there will be people who will figure it didn’t sell well. That it was unpopular. There will be those that paid cover price for the issue that will think,” Oh I should have waited. It wasn’t worth what was paid for it” And so forth.

Avengers. One Avenger title is great. Each issue of the weekly series outsells when there was a monthly Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and US Avengers combined here instore.

Marvel, in my eyes, is making steps in the right direction. I just hope after the relaunching of your various titles again this year it isn’t one step forward and two back.

DC’s Doomsday Clock. What the heck is going on? I have had to reorder the various issues multiple times. Second printings of the first issue have done well. Its monthly sales of past issues beats over half of the comics various publishers put out. It’s insane. Insanely good sales wise.

In talking with my customers, it has been suggested that Marvel is doing a no overprint or a very low overprint policy that is causing some of their titles to become hot on the secondary market.

I thought at the start of the year there were a lot of titles that were unavailable the day of new release. I figured with the comic market slowing down publishers were playing it safe by cutting back on overprinting. Somewhat like my thinking was originally for the start of the year. Why order a lot, if it is going to be slow?

Here is the top ten selling titles for February according to Diamond.

The Green colored dot means still available for order.

The Purple triangle means on backorder, not stocked.

The Red symbol means Out of stock, no back order.

That doesn’t mean that your local comic store doesn’t have them on hand. For instance, we still have copies of Dark Knight Rising: The Wild Hunt #1, Batman #40, Batman #41, The Walking Dead #176, Batman White Knight #5, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #300, Star Wars #43, and Infinity Countdown Prime #1.

Walking Dead #176 we would be out of but, a person that had three copies of it, pulled along with previous issues failed to pick them up and ignored our last attempt to contact them so I put them back on the shelf.

I along with many retailers wish we could get more Amazing Spider-Man #796 1st printings. That is one hot issue.

That is a lot of titles in the top ten not readily available,

Still seeing My Little Pony hanging in there. Not a knock against IDW. I just figure that some of the kids reading it might grow out of it. We have adults that pick it up also. I have never had anyone drop my Little Pony off of their pull lists.

The Simpsons, even after all these years kids still pick up Simpsons reading material. They may not make it in every month but, they still are interested when they make it in.

While Doomsday Clock is doing really well for DC their new titles and characters are not having the same luck. They are having some trouble in store. The Terrifics sold well and hopefully will keep selling for us. Damage, the Silencer, and Sideways had big drop-offs from their first to second issues here. Artist-focused comics do not seem to be the wave of the future.

Image, oh Image after all these years not much has changed instore sales wise. Walking Dead is still the best-selling Image title by far and away for us. Though not the majorly popular pulling in new people title it once was Walking Dead still has plenty of fans. Image seems perfectly fine pumping out new material that doesn’t last long. Which I wish wasn’t the case.

After being open for seven years I am still stunned at how little things have changed over the years. Marvel’s nonstop relaunches. DC still staying for the most part, in second place on the Diamond Sales charts. Free Comic Book Day is almost the same exact thing over the years. They did cap the number of titles for Free Comic Book Day years ago and that is a good thing. Though other than that does anyone even attempt to argue anymore that Free Comic Book Day brings in new readers? Blockbuster movies of comic characters coming out in movie theaters while the comics they are based on see hardly any sales improvement. The comic market seems to have become stagnant. Locked into a mindset that isn’t producing new readership.

Do I want to be negative? No, I do not. As I often say I sell fantasy but, I have to deal with reality. I am proud of my store. It is small piece of comfort for me. I get to deal with some great people. Made some new friends through the store even. The store is a place that tries to do some good. From getting kids into reading to at times when things are tough getting someone a job till they can recover. I love comic books and enjoy collecting them and hope to see the hobby stay around for many years to come.

(Last Updated March 17, 2018 7:28 am )

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