It feels like just yesterday that we were telling you how Matt Kindt had the biggest creator-owned launch of his career thanks to Folklords #1 with artist Matt Smith. And then we were the first to tell you that the series was another hit series from Boom Studios, selling out two weeks before its November 13th on-sale date, like the company's other hit 2019 series – Something is Killing The Children, Once & Future and Faithless– and like Marvel's big Absolute Carnage and Hickman X-Books.
This is likely of much comfort to Boom founder & CEO Ross Richie, who's been competing with Image Comics' top dog Eric Stephenson in a Marvel vs DC-ish feud for the creator-owned comics publisher crown by launching books into the newly-christened 50K Club, though I suspect Eric has over 83,000 reasons why he feels secure as the industry leader.
However, I understand there's some big unreported news on the Boom Studios front:
I just signed a contract to do a BOOM! book and apparently it sold out already??
— Chip Zdarsky (@zdarsky) October 30, 2019
No, not a new Boom series from Sex Criminals' Chip Zdarsky, though I should look into that…
It looks like Folkords #1 has sold out of its second printing quite quickly – in part due to the same speculator interest that has driven much of the multiple printing interest in the aforementioned hit series – and one can expect BOOM! Studios to announce a third printing quite soon.
After all, they've never found a hit series they won't keep printing, even if they promise it's the final printing. But this does make me – and presumably many of you – wonder how this keeps happening to Boom.
On one hand, we know that Boom itself has acknowledged their challenges with gauging the demand, forcing Boom Studios President Filip Sablik to issue an apology, though I'm guessing he'd prefer "explanation." I've heard that Boom has been more aggressively overprinting issues of their big launches and then subsequent few issues, but it looks like that number is still off despite the percentage increasing in their equation. Luckily it looks like they haven't been allocating as many new printings since their apology, so progress is being made.
Looking at the other side of it, Boom is also reacting to orders from retailers – so it may well be that comic shops are underestimating the demand from their customers for these new series. Ordering comics is a difficult job and there's no exact science, but it's clear that Boom and Image are the industry leaders in creator-owned comics – and with the former offering returnability on the first three issues of each of their new series launches, they've made it a bit easier for comic shops to order higher with limited risk. Though retailers are of course quick to point out that they still need available cash to stock up returnable titles.
The culpability likely lies in both categories – Boom could stand to get even more aggressive on their first printings, no matter how much they may love the headlines generated by multiple printings. But comic shops are facing a unique challenge and opportunity in Boom, who have seen Folklords, Once & Future, Something is Killing The Children and Faithless all rival the biggest Image comics series launches in 2019 – outside of Image's Undiscovered Country – and continually sell out before they hit stores, so it's clear that current FOC order levels aren't cutting it.
It'll be very telling to see how both Boom and comic shops react to Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert's The Red Mother #1, which Boom has clearly positioned as their next major launch. Will this series from two proven Image hitmakers – think The Realm and Regression – follow suit with Boom's other books, 50K Club or otherwise, by selling out weeks before on-sale?