Funnybook Babylon

September 5, 2007

FBBP #27 – This Comic Shop is Unicorn Accessible

Filed under: Podcasts — Joseph Mastantuono @ 6:31 pm

This Week!

We play, Save the Comics industry! (from who?), We pontificate about numbers a bit, and manage to do the IMPOSSIBLE!!!!

*spoiler alert*

We DON’T TALK ABOUT DC EDITORIAL! At least not directly. Well, sorta.

Jamaal: “Let’s assume for the sake of the argument that they’re reasonable people who actually want to sell their comics and that they’re really trying.”

Enjoy. Let us know what you think.


  1. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, I save them for work, but I want to know where Downcounting is! It’s the best feature on this site! Free Downcounting!

    Comment by Kenny — September 5, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  2. OK, since I complained about the lack of Downcounting before listening to the podcast, I suppose I should comment on the actual podcast now that I’ve listened to it.

    First, I have to say screw the direct market. It’s mostly comprised of people who just want to be cashiers and not in sales. So comics aren’t returnable…are Toyota or Ford letting dealers who over order return their cars? Are Sony or LG letting retail stores return the TVs they over ordered on? Instead of crying about how trades are hurting their back issues, comic stores shouldn’t even have back issues. They should be discounting the Hell out of their old merchandise to move it out before the trades come in just like any other business. Then they should try restructuring their stores to do a business in trades. Why is their so much adversity to letting people read trades in the store? If direct market stores would put out some couches and chairs and make store cleanliness a priority, they’d probably see more people come in. The trick is making the stores a destination and not a place a normal person is afraid of going into. Maybe even offer a discount program on the trades. The business is there but the direct market has to dig its head out of the sand and become a real business.

    The second point is about free comics on the web. Comics, as a whole, has to get over the phobia of people reading a comic for free. What the companies who can afford it should do is make available free and on-line all the issues that have been released so far for a comic arc. So, if a comic is in part 5 of a 6 part story, put the first 4 issues up for free and try selling the 5th. Will some people free ride and ultimately read the first 5 issues for free before buying the 6th? Yes, but the goal should *always* be to put all their resources into selling the most recent comic out.

    Anyway, I have more thoughts, but I don’t want to turn your comments section into my personal blog!

    Comment by Kenny — September 6, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  3. Putting comics up on the web for free can definitely work. I bought all 52 issues of 52 because DC put the first five up online.

    Comment by Kyle — September 6, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  4. Kenny,

    No publisher can really afford (or has the incentive) to say “screw the direct market”. The market provides (still) the bulk of the revenue for every publisher in the comic book market. Although the industry should continue to pursue all of the opportunities to diversify the outlets in which comics are sold, most forms of entertainment (with the notable exception of motion pictures), don’t have the benefit of retailers that are specifically designed to sell their product.

    In my mind, the real problem is that influential publishers aren’t exercising their power to change the way the DM operates (and there are a million reasons for that). From a publishers’ point of view, one of the benefits of large chain bookstores is that they are great at feeding a demand for a product that already exists. The problem is (which is a problem that the comic book industry could easily face) that the stores don’t give a shit about midlist product. They’ll stock it, but little else. So if you want to create a demand, you need to have a retailer that has some expertise in selling the specific product, and has the knowledge and credibility to convince consumers that its a worthwhile purchase.

    As far as the returnability issue goes, thats’ been a convention of the publishing industry for a long time, so its not insane for comic stores to have that concern.

    Comment by Jamaal — September 7, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

  5. Jamal,

    I just wanted to say I agree with the majority or what you said. The large publishers have to find someway for the midlist stuff and the indie stuff to exist. The life of the business isn’t in pushing 200,000 copies of Ultimates or Final Crisis or whatever, it’s finding 200,000 readers for Ant-Man, Blue Beetle, and indies like Oni’s entire line. The top list stuff will always sell, but to just focus on that is to cannibalize the market.

    As for returnability, these DM stores *have* to stop bitching about it. Car dealerships don’t have returnability, either, and yet they push the product out the door. The DM *has* to learn how to sell books somehow, someway.

    Comment by Kenny — September 11, 2007 @ 9:59 am

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