o Jeffrey Renaud talks to J. Michael Straczynski at Comic Book Resources. The interview addresses DC's continued failure to capitalize on Straczynski's name recognition.
Fresh off the Hollywood film Changeling and the commercial success of Marvel's Thor series, we recall, Straczynski's been writing the low-selling The Brave and the Bold for DC, without much of an impact so far, in terms of the sales figures. He's hoping to change that next year, evidently:
It was kind of crazy making when people would say, "Why is JMS doing Brave and the Bold instead of writing a book for one of the Big Three characters?," when I was, it was just classified. But it was a nice balance. In The Brave and The Bold, I've been able to do pretty much whatever I wanted, and it is right in the middle sales wise, so there's no pressure on it. The rest of the time, I get to write for Superman—though I've told DC that by the end of 2010, The Brave and The Bold will be somewhere in the top 20 or 30 books. They look at me like I'm nuts, but I have a plan. It'll be slow and gradual, but we'll get there. Marvel had the same reaction when I said I'd get Thor into the Top 10, so we'll see.
Well, Thor stars one of Marvel's A-list characters, and it also had the benefit of a big-name artist and a long absence prior to the relaunch.
If DC relaunches The Brave and the Bold with high-profile promotion and Straczynski as the head of a new, higher-profile creative team telling higher-profile stories—basically what they should have done from the get-go—then Straczynski's plan doesn't sound so outlandish.
Without any of that, though, I have some trouble seeing much potential for improvement in the book's numbers.
o Also at Comic Book Resources, there's the second part of Renaud's interview with Grant Morrison, this time focusing on Morrison's Batman-related work.
The piece suggests that the previously mentioned Frazer Irving and Frank Quitely arcs of Batman and Robin are still planned to happen, and that Morrison himself will stay on for more than 16 issues.
o From the "missed it" pile: DMZ and Northlanders writer Brian Wood talked about collection sales at his Standard Attrition message board a few weeks back:
Aug 4th: Northlanders Vol 2 is released, with direct market orders of: 4,287 copies.
Sep 30th: My royalty sheet is tallied up and the total sales for the book as of that date is: 9,073 copies.
Which would seem to be quite a bit more than the Diamond estimates.
However, Wood's statement is problematic for a couple of reasons.
First up, according to Diamond, Northlanders, Vol. 2 was not released August 4, but July 29—which is significant, because the publically available Diamond figures pertain to a given calendar month. Consequently, a book released in the first week of the month (like the week of August 4) has a lot more time to accumulate sales than a book released in the last week of the month (like the week of July 29).
Second, the 4,287-unit figure Wood cites comes neither from ICv2.com, whose estimate is 4,117, nor from John Mayo, whose estimate is 4,114. Since Wood gives no source for this number, that means it's either a typo or an actual figure from DC Comics. If it's the latter, we wouldn't know what to compare it with, since the accounting period relevant to the number Wood got from DC doesn't have to be identical with the accounting period of the Diamond charts.
With all that in mind, let's add up the Diamond figures for July, August and September to get the total direct-market orders for Northlanders, Vol. 2 in the period that's relevant for Wood's tallied-up royalty statement. In terms of ICv2.com's estimates, the book sold 4,117 units in July, 575 units in August and 464 units in September.
That makes an estimated total of 5,156 units in the North American direct market from July through September for Northlanders, Vol. 2, versus Wood's cited overall sales of 9,073.
Which, in turn, suggests that there were sales in the neighborhood of 4,000 copies in the book market during that period, compared to sales in the neighborhood of 5,000 copies in the direct market.
This supports what Wood says further on in the thread:
I know what the bookstore market order numbers were, but I said I wouldn't put them online. I will say they are indeed significant, and suggest a possible new trend for all my books. With each new release, the gap between the two [markets] gets smaller and smaller, often to within a few hundred copies.
Although, the [direct market] is still king when it comes to reorders over time.
It's nigh-impossible to draw any precise conclusions from this, due to the problematic dates and figures in Wood's statements and the limited compatibility with any of the publically available systematic figures, of course.
But the question of bookstore trends—for Wood's books, as well as for the rest of the market—will be one to keep in mind until the 2009 Bookscan sales for comics will inevitably leak in a few months.
o Now up: A review of Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon's highly acclaimed The Winter Men.