Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dark Horse and DC orders.

This is the second of probably 4 posts today detailing my monthly orders from the Diamond Catalog.

Beware of wonk.

First, I load up copies of the last two months worth of comic orders to compare.

One final note: I have a chance to increase or decrease my orders about 3 weeks in advance for the Premier publishers, but I try to make my initial orders as accurate as I can.



Owned by my former boss, (29 years ago) Mike Richardson and based out of Portland. I always give them a little more benefit of the doubt for those reasons.

They have some licensed product, like Star Wars and Aliens and such that I always order. They have pretty good quality on the other material, even if often seems pretty "mid-list" (viable, but not crucial material). If I have to order "mid-list" Dark Horse is as good a place as any...

I usually order at least one comic to put out for sale, beyond subscribers, which doesn't sound like much, but I can afford to do this with only a few publishers...

THE MASSIVE: This science fiction title is the kind of title I'll take a chance on: It's written by Brian Wood, who has a good track record. Order what is a large number for my store. Qualify for a variant. (Most of the comic publishers offer variant cover art if you meet certain thresholds. I don't don't order extra to qualify, usually, but always order the variant if I do qualify.)

FATAMA: Done by indy icons, Gilbert Hernandez and Peter Bagge, order minimal because, as great as they are, they don't seem to sell in my store.

MIND MGMT: An indy, take a chance.

DARK HORSE PRESENTS: I've been ordering extras of this anthology title, because they seem to sell if I leave them out...Great creators, but...well....anthologies are a tough sell. And I know all these stories will collected. (Of course, that's true of almost all titles, nowadays.)

BUFFY: Order.

BUFFY Trade paperback. One of those titles that I'll sell more of the book, than the comic.

ALABASTER #3. Haven't sold any of the first, do I keep going?

B.P.R.D. Have my steady subscribers.

BALTIMORE: Steady few subscribers.

RAGEMOOR: Richard Corben art. Order.

THE STRAIN: Guillermo del Toro's story. Order.

THE RIVEN: Horror graphic novel. The kind of thing I can order if anyone wants. Pass.

SAVAGE SWORD: Much as I love R.E.H., subscribers only.

CONAN: Usual.

CONAN trade paperbacks: Already have a ton of Conan T.P.'s, which sell slowly. Will wait for a requests.

STAR WARS Titles: Have a steady subscriber base for these, about mid-range, and I always order extra to put out.

ORCHID #8. This many issues in, anyone who wants it has shown me.

RESIDENT ALIEN: Again, haven't sold a copy of the first issue. Do I keep going?

EMPOWERED Hardcover: Have all these in paperback, which is already quite a commitment. Wait for a request.

RESET #3: Peter Bagge again. Again, I haven't sold a copy of the first issue.

Some licensed material: figures,, cups, patches, that I simply can't sell. Pass. Some manga, for which I've become very selective. Wait for requests.

(A word on requests -- I try to always order what people request. Even if they don't come back, it at least shows interest...)


One of the big two. Between Marvel and DC, they probably account for 2/3rds of comic sales. It is simply the way the market has panned out.

Marvel and DC are also the most predictable in sales -- I can usually check my subscription lists, order that much, and order a few extra for the hot titles, a couple extra for the slow titles.

The #1's are where we have to take chances, but even here, there is usually some track record of the characters or the type of comic.

DC's New 52 are subscribers, plus, and I usually adjust them during the Final Order Cutoff. The "FOC." And yes, everyone makes that joke.

This month, DC is offering us a series of comics they call "Before Watchmen" starring the characters in the original Watchmen series.

This has always been a stand alone landmark for comics; the great Alan Moore wrote it, and it has sold continuously ever since it was released. Moore isn't happy about DC taking his characters and world and spinning off. But DC owns the rights, and....well, even if I wanted to stand for "creator rights" there is no way I can skip this series.

Question is -- how much do I order? How good will they be? How much interest will there be?

So I'm going to order somewhere between the few I'd normally order of a new series, and the many of the New 52 I ordered. Enough to make some sales, but not enough to get killed if they don't sell.

This is the gamble with comics. We comic store owners are the ultimate purchasers -- we usually don't get to return unsold copies...

DC is offering us a chance to order 25% more comics beyond a certain level for consignment.
Unfortunately, that number is awfully high for my store. (In the end, I didn't go for it.)

I'm going to skip these Before Watchmen titles (4) until I do the rest of the DC comics, to see if how they fit into the budget.

Have come back to this post, because the cat has plunked herself down on top of my order forms, rendering them unavailable for the moment.

Anyway, DC is relatively easy to do, but time-consuming because of the sheer number of titles; the 52, plus graphic novels, plus Vertigo titles. The New 52 have definately settled into lower numbers, but they gave such a good initial boost, that even these numbers are relatively good.

The ability to return some of them, has been a real bonus. There are 5 new titles that qualify for consignment, and I'm ordering pretty big numbers.

LATER: O.K. made a mistake. I thought I was adding up retail and I was adding up wholesale, so it was way higher than I thought I was ordering. Had to go back and redo everything.

All because of new change they've made to the site. I can't check my individual publisher totals as I go along, as far as I can tell. There must be a way, but I haven't found it. Damn changes.

I'm going to post this, and take a break.

This is taking longer than usual.

1 comment:

Andy Z said...

Glad you're getting THE MASSIVE. The shorts in DHP have been intriguing...