July is already off to a bang in the comic news world, but what does all this news mean in the shops? Luckily, we’ve got Chris Humphries, owner of Alpha Comics, to take us behind the scenes and give us the scoop! Without further ado, let’s dig into Shop Talk for July 6, 2012!
Aaron Long: The biggest news of the week is definitely Marvel relaunching a bunch of titles as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative in October. From your perspective, is this a good thing? Are you anticipating the jump on point after AvX will be able to draw in some new readers?
Chris Humphries: Something I hear often in the shop is that people are resistant to jump onto a Marvel title because they don’t feel that they would understand what’s going on. These people got on board with DC’s New 52 launch as well as many of the new Image Comics titles. I think the Marvel NOW comics will at least get people to check out Marvel Comics. If the comics are good it could have a long lasting effect for Marvel sales at Alpha Comics. I don’t foresee anyone here dropping Marvel Comics over the Marvel NOW launch.
AL: We’ll continue this month with a discussion about the cliffhanger in June’s issue of Batman. This issue made some pretty big waves in the media, what was the response to the issue in your store?
CH: Batman is a monster. My best selling ongoing series. I’m consistently increasing my order with each issue and reordering the previous issues. People responded extremely well to #10 and I can see Batman will continue the upward trend with the Joker story coming up.
AL: AvX act two is in full swing, switching up the status quo of the series heavily. With this being a 12 issue event, have you noticed a decrease in interest from readers? Is this long event, by comic standards, losing readers in your shop so far?
CH: Nobody has been dropping or losing intrest with AvX. It’s a regular thing to see people come into the shop and catch up on all the previous issues. When ever there is a new issue of AvX I know it will be a busy day.
AL: The most controversial books of the summer have been the Before Watchmen minis. With all the debate regarding creator rights and intellectual property, how have the sales been? Are new readers picking the books up solely on the strength of the source material/film?
CH: Before Watchmen is doing really well here. I’ve already had to place reorders for Minutemen and Comedian. Most people I see would say, “What controversy?” I’ve seen many stacks of comics come to the counter with all creator owned comics but also including a copy of the new Before Watchmen. The book has drawn a few new faces into the shop, mostly people only exposed to the film.
AL: Press is starting to come full force for The Dark Knight Rises. You noticed a bump in new faces with the release of the Avengers film, are you feeling a buzz starting to build around The Dark Knight Rises?
CH: Because of the success of the Batman comic, the whole store has gone bat-crazy. The upcoming movie is just adding to the overall excitement for the character. DC is doing a great job tieing in comics with the movie such as having “The Dark Knight Rises” Day on July 19th, a free Batman comic day promoting Earth One and the Snyder/Capullo run.
AL: The Batman: Earth One OGN came out this past Wednesday, had there been a lot of buzz in your shop for this? With the long wait time between volumes of Earth One and Season One OGNs, do you think these OGNs would be more successful as contained stories, or ongoing books?
CH: Batman: Earth One has been moving quick and I’ve already placed a reorder for more copies. Marvel’s Season One books have been duds. I feel that has a lot to do with the fact that the books are sealed to contain the free digital download code. Customers can’t flip through the book and neither can I. I can’t tell people my opinion of the Season One books, thus no excitement in the store for them. Marvel has had several free preview comics for Season One but they don’t seem to help. If there are long periods between book releases I’d say self contained stories would be better. No one likes to wait forever for an ongoing story.
AL: As always, I’m gonna make you speculate: biggest release of July?
CH: I think we will continue to see AvX and Batman take the top 3 sales spots. These comics aren’t slowing down and there is nothing else big enough that will knock them out. Walking Dead #100 being the only wild card that might wedge into the top 3.