Saturday, February 28, 2004

A clever plan. 

So the Pulse decides to put up some numbers on sales, per issue, of all the top titles for Marvel and DC, as well as some prominent indies.

Some interesting statistics there, and a fair amount of insight into how the Big Two operate. Aquaman #15 sells out at 24,000 issues, which is just about the number of issues Elektra sells, and that title is getting cancelled.

Also, look at those JLA/Avengers numbers. There truly are 180,000 fanboy fetishists out there. I admit, I've nabbed all three issues -- not out of any particular love for either team, or the writer, or the artist... I just kinda wanted to see Batman kick ass in two worlds, instead of just one. The quality of the story spiked in #2 and really went down the shitter fast in #3. I'll probably end up finishing off the series out of a sense of duty more than anything else. Is that a horrible thing? I'm undecided.

Punisher Max has a leg up on its previous MK imprint, and that warms my pulsing, black, corrupted heart like you wouldn't believe. If you're not a Garth Ennis fan, ask yourself: why does God let people like me continue to exist? We're only three issues in. Go get those three. You don't need to have read anything else to enjoy the Max series.

Runaways doesn't make the kinds of numbers that it should. Have you been buying the issues? No? Well get your ass out there and start picking them up. I realize the book is targeted at adolescents and you can definitely feel that, while reading some of the dialogue. However, Brian K. Vaughan knows how to pace a story and keep things interesting, if nothing else. I want this man to do well. Support him. Or, remember? I'm John Constantine. Don't fuck with me.

The funniest part is how The Ultimates is under "Skip Months." It's not actually a skip month book. It's supposed to be a monthly. A lot of people have given Millar and Hitch a lot of shit about putting out such a tardy book, especially one that does such amazing, consistent numbers. I'm a fan of Millar the writer (as opposed to Millar the man), but even I have to wonder what the hell these two are so busy doing elsewhere that they can't put out a quality title like Ultimates a bit more regularly.

Then again... consider this: Let's say you're a fan of a quality TV show, and for the sake of argument it's The Sopranos. Now. The show comes on once a week, for many weeks straight, until the season's out. So while you may feel a compulsion to watch each episode the Sunday night it premieres, it is not an absolute goddamn necessity to life that you have your ass on that couch at 9pm/8pm CST. You can always watch one of the repeats throughout the week, or at the very very least, the next episode is only one week away and it explains what you missed from the last time.

But, let's say the programmers at HBO catch a spontaneous burst of complete insanity. Now, the Sopranos only comes on once every two months. It becomes an Event. You're a big fan, so by this point you're chomping at the bit from the last episode, and you wouldn't miss this new one for anything in the world. You gotta get your fix in, since it's so rare that it comes around.

See what I'm getting at? Could be Marvel ensures a steady fan base for The Ultimates by drawing out the anticipation from issue to issue for as long as they possibly can. Or it's not so much a proactive thing as something they realize while tapping their fingers on their desks, waiting for the new script to show up: "Hey, maybe this isn't such a bad way to keep everyone loyal." It's just one theory, but look at those numbers. For all the kvetching on the internet about Millar's tardiness, that book still sells 100,000+ every issue.

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