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Author Topic: Superman Comics: Pre-Crisis outsells Post-Crisis!  (Read 5738 times)
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Gangbuster
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« on: August 04, 2005, 11:01:53 PM »

In another thread, people were discussing the upcoming movie, the All-Star Superman comic series, and how much of a market for classic Superman stuff there actually is. I decided to look up some data myself:

Amazon.com sales ranks for books: (these are in graphic novel format)

Supreme: The Story of the Year:  #20,678

Tales of the Bizarro World:  #25,549

Superman in the Sixties: #40,235

Superman vs. the Flash:  #40,842

Crisis on Multiple Earths, vol. I: #60,568

World's Finest Comics Archives: #139,442

Man of Tomorrow Archives: # 166,892 ($50 hardcover book)
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Compare with the sales ranks of the most talked-about post-1986 Superman stories:

For Tomorrow: #65,633

Superman/Batman: Supergirl: #72,611

The Death of Superman (Jurgens, etc.)  #75,239

Man of Steel, Vol. 1 (John Byrne) #116,264

The Wedding and Beyond #235,097

Superman: Transformed! #259,150

The Death of Clark Kent: #481,720


I think fanboys who want to complain about Smallville or the new Superman movie have less of a case than they realize.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 11:48:00 PM »

Heh heh heh.

I have never been impressed by the usual litany of problems touted with the Modern Age: 1) crass gimmicry (variable covers, "event" comics) and 2) the high price of comics.

I have an opposing view: comics are not selling as well because they're just not as good. The high price of comics is only a problem because you aren't getting what you paid for; you're not made to feel like what you purchased in worth the money.
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2005, 12:37:25 AM »

heh, Those numbers are not surprising since the bookstore crowd is different than the comic book shop crowd. Most people rather read the classic, true version. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about the iron age crowd.
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2005, 01:22:27 AM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
heh, Those numbers are not surprising since the bookstore crowd is different than the comic book shop crowd. Most people rather read the classic, true version. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about the iron age crowd.


The long-term sales success of classic Superman stuff, month after month, through Diamond (including DC-Direct toys, etc) and independant booksellers and chains also puts the post-Crisis to shame.  (ie, the comic book shop crowd is not a total tasteless Iron Age-loving indifferentiated mass  --there are a lot of manga, independant, and art/adult comics fans among them.  And a lot of classic Superman fans.)
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2005, 02:43:59 AM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
The long-term sales success of classic Superman stuff, month after month, through Diamond (including DC-Direct toys, etc) and independant booksellers and chains also puts the post-Crisis to shame.  (ie, the comic book shop crowd is not a total tasteless Iron Age-loving indifferentiated mass  --there are a lot of manga, independant, and art/adult comics fans among them.  And a lot of classic Superman fans.)


I didn't explain myself clear enough, sorry if you misunderstood.

I was refering to Superman comic shop vs Bookstore fans in general. Bookstore readers tend to be less fanatical and more casual. As a result, bookstore fans tend to want to get the comics that reflect the version of Superman that they grew up with and remember, aka the classic true Superman.

Comic shops are still great places to get classic back issues Smiley
But, you still need to be a pretty big fan to want to do that.
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2005, 03:44:44 PM »

I agree that a lot of classic Superman fans (ie, you or me) approach most comic shops with trepidation, and that dividing fans into "bookstore" and "comicbook store" is a workable idea, but somebody has to be buying the  classic Superman reprints and toys in comic book shops as well.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2005, 05:41:14 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
comics are not selling as well because they're just not as good


That's about the size of it.
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2005, 01:51:32 AM »

It would be interesting to see how much of DC's sales are attributable to bookstores as opposed to direct sales shops.  Bookstores, and Amazon, are simply more accessible (and welcoming) to a general audience than direct sales shops, which lets face it you have to go out of your way to track down and shop in (what a dumb model, really...who ever says, "I want milk...I'll be across town at the milk store").

I think pre-Crisis Supes appeals to a wider audience demographically, and that's why he sells better in general-purpose bookstores (as opposed to narrowly focused direct sales shops with their extremely narrowly defined clientele).  This is stuff with a long shelf life (some of it's almost 70 years old already!) and a fairly timeless appeal.  Conversely, the focus at direct sales shops is on "what's new THIS WEEK". Collectors of the monthlies want the latest adventures the minute they hit the stands...next week will not do, and if possible they'd like to read a summary three months ahead of time in "Previews!"  These are books that thrive on gimmicks and earth-shattering "Events" because they are supremely ephemeral...they are hugely "important" the week they come out, but two months down the road they don't mean anything to anyone.

It's kind of like movies.  There's always a few summer blockbusters that people must see the first weekend, just to talk about it the following Monday at the office watercooler.  But beyond that cultural moment, they have no resonance. Then there are the other movies, most of them released 20 years ago or more I might add, that hang on forever as iconic favorites.  Think about it, how many films from the last 5 years can you recite whole scenes of dialog from?  Not many I bet.  But I bet you can recite some from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," or the original "Star Wars" trilogy, or even "Casablanca".

It would be interesting to check back in another 20 years and see how many comics published in the last 5 years are still being reprinted and sold in collected form.  Not many, I bet.  But somewhere, someone will always be reading Silver and Golden Age Superman, I guarantee it.
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