Don’t Pee On My Leg and Tell Me It’s a Sale

I’ve spoken long and often about the downright trickery that is used when calculating comic book “sales.” The idea that 700,000 people bought Amazing Spider-Man #1 is downright laughable when you consider order requirements, variants, special promotions, customizable covers and so on. As well the idea of a “sell out” doesn’t hold water when you consider that most print runs are set based on subscriptions and pre-orders.

I had hoped that the news that Rocket Raccon had taken in an (alleged) 300,000 pre-orders without resorting to the usual deceptions meant that things might be on the upswing. Sadly, with the reveal that blind-box service Loot Crate had bought a good portion of those for their subscribers, I see that all we really have is a new form of numerical shenanigans.

Now, I have nothing against blind-box services like Loot Crate or Nerd Block ordering comics (custom/variant cover or otherwise) to give to their subscribers. In my mind, that’s just one more set of eyeballs to get a comic in front of and maybe to a store or online shop. My problem comes with counting these as “sales.”

Yes, I understand that they were sold through Diamond, so technically they can count. But first off, they are not being sold to consumers. They are being given away as part of a larger subscription with the portion of the money the box subscriber pays being nowhere near cover price once you break down everything in the box. Second, in ordering in such volume, I’m sure that Loot Crate and other services are getting these books at a cost of next to nothing.

So, in the end all these kinds of things are is free publicity for Marvel, which I do not begrudge them. I want the industry to do well, in fact I kind of depend on that, so promote away and lets get some comics in the hands of people that wouldn’t normally read them. But don’t call them “sales” and act like it’s 300,000 people who are clamoring for a book. Over half of those issues are going to people who yes, may enjoy them, but did not ask for them or (arguably) pay for them.

Finally, In a world where Batman sells in the 125,000 range,  it’s still pretty exciting that Rocket Raccoon is over 100,000 in spite of all this.

Today’s comic comes to us from the fires of Cliff Ruchards:

Cliff Richards entered the American Comic book market in 1999. He has worked with major publishers of the market as Dark Horse on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Indiana Jones, Scorpion King and more. For Marvel, he has worked on titles such as Rogue, Thunderbolts and many others. He served as artist on Crossgen’s Soujorn and Route 666 and for DC, Wonder Woman, Batman & Robin, Checkmate, Huntress: Year One, Hawkman, Nemesis, Katana, World’s finest and lots more!

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