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  1. #1
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    Default CBR: Pipeline - Jun 22, 2010

    News of Humanoids canceling two series due to low sales and promising smaller sized collections pushes Augie to point to more things wrong with the Direct Market today and how Humanoids might help to fix them.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    New Member paxton's Avatar
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    I enjoyed cap reborn I thought it was good but the new Steve ROGERS mini is a follow up to Reborn I think,well anyway here is something I wanted to say FIRST

  3. #3
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    Augie .... come on ..... this is getting old mate , bashing the direct market retailers week in week out . "Those retailers deserve to have their businesses die." and what would happen to the comic buying customers from those shops ? They don't want your digital comics so they have to leave comics do they ?
    This little ' Experiment ' of Humanoids will fail , they won't sell more printed copies after releasing a series of digital versions. Direct Market retailers that i know personally have stated that no matter how much they push great books from indy publishers , most customers won't touch it .... because its not from the mainstream publishers ( just like movies .... indy films or art house does not sell like studio fare - no matter how bad the 'blockbuster' film may be )

    I dare you to walk into a room of Retailers and spout this bulls**t you push week in week out , face to face .... i bet you wouldn't walk out ... you would need a ambulance .

    Get off your arse and go and lead a digital revoloution if you want , don't just sit on the side sniping at retailers ... those people have families to provide for and staff in the same boat and are just trying to make a living . They know what sells in their market and what won't .

    "Could it be that the Direct Market might be saved by digital comics?"

    I doubt it !!!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddy B View Post
    Augie .... come on ..... this is getting old mate , bashing the direct market retailers week in week out . "Those retailers deserve to have their businesses die." and what would happen to the comic buying customers from those shops ? They don't want your digital comics so they have to leave comics do they ?
    This little ' Experiment ' of Humanoids will fail , they won't sell more printed copies after releasing a series of digital versions. Direct Market retailers that i know personally have stated that no matter how much they push great books from indy publishers , most customers won't touch it .... because its not from the mainstream publishers ( just like movies .... indy films or art house does not sell like studio fare - no matter how bad the 'blockbuster' film may be )

    I dare you to walk into a room of Retailers and spout this bulls**t you push week in week out , face to face .... i bet you wouldn't walk out ... you would need a ambulance .

    Get off your arse and go and lead a digital revoloution if you want , don't just sit on the side sniping at retailers ... those people have families to provide for and staff in the same boat and are just trying to make a living . They know what sells in their market and what won't .

    "Could it be that the Direct Market might be saved by digital comics?"

    I doubt it !!!
    Evidence (which Augie cited) runs counter to you.

    What gets REAL old is the dogmatic naysayers, citing tradition and little else. No sense of distribution. No sense of business. No sense of marketing. No sense of audience segmentation.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    Just wanted to second Augie's thoughts about digital comics...You are my new hero Augie.

  6. #6
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    If Humanoids saves the direct market I will be shocked since I have never heard of it.

    Here is an example of why some retailers stay away from indie/small print/non traditional comics. My local retailer who I am pretty good friends with and will talk a little shop with bought 200 issues each of Blackest Night 1 - 8. He sold like 60 of each one plus the variants that came with ordering 200 (the variants and rare ones exploded at the 200 mark). He actually made a killing on these (in comic book world, not big business world) and he is now selling 1 - 8 as a set for 16 bucks, and lets them go at shows for 10 bucks. Pure profit.

    He was ordering Atomic Robo and Neozic for me and another guy heard me talking about it and got hooked. He then ordered 3 or 4 of each and they all sold. So he ordered Abyss as well to support an up and coming comic and got 3 of each issue. And lost money. He tries almost every new image title and many of them are sitting on his shelf losing money.

    He is a small shop and almost all of his clients stick to the Big 2 plus a few of the bigger Dark Horse/Image publishing.

    It is sad because I rarely hit his shop anymore because I am done with the big two for the most part, but I know ordering for my tastes would lose him money in the long run.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augie De Blieck Jr.
    Even worse, retailers love those books with bigger price tags. It means higher profits for them per sale. Those $3.99 books are more retailer friendly than those $2.99, after all. But they're telling Humanoids that the traditional European album format is death to sales?
    I think you kind of glossed over the part where, in order for books with bigger price tags to result in bigger sales, there have to be enough people willing to buy them, enough to make up for the lost sales from the greater number of regular format books the oversized ones will be displacing on the shelves. That's hardly a given, esp. when it basically means less room for the tried-and-true favorites that people come to expect, in the hopes of selling them something they aren't familiar with, which is a dicey proposition with comics fans under ideal circumstance. It is, undoubtedly, even more of a challenge in a down economy.

  8. #8
    Sock-puppet-socker Kolymar's Avatar
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    The running of a comic book shop is a complex issue with many variables but I agree with Augie in general. The rejection of Humanoids original format because of a difficulty in shelving sounds a bit silly to me. The Humanoids library should be enjoyed as it was originally conceived. I'm not sure if digital comics can save the direct market but I think there's a great potential market untapped ready to be explored and it could really help.
    "Corruptus In Extremis"

    “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges

    "Omne animal triste est post coitum"

  9. #9
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalorama View Post
    I think you kind of glossed over the part where, in order for books with bigger price tags to result in bigger sales, there have to be enough people willing to buy them, enough to make up for the lost sales from the greater number of regular format books the oversized ones will be displacing on the shelves.
    That much I agree with. Any retailer who can't manage to put a larger format book on a shelf is to thick to run a business, but the fact is the higher price of those larger format books might drive away sales.

    Personally I'm a big fan of the DC/Humanoids books that were smaller than the European albums, but still much wider than a standard DC comic and actually had 100-150 pages for a decent price. There's no way I'd consider spending £13 on a 70 page book (like the Cities of the Fantastic volume I just plucked at random). This is also the reason I've never read Hipflask. £17.66 for 48 pages is just silly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddy B View Post
    I dare you to walk into a room of Retailers and spout this bulls**t you push week in week out , face to face .... i bet you wouldn't walk out ... you would need a ambulance .

    Toddy.... I hate to say it (actually that's a lie.. I enjoy saying it) but you sound like a 12 year old.



    Quote Originally Posted by Toddy B View Post
    "Those retailers deserve to have their businesses die." and what would happen to the comic buying customers from those shops ? They don't want your digital comics so they have to leave comics do they ?
    Augie's comment about some business should just die is perfectly reasonable in the context that it's used.

    if a retailer honestly doesn't know how to shelve a larger than normal item they really are too thick to be in business. yes, some of these Humanoid's releases are quite large and in cases are significantly larger than the Omnibus HC that Marvel puts out, or the Absolute edition DC put out (to give 2 prominent examples from the 2 major mainstream publishers).

    If you've ever worked in any sort of retail environment (even just night-fill at a supermarket) you'd know that there are many ways to display items to get them to sell. Hell, just because the standard beer can in Australia is 375mL it doesn't mean that any bottleshop owner with half a brain would refuse to stock Guinness (or Kilkenny) because it comes in a taller 440mL can. They just shelve it in a different spot, or a different way.

    The Comic shop I buy all my stuff from has changed it's layout several times over the years to improve sales and ease of shopping / ease of stocking for customers and employee's.

    Retailers that want to do the same thing year in year out are a problem (in any industry).

    It's not 20 years experience if you're just doing the same thing... that's one years experience repeated 19 times.

    Augie's comment isn't directed at all retailers; the problem is with retailers that seem to be missing either common sense or business sense (or in some sad cases both).

  11. #11

    Default wrong to blame the direct market

    Augie, once again, I think you wrong and way off base) on blaming the Direct Market retailers on this (no surprise there). Once again, WE get the bull for the failure of this product but none of the glory for the successes.

    You've shopped at my store, you know the type of stuff I carry and how I experiment with product. I went very lite on the Humanoids stuff because it was basically a case of "been there, done that". You may not have liked the format of the DC Humanoids books but regardless, YOU KNOW they sat unsold on my shelf until I cleared them out at huge discounted prices (and I've still got some left). I tried this material in other formats as well. No matter how much you and I may like it the plain truth is, other than a few, select items, this stuff doesn't sell to an American audience in numbers that justify carrying the product or taking the risk.

    There's only so much money to take a risk with, there's only so much shelf space available, and believe it or not I do have a rough budget to adhere to each ordering cycle. If you must blame someone, blame the major publishers, who put out so much material -- material that is relatively less risky to carry.

    I will agree with you that digital is the best way for Humaniods to get this out, but this shouldn't be a blame the retailers issue. I'D like to see this available to the relatively few people who want it. And I think digital is the perfect place for it and the perfect way to perhaps build demand.

    But blaming retailers in this is plain and simple stupid. And I know you're not a stupid guy. We're the ones taking the risks. Not you. Other then your retailer purchases (much of which you do via Amazon and other on-line sources) it's not your living at risk, not your investment, not your money on the line. It's mine, and other direct market retailer, cash at risk.

    When you're willing to take the chance, let me know. When you're ready to take the risk and spend your money, let's see how much of a risk you're willing to take.

    It's time to stop blaming the direct market (something is not without it's flaws) but begin to start really understanding (and not pay lip service) the demands on our time and money.

    Sorry pal, but your one sided view of us evil retailers is starting to really anger me....

    Dan Veltre
    Dewey's Comic City
    Madison, NJ

  12. #12
    Comic Book Retailer Comcman's Avatar
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    Default A Retailer's Point of View

    I really don't think the size of the books had anything to do with low orders. What did was a new company (yes, I know they have been around for a while, but not doing monthly books here) suddenly showing up with, what 3 or 4 new titles. What are they going to look like? Are they going to ship on any sort of regular schedule? I am not familiar with any of the creators. I had zero people mention the books, to say they wanted to purchase or even see them.

    So based on all of that, how should I have ordered the books? At X-Men levels? No. I ordered cautiously, similar to where I order new Image titles. I was very much looking forward to them. I always like the idea of something new, not retreads of the same old stuff. But I also have to order with my wallet. If no one is interested, I now have a bunch of books I can't move. We buy non-returnable, so I have to be cautious.

    Here are the solicits for the 1st issue of each title:

    UNFABULOUS FIVE #1 GREASERS O/T BLACK LAGOON
    "(W/A) Jerry Frissen The Unfabulous Five, masked heroes inspired by their love of Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling), team up to protect their Los Angeles neighborhood. The Unfab Five go to Manhattan Beach to find a missing teammate. Will they find Diablo Loco before succumbing to the distractions of beautiful bikini-clad babes in the California sunshine?"

    Sorry, but Lucha Libre doesn't have a big audience here in Pittsburgh. At least not that I am aware of. And wasn't there a Lucha Libre book from Image that was oversized and never finished? I don't think I sold more than a copy each of that one.

    BOUNCER #1 ONE ARMED GUNSLINGER
    "(W) Alexandro Jodorwsky (A) Francois Boucq Alexandro Jodorowsky (director of El Topo) and master illustrator Boucq expand their unforgiving portrayal of the Western genre with beautiful vistas, rugged outlaws, and a bit of the ultraviolence as the one-armed Bouncer finds he cannot escape a world of murder and revenge."

    I don't see a reason to order more of this that I do of, say, Jonah Hex.

    WHISPERS IN WALLS #1 (OF 6)
    "(W) David Munoz (A) Tirso A gothic tale of horror from David Muñoz (co-writer of Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone film). Czechoslovakia. 1949. What evil lurks within the walls of an ancient children's infirmary? A young girl named Sarah hopes that by discovering this secret she will unravel the mystery of her parents' murder."

    Could be interesting. Ordered at the level where many of the IDW horror books sell.

    And, yes, I am sure many many retailers completely passed on these books. None of the scream "Broad Appeal". What I would have liked to see was for them to come out with one issue first, throwing their best foot forward and then soliciting the other titles. Or maybe throwing a preview copy or sample out to each retailer through Diamond. They are new and basically an unknown commodity. Let me see the product. As it stands right now, I have to finalize my order for issue #3 on all of their titles by Tuesday and I still haven't seen a thing from them. And these orders are non-cancellable (by us) and non-returnable if they are stinkers.

    I am sorry that you feel that all retailers should go out of business because they didn't order truckloads of these books, but I think some of the responsibility falls on the publishers as well. They can't just put a listing in Previews and expect the orders to come rolling in. Show me your product. Show me why I need to order it. Get review copies out there to sites like this. Have customers coming in asking about it. I can't create buzz on something I have never seen. And something that I am not sure will ever come out. I don't get excited about Previews listings. Far too many of them never show up, especially from companies with no track record.

    That's just my 2 cents worth.

  13. #13

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    Looks like DC's the one doing the real first d & d release try with Generation Lost. I'll be really curious to see how it goes.

  14. #14
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    Y'know, speaking as a store which did order all of Humanoids line -- at levels equal to or higher than 77 other titles from "Premier" publishers -- I have to suggest that the failure of these to gain traction is almost certainly due to the fact, as far as I can tell, the sum total of Humanoids publicity and promotion for these books was their catalog listing in PREVIEWS.

    It is pretty difficult to get people to be interested in things -- especially different than what they're used to -- if you don't bother to tell them that those things exist in the first place.

    It is the publisher's responsibility to promote their wares.

    -B

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hibbs View Post

    It is the publisher's responsibility to promote their wares.

    -B
    That's a good point. But then you need to consider who the publisher is selling to. Is the publisher selling to retailers (as the Direct Market is run) or is the publisher selling to the end consumer?

    If a Publisher wants to claim that a title has sold out in order to justify pumping out umpteen different variant 2nd printing covers a person needs to wonder whether they've sold out at the distributer/supplier level or at the retail level.

    By listing their products in previews Humanoids is advertising their product to retailers (and any consumers who get previews to determing what they want to request from their retailer).

    Marvel may take attitude that the direct market system (and by extension comic book retailers) are more like partners; that it's a more symbiotic relationship and therefore one that needs to be protected or catered to. If that is true then (for the sake of this example) Marvel's market is comic book retailers; it's to them that they must advertise and appeal in order to make their products seem like items that can be sold onto the end consumer at a profit (so the end reader of a comic isn't really a concern to marvel, whereas over all sales figures are).

    It is true... it is hard to get people interested in new things (a truism in most industries) but it is a retailers responsibility to gauge and predict what they can expect to sell; if you don't think you'll ever sell Humanoids products: don't stock them (only get them in for customer's as a special order). if a new product is coming out which you expect could sell well with your regular clientele (or would draw in new customers) GO FOR IT!!!
    A signing by a local artist or writer can draw in a very different crowd to what you may expect (no I don't expect all retailers to run events or special nights or things of that sort.. but it is an opportunity for promotion.
    You might never sell any extra products if you don't try, but by putting an effort into non-aggressive companion selling you'd be surprised by what you can end up selling.


    I apologise to any retailers who fell I'm telling them how to run their store (I'm only telling them how to do their job)

    Seriously though; it's amazing how far some simple customer service and selling skills (or salesmanship) can go.

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