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  1. #1

    Default Why does Marvel cancel titles that are still in the 20,000 range while DC keeps them?

    I must admit the business side of comics fascinates me. Is it the overhead for Marvel as opposed to DC? For that matter why is it a danger zone for DC at 15,000 when other publishers would love to have that type of sales. My thinking is that both companies are still making money at these sales volumes but feel they can make more if they cancel and start a new series that will possibly sell more. The only problem with that idea is DC and Marvel do at times take chances on titles knowing they wont sell that great. So my other idea is although they know some series wont sell they still have writers and artist that wish to tell a story and they let them do it hoping for a diamond in the rough. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Member Blackfist's Avatar
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    I suppose their constant double shipping doesn't justify their sales
    Marvel:Scarlet Spider, Young Avengers, Revolutionary War
    DC:Wonder Woman, Injustice, Sandman Overture
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  3. #3
    Spider-man/DCU Moderator ShaggyB's Avatar
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    my guess would be operational costs are higher. They do put out more comics a month.

  4. #4
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Overhead, basically. Smaller companies have less staff and less infrastructure than the Big Two. (Also, not in New York, where property values and taxes are through the roof.) A company like Image, for example, basically serves as a clearing house for most of its books-- there's a small administrative fee, but basically, creators will recieve the lion's share of any monies on the back end. The jeopardy there, however, is that you may end up with a book that sells nothing, in which case you recoup nothing.

    DC, historically, has been more willing to give books a chance to develop. Critical acclaim and eventual sales of collected editions are often factored into whether a book will continue or not. Jonah Hex, for example, sold around 10,000 monthly in the US, but had a large European following in collected editions because of Jordi Bernet. This has also been a major factor for Vertigo books, where collected editions, in many cases, outsell monthly issues by a wide margin. However, since the New 52, the axe has fallen a lot sooner on books once they reached that cut-off point.

  5. #5
    Elder Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by insideguy View Post
    I must admit the business side of comics fascinates me. Is it the overhead for Marvel as opposed to DC? For that matter why is it a danger zone for DC at 15,000 when other publishers would love to have that type of sales. My thinking is that both companies are still making money at these sales volumes but feel they can make more if they cancel and start a new series that will possibly sell more. The only problem with that idea is DC and Marvel do at times take chances on titles knowing they wont sell that great. So my other idea is although they know some series wont sell they still have writers and artist that wish to tell a story and they let them do it hoping for a diamond in the rough. Any ideas?
    Also, don't judge DC and Marvel by what other companies are happy with. DC and Marvel probably have more staff and may in general pay more to many of their employees than independents, so they may need to bring in more sales than independents to justify some titles.
    Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  6. #6
    Hooked on a Feeling
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    Quote Originally Posted by insideguy View Post
    I must admit the business side of comics fascinates me. Is it the overhead for Marvel as opposed to DC? For that matter why is it a danger zone for DC at 15,000 when other publishers would love to have that type of sales. My thinking is that both companies are still making money at these sales volumes but feel they can make more if they cancel and start a new series that will possibly sell more. The only problem with that idea is DC and Marvel do at times take chances on titles knowing they wont sell that great. So my other idea is although they know some series wont sell they still have writers and artist that wish to tell a story and they let them do it hoping for a diamond in the rough. Any ideas?
    http://i.imgur.com/ujePbkq.gif

    GEE INSIDEGUY

    LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE TITLES DC KEEPS
    Vibe. I'll give you that one, but I guarantee it's a goner since Justice League of Canada's Vibe doesn't have a ring to it.
    Katana. Same with Vibe.
    Mr.Terrific.
    GI-Combat.
    Resurrection Man.
    Voodoo.(i forgot that one even existed)
    I, Vampire. Which was a pretty damn good book. Until DC cancelled it, lawl.
    Justice League International.
    Men O' War.
    Blackhawks.
    Hellblazer, which was freaking amazing and sold like slaves until the New 52 scared everyone away from Constantine.
    Savage Hawkman.
    Death Stroke, IIRC. That one's a goner, right?

    I think I've listed all of 'em.

    Also, I'm disheartened over the losses of Morbius cuz' I wanted to read it. Venom as well. I wanted to jump on board it. But there's other fish in the sea my cousin, thrice removed, used to say.

    EDIT-Wait, never mind. I was thinking of reddit.
    Last edited by SpycrabKiller; 08-31-2013 at 01:18 AM.

  7. #7

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    I know what titles DC canceled. I am speaking of titles like All Star and Stormwatch and Batwing. If they were marvel titles they would have been gone last year. Now they may be gone next year but DC tends to hang on a bit longer. Hell I think if I vampire sold 20k a month they would have kept it. My question simply why does marvel cancel a title like Venom? Its not a bad seller. The idea of overhead for both companies make sense to me in a way. But not totally since they have to know vibe and katana wont sell. So I do think they give a little leeway in some areas just for some diversity.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpycrabKiller View Post
    http://i.imgur.com/ujePbkq.gif

    GEE INSIDEGUY

    LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE TITLES DC KEEPS
    Vibe. I'll give you that one, but I guarantee it's a goner since Justice League of Canada's Vibe doesn't have a ring to it.
    Katana. Same with Vibe.
    Mr.Terrific.
    GI-Combat.
    Resurrection Man.
    Voodoo.(i forgot that one even existed)
    I, Vampire. Which was a pretty damn good book. Until DC cancelled it, lawl.
    Justice League International.
    Men O' War.
    Blackhawks.
    Hellblazer, which was freaking amazing and sold like slaves until the New 52 scared everyone away from Constantine.
    Savage Hawkman.
    Death Stroke, IIRC. That one's a goner, right?

    I think I've listed all of 'em.

    Also, I'm disheartened over the losses of Morbius cuz' I wanted to read it. Venom as well. I wanted to jump on board it. But there's other fish in the sea my cousin, thrice removed, used to say.

    Also, how do I know you aren't just another /co/mrade trying to bait others?

    It's not working, man. I've started a bunch of threads on this before.
    Oh and not sure what you mean by /co/mrade trying to bait others. Bait others for what?

  9. #9
    Veteran Member glennsim's Avatar
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    FWIW, I also think some creators have different rates, so a book where they are paying less for the writing and artwork might hang in there longer with lower sales.

    Also, editorial simply often has their own ideas about whether things might improve for a given book, based on fan reaction, and give it more of a chance.

    I've also heard them say that some books "do not meet expectations" which means that there are some books that they expect to do better than others. If they don't do what they think it should, they may pull it and bring it back later.

    Finally, to some degree, DC is theoretically still trying to keep around 52 books, and therefore they can't cancel too many books at one time unless they have other books on deck to take their place.
    The DC relaunch was successful and was executed in what was most likely the best way it could given restrictions we wouldn't know about. No, your idea wouldn't have worked. Now move on.

  10. #10
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by insideguy View Post
    I know what titles DC canceled. I am speaking of titles like All Star and Stormwatch and Batwing. If they were marvel titles they would have been gone last year. Now they may be gone next year but DC tends to hang on a bit longer. Hell I think if I vampire sold 20k a month they would have kept it. My question simply why does marvel cancel a title like Venom? Its not a bad seller. The idea of overhead for both companies make sense to me in a way. But not totally since they have to know vibe and katana wont sell. So I do think they give a little leeway in some areas just for some diversity.
    In general, I'd say that all companies go into a project expecting to attain a certain level of performance. They don't necessarily expect a book like Vibe or Katana to sell through the roof like a core Batman book will, but they do expect it to find some fan base that keeps at a level where it is still profitable. Things like page rates and royalties factor into this as well, although I have to suspect that only people who are hitting numbers for royalties are Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, maybe Greg Pak, and their respective artists. All books are not created equally, and they certainly don't cost the same to make. To bring it to Marvel, I believe that Axel Alonso semi-recently made the statement that each book now has its own budget, and the cut-off number is not quite as set in stone as it used to be. I would assume that, say, MAtt Fraction is making a greater page rate on Fantastic Four than he is on Hawkeye, even though Hawkeye is the far superior book. Likewise, I suspect that Charles Soule may recieve a higher rate for Superman/Wonder Woman than for Swamp Thing.

    There is some naiveity/extreme optimism in the system. Basically, the idea is that if a concept is strong and the craft is strong, people will find it. However, in this market, that's rarely the case, as you can see in a book like Dial H, which was excellent on a craft level, featured a well-known sci-fi writer, yet still failed to find an audience.

    Personally, I'm more worried when they get to the point where they don't take chances on marginal books.
    Last edited by FanboyStranger; 08-30-2013 at 06:45 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    In general, I'd say that all companies go into a project expecting to attain a certain level of performance. They don't necessarily expect a book like Vibe or Katana to sell through the roof like a core Batman book will, but they do expect it to find some fan base that keeps at a level where it is still profitable. Things like page rates and royalties factor into this as well, although I have to suspect that only people who are hitting numbers for royalties are Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, maybe Greg Pak, and their respective artists. All books are not created equally, and they certainly don't cost the same to make. To bring it to Marvel, I believe that Axel Alonso semi-recently made the statement that each book now has its own budget, and the cut-off number is not quite as set in stone as it used to be. I would assume that, say, MAtt Fraction is making a greater page rate on Fantastic Four than he is on Hawkeye, even though Hawkeye is the far superior book. Likewise, I suspect that Charles Soule may recieve a higher rate for Superman/Wonder Woman than for Swamp Thing.

    There is some naiveity/extreme optimism in the system. Basically, the idea is that if a concept is strong and the craft is strong, people will find it. However, in this market, that's rarely the case, as you can see in a book like Dial H, which was excellent on a craft level, featured a well-known sci-fi writer, yet still failed to find an audience.

    Personally, I'm more worried when they get to the point where they don't take chances on marginal books.
    Interesting. I would love to talk to one of these guys from one of these companies about this stuff. Inside baseball stuff fascinates me:)

  12. #12
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    It is interesting, but it's also played close to the vest. I'm sure there's a discussion about page rates and such amongst professionals, but you won't see it discussed with fans. (And quite frankly, I can't imagine a situation where any pro in his/her right mind would want to discuss it with fans. Doubly so for company management.) You will see some of the inner workings discussed in broad and generally vague terms, and it's not difficult to extrapolate from there.

    The other factor that hasn't been brought up is exclusive contracts. Basically, a company has a creator signing a contract stipulating a certain amount of work for a certain amount of time in exchange for the creator exclusively working for the publisher. That also brings other factors like health insurance into play, which is not something you're dealing with at a smaller publisher. Exclusive contracts are starting to fall by the wayside these days, but they've played a large part in the Big Two's business models over the last decade.

    So, as you can see, it's not exactly a cut and dry thing with a book's profitabilty. There's a lot of factors that we generally don't think about.

  13. #13
    Senior Member protege's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpycrabKiller View Post
    http://i.imgur.com/ujePbkq.gif

    GEE INSIDEGUY

    LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE TITLES DC KEEPS
    Vibe. I'll give you that one, but I guarantee it's a goner since Justice League of Canada's Vibe doesn't have a ring to it.
    Katana. Same with Vibe.
    Mr.Terrific.
    GI-Combat.
    Resurrection Man.
    Voodoo.(i forgot that one even existed)
    I, Vampire. Which was a pretty damn good book. Until DC cancelled it, lawl.
    Justice League International.
    Men O' War.
    Blackhawks.
    Hellblazer, which was freaking amazing and sold like slaves until the New 52 scared everyone away from Constantine.
    Savage Hawkman.
    Death Stroke, IIRC. That one's a goner, right?

    I think I've listed all of 'em.

    Also, I'm disheartened over the losses of Morbius cuz' I wanted to read it. Venom as well. I wanted to jump on board it. But there's other fish in the sea my cousin, thrice removed, used to say.

    Also, how do I know you aren't just another /co/mrade trying to bait others?

    It's not working, man. I've started a bunch of threads on this before.
    you don't think "Vibe" can stand on it's own? Stop laughing!

  14. #14
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    One more thing that occured to me is that certain books basically exist just to be "placeholders". What this means is that the sales for the book aren't necessarily as important as just having the book published for whatever reason. For example, every few years Marvel will put out a Captain Marvel book in order to hold on to the trademark/copyright (?-- I always get the two confused) of the Captain Marvel name. That prevents DC from putting out a book with Captain Marvel as its title, which is why you see Shazam: The New Adventures, The Power of Shazam, The Trials of Shazam, etc. Pre-Miller, Daredevil was like that: basically, Marvel would throw any writer they had available onto the book just to keep it on the stands, thereby blocking another publisher from having a Daredevil book, even though the original Golden Age Daredevil is in public domain. (See Dynamite's Project Superheroes for the latest on that.)

    I don't think there's a lot of that legal wrangling going on these days, but I do think the placeholder book is still around as an end-around to keep market share and shelf space. That's one of the reasons there's always going to be 52 books running at DC at the moment, even if the market doesn't seem interested in all those 52 books-- 52 books means less space for other publishers' product. It's basically the idea behind double-shipping, too.

  15. #15
    Hooked on a Feeling
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    Quote Originally Posted by protege View Post
    you don't think "Vibe" can stand on it's own? Stop laughing!
    I don't know if you're serious.

    Lemme put it straight-Vibes a good book. But the only reason it exists is to set up Trinity War. When JLC rolls around, with the rate it's sales are at, it's a goner.

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