Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Watchvark! Watchvark! Get 'em While They're Here!

Sean Michael Robinson:

Howdy folks!
Hilarious cover by Sandeep Atwal.

Just a quick note to remind you that Watchvark #1 hit stores (surprise!) last Wednesday, and we have every reason to believe it'll be a quick sell-out.

Why? Because the orders for its follow-up, Amazing Cerebus #1 are in, and they've increased by more than ten percent. For an ongoing title (even that, ahem, has a different title every month) this is usually the sign of a correction. That is, stores may be experiencing a 100 percent sell-through and thus upping their orders ever-so-slightly to compensate.

Or the "different one-shot every month" strategy is working and people really digs them some Spiderman parody.

I suppose we'll find out soon enough!

In the meanwhile, go find yourself a copy. Or twelve!

More Jaka's Story next week...


Paul Slade said...

No sign of Watchvark here in the UK, alas. I tried a couple of London comic shops today and also had a brief chat with Nottingham's Page 45. Best indication seems to be that Diamond may - or may not - condescend to sling a few copies our way next week. Sigh.

Carson Grubaugh said...

My LCS owner really liked the Watchvark cover. He mistakenly thought it was a variant cover for the current DC Watchmen event at first and when he realized it was the Cerebus book got a good laugh out of it.

Great timing on that one! probably a total accident too, given how far out these were made.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

I asked a while ago what these sales figures represented, and was kindly informed that they represent Diamond's orders. It's great that these issues are putting money in Dave's pocket to fund his real projects, but I would like to know how they are selling to readers. Can any comics-shop owners chime in?

-- Damian

Travis Pelkie said...

I'm not a comics shop owner, Damian, but they wouldn't up their orders to Diamond if the books weren't selling (and I doubt Diamond would order more from Dave out of the kindness of their hearts), so presumably this homage cover thing is working to some degree. I suspect there are enough collectors of homage covers to pique interest in these books even if people don't care about Cerebus.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Travis P.: Thanks for replying! Do we know that it is the stores ordering these copies? Diamond does seem to be quite supportive of Dave, and perhaps they're noticing that their supply is selling out, so they're ordering more to accommodate reorders or an anticipated increase in demand. It will take a bit of time to know what the upper limit of demand from readers is, especially given the lag between solicitation and retail sales. I know that at least one comics shop in my city has issues of CiH in their back-issue bins.

I didn't know collecting homage covers was a thing. Y'learn somethin' new every day, if yer lucky. I assume those people will be buying copies. I'd always rather see comics purchased by readers, but it's none of my business really what other people do with their copies.

But I am curious what the upper limit of audience demand is for Dave Sim, for Cerebus (or, if not full-strength Cerebus, then at least Cerebus by-products), and for the type of cut-and-paste comics of CiH. Wasn't Cerebus selling 37,500 copies at its height? Of course, that was back when Spider-Man was selling 300,000 copies ... I'm pleased to see the latest Cerebus Archive portfolio showed an uptick in sales.

-- Damian

Michael Grabowski said...

My LCS buys two copies of each issue, knowing he'll sell me one of them. I'll let you know when he decides to up his order by 50% or more.

Sean R said...

Hey Damian!

It's a bump in actual orders. Vendors (AV) can see the orders in real-time (or close to it) on the Diamond website. They're real! And as Travis says, retailers are smart, cash-strapped people. They order what they sell, for the most part.

BTW, this is the second time sales on CIH? have jumped, Batvark being the first issue to do so.

It can't hurt that the book gets funnier and funnier. IMHO this year's books contain some of the funniest stuff Dave has ever written. (Giant-Sized Jingles and Cerebus Woman probably being my favorites. Yeah, yeah, I probably shouldn't plug books that don't come out for a year, but... man o man... just wait.) The one-off covers provide an interesting focus, and the rhythm of the four-panel strip is a really different kind of comedy than, say, HS-era Dave's work. Makes me wonder what Dave's work would have been like if Beavers had really taken off, if he had, say, ended up competing against For Better or For Worse in syndicated semi-gag comics...

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Sean R.: Thanks for getting back to me!

> It's a bump in actual orders.

That answers one of my questions, then. Is Diamond ordering extra copies for reorders, to meet demand they see might be there but beyond what they have orders for from stores?

> retailers are smart, cash-strapped
> people. They order what they sell,
> for the most part.

Oh yeah, I agree. I didn't intend to impugn any retailers. But there's a lag between their orders and their sales, so we have yet only imperfect information. It's my impression that retailers can be profligate or conservative; they may over-order the latest hot book, and under-order something like CiH.

> this is the second time sales on
> CIH? have jumped

This is good news; I hope it's not the last time. Dave needs the money. It jibes with what I've thought: that stores are cautiously increasing their orders to meet the demand they're encountering (like Michael G.'s LCS), rather than ordering lots of copies to ensure they can meet whatever demand is out there.

So I'm pleased that CiH is selling through to individual customers. That answers part of my curiosity. I predict that CiH will encounter further bumps in sales, as retailers adjust their orders in light of experience.

I suggest that if those bumps are few, incremental, relatively close together (say, three to six months apart) that what is happening is that retailers are fulfilling the existing market for the work. If the bumps are larger and/or many, I think what we're seeing is that an audience of increasing size is being turned on to CiH.

-- Damian