If you’ve hit the comic book news sites lately, you’ve probably heard rumblings about something called Rebirth. A quick explanation: DC will be supposedly relaunching their line-up in June with brand new first issues. Over at The Comics Beat, I elaborate on the potential shape of things to come, and what DC should do if they are aiming for a relaunch.
I’m more than a little afraid that DC’s big Rebirth announcement will be born more from a place of panic than laying the foundations down for a better tomorrow. The confirmation of twice-monthly shipping is a bit of a tip off for that. While I can’t argue with the financial boon having Batman shipping twice a month would provide, I can argue that doing so does more long-term harm than it provides short-term gain. All one has to do is take a look at Marvel’s current publishing line to see the effects of this publishing practice. While having your flagship Avengers title ship twice a month ensures a certain sales level that books like, say Vision won’t ever hope to hit in a million years, it also softens the highs that a book like Avengers can have. People are often more shy about taking a chance on a book that will cost them $8 a month (or $11.20 Canadian) to keep up with, which shaves down the audience. In addition to that, retailers are a little more gun-shy about ordering above and beyond for books that routinely circumvent the Final Order Cut-Off process. Currently, if a book ships monthly, you’ll usually have at least 4-11 days worth of sales data before you have to finalize your numbers for the next issue. Shipping twice a month means that orders for issue #3 will be due around the time numbers for issue #1 are finally rolling in – and armed with zero sales information for issue #2, most retailers will play it safe and keep things tight on the shelf. So yes, sales would be fairly stable, but there would be no chance to grab new readers, which is what DC so desperately needs to do at this point.
There’s quite a bit more where that came from, and you can head off to the full article for more, including a tidbit or two about how the Canadian dollar is affecting things as well.