Demythify: SDCC 2015 Reveals Top 3 DC Comics Strategies For Sales Success! DC You Vs. All-New All-Different Marvel?!

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San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) International 2015 has now wrapped up. There were several bits of news from many publishers including DC Comics. Marvel Comics revealed most of their big news, including their main 45 new series under the All-New All-Different Marvel Comics branding, so their SDCC 2015 news was light this year, but did include their “missing” 15 titles.

I got a little bit of heat from readers over the weekend when I dampened concern over the widening margin between Marvel and DC Comics in sales in recent months. I qualified my comments by noting that we don’t have a pure super-hero universe vs. super-hero universe comparison anymore between both companies.

Marvel’s recent success has been attributed a few things:

  • Speculation surrounding its big Secret Wars events and how it leads into the “changed” or “rebooted” Marvel Comics under the All-New All-Different Marvel umbrella.
  • A fair number of shiny #1’s for Secret Wars mini-series.
  • Marvel also publishing Star Wars and Disney related comics, the Star Wars books in particular are doing amazing and in the Top 10 if not the Top 15 monthly.

I imagine if there was a pure Marvel super-hero comics vs. DC super-hero comics measurement somewhere the divide between wouldn’t be as great, but Marvel would still be on top.

Since its post Flashpoint launch of the DC New 52, DC Comics has narrowed the gap with Marvel in sales. Some months have been better than other, but DC has shown a commitment to supporting ongoing titles that click with readers and sell, about half of the “New 52”, and experiment with other titles. Marvel has taken a self-described TV “Seasons” approach where every year or two years every one of their ongoing titles get a brand new #1 to reignite fan interest. Different approaches, different outcomes.

Marvel remains a juggernaut in the industry. With Disney having bought Marvel, Star Wars and others properties, Marvel has a lot of intellectual property to maintain and produce. Plus the success of its movies has helped spur interest in related comics hence their expansion of comic series tied to characters related to Guardians of the Galaxy fore example.

So, how will DC Comics try to narrow the sales and market share gap with Marvel? While, I imagine DC Comics mantra is just to sell good comics, a lot of good comics, as part of the comics press the comparisons between Marvel and DC are inevitable. 🙂 Here’s the Top 3 we gleaned from DC Comics SDCC 2015 news:

  • (2) More diversified tones and genres for it comics – I found how DC Comics described / named its various core super-hero SDCC 2015 panels interesting:
    • New DC Universe – Mysteries in Space: Are You Ready?
    • New DC Universe – The Bad Guys: Are You Ready?
    • New DC Universe – The Lighter Side: Are You Ready?
    • New DC Universe – The Upstarts: Are You Ready?

    This fresh segmentation certainly has led to more interesting takes on characters and concepts by a mix of established and new comic book talent. I certainly have enjoyed Green Lantern: Lost Army and Batman: Beyond (Mysteries in Space) alongside Sinestro, Deathstroke and Suicide Squad (The Bad Guys) alongside We Are Robin (The Upstarts) at least story-wise if not the art. Humor comics aren’t my thing, but glad DC is trying it with books like the Dan Jurgens penned Bat-Mite (The Lighter Side).

    Other books I read were part of other more traditional DC Comics SDCC 2015 panels:

    • New DC Universe – Justice For all: Are You Ready?
    • New DC Universe – Superman: Are You Ready?
    • New DC Universe – Batman: Are You Ready?

    I was glad that Earth 2: Society, a fave read of mine for example, was included as part of the usual Justice League related panel above.

    I imagine DC Comic will continue to push the envelope with the first four cohort of genres / tones alongside established less-risk titles in the last three traditional ones involving the Justice League, Superman and Batman.

  • (1) More original graphic novels – I was blown away by how much DC Comics doubled if not tripled down on OGNs. Certainly the tpb and hardcover market is growing outside of traditional comic book stores and online. DC continues to collect its digital and traditional comics in those formats – like the mega-popular Injustice series based on the video game – but is now also generating original “straight to collected edition format” content too.

    SDCC 2015 saw a new OGN program released with the following:

    • Multiversity Too – with tales from the newly expanded multiverse. A new Elseworlds type genre, but in OGN format. Writer Grant Morrison not surprisingly with contribute some tales, but there will be other creators.
    • Batman: Black and White – a new OGN program written by Grant Morrison that was part of his Multiversity Too newser at SDCC 2015.
    • More Earth One OGNs – with the Flash and Aquaman announced and Wonder Woman – written by that Grant Morrison again – on the way.
    • Milestone Media – while there will be mini-series for Milestone comics, an element of the rollout plan are OGNs. No ongoings seems to be part of the plan.

I’m intrigued by this and hope that these efforts will translate into more sales or at least more eyes on its traditional comic books which are making a comeback outside of comic book shoppes in book stores and the corner stores.

I also imagine if DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. slated of DC Comics related movies do well that may spur sales in related DC Comics like the Marvel experience has shown.

These efforts will likely not knock Marvel off its perch as the dominate sales and market share publisher for the reasons I mentioned, but these effort by DC Comics should lead to more choice for fandom and a healthier bottom line too for the publisher.

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