Month: July 2011

The DC Comics New 52 Survey

The Man of Steel

Action Comics #1

Last month at All New Comics we conducted a little poll to find out what people thought of the 52 title relaunch of DC Comics.

The results were interesting, mostly expected, but contained a few surprises.

Our customers had some good comments too (which I’ll include in a separate post soon).

About 1/4 of our subscribers replied, and with 31 responses, we’ve got a nice little sampling of what you think.

68% of our members will be buying more DC Comics (at least for a little while), and 12% of All New Comics members say they will buy less DC Comics because of the change.

The Batman family of titles as a line are by far are the most popular, with Batman #1 being the most popular.

JLA #1 is the second most popular title, and Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1 is the third most popular.

Some of the surprises included:

Justice League Dark, Batgirl and Aquaman are all in the top 10. Batwoman is close behind at #11.

There are strong showings for Firestorm, Nightwing, Swamp Thing, and Animal Man.

There’s a little more interest in Legion Lost than there is in the regular Legion title (that was surprising to me as Legion Lost seems like a companion book to Legion rather than the other way around).

All Star Western has way more interest than I expected.

The top ten and bottom ten fleshed out pretty much as I expected (and I’d be surprised to see most of the bottom 10 around in a year), although there are a few shake ups (Batgirl, a title that has struggled in the past is top 10, suggesting that the decision to put Barbara Gordon back in the batsuit has a lot of interest, despite what you may read on the internets).

I’m excited about the stories that will get told in September, and I think this will be a nice shot in the arm for an industry that needs a good boost right about now.

For interest’s sakes, here’s the full list.  Any surprises you see in here?  Anything you expected to do better or worse?  Chat it up in the comments!

Rank Title Percent Votes
1 Batman #1 78.12% 25
2 Justice League #1 71.88% 23
3 Action Comics #1 59.38% 19
4 Batman And Robin #1 53.12% 17
5 Superman #1 53.12% 17
6 Green Lantern #1 53.12% 17
7 Batgirl #1 46.88% 15
8 Detective Comics #1 46.88% 15
9 Justice League Dark #1 46.88% 15
10 Aquaman #1 46.88% 15
11 Batwoman #1 43.75% 14
12 Batman: The Dark Knight #1 40.62% 13
13 Flash #1 37.50% 12
14 Fury Of Firestorm #1 37.50% 12
15 Green Lantern Corps #1 37.50% 12
16 Nightwing #1 34.38% 11
17 Swamp Thing #1 34.38% 11
18 Green Lanterns: New Guardians 34.38% 11
19 Animal Man #1 31.25% 10
20 Legion Lost #1 28.12% 9
21 Teen Titans #1 28.12% 9
22 All-Star Western #1 28.12% 9
23 Blue Beetle #1 28.12% 9
24 Wonder Woman #1 28.12% 9
25 Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 25.00% 8
26 Red Lanterns #1 25.00% 8
27 Birds Of Prey #1 21.88% 7
28 Legion of Superheroes #1 21.88% 7
29 Stormwatch #1 21.88% 7
30 Suicide Squad #1 21.88% 7
31 Justice League International #1 21.88% 7
32 Catwoman #1 18.75% 6
33 Supergirl #1 18.75% 6
34 Hawk And Dove #1 18.75% 6
35 Superboy #1 15.62% 5
36 Demon Knights #1 15.62% 5
37 Frankenstein: Agent Of SHADE #1 15.62% 5
38 Captain Atom #1 15.62% 5
39 I, Vampire #1 12.50% 4
40 Resurrection Man #1 12.50% 4
41 DC Universe Presents #1 12.50% 4
42 Static Shock #1 9.38% 3
43 Grifter #1 9.38% 3
44 OMAC #1 9.38% 3
45 Savage Hawkman #1 9.38% 3
46 Green Arrow #1 9.38% 3
47 Batwing #1 6.25% 2
48 Deathstroke #1 6.25% 2
49 Mr Terrific #1 6.25% 2
50 Sgt Rock And The Men Of War #1 6.25% 2
51 Voodoo #1 6.25% 2
52 Blackhawks #1 3.12% 1

What I’ve learned so far

I went through a really tough time about a year ago.  My buddy Ryan thought at the time I was having a mid life crisis.  He was probably right, but the problem was just as likely that I was moving out of my comfort zone of “doing” and into an area I was less comfortable with of “managing”.

At the time I had tons of experience the “how’s”, but not nearly as much experience with the “why’s”.

As I roll towards the big milestone of 40, I’m looking back and reflecting on my life.  This isn’t where I thought I’d be when I was 20, I thought I’d be either Michael Bay or Kevin Smith by now, but fate moved me in a different direction.

Now I’m a web guy, I’m in IT (I NEVER thought I’d be in an IT department).  I’m a Manager (capital M), telling rather than doing.  I’m a leader (lower case “l”), who rallies and motivates people.  I’m an entrepreneur, I started Canada’s Online Comics Superstore All New Comics (plug), opened and closed HeadsDown Internet Design, and I’m a partner in New Ninjas Inc..

Over the last year or two I’ve been compiling a massive post of what I like to call “What I’ve Learned So Far”.  This is a list of things that I’ve taken away from each job I’ve had, and stuff that has shaped me into the person I am today.

Netstar / TSN / TSN.ca (January 1997 – January 2000)

Pressure is good for the soul

I always hear people upset that dates are arbitrarily made.  I believe in deadlines and dates.  Trade Deadline is March 3rd.  The Draft is July 6th.  The Olympics are February 12th.  You cannot miss those deadlines.  That kind of pressure inspires you to work your hardest.

Get things done

We just did stuff.  We said we’d do it.  We worked together.  We got it done.  One of my favourite memories is of a micro-site that the sales guys had sold for Honda Power Tools.  Two of us built a 12 page site in 6 hours one night, from design and concept through populating content.

Get things right

Bloggers think that it’s most important to get it first, at TSN it was hammered into my head a billion times that it’s most important to get it right first.  In three years nobody will remember who broke that trade story, but they will remember when you got it wrong.

Be able to scale

When I arrived at TSN we had one single web box, it was even called Webbox.  It was an old Sun server, pretty tiny really, and it just served up our website…out of our building (right behind the security guys).  By the time I left (the first time), we had 14 custom Dell Opteron servers and we were serving up about five times the traffic we had in 1997.

Learn something new

I came into TSN knowing CSS and HTML,and that was it.  I learned how to program a batch job, how to create shell scripts, how to use UNIX.  I taught myself how video encoding worked, and became our best encoder of video, constantly tweaking and improving our video encoding and our ability to stream.  Meanwhile I spent time in the video editing booth, doing SportsDesk and Soccer Saturday shows, and some time in the graphics department learning how to use their sweet $50k O2 machines that built the graphics packages. I learned about business plans and business cases. In those three years at TSN I did a masters’ degree worth of learning, and got paid for the privilege.

Don’t be afraid of change

As we were rebuilding our website, going from an all flat HTML site to one that included things like “Server Side Includes”, and a “content management system”, Joe, our Tech Guy decided we should move to this funky new “ASP” platform by Microsoft.  I got on board and started building pages as quickly as I could.

Activate (January 2000- January 2001)

Work Hard

I only worked at Activate for a year, but I put in about two year’s worth of time there.  I did so much stuff that was cutting edge and at the far limits of what I was capable of.  I templated most of my work so that I could do more custom development, and took on anything they threw at me.  Sure I was crusty as all hell most days because of the never-ending torrent of work…but I was doing a LOT of good stuff.

Don’t be an idiot with your money

When I arrived at Activate, its parent company had a $4billion war chest.  I watched as they squandered millions of dollars on the most ridiculous of things.  Saw them burn through cash at an alarming rate, and witnessed stupidity like company events for twelve people that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.  All while we weren’t making enough money to cover our base costs.

A good network is the most important thing you will ever build

When I was laid off at Activate, I sent out an email to all of my contacts.  Five minutes later I got a call asking if I wanted to meet for lunch.  Over lunch I had a job offer.  The next day I started my new job at Alliance Atlantis.

Up Next: Alliance Atlantis, Centennial College, Bell Globe Media, All New Comics, Info-Tech, and New Ninjas Inc.

Why Day and Date Digital Doesn’t Matter to Comic Shops

Yes, his name is really Al

I met up with Pete yesterday, and he asked me what I thought about DC Comics’ decision to release comics digitally at the same time as the physical books are released.

I don’t think it will affect All New Comics’ sales at all for 3 primary reasons.

The price point is too high to matter
The markets are completely different
Digital is already day and date

The price point is too high to matter
We sell a $2.99 comic for a 20% discount, so $2.39.  DC is selling digital editions for $2.99 the first month and then $1.99 a month later.  I’ll wager that the cycle of digital will eventually resemble the retail cycle with 80% of sales happening in the first week.

That makes their product too expensive the first month, and then irrelevant the second month.

The markets are completely different
I asked Pete if he thought that DC selling subscriptions directly to customers in the back of every issue impacted us.  You can get a 12 month subscription to Batman for $20, or about $1.66 an issue.  

He asked me “Have you seen the condition those things arrive in?” – they usually end up rolled, dinged and dented.

Well digital doesn’t arrive in ANY condition, you can’t resell it, you can’t even lend it out.  It’s an entirely new market, one I kind of like.  This week I bought 5 issues of Firestorm (from the 80’s), and the first 10 issues of Perez’ Wonder Woman, for .99 each digitally because I wanted to read them, but I don’t want to deal with them later.  No need to bag, board, and store them, or find a home for the trades.  I also like the fact that I’m carrying those and about 20 other comics, 5 magazines and two dozen books in package about the size of two comics.

Digital is already day and date
Go to The Pirate Bay on any Wednesday, navigate to comics, and watch the listings roll in.  DC can combat this because their versions will be better quality (direct from the digital source), and since they have the pre-press files, they can release them Wednesday morning.

Really, digital is a different audience. It might be lapsed fans, maybe people like me who have no space, or just technophiles (also me), who have been transitioning all of their media to digital for the last decade