Recently ICv2 caught up with Nick Barrucci the CEO of Dynamite Entertainment. In Part 1 of the interview, Barrucci talked about the state of comic and graphic novel markets, the loss of Borders, the decline in graphic novel sales, how Dynamite handles digital, and his estimate of the digital market in 3 years. In Part 2 he talks about the glut of trade paperbacks, the use of variant covers to spur sales, how Dynamite deals with creators’ rights, and plans for the white-hot Game of Thrones adaptation. In Part 3 the discussion shifts to other new Dynamite projects including one with Internet phenom Amanda Hocking, the launch of The Spider, and how he plans to capitalize on Disney’s The Lone Ranger movie.
Another property with a recent big media event is John Carter. What’s the status of your John Carter program?
We have ongoing litigation so I’ll limit my answer to what the public knows. Our program is doing great. Warlord of Mars (see "Warlord of Mars") is going to continue for years to come. We have an incredible program for it and our two main titles are doing extremely well--Warlord of Mars and Warlord of Mars DejahThoris--and we will have as many miniseries come out as we have stories to tell.
Another property of interest is Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland. What’s going on with that?
It’s coming together. We may not have announced this, but Tony Lee’s writing it. He’s already written through the second chapter and is working on the third chapter of the graphic novel and we’re going through artists right now (see "Dynamite in Deal With Internet Phenom").
You said at the announcement that you would have a stronger digital component for that. What are your plans for that?
This one will sell outside the comics market more so than most titles that we have. We’re not sure what the audience inside the comics market will be. Amanda has built her readership with digital sales, and I feel this one will sell more digitally in comparison to graphic novel sales and periodical sales than any other title we have because the millions of units she’s sold of her prose works have been e-books.
Are you doing anything different in terms of what you’re doing with digital?
No. We just expect it to be part of our business.
What else are you excited about for 2012 for Dynamite?
First and foremost The Spider (see "Dynamite to Publish 'The Spider'"), it’s in stores May 2nd and retailers absolutely under ordered it. Diamond has sold out already and we’re going to a second print. We’re happy and sad at the same time. We wished retailers would have ordered more and that we would have sold more, and yet we’re happy that there’s a sellout and there’s excitement for it. We are very excited about Prophecy. Prophecy is our first huge crossover (see "'Prophecy'—Dynamite’s First Crossover Event" and "Ron Marz on Dynamite's Prophecy"). The majority of retailers that I spoke with at the Diamond Seminars said that having a focused crossover was the best thing we could do. They were extremely supportive of the fact that we tried something different.
I did make the joke to each of these retailers: we did what you wanted. You say you want one event title, just one series, with no spin-offs, and one cover. We gave you everything you wanted and this is a situation where we’re absolutely giving you what you’ve said you asked and we’re doing no variants at all. If this doesn’t sell, I can’t believe you moving forward and we’ll just have to go back to the way we do standard business that we’ve done to date.
I would love nothing more than for this to be a runaway hit and to be a runaway hit as a focused crossover with one cover, giving the retailers and fans exactly what they were asking for. That will affect our business big time if it succeeds.
We’ve been really happy with Flash Gordon. We’re going to be launching the equivalent of The Defenders of the Earth crossover. We’re going to have the three main King Features characters. We’re expanding on the mythos, so we’re not going to call it that, but having the three main characters is definitely the way to go. We worked hand in hand with Top Cow to do a sequel to the Witchblade: Demon that we released nine years ago with Ande Parks (see "'Witchblade: Demon Reborn' #1").
Lone Ranger has been one of our most critically acclaimed books from the initial launch with Brett Mathews and John Cassiday. Ande Parks has picked up the ball and is running with it and has made it his own. We’re still getting critical acclaim for it.
Bittersweet is The Boys, which ends in November. Sad to see it go, but I’m happy that we’re able to end it on a high note. There’s nothing worse than having a series that has nothing else to say and meandering, kind of like the last year of Seinfeld wasn’t as strong as the previous years and we don’t want to have that. We want to leave it with the fans being excited. We finally put together all the pieces for Chaos! Comics to where we’ll be releasing Evil Ernie this year as well as other titles. We’ve got a few surprises with a few creators that we’ve never worked with before, which I think will excite the fans.
The Lone Ranger movie is slated to come out May 2013. Do you anticipate doing additional products to capitalize on the publicity when that comes out?
It’s better to have a limited amount of product that’s great than to try to create more product to catch up with a movie. We put out some really good Green Hornet books, but we put out too many at once. We still had nice sell through in the book stores and in the direct market, but I think that was lightning in a bottle. We were very fortunate. We put out too many periodicals, which left a bad taste in retailers’ mouths, as well as fans, and we learned from that mistake. As far as The Lone Ranger’s concerned, I’d rather have the seven solid trade paperbacks that we’re going to have for the movie than trying to put out more material, just to have 14 trade paperbacks out for the movie.
I’ll give you an example of how that worked well. When the Sin City movie came out, I believe there were only seven Sin City trade paperbacks and they sold beyond anybody’s expectation. Our goal is to have the seven trade paperbacks that we will have out in time for the movie and have those sell extremely well than try to inundate the market more than it needs to. The quality is more important than the quantity.
Anything else you want to share?
The most important thing that’s helped out business grow over the past few years has been the Diamond Retailer Summits and ComicsPro. It’s allowed us to meet with retailers face to face, to have longer discussions, and to get constructive criticism. We always want constructive criticism from our retailers. It helps us make decisions, and that’s the best way I see publishers and retailers grow together. And for that, we thank the retailers that support us and give us insight into the market.
Click here to go back to Part 1.
Click here to go back to Part 1.