Once again DC’s Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham took time out from their busy schedules to talk with ICv2 about the August sales numbers in the direct and bookstore channels, Barnes & Noble’s DC graphic novel promotion, and how DC plans to replace the sales generated by the Before Watchmen miniseries.
Congratulations on the August numbers, you topped Marvel for the second month in a row?
Bob Wayne: We like the August numbers, we liked them a lot. We also liked ICv2’s coverage of the bookstore sales in August and how well DC’s titles performed there (see "'Dark Knight Rises' Drives August Bookstore GN Sales").
Speaking of those bookstore sales, other publishers have indicated to us that sales of their graphic novels are down somewhat in the bookstore channel so far in 2012, what about DC? Are your sales in that channel up or down versus 2011?
Bob Wayne: Well I would have to say that overall that is not the case with us. Especially in the past few months with the release of the "New 52" collections and the impact of The Dark Knight Rises we are pleased with the way things are going in the bookstores.
Can you tell me about the "Buy 2, get 1 free" DC graphic novel promotion at the Barnes & Noble chain? Was that something Banres & Noble is doing on its own?
John Cunningham: We worked together on that.
Are there any special promotional allowances associated with that program?
John Cunningham: Anything that you do along the lines of a promotion like that involves some sort of allowances or incentives for the retailer.
Any feedback yet on how the program is proceeding?
Bob Wayne: It is still early stages, but they appear to be really pleased with the way that it is going.
Once again in August you had two Before Watchmen titles in the top ten. Since these are limited miniseries, what do you have planned to fill the sales void after they are done?
Wayne: Well most of those books are either four issues or six issues, so they will be running until the first part of next year. We will be doing collected editions starting in 2013 and so it’s not so much replacing them as we will be working with those assets to reach additional readers. We do have other things that we are planning to roll out in 2013 that we are not ready to announce beyond the stuff that’s kind of gotten out already about what we are doing with the Justice League titles, but we have a lot of other things that we are working on as well. I think that we will be able to make up for the Before Watchmen books, but those have been some very interesting books and they have performed as well as we expected in periodical form, and we really think that the big upside is in collected editions, the format where so many people came to Watchmen originally.
Do you have any plans for publishing any more new Watchmen stories?
Wayne: There is no plan to do so right now. We are looking forward to the conclusion of all these series and seeing how they all weave together and see what everybody’s opinion is of the whole thing when they see it all together as a whole organic story.
Cunningham: Just to amplify Bob’s point, for Watchmen in 2013, it’s all about the collected editions part of it, and I think that is an important point to reinforce because this is what we said a year ago when we went out and put out the "New 52," that this was a two-step process. We were planning to relaunch our periodical line last September, and then starting in May of the next year the collections would come out. This was always part of the plan, to have the comics come out first and then the graphic novel collections in 2013. We feel that like the original Watchmen, the Before Watchmen stories will have the chance to reach a far greater audience once they have been collected into the trade paperback format, and we think the graphic novel editions will sell very well in both the direct and bookstore markets. We also are planning additional editorial initiatives for 2013.
Let me put on my fanboy hat and ask if you can confirm the rumors that Scott Snyder will be working on a Superman: Man of Steel comic in 2013 to take advantage of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie?
Wayne: I certainly won’t confirm that, but I will say that it is reasonable to assume that given the release of Man of Steel next summer, we will come up with a publishing program that will both augment and take advantage of that opportunity.
Cunningham: I think that (a Scott Snyder Superman series) would be great. I’d read that.