Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett talks about the store where Strawberry Shortcake is outselling Wolverine.
I'm on record as being a big proponent of comic book shops selling more kids comics, though I do understand why they're not likely big sellers in most shops. But I still believe every comic book shop in America should at the very least have a small cross section of comics intended for kids on their shelves. Because on the short-list of things I have learned from twenty plus years in retail is that inevitably kids will come into your store. And having something that appeals to them that their parents can approve of is just good business.
Plus while it definitely remains a small niche, a couple of Archies here, a few Simpsons there can really add up over the course of a year. And unlike most comic books, which are effectively dead once they leave the new comics shelves, kids comics can frequently have a surprising second life in the back issue bins.
I also like to say that I’m surprised by almost nothing these days, but last week I got a note from Super-Fly Comics & Games owner Tony Barry that did. Apparently Ape Entertainment's Strawberry Shortcake comic was outselling Marvel's Wolverine. I can't give you the exact numbers but at the moment Strawberry Shortcake is selling about 80% more copies than Wolverine. And while virtually all of the copies of Wolverine sold are from our store subscriber list none of the Strawberry Shortcakes sold came from the pull list. They were bought off the shelf by either adult women who were buying them out of nostalgia, parents looking to indoctrinate their children in something from their childhood, or both.
Of course I'm not saying that this will happen in anybody else's store. All I know is it couldn't have happened if we hadn't been carrying Strawberry Shortcake in the first place. I know it's not very likely but I'd be curious to hear if any other stores have had similar sales trends; given the number of publishers that are now doing licensed kids comics I've got to assume that someone somewhere is actually buying them.*
All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes, an eight issue miniseries by Paul Jenkins and Carmine Di Giandomenico, has been cancelled with the current issue, #5. Even though it seems to have been lost in the deluge of the various Captain America comics all evidence suggests the cancellation was due not so much to poor sales as the fact that its editor, Alejandro Arbona, was recently let go by Marvel.
As previously established (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--What I'll Miss This Year") All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes was one of my favorite current comics. this was due in large part to Jenkins' use of some really obscure (by which I mean so obscure than even I, Golden Age comic book know-it-all, had to go look some of them up online) Marvel/Timely characters. But also because he had the unmitigated guts to try to rehabilitate one of the most toxic racist stereotypes in comic book history, Slow-Motion Jones, sidekick to The Whizzer.
The series was as good as it was strange and deserves a better fate than for the story to go unfinished. According to The Bleeding Cool website, Jenkins has finished the rest of the scripts and Giandomenico has done the art for #6, #7 and part of #8, so it's still possible that it’ll be concluded in some form (digital, trade paperback, etc.). I certainly hope so.
* I find there are now so many that I literally can't keep up with them; I didn't know that Ape Entertainment was doing a Puss In Boots comic book until I looked up Strawberry Shortcake (which, thanks to my old childhood friend dyslexia, I kept typing as "Starberry") on their website. Given its usual popularity among grown men I imagine it's only a matter of time until we see a comic book version of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by ICv2 on October 26, 2011 @ 12:20 am CT
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