The Skylanders comics being published by IDW Publishing (see "'Skylanders' Comic Series and Micro Fun Packs") will have a "high six-figure" distribution for the first issue in all its forms, which will make it the bestselling comic release this fall, CEO Ted Adams told ICv2. "It will be our single biggest launch ever," Adams said. The IDW release is timed to coincide with the new Skylanders Trap Team video game launch in early October.
"Skylanders is… a franchise in and of itself bigger than the entire comics market," Adams said. "It’s a multi-billion dollar franchise. It’s interesting to think about that one videogame [with figures] in the form of Skylanders can generate more revenue than our entire industry. It puts things in perspective."
"Nobody’s going to talk about it because the numbers aren’t reported (these are not direct market sales), but the Skylanders comic book is going to have, without any question, the biggest distribution for that season," Adams said. "It will easily be the best selling comic book in October."
Toys ‘R Us will sell an exclusive set of Skylanders Micro Fun Packs, which will contain an exclusive "Trap" that can be used in the Skylanders game. That range will be sold in the video game department, right next to the new game. "It’s a giant number," Adams said of the Toys R Us order.
GameStop will also carry a set of Skylanders Micro Fun Packs, at the register.
Adams elaborated on the development of the Fun Pack product, with which IDW is seeing great success. "Our Fun Pack product was designed initially to be sold at mass," Adams told us. "We were trying to figure out a way to get comics into the mass market outside of the book section. If you go to a Target or a Walmart, my belief is that the book store part of those stores is not a great place to sell comics. They don’t fit well in the racks. It gets buried with all the other content there. We wanted to create content that could fit in a different part of the store, so that’s why it’s designed to look like a trading card packet. It’s bigger than a trading card but it’s designed to be in the front of the store as opposed to the back of the store where the books are being sold. And that’s worked for us.
"To make that work there had to be a collectible aspect to it, so there’s the comic book portion of the Micro Comic Fun Pack and there’s the collectible aspect in the form of the stickers sheets, tattoos or posters. We did a Turtles one that had some sewer caps that are cardboard punch-outs that the kids can play with--like oversized POGs. For Skylanders for Toys ‘R Us we have the toys that are actually part of the videogame. And we’ve had great success."
"We started with My Little Pony for holiday season last year (see "'My Little Pony Micro Fun Packs'"), and then we had a second My Little Pony that came out second quarter this year. We had a Transformers Fun Pack that came out to coincide with the release of the movie and a Turtles one that will coincide with the release of that movie (see "'TMNT Micro Comic Fun Packs'").
"We’re doing bigger sales in the form of Fun Packs than the numbers I see of the bestselling comics in the direct market but it doesn’t get reported. Diamond does a really good job of letting the world know about their Top 300."
"I have interactions with mostly dads, who me that their daughters are into My Little Pony so they’ll bring home the comic in our Fun Pack or even the regular sized comics, and they’ll be so excited about it that they’ll want their dad to read it to them. We’re talking about 5-, 6-, 7-year-old kids who may not be at a reading level to read those books themselves, but they’ll want their parent to read to them. It’s been a really rewarding thing for me to have people come up and consistently have that conversation. 'My kid wants me to read comics to them.' What I love about that is, for those of us who are a little older, that’s how we got into comics. We read comics as kids then stayed with it for decades. So this is that opportunity to introduce comics to literally a new generation and new demographic with girls."
"I think that growing our business we can’t just do books that are of interest to the 30- and 40-year-old people. We’ve got to have content that spans demographics... If we can get kids into comics via our Fun Packs and grow them as not just comics readers, but readers in general. It’s a really satisfying thing."
And a trade paperback release is also coming. "In the book channel we’ve been pre-selling, of course," Adams said. "The numbers there are really big." That includes an order from Scholastic Book Fairs, which has agreed to field the product.
Formats Key in Reaching New Audiences
Posted by ICv2 on August 10, 2014 @ 8:56 am CT