Tuesday, August 13, 2013

These Guys Couldn't Sell Cereal

Not that I would ever give unsolicited advice to a comic book company, but right now I think DC needs a little advice.

After all, the clusterfrak that is the "3D" covers for September's "Villains Month" issues shows that they don't have a firm grasp on what they're doing.

If you're not familiar, a brief summary: DC is essentially "canceling" all of it's regular titles for September, replacing them with one-shots starring DC villains. These titles would costs 33% more, because all would come with a "3D" cover, which was reportedly so expensive that DC would be losing money on every copy sold, even at $3.99! (Because that's how capitalism works, I guess--lose money by selling special product to lure readers in, but make it all titles that will never ever appear again, so you lost money luring customers in to a product that you can't ever sell more of to them later at a profit...?!?)

Due to the cost issue, DC told retailers there would be no re-orders, and they would have to commit to their orders earlier than usual, so they had better order more heavily than usual.

Then, last Friday, they said "guess what, most of you you will get a very small percentage of the 3D titles you ordered, you'll get 2D covers (at $2.99) to make up that shortfall, oh, and you have less than 48 hours to adjust your final order numbers. Have a nice day."

Many a retailer is not happy about that, with some reporting that they're only getting 10% of what they ordered on some titles; customers who expected to get 3D covers are going to be out of luck; and single copies of some 3D cover issues are already going for over $20 on Ebay, more than a month before they're released.

It's hard to say exactly what DC expected to gain by not publishing any of their regular characters, losing money on every issue, pissing off retailers and loyal readers with shortfalls, and feeding a ridiculous speculators market. Maybe the Jim Lee influence is leading them to try and recreate the wonderful market conditions of the mid-1990s...

Anyway, let me point out how DC should have handled this, with the help of a 1950s cereal promo:

More specifically:

Free--at no extra cost!! Seriously, if you're OK losing money on each issue, why not go whole hog and keep things normal price?

I can point out that, in my youth, every summer Frosted Flakes and other cereals would have a free "3D" baseball card in every box. Granted that's not as big as a full comic cover, but I'll also posit that a heckuva lot more boxes of cereal were sold with these than DC would have sold Villains Month issues. And Kelloggs didn't raise the price, or limit quantities.

If you're going to run a loss-leader, RUN A LOSS-LEADER.

No human outside DC officials have actually seen the actual 3D covers yet, but DiDio and Lee have promised they're amazing and unlike anything we've seen.

I call bullcrap. They're going to be bloody "lenticular" covers, the type of "3D" art that has been around since, as the ad shows us, at least 1950. You move the image, you get the illusion of movement and depth. This is worth all the kerfluffle?

See? Make enough that everyone can get them all...no extra money, no waiting...is that too tough a concept?

16 is better than 52. There's no law that says every single title had to have a 3D cover. Since having ALL of their covers 3D proved to difficult/financially ruinous for DC, perhaps a wiser strategy might have been to only select titles, 4 or 5 each week, as "special" ones worthy of 3D.

And finally, who wouldn't want a 3D Gene Kelly instead of a 3D Clayface? Am I right?

Ad from Nyoka The Jungle Girl #60 (1950)

1 comment:

SallyP said...

It really does make you wonder who exactly is in charge at DC, and why they are doing their best to make things fail.