Comics Creators

DC Cinematic Universe - Wonder Woman, Justice League and More



Good cast. Creative Team, eh? Will Andrea Romano return? And, in these days of Dial-A-Director, who will the wheel land on?


It is a reduced risk thing in many ways. Looking at estimated budgets Disney seem to spend more where budgets are revealed (which isn’t often and I assume may be a lot to do with the voice cast) but recent films like Sing or Despicable Me 3 it’s around $70-80m. They made $600m and $1bn respectively which is a roaring success by any measure.

It’s also very rare they completely bomb because you time a movie over holiday periods and parents will more or less take them to pretty much anything so there reduced risk of a John Carter style huge flop. Even Cars 2 which reportedly was in the $200m range and is probably considered one of the biggest misfires in recent years is not far from the 3 times the budget return figure (and they use those films specifically to sell toys and merch anyway).


With animated film I think you can make the case that the “franchise” is Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, whatever. All these animated films follow roughly similar templates, jokes, styles, story beats, and so on, even if the concepts vary from picture to picture. So they’re “original ideas” but really to a point—the ideas themselves are just different frosting on the same cake, much moreso than with movies for teens and adults.


It’d be quite a step for Netflix to produce something in the $200 million plus range. I expect that’s going to take a while yet.

The great elephant in the comics industry is how little money there really is. Look at Image sales and see how few monthlies break 20k.

Are there still no proper numbers available for the trades sales, though? I’d expect that that’s where many of the indies that are doing okay are making the real money these days.


The Scorsese movie that Netflix is doing is currently at a reported $125 million budget, so they’re getting up there.


And I’d argue that movie wouldn’t do well at the box office. I can’t really see it doing 2.5X that budget anyway. But the Netflix model isn’t about that, and that’s what makes it interesting. How do they define success? Gaining subscribers? Maintaining subscribers? Slowly increasing their prices without losing anybody?


Brian Hibbs has the 2016 Bookscan numbers (graphic novels sold outside of the direct market at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble):

List of the top 750 titles with sales figures here:

You can see the Direct Market 2016 sales figures here (scroll down about 2/3 of the way down the page):


I think, as a general rule, that TPB sales follow the sales of singles/floppies, in that the better something sells in singles, the better it will sell as a TPB. It’s sort of a myth that creators and publishers can take a loss on the singles and then make it up with the TPB. I’m sure there are outliers, but look at how many Vertigo titles from the past fifteen years have been cancelled at around issue twenty with a couple of TPBs out.


It’s probably not worth starting again here in a DC film thread. :smile:

There are only vaguely reliable numbers on issues. Millar says one thing, Kieran Gillen says the opposite and Image trade sales make him way more money than even the Star Wars stuff, I doubt either are wrong and I think it depends a lot on the book and the audience. WikDiv is a trendy cult thing, Millar has never aimed anywhere other than the mainstream he loves.

Marvel even have admitted the channel sales on Ms Marvel don’t match any other book with a massive digital audience, which could well be middle class Pakistani kids with an interest but no access to a comic shop. I could be totally wrong but it’s as good a guess as any why it behaves differently.


Here’s a very interesting extract from Hibbs’ article that seems to answer our perennial question of do movies sell comics:

DC has yet another great year during 2016 in the book stores according to the BookScan reporters – but they still haven’t topped their ’09 performance (mostly driven by the incredible comics success of “Watchmen”, which was driven by the film). Getting closer, though!

As noted towards the top of the report, DC’s highest placing book is “Batman: The Killing Joke”, which sold almost 131k copies. Last year, “Killing Joke” sold just 70k copies, so: nearly double. And here’s one place we can see what I think is a clear sign that other-media adaptations (This was animated adaptation, that had a rare short theatrical engagement as well) can directly sell comics in some circumstances, especially when it is a specific adaptation of a specific story like this was. The success of “Killing Joke” didn’t necessarily appear to drive success of “Batman” comics in general – in fact, most Bat-titles in the Top 750 seemed to decline year-over-year. For example, the first volume of Snyder & Capullo’s run on “Batman” dropped more than 5k copies, while Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” sold about 7k fewer copies. So it isn’t that an other-media success necessarily rises all members of a property’s boat – just the ones most-related to that other-media success.


To be fair Mark (Millar) has posted here many times to say that films pump the sales of his trades way up and make no impact on monthly issues at all. The week the Days of Future Past film came out the trade of the Claremont/Byrne original was number one of all books on the Amazon charts.


I think movies (and television) mostly drive sales when there is an easily identifiable source book. Like Watchmen or the seven volumes of Sin City or Kick Ass. I’m also sure that the insane numbers Walking Dead pulls in from Bookscan are also tied to the television series.

But a Batman, Avengers, or Superman movie probably isn’t going to create a lot of interest in the line of those TPBs in general.


The whole phenomenon is insane money wise. Even before the TV show was announced they had sold 3 million trades of TWD. Afterwards the Brian Hibbs analysis, just of north American Bookscan sales in 2013, showed $16.9 million revenue in a year. TWD made more money than all Marvel’s books combined.

Charlie Adlard is work for hire with a royalty, he may have the longest uninterrupted run on a book ever as solely an artist (one to ponder if anyone has a dispute over that, 169 issues and counting) but you can see why. 5% of those sales is a very pretty penny.


Ding ding ding ding ding!


Yeah, that’s pretty close. Kick Ass sold a million trade, Kick Ass 2 sold hardly any though. Kingsman sold only a few trades, and Golden Circle barely made a blip. With so many comics properties it’s really the retailers bringing in stock in advance, and fewer of them are doing so on movie adaptions (as often it doesn’t translate to sales).

They’ll be there within a year. They have $5 billion budget to create 1600 hours of original programming.

It’s for another thread, but the short answer is the trade model works for ongoing indie titles that get a reorder for their previous trades when a new book comes out. Anything that gets above 27-28 issues ends up with this model and it’s pretty good. Not that many indie books get there. Millar doesn’t at all because he only writes mini series in the most part. Chrononauts got one order of trades when released and get barely any orders after that. Something like Walking Dead though has moved million of the first volume of the trade series.


Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me.


Over time, people coming in and out of reading comics, I’d think these numbers a pretty fair representation. Some sell well and consistently (Mark’s Red Son) and some get a blip up (Killing Joke) while many still sell a couple-three-four thousand. There’s the niche market in the niche market! Comics seem to be to maintain about the same percentage of population over time. Most others in the general entertainment audience are aware of maybe main titles and characters, but not until Blade did comics stories enter the zeitgeist. Right now, that zeitgeist is high, and I hope Greg and Liam and Nicola sell beau coup copies of all the WW Rebirth.

A few years back Watchmen got a huge boost. Now, even as one of my favorites, I found From Hell a bit superior. And the art!

We comics fans need to really appreciate this time. Movies and television are holding the genre together while both the Big Two have major problems to straighten out, and the smaller publishers are not that fiscally healthy. Even so, characters like Ninjak appear in the oddest places, or a reference to Archie Comics that has nothing to do with the modern horrorshow, or people getting a Captain America frozen in ice joke. This will help the Big Two heal and keep others afloat. Indie music and indie comics are actually really healthy right now - but, as usual, are not earning much money or attracting much press. The artists continue to starve in the garrets.

The brightest bit about all of this is that comics happily keep selling. We bitch and moan and gnaw at the details, but the biz continues.