millarworld.tv Comics Creators

Has there ever been a graphic-novel collecting a story...


#1

…in the middle of a run that’s been an evergreen as a trade?

The biggest Marvel trades of the last 15 years are Civil War and Old Man Logan, both self-contained, and DC’s legendary GN that ruled the charts for three decades now are Dark Knight, Watchmen, Batman Year One and their ilk.

But has there ever been a run that isn’t just in the charts at the moment, but attained at EVERGREEN status that means they’re still selling gangbusters 5 or 10 years down the line? And when I say run I mean something in the middle of a big run of books and in continuity? I know Old Man Logan TECHNICALLY falls into this category, though like Year One it displaced regular continuity for the duration of the story.

I was talking to Hitchy about it yesterday and I was saying that in-continuity stuff tends to be tangled up in other stories, which makes them hard reads even a year later, and things like costume change gimmicks and so on really date the timelessness of an evergreen. But have any others hit big and maintained that level? I’m curious. From a biz POV I suggested to him to always just do iconic stories rather than a run. I make way more royalties, for example, from Red Son every year now, more than a decade on, than I do from the four volumes of our Ultimates for example. There’s a real power to the one-off book when you’re dealing with iconic characters.

Thoughts?

MM


#2

I would imagine Batman: Hush is pretty evergreen. They’ve already printed in at least 3 different version, regular, Absolute and Noir, along with several other sub-versions.

Do you think Marvel’s inability to keep evergreen books in print may be a part of this? Ultimates should have sold gangbusters when the first Avengers film was out.


#3

I don’t know, I’d suggest books like Dark Phoenix Saga, but I really don’t know how it sells or if Marvel even do a good job of keeping it in print. It certainly has that iconic status that a book needs to attain to be evergreen though.


#4

They took it out of print about 6-12 months before the first Avengers came out, which was interesting.

PS Good call on Hush. I wasn’t reading Batman at the time, but does this qualify as taking place within the confines of the Batman comic run or was it like Year One where they paused the regular continuity? I’ve never read it, weirdly.


#5

Hush was just a year long story arc in one of the regular Batman books. It was the first thing that sprang to mind for me as well. It’s regular continuity, but was a bit of a soft reboot for Batman at the time; an accessible story with a big creative team and lots of iconic villains thrown in.

The Knightfall trades seem to do fairly well over time as well.


#6

@garjones and I have mentioned it several times but Marvel seems to have trouble with keeping their evergreen material available in trade format. I think Daredevil: Born Again could do well as an in continuity evergreen book.

Going back to your original post, I think Hitch’s current Justice League of America comic will be another evergreen title DC will add to their roster.


#7

I think Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past would be great evergreen material for Marvel if it was consistently in print.


#8

Phoenix was very hard for me to understand as a standalone book when I read it a few years back. DOFP much easier as someone who had never read the X-Men before. A terrific book.

Born Again is the one Marvel should have in print. Man without Fear if they haven’t re-issued. I paid 35 quid for the former last year, believe it or not, having given away my original copy a couple of times.

MM


#9

Also, does every volume of Saga or The Walking Dead count as evergreen yet or is it too soon? :wink:


#10

Saga will be and TWD definitely is. I think 5-10 years is a good indication of something having long-term legs. Like staying in the top 100 most of that time.

MM


#11

See that’s the thing. Self contained means that even though the story was printed as part of a monthly series, the story can stand on it’s own. You don’t need part 3 or part 5 to enjoy part 4. It’s really just a printing strategy, do you solicit as a stand alone series? Which is a risk as it might not sell as well as the ongoing series. Should Old Man Logan have been Wolverine 66-72, or should there have been a stand alone title called Old Man Logan for 7 issues? Would Old Man Logan 1 have sold ore copies than Wolverine 66? Probably. But would Old Man Logan 5 have sold as well as Wolverine 71? Probably not.

I think regardless of the print strategy, the only books that work as trades are stand alone. Something like the Walking Dead might stay evergreen with distinct chapters that are easy to follow, but the big 2 are such a mess that they can’t do that with Spiderman or Batman or Superman. There is no Harry Potter-esque sequence of books, which probably hurts their sales as each book now markets under it’s own merits. Whereas with something like Kick Ass you’ve marketed it clearly as 3 volumes (with Hit Girl thrown in there somewhere), so it’s easier to buy part 2 as readers know where to go next.

You’re probably going to face a challenge with Jupiters Circle when it goes to trade with Jupiters Legacy. It’ll be another Hit Girl, an orphan book that seems removed from the main story.


#12

Born Again was going to be my suggestion too. But despite being in-continuity and in the middle of a regular run, it’s still fairly self-contained, which plays to Mark’s point I think.

DC stories like Hush are a bit more difficult to judge because some of them sort of take place in their own pocket of continuity anyway. Hush was technically part of the ongoing Batman series but didn’t feel at all linked to what came before or after it.

I agree that for an evergreen book you want it relatively continuity light, with everything you need to know being contained within those covers. Otherwise a casual reader is just going to be lost.


#13

Saga and The Walking Dead are two of the reasons I would like to see you do a monthly book. I talked about this in the Best Comic Out Now! thread but I really would like to see a Millarworld book I can hang my hat on month in and month out. I wouldn’t want to push you into territory you’re uncomfortable with or feel is unsustainable but I think it would be interesting.


#14

I believe Hush was meant originally to a standalone mini series and Loeb and Lee pushed for it to be in the Batman ongoing. They were inspired by the fact that Year One was published as part of the usual numbering.

I’m not sure that’s a definitive dividing line though, it’s just publishing strategy and not content. I’d agree that Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past are evergreen sellers that were in the middle of a run and never intended to stand alone.


#15

Which is very different to God Loves, Man Kills, which was released an original graphic novel. Is there any way to compare how much it’s sold against those other two X-Men books?


#16

It’s fascinating how few work as evergreen trades though, isn’t it? The fact we’re struggling to name many from a 30 year period. Very interesting.

To Jim: I remember Marvel wanted to do an OML #1, but I felt it was off as there were a lot of crappy x-minis at the time and if people feel something not CANON it’ll half your sales. Plus Wolvie had at least one number one quite soon before so I went for #66 and we did around 80 or so, but 125 in total after multiple prints of that first issue. It’s so dependent on the time as there’s a lot of product out there.

Jupiter’s will be interesting as HG sold around 30% less in trade form than KA (though just a little less in monthly form) and I suspect we’ll do around the same with Jupiter’s. The initial orders are actually much closer than I expected for the trade, but FQ’s following so enormous I think it’ll always stay ahead. What’s nice though is that they’ll be stacked right next to each other, a problem we had with Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass, and all 4-6 volumes hopefully in stores together when the movie comes out in 2018.

MM


#17

Did your conversation with @bryanhitch spin out of this interview? The quote below seems particularly apropo.

In this “Justice League of America” book, it’s definitely the iconic versions of these characters. Not necessarily out of continuity, it just doesn’t seem overly concerned with the happenings in other current DC series – what’s the right way, from your perspective, to look at it?

Part of it was a practical thing. I’d written this stuff before any of those current stories in “Superman” or “Batman” developed. I’d already started drawing it as these things started to happen. I spoke to my editor and Dan: “Should I be following this stuff? Should I deal with this stuff in the confines of the book?” They very much said, “No, just hold your course.” Once they’re out, in their long-term shelf life, volumes of “Justice League” should be consistent to volumes of “Justice League,” not whatever mercurial changes happen in the regular book. They said “keep classic,” because more likely than not, Bruce will be [back as] Batman, Clark will be back to his full power level, and their stories will cycle through. If I have to spend story time explaining either why they are or why they aren’t, then it’s a disservice to the story I’m telling, and the story I’m telling is a Justice League story, not an individual Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman story. They have those books so they can explore all of those elements.

It is, as much as you can be, in continuity. It’ll come back around to being those characters in those costumes with those powers again. It’s inevitable, I suppose.


#18

Ha! No, we just spoke 24 hrs ago. I was saying it’s probably best from a biz POV to do short, contained runs on other people’s characters, like his JLA run. We were having a good chinwag about it.

MM


#19

The interview was just published today. That’s why I thought there might have been something particular cooking in his head.


#20

I think branding makes a huge different in the trade space. I think if you’d called it Kick Ass: Hit Girl Year One you’d have sold a bunch more copies. Similarly for JC I think trading it as part of the Jupiters Legacy brand might work better long term (maybe Jupiters Legacy: The Circle Pt 1, then Pt 2).

I think if Mark wrote 40 books a year he should have a monthly, but if he’s only writing 24 and with 12 franchises already running a monthly book would detract from things. Plus if you write a monthly book and it’s a hit you end up tied to it alone. Kirkman I think is defined by Walking Dead, and it’s hurt Invincible. BKV is Saga. If Millar was Wanted I doubt the other hits would have really taken off. Plus you only have one franchise to sell rather than many.

Jupiters Legacy is the closest we’ll get to a monthly story for some time. I always feel JL missed out because of the delays and most fans don’t know about it. It should be a top ten book.