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  • Masks III

    I don't suppose another followup to Masks will include the Spirit?

  • #2
    That would be a real treat! I would love to see the Green Hornet and the Spirit team up.

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    • #3
      Seems doubtful. Sales data for MASKS 2 (per comichron.com):

      Masks 2 #1 8,313
      Masks 2 #2 6,235
      Masks 2 #3 5,287
      Masks 2 #4 no data
      Masks 2 #5 4,862
      Masks 2 #6 no data
      Masks 2 #7 4,453

      I don't know what sort of number represents the break-even point on a DE title, but those last numbers have to be pretty close. TPB sales would probably factor in somewhere as well, but they must have some formula for projecting those numbers before they would make a decision whether or not to do one. There have been some titles that never got one (Thun'Da, The Owl, Kirby Genesis: Dragonsbane).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pulphero View Post
        Seems doubtful. Sales data for MASKS 2 (per comichron.com):

        Masks 2 #1 8,313
        Masks 2 #2 6,235
        Masks 2 #3 5,287
        Masks 2 #4 no data
        Masks 2 #5 4,862
        Masks 2 #6 no data
        Masks 2 #7 4,453

        I don't know what sort of number represents the break-even point on a DE title, but those last numbers have to be pretty close.
        But also worth noting:
        * Masks2 #1 was Dynamite's highest-selling title in April 2015
        * Masks2 #2 was down to Dynamite's 8th best-selling title in May
        * Masks2 #3 was the 10th best-selling title for Dynamite in June
        * Masks2 #4 did not make the Top 300 list (#300 sold 5,446 copies), but Dynamite had 7 books that made the Top 300 list
        * Masks2 #5 placed 11th among Dynamite's titles
        * Eleven titles from Dynamite made the Top 300 list in September 2015, with the #300 book on that list having 5,049 copies sold through Diamond.
        * Masks2 #7 was Dynamite's twelfth-highest selling title for October's list

        So even though the number of issues sold through Diamond may not have been great, it still appears to be a somewhat decent selling title for Dynamite. (And who knows how it did digitally?)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
          But also worth noting:
          * Masks2 #7 was Dynamite's twelfth-highest selling title for October's list

          So even though the number of issues sold through Diamond may not have been great, it still appears to be a somewhat decent selling title for Dynamite. (And who knows how it did digitally?)
          But 12th out of 16 is still not good. It's not the worst selling out of October's DE titles, but well below average. In case you were wondering, here are the titles. I'm honestly not sure if they count ALIENS VAMPIRELLA and RED SONJA CONAN as Dark Horse titles, or DE titles. Apart from that, no TPBs, or limited cover variants, or "DF Exclusive" collectibles were included in this list, just regular comic books. If the last 4 titles are all selling less than 4453 copies, that's less "good for MASKS 2", than it is "bad for Dynamite". Of course, those numbers don't account for what they sell through their website store, and I don't think we could possibly guess what those numbers might look like, good or bad.

          10-07-2015
          ALIENS VAMPIRELLA #2
          BOBS BURGERS ONGOING #4
          GRUMPY CAT #1
          JUSTICE INC THE AVENGER #5
          MASKS 2 #7
          THE DEVILERS #7

          10-14-2015
          ALICE COOPER VS CHAOS #2
          DEAN KOONTZ FRANKENSTEIN STORM SURGE #1
          RED SONJA CONAN #3
          SHADOW VOL 2 #3
          SWORDS OF SORROW #6
          VAMPIRELLA ARMY OF DARKNESS #4

          10-21-2015
          DAWN VAMPIRELLA #5
          LOOKING FOR GROUP #7
          VOLTRON FROM THE ASHES #2

          10-28-2015
          JOHN CARTER WARLORD OF MARS #12

          Don't forget, when you look at the lists of what comics shipped in a particular week, they may list 3 or 4 different variant covers for one particular issue, which tends to make the list of titles DE shipped that week look a lot longer than it actually is. Point taken about digital, but that certainly isn't impacting the economics and prices of printing and distribution. The question would be, at what number does a $4 comic book become unprofitable to print? 4000? 3000? 2000? For Dynamite, I mean. I realize there are even smaller companies (if you can really even call them 'companies') with even smaller numbers (and only a bare few titles), but a lot of those are run by just a few people (or even one).

          The obvious answer would be there's no way to tell, because by that point, it's selling low enough to fall off the list of reported sales. We should probably look for other clues - titles that didn't get completed, or had a serious gap before the final issue, or never got a trade paperback. THUN'DA, KIRBY GENESIS DRAGONSBANE, THE OWL. I'm sure there must be others; those are just titles that come to mind. Not that low sales are necessarily the only reasons for something not getting trade collection, but it seems like a good bet. Another thing would be to look at what was the percentage of copies the title dropped from the first issue sales. I guess the other thing would be to look for months in which sales across the board for the comic book industry took a dip, because those would be the months where the lowest-selling DE issues would be likely to be found reported, toward the bottom of the list. The point here is that you really can't judge how well a title is doing relative to other titles from the same publisher unless you know what the lowest-selling titles are, as well as the best-selling ones (or at least what the average numbers of those would be). Then you'd know where on the scale between those two extremes a given title would fall. Back in the old days when limited series were more of an exception than a rule, you could just look at what sort of sales a title recorded for the last few issues before being cancelled. DE has very few 'ongoing' titles, so that's not really a good indicator. The ongoings are going to be much more the exception than the rule, and only a title with much higher than average sales (for DE) is going to get an ongoing title to begin with.

          Here are some sales figures I could find on comichron.com, and the pattern I'm seeing (although there are other publishers listed whose books sell less) is that when a DE title slips below 5000 copies, it's likely to be among the last DE (or as Diamond Comics refers to them, "Dynamic Forces") titles that are listed. The lowest numbers I seem to see are those in the mid-to-low 4000s. I couldn't find any sales data for the issue numbers beyond those listed here.


          209 Kirby Genesis Dragonsbane 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 6,675
          282 Kirby Genesis Dragonsbane 2 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 4,931

          245 Owl 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 8,010
          279 Owl 2 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 5,114
          350 Owl 3 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 4,307

          274 Thunda 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 6,114


          Now, based on the figures I'm seeing, I would 'guesstimate' that the actual break-even point for DE to produce, have printed and distributed, a $4 comic book is actually more like 5000 copies. At that point, the cost of paying the writer, artist(s), colorist, letterer, editor, printing and distribution costs exactly balances against the profit made, and they haven't lost any money on the comic, but they haven't made any either. If they were to print less than 5000 copies, they would still make the same profit per copy, but at that point the printing costs may be more per copy of the comic, so printing less than 5000 causes them to lose money. However, what they're doing is averaging that cost over the total profit of all issues of the series, and also factoring in projected profit from sales (minus printing and distribution costs) for a trade paperback, plus digital. The thing with digital is, if your sales skew too heavily toward that market, and the individual printed comics are actually costing you money that comes out of that profit, you should be doing "digital exclusive" for that title, because then you'll make more money. But you need a completed story arc to publish a trade paperback, so you need to publish a final issue (even if that issue, taken by itself, is unprofitable). You take the losses out of the excess profit from the first issue sales, and/or projected profits for a TPB. What is needed is to make an average profit when the costs of printing and distributing all the printed issues get added up. I say 5000, but it may be 4500 or 4000 copies - or the number may vary somewhat, depending on who the writer and artist were and how much they paid them up front. Certainly you could guess that it might cost more to pay Warren Ellis and Colton Worley to create a comic book than it does to pay Mark Rahner and Bilquis Evely to create a comic book. How much more is hard to say. The total cost of producing the comic is [(the page rate that they're paying the writer) + (the page rate they're paying the artists) + (editorial & production costs) X (# of pages)] + [(printing cost per copy) X (# of copies printed)]. You have to do that for each issue printed, then add all the costs together. If that number is less than 0, then it's eating the profits on your trade paperbacks and digital copies (which have a different formula for paying the creators). What they paid Warren Ellis and Colton Worley per page may mean that an issue of BLACKCROSS that sold less than 5000 copies is sucking profits away from issues that sold better than 5000 copies, while what they paid Cullen Bunn and Eman Casallos to create an issue of MASKS 2 may mean that an issue of that comic doesn't become unprofitable until it sells less than 4000 copies. But since we're just guessing at the upfront costs to hire creators, those numbers could as easily be 6000 copies per issue for BLACKCROSS, and 5000 copies per issue for MASKS 2.
          Last edited by pulphero; 11-28-2015, 07:39 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pulphero View Post
            . . . I'm honestly not sure if they count ALIENS VAMPIRELLA and RED SONJA CONAN as Dark Horse titles, or DE titles . . .
            On the charts, they're considered Dynamite titles.
            186 Red Sonja Conan 3 $3.99 Dynamite 9,824
            206 Aliens Vampirella 2 $3.99 Dynamite 8,524
            http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomi...5/2015-10.html

            I know the recent Conan / Red Sonja series was counted as Dark Horse because that was the company that put that title together; the Red Sonja / Conan series was produced by Dynamite. I believe both companies were mentioned for each of these books because of who controls the licenses for the two characters at present.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
              On the charts, they're considered Dynamite titles.http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomi...5/2015-10.html

              I know the recent Conan / Red Sonja series was counted as Dark Horse because that was the company that put that title together; the Red Sonja / Conan series was produced by Dynamite. I believe both companies were mentioned for each of these books because of who controls the licenses for the two characters at present.
              I included them both in the list for benefit of the doubt, but was actually going to guess that it went by whichever property's name came first in the title. While that seems to be true for Conan Red Sonja and Red Sonja Conan (Dark Horse and DE, respectively), I guess it's NOT true for Aliens Vampirella. Guess you'd have to go back to which company solicited the title in Diamond's PREVIEWS catalog, which is what Comichron seems to be going by.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, Dynamite did finally getting around to releasing a tpb collection of The Owl 4-issue mini-series that came out several years ago, so who knows if a Masks3 mini-series could still be possible sometime in the future?

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