Flying Off The Shelves: Action Comics #1000 To The Rescue
by The Comic Book PusherGreetings, comics fans!
As I write this it's new comic book day, Wednesday, April 18th, about 2:15 p.m. I've been watching the throngs of, as Stan Lee would say, "True Believers" file into The Comics Club and move down the isles grabbing copies of the new issues that just hit the stands. But for the most part, these believers aren't grabbing Marvel comic books. What they are grabbing are multiple copies of Action Comics #1000 with it's various decade-oriented variant covers at $7.99 a pop.
After struggling for more than a year of declining Marvel comic book sales, (falling off a proverbial cliff would be more accurate), to suffering through the 2017 holiday sales period that, for many of us brick and mortar stores, suffered from a severe case of internetitis, it was a thrill and a joy over the past month watching the pre-orders of AC #1000 and the "80 Years of Superman" tribute hardcover climb to the point that they broke all previous pre-order records at The Comics Club. Up to now, the record for the most pre-ordered comic book at our store was held by Amazing Spider-Man #700. By comparison, AC #1000 pre-order sales were more than six times that of ASM #700. Both comics had $7.99 cover prices.
The "80 Years of Superman" tribute hardcover also set records in our store for the best selling hardcover ever, the best selling tribute book ever and the best selling anthology ever. There really isn't anything to adequately compare it with, but the pre-sales were in the multiple dozens of copies, far surpassing anything similar in previous years.
While it will be interesting to see what finally happens with Amazing Spider-Man #800, in comparison to AC #1000 it's already a flop. We were taking pre-orders for that issue at the same time as AC #1000, and I am beyond disappointed with the response. With a whopping $9.99 cover price, ASM #800's pre-orders have been, shall we say, dismal. They aren't even as good as ASM #700's were back in 2012, a year when the sales of Marvel comics were dramatically higher than they are today, at least at The Comics Club. Comparing the two events may not be completely fair, as there are lots of factors that can contribute to a particular issue's success, but the dramatic difference tells me that Marvel has a long way to go to bring on the kind of enthusiasm from it's fans that DC Comics has generated with AC #1000. Perhaps we'll have to wait for Amazing Spider-Man #1000 to make a better comparison.
Superman has always been my favorite comic book character, so I find it apropos that the milestone issue of Action Comics should be the event that saved the day (if not the year) for The Comics Club's coffers. I won't be retiring any time soon on the proceeds, but the increased sales come at a time of great need. And to my delight it seems to have done more than that. It seems to have stirred up some real enthusiasm again for collecting among many of my DC comic fans. Just one example: more than one customer commented that they are now collecting as many milestone issues of Action Comics and Superman as they can find. Collecting milestone issues isn't anything new, but it's great to see this sudden spark of interest in that particular collecting specialization. With all the upcoming milestone issues, (next up for DC: Detective Comics #1000), perhaps this will spread to other long-running titles. An old comic book pusher can only hope.
I monitored the AC #1000 sales closely as the customers filed in. I watched the stacks of AC #1000 dwindle. I went to our distributor's website to see what remained available to restock. My first visit at about 12:15 p.m. showed all covers still available. I quickly ordered the covers we were running low on. Within the half hour I was back multiple times ordering more, but on my last visit, less than a hour and a half after we opened, all the decade variants were sold out at the distributor. While I was a bit disappointed in myself for not ordering even more before they were all gone, I now sit back with a certain satisfaction that, today at least, my favorite comic book hero has come to my rescue.
The best part of all for us fans? AC #1000 is packed with great stories and art, making the seemingly super price tag an actual bargain. The decade-specific covers made it especially fun. Being a child of 1960s and a fan of the DC Checkerboard comic covers from around 1966, the 1960's decade issue became my instant favorite.
It's now after 3 p.m. and comics are flying off the shelves. It's a beautiful thing.
In fact . . . it's super, man.
-- The Comic Book Pusher
Mr. and Mrs. Comic Book Pusher celebratingthe release of Action Comics #1000.