Category Archives: Marketing

The Force Is Strong With Comic Shops Thanks To The Star Wars Sampler!

It was the year the Force returned to Marvel, and they’re closing out 2015 with a bang. Marvel has announced the Star Wars Sampler, previewing Marvel’s blockbuster Star Wars line of comics! Perfect for distribution at movie theaters and other promotional events, this special one-shot provides all the information anyone needs to dive in to the ongoing adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, Darth Vader and more!

Hitting retailers on December 9th, celebrate the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with this 56-page sampler chock full of comic previews. Featuring previews of Star Wars #1, Darth Vader #1, Princess Leia #1, Lando #1, Vader Down #1 and Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #1, now is the perfect time to get a taste of these chart-topping series and collections.

The record breaking Star Wars #1 sold over 1 million copies and returned for 8 additional printings. This sampler will help retailers get these critically-acclaimed comics into the hands of the next million fans!

56 pgs…FREE
FOC – 11/9/15, On-Sale 12/9/15


Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook

It’s the first of the month, we’re looking at the demographics of people who “like” comics on Facebook. This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States. This is not individuals who purchase comics, this is the potential audience and possibly the general breakdown of comic fans.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

Facebook Population: Over 41,000,000 in the United States

Last month, the Facebook stats returned to normal after an anomaly the previous month. Well, this month’s stats might also be an anomaly as well. I will be checking these stats over the next week to see if it remains consistent and will update this if there is a change.

The total population remained unchanged from the previous month. The Spanish-speaking population last time was 10.73%, and this month is 11.95%, a nice increase considering the stagnant size. This can likely be attributed to an increase in the Hispanic population.

Gender and Age

Last month women accounted for 41.46% and men were 58.54%. This month flips things with women now accounting for 51.22% and men are 46.34%. Again, do not take this as fact, but it’s an interesting trend and possibly a glitch.

Having gone through the change is due to an increase of women and decrease of men, and especially an increase in liberal women, minority women.

facebook comics gender 11.1.15

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

facebook comics gender age 11.1.15

And here’s the raw data of all of the above.

facebook comics gender age raw 11.1.15

Relationship Status

Here’s how everyone stands as far as relationships. There’s fewer people listed as single, but more are unspecified.

facebook comics relationship 11.1.15

And for those that like pie charts.

facebook comics relationship chart 11.1.15


Things haven’t changed that much compared to last month, but some changes due to the shifts in gender counts.

facebook comics education 11.1.15

Gender Interest

Men interesting in men decreased from the previous month, but women interested in women increased. Those interested in both was pretty even.

facebook comics gender interest 11.1.15


Shifts in the ethnic stats might explain some of the shift in the overall gender population. African Americans increased by 1.6 million individuals and of those are almost all women. Hispanics also increased by 1 million individuals and that was all women, as men decreased.

facebook comics ethnicity 11.1.15


Compared to last month Baby Boomers and Generation X decreased as overall populations with Millennials increasing by 1 million.

facebook comics generation 11.1.15

And that wraps up this month’s report. We’ll return Monday with more data and insights!

Retailers Prepare for Battle with Customized Battle Axes from Valiant

WRATH_AXE_groupIn honor of the launch of Valiant’s latest tentpole ongoing series – Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 by writer Robert Venditti and artist Raul Allen – Valiant Entertainment will be providing select comics retailers across North America with custom-engraved, full-size battle axes in advance of the first issue’s November 18th launch.

Emblazoned with the Wrath of the Eternal Warrior logo on the blade and standing 27 inches tall, these once-in-a-lifetime, real-world replications of the Eternal Warrior’s signature weapon will be provided free of charge to participating retail stores in the United States and Canada that have enlisted in Valiant’s Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 retailer exclusive program. Other retailers interested in obtaining a custom Wrath of the Eternal Warrior battle axe can submit a request to Valiant directly via the email address.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 is on track to become one of Valiant’s single biggest releases of the year.

For five millennia, the Eternal Warrior has shaped history at the end of his sword. He’s razed empires, toppled civilizations, and broken armies as an immortal soldier in service to the Earth.

But now, the Eternal Warrior has been torn from the world he once protected and finds himself stranded in a hostile alien landscape unlike any he’s ever faced. Separated from his earthly environs, can history’s deadliest soldier survive a realm far older, far deadlier, and far more ruinous than anything he’s ever encountered before? Beyond Earth lies eternity…


You’re Invited to the Ghostbusters: The Board Game Launch Party

Cryptozoic is celebrating the launch of the Ghostbusters: The Board Game with a party and it’s inviting retailers to join the fun. Available to retailers who pre-order 6 copies (1 case) of Ghostbusters: The Board Game through the distributor of their choosing, this $15.00 kit has all the content a store needs to host their very own “Mass Hysteria” launch party for the game’s release, allowing them to better educate customers about the game, provide easy to learn demo instructions, and help drive sales in their store. Kickstarter retail backers do not need to order an additional 6 copies of the game in order to purchase the kit.

The kit includes:

  • 1 Poster to advertise the event
  • 2 Table tents to place on demo tables or at the counter
  • 6 Exclusive scenario game cards, one for each copy of the game purchased
  • 1 Demo scenario instruction sheet
  • 25 Exclusive Ghostbusters™: The Board Game Patches to give to event attendees
  • 25 Exclusive two-card trading card packs for event attendees (non-game content)
  • Contents not for resale

Ghostbusters The Board Game Launch Party

Sunday Roundtable: How Would Get New Comic Readers?

JLA Roundtable raw more comic readersSundays are known for their talking heads sitting around a table talking about pertinent topics, and pontificating with their expertise. We gather the Graphic Policy Team each Sunday to do exactly that in our Sunday Roundtable.

This weeks topic, what can publishers and creators do to try to get new readers into comics?

Alex: Not relaunch their comics every five minutes?

Brett: Bwahahahahaha!

Elana: You don’t think the new readers more likely to pick up a comic book that says it’s number one in a series? Because I imagine that people are more likely to do that. People find it intimidating entering something at issue one hundred. That said when they’ve done some relaunches they haven’t been honest brokers and actually began something in a clear way from the first issue.

If your issue one is not new reader friendly and then why the hell is it issue 1?

I don’t recall how Marvel‘s .1 initiative went. It seemed like a possible solution. I figured the problem was that potential new readers didn’t know it was happening.

Alex: I think you hit the nail on the head there. Marvel’s .1 happened over such a long time that it was easy to forget it happened. And the constant relaunches aren’t as all encompassing as DC‘s New 52 tried to be (but even that was convoluted as to what did and didn’t happen).

If you’re going to relaunch something, don’t build it on, or keep referring too, stories new readers would not have read.

Also, with the amount of new number 1’s, nothing feels as if they’re going to stick around. If a comic makes it to 20 issues, then it feels as if it’s been a long running series…

Elana: How do you reconcile needing to have new number ones for people with helping people feel invested in something for a longer time? I still think that ultimately this is a real challenge. But if they stagger things so that there are some long-term pieces while there are other more contained comics and they can make it clear from the start was going to be what that could help.

Alex: That’s just it; there’s no good answer to that; you can ether have a long running series and whenever there is a new arc do what Valiant have been doing and have it announced in the cover, or have a mix of miniseries and some longer running comics (even a 12 issues maxi series could work).

How feasible that really is, though, I have no idea.

Daphne: The most prohibitive thing for me when I started getting into comics was not having an idea of where to begin. From an outsider’s perspective, when you look at the yearly events, the vast amount of characters, the ridiculous deaths and plot twists and retcons and alternate dimensions, it’s almost impossible to figure out where to start. Ignoring things like the fan culture around a given property potentially keeping new comers away (because that’s a whole other can of worms), the biggest thing for me was worrying I’d start with a story arc that ended up going nowhere or didn’t matter to the character’s backstory or plot, or get really invested in a character that was just going to get ignored for years or written out entirely.

I think a great way to get new people into comics would be to annually or semi-annually create some kind of summary of a property or franchise explaining the world and the current status quo. “Interested in getting into The Splendiferous Stilt-Man? Here’s everything you need to know!” Making something like that available to people would do a lot to alleviate the feeling that any given comic is slowly collapsing under the weight of its own canon and there’s no good point to start reading.

This, I think, is the one thing the MCU has done best. Whether I agree with all their decisions or not, the writers have been creating a very specific and clearly defined universe with what are for millions of non-readers now the definitive versions of characters. Not only is it easier to keep track of everyone right now but the writers also excised a lot of the weirder aspects of comics. “Ultron is an evil robot Tony Stark created who tried to destroy humanity and was defeated, then never came back” is way better than “one time Ultron uploaded his consciousness into the nanites in Tony Stark’s body and reshaped his body and armor into the form of a naked silver woman because he’s in love with Hank Pym”. Maybe some of the fun bits and pieces get lost along the way from time to time, but the popularity of the MCU films made it much easier for me to feel like I had a basic grasp on characters and plot and then go right to the new updated series for characters like Ms. Marvel so I could see how she’d eventually fit into the films. It makes it simpler for casual observers or people like me who want to get into comics but don’t have any idea where to start (and don’t want to ask online and get a million conflicting, argumentative answers) actually figure out what they want to read and where to begin.

Avoiding relaunching comics and massive yearly events that reshape the status quo but not really thanks to editorial mandates to bring back certain things would help too. But a basic “here’s this character, this is her backstory, her current plot line is this and involves these people” on a website or even in comic form would do so much.

Elana: They can start freaking advertising them in the first place by doing advertisements on Facebook for example. We have long said that everyone who says they like the Avengers movie should be seeing Facebook ads for Avengers comics that are new reader friendly. This is marketing 101.

They can let the public know they have diverse characters and genres and tones and bring on more diversity in the writers and artists so that people who have assumed that comics aren’t for them can see themselves represented.

They can also do a better job of making it clear which comics are aimed at children and getting those in to the book market would go a long way.

No more mega crossovers.

Alex: When I first started reading comics, and in many ways when I’m thinking of new series now, there were no big events happening on a yearly basis. Yeah, there were multi part stories, but those multipart stories were almost always contained within the comic. Like Daphne and Elana have said, the major events are turning people off from getting into comics (or starting new series).

Christopher: Honestly, I think a large chunk of it, has to do with proper marketing and advertisement. Especially given the popularity of superhero/comic book based tv shows and movies. However, Marvel and DC both really need to stop with the reboot/re-launch things, it kind of screws people over who are just trying to get into comics. Even third parties like Image, Dark Horse, Vertigo, Action Labs, etc; aren’t as well known as their mainstream counterparts. That may be a better place to start, since they don’t tend to do reboots. Also companies should embrace apps, like comiXology, iBooks, Kindle since given the accessibility of most technology,it would make a good point to start there, with introduction series.

Monique: Personally I would simply say advertising outside of the comic book environment. I never see comics advertised unless I’m at a comic con or comic book store. When advertised in these environments, it’ll be hard to gain a lot of new customers. (Assuming the majority there are already into comics). The only way I find out about other comics is by when I’m reading them and I see the ads in them. Plus since it’s already something I love, I will take the time out to see what is out there.

Furthermore, I find that the people who aren’t really into comics aren’t around the people who like them. For example, my father is a huge comic book fan and that definitely has had an influence over my love for the comic book universe.

Alex: I’d never really thought about the advertising, or lack there of, of comics outside of the comic book community, but that makes absolute sense. Rather than spread your existing readership thin, advertise elsewhere an bring in new blood.

Do you guys think television ads would work, maybe for trades, or billboards…?

Christopher: Probably start with billboards, with a mix of advertisements on it. TV ads may reach a lot larger of audience but with. TiVo and such things, who knows if they are actually watching the ads

Elana: Facebook ads are cheap, targeted and infinitely scalable. The Shield TV show should run ads for Shield related comics. But generally let’s start with a sane contextual marketing campaign in Facebok.

Daphne: I could see television ads working. “You’ve seen the movies, now get the WHOLE story. Marvel’s Civil War, blah blah blah…” is a pretty logical opening for a commercial.

Brett: What about just an ad/url during movies or on the tv shows? Or doing a digital comic tie-in with Fandango (or printed comic to hand). I think I’ve seen the latter two, but doesn’t feel like it’s common.

Alex: Walking Dead has their Second Screen app to use during live tv screenings. Obviously this couldn’t work during a movie in the theater, but you could probably program something to work during a Blu-ray viewing.

Monique: I think an add/url during the movies would be great as it puts an emphasis on the fact that these films and TV shows were originally comics.

Daphne: Plus, free stuff! I’d love getting a free comic with a movie ticket. I used to beg my parents to see things like the Pokemon movies when they were giving away free cards. It’d bring in even more younger fans and curious newcomers too.

Brett: So interesting spin on this. When The Walking Dead hit, folks I know who have never read a comic, grabbed trade paperbacks and started reading those comics. But, have don’t that with the Avengers. There was a point I’d see multiple people with Walking Dead trades in my commute. Why did that show clearly bring people in, when other comics, it’s not quite as clear they have?

Monique: I always assumed it was because DC And Marvel have had comics since late 1930’s and The Walking Dead collection doesn’t look daunting? Because when i started buying comics sometimes I felt like as if I needed some previous comics from many years ago.

Daphne: I think it’s definitely because TWD has a much less daunting, more simplistic premise compared to a decades-long superhero epic. People who’ve never seen a zombie movie still know how zombie movies work. People who’ve never read a Black Panther comic book usually don’t know what his powers are or how he works.

Brett: Both very interesting points.

Alex: You can also read the entire The Walking Dead released so far in a reasonable time. It’s a cohesive story that isn’t mired in continuity. Plus it has zombies.

Brett: And as far as solid marketing, we see “street teams” with so many products where they go out and do some grassroots marketing, where’s that for comics?

Daphne: For better or for worse, I think comics and nerd culture in general have the opposite – the die-hard fans aren’t usually the ones trying to share what they love with other people, they’re the ones angriest when comics try to become more mainstream or diverse or accessible to newcomers. Just about every girl I know who isn’t into comics but wants to be avoids it because the fan base is so insular. It’s the reason I do all my comic shopping digitally – I worry about how a girl in a comic book store is going to be treated. I’ve heard too many horror stories.

But I was hesitant to bring that up because it feels like it’s big enough to be a whole topic all to itself.

Brett: A topic for another roundtable!

Elana: Daphne if your ever in NYC I’m taking you comic shopping!

Daphne: Deal!

Christopher: I think the closest thing that the industry has to this, is Free Comic Book Day. While it may not be a large thing in the mainstream media, it certainly does tend to bring in “newbies” for comics. Downside the comics offered seemed to have a mixed audience appeal. However maybe instead of getting into comics as an adult getting them as a kid may end this unnecessary elitism

Alex: I think that in many ways, and for better or for worse, we (comic book websites, blogs and the like) serve a similar function as the street teams. But we don`t reach the non comics fans in the way an actual team would do, and really, while we want to encourage people to read comics, we`re not going to blindly advertise a comic that we think is awful or offensive.

So really we`re not like them at all. I had a point to make here, and I’ve lost it.

Brett: Is the issue at hand that the publisher’s goal is to sell to stores and not directly to customers, which is the store’s job?

Monique: Both perhaps?

Alex: Aye; the publisher just wants to move units and may not be thinking as much about an audience as they probably should be. The bigger the publisher, the less likely it will be for every comic to be read, unlike smaller publishing houses like (to an extent) Valiant, 21 Pulp and Action Lab.

Brett: And with that, we’ll wrap up this roundtable. Sound off with what you think in the comments below!

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook

It’s the first of the month, we’re looking at the demographics of people who “like” comics on Facebook. This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

Facebook Population: Over 41,000,000 in the United States

Last month we had a bit of an anomaly of stats, which only listed 36 million in the United States, with a rerun of the mains tats pegging it at 42 million two weeks after that initial piece. So, for this report, we’ll compare results to two months ago.

The total population decreased by 1 million. The Spanish-speaking population last time was 13.10%, and this month is 10.73%, a significant dip.

Gender and Age

Last month women accounted for 42.85% and men were 57.14%. This month sees a slight increase in men who now account for 58.54% and woman stand at 41.46%.

facebook comics gender 10.1.15

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

facebook comics age gender 10.1.15

And here’s the raw data of all of the above.

facebook comics age gender raw 10.1.15

Relationship Status

Here’s how everyone stands as far as relationships. More are married, but less are in relationships.

facebook comics relationship 10.1.15

And for those that like pie charts.

facebook comics relationship chart 10.1.15


Things haven’t changed that much compared to last month just some shifts as to percents due to a loss of individuals.

facebook comics education 10.1.15

Gender Interest

Men interested in men increased percentage, but men are a greater part of the population. Women interested in women dropped, as they dropped as part of the population.

facebook comics relationship interest 10.1.15


African Americans and Hispanics dropped a lot compared to two months ago while Asian Americans increased.

faebook comics ethnicity 10.1.15


We can see where decreases occurred below withe decreases focused on Generation X and Millennials.

facebook comics generation 10.1.15

And that wraps up this month’s report. We’ll return Monday with more data and insights!

Hot Wheels Teams with Uber for Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Dodge Chargers

Today, Hot Wheels is offering Uber riders and fans in New York City the chance to catch a free ride in a Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Dodge Charger uniquely modeled after the Hot Wheels 1:64 character car, available at retailers nationwide.

Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Dodge Charger


Hastings and Valiant Entertainment Team for “The Craft of Comics”

The Craft of ComicsHastings stores across the nation have joined forces with Valiant Entertainment for “The Craft of Comics” – a groundbreaking comic book workshop live-streaming with live audience Q&A for four weeks this fall. The month-long in-store event will launch Saturday, September 19th and continue every Saturday through October 10th.

Broadcasting live into more than 140 Hastings locations nationwide, each installment of “The Craft of Comics” will feature a live tutorial with an all-star Valiant creator as they detail the practice and principles underlying one of the four key disciplines involved in the creation of comics: writing, penciling, inking, and coloring.

Each Hastings guest will receive a free exclusive “The Craft of Comics” workbook produced by Valiant Entertainment to create and refine their skills over the course of the four-week workshop. Inspired guests can then enter “The Craft of Comics” contest, where one lucky contestant will emerge victoriously and earn immortal bragging rights by having his or her work published in an upcoming Valiant comic.

Creators schedule to stream live during the workshop include:

James Asmus (Writer, Quantum and Woody)
September 19th at 6pm ET (5pm CT, 4pm MT, 3pm PT)WEEK TWO – PENCILING: 

Clayton Henry (Artist, Archer & Armstrong)
September 26th at 5pm ET (4pm CT, 3pm MT, 2pm PT)


Ryan Winn (Inker, Divinity)
October 3rd at 5pm ET (4pm CT, 3pm MT, 2pm PT)


David Baron (Colorist, Bloodshot Reborn)
October 10th at 7pm ET (6pm CT, 5pm MT, 4pm PT)

Contact your local store that will be participating in these events regarding streaming times and other details. Come ready for fun weekends of learning invaluable comic skills and experiencing your exclusive chance to become a published comic book artist!

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook

Note, on September 11 the data was checked again, and the stats have returned to where I’d expect. There are 42 million likes for the terms, with men accounting for 23 million (54.76%) and women are 18 million (42.86%). We can chalk up the below to a glitch with Facebook reporting at the time of data gathering (which is consistently either the last day of the month or first of the month being reported). – Brett

It’s the first of the month and that means a new look at the demographics of people who “like” comics on Facebook. This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

Facebook Population: Over 36,000,000 in the United States

As discussed below this month seems to be a strange anomaly, and I’ll be rerunning these numbers over the next week or two to double, and triple check them. Since August 1, the overall population has dipped by 6 million. All of that loss, and then some, was men, in an unexplainable phenomenon. Other numbers back up this massive swing in data, but we’ll take that stat by stat. This also continues the drop from last month, which also disproportionally affected men.

The Spanish-speaking population last month was 13.10%, and this month is 10.83%, a huge dip from the previous month.

Gender and Age

Last month women accounted for 42.86% and men were 57.14%. Men have decreased a whopping 8 million individuals since last month, while women gained 2 million. The overall Facebook usage population has only increased by 2 million since last month, evenly split between the two. We might be seeing a mass exodus, or a bizarre glitch, at this point it’s unknown. The basic term of “comics” sees women as the majority, and we see gains by women below, so that 2 million increase is likely. It’s the 8 million dip in men that’s suspect. Overall, I wouldn’t rely on this month’s stats.

facebook gender 9.1.15

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

facebook gender age 9.1.15

Compared to last month, there’s a large dip for those under the age of 17, and men have decreased too. There is no age segment where men didn’t decrease.

facebook gender age raw 9.1.15

Relationship Status

Here too we see the gender shift reflected. Women did decrease in a few segments, “Single,” “Unspecified,”Open Relationship,”Complicated,” “Seperated,” and “Widowed.” Married women in particular saw a massive increase of 2.4 million.

facebook relationship 9.1.15

And for those that like pie charts.

facebook relationship pie chart 9.1.15


We see the shift here too when it comes to the gender shift.

facebook education 9.1.15

Gender Interest

Compared to last month those interested in the same gender has increased overall, especially among women interested in women.

facebook relationship interest 9.1.15


African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics have dipped enormously from last month.

facebook ethnicity 9.1.15


Compared to last month Generation X and Millennials have remained pretty steady compared to last month. Baby Boomers has dipped.

facebook generation 9.1.15

Again, this month has been a very interesting shift, and I would not hold these stats very high. Something is clearly off, and more investigation is needed.

Dark Horse Presents: An Evening With The Paybacks Tour 2015!

On September 16, 2015, Dark Horse Comics will launch a brand-new ongoing series: The Paybacks!

In honor of the occasion, writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal will hit the road on their way to New York Comic Con with their variety show, “An Evening with the Paybacks,” sponsored by Dark Horse Comics!

Each night from October 2 to October 7, Cates and Rahal will visit one of six select retail stores for a signing followed by an evening of storytelling, games, giveaways, and standup comedy.

Friday, October 2—Aw Yeah Comics, Skokie
Signing: 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Event: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
4933 Oakton St., Skokie, IL 60077

Saturday, October 3—Aw Yeah Comics, Muncie
Signing & Event Times TBD
107 N High St., Muncie, IN 47305

Sunday, October 4—Comic Heaven
Signing & Event Times TBD
4847 Robinhood Dr., Willoughby, OH 44094

Monday, October 5—Fantom Comics
Signing & Event Times TBD
2010 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20036

Tuesday, October 6—Pittsburgh Comics
Signing & Event Times TBD
113 E McMurray Rd., McMurray, PA 15317

Wednesday, October 7—Collectors Corner
Signing & Event Times TBD
7911 Harford Rd., Baltimore, MD 21234

Thursday, October 8–Sunday, October 11—New York Comic Con

If you are near any of these locations, stop by and party with The Paybacks! You can read our review here!


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