UPDATE: Some Retailers Seeing NEW DCnU Readers; Others Not

Retails Report on DCnU Day 1

 

UPDATED 3:30pm 9/1/11:

Gerry Gladston, co-owner of Midtown Comics in New York City - There was tremendous excitement on Wednesday at Midtown Comics with the release of Justice League #1 and Flashpoint #5! We saw lots of new faces, and sales were tremendous. Kudos to DC for getting the word out to the media, both the comic trade and mainstream.

Jason Pierce, owner of Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Ind. - My day ended up extremely well. Saw lots of new faces that came in for Justice League and had to stay open 45 minutes late to accommodate everyone that kept coming in! I fully expect to sell out today, and i feel like an idiot for under-ordering.

UPDATED 9:00am 9/1/11: After our original story, a few retailers gave us updates through the rest of Wednesday, letting Newsarama know how the day was going with the debut of the New 52.

Dean Phillips, owner of Krypton Comics in Omaha, Neb. - We have had an article in the local newspaper (Omaha World Herald) and been featured in a story on a local TV station (WOWT Channel 6). Sales have been very brisk, but I am sure once the TV report hits at 6 p.m., things will get a little crazy. Response from long-time readers is mainly hopeful that DC doesn't screw this up. I've seen many new faces come by just to pick up Justice League #1, so my immediate thought is "success." Like many readers we will just have to wait and see the quality of the books.

Craig Lopacinski, owner of Neptune Comics in Waukesha, Wisc. - Day is now done. People came in this afternoon in better numbers than this morning. We finished with more transactions than a typical Wednesday, and we still have about half of our Justice League books left for sale, which we are very happy with.

J.C. Glindmyer, owner of Earthworld Comics in Albany, N.Y. - This was one of our busiest Wednesdays in a while. A lot of people came in looking specifically for the new Justice League book. Today, we easily sold half of our initial order, and we ordered a lot — about 4 times more than the last issue of its previous incarnation.

We did see a few new faces come in. One person, a woman in her mid-thirties, came in in-hand with a DC 52 preview booklet specifically asking for the new “52” books. She said she never read a comic before and “the whole 52 thing sounded exciting."

Most people bought the regular edition over the combo pack, about 10-to-1, and a few bought both. Many sales were of just the Justice League book, although we did convince a few people to pick up all five issues of Flashpoint.

DC’s revitalization is off to a great start with the DC 52 actually creating a true “event” in comics — they have given everyone the opportunity to start at square one with all of their books. Leading off with Justice League — their heaviest hitter — was a good choice and definitely got a lot of curious people into our store today.

Dennis Barger, owner of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Mich. - At the end of the day, we sold seven more copies of Justice League than we did of Flashpoint. We sold through 33 percent of our huge over-order on this book, leaving us with plenty left to sell later. All in all, we sold 10 times this when Spider-Man met Obama, three times more when Captain America died, and 50 percent more when Blackest Night and Civil War started. Not spectacular by my standards, but not a disaster, and I liked the books. I wonder how many digital downloads there were today?

Matt Price, owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, Okla. - It was a strong sales day today - I believe it ended up as the best Wednesday of the year in sales and traffic thus far.

We had more than a 50 percent increase in traffic from an average Wednesday, and more than that in sales. We saw some new faces, and some faces we hadn't seen in a while.

Cliff Biggers, owner of Dr. No's Comics & Games Superstore in Marietta, Ga. - The day ended up as strong as it began. Reader enthusiasm was high; while people were buying other books, Flashpoint and Justice League were the only books that readers were talking about.

The number of customers who came into the store was more than twice the typical Wednesday volume; some of the buyers were people who were attracted by the buzz that DC has generated, while others were established readers who couldn't wait until the weekend to give it a try. Yes indeed — DC managed to recreate the "must have it on Wednesday" vibe that used to define the comic book industry!

And I've heard from several customers who, having read the book, called to say "Now I want to try the other 51 books; can you pull a copy of every first issue for me?" That's the best measure of success I can imagine!

Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, Calif. - While today was by no means a record breaker, DC's New 52 got off to an excellent start! DC's only two releases — Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1— accounted for more than 30% of our total sales today! The number of visitors and buyers at Flying Colors was also up by that same 30+%.

As for anecdotes, I heard from a few lapsed readers wanting to see what the fuss is about. We saw a decent number of Marvel-only buyers pick up both Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. Some of that could be related to our special promotion for those titles which can be seen here!

Let's face it, though — selling a Jim Lee/Geoff Johns comic book is about as much of a no-brainer as it can get. What's really going to tell the tale is how well-received their work is, and we don't have reviews yet from anyone who bought it today. Plus, the rubber really hits the road over the next four weeks when 51 of the other New 52 titles are released.

So far, it's all good news from Flying Colors!

Original story: [Newsarama note: In mostly expected news, DC announced Wednesday afternoon that Justice League #1 has sold out from Diamond. This means that DC’s first print run has been fully ordered by Direct Marker retailers, not that the issue is sold out in stores. A new second printing with a new Jim lee cover will arrive in stores on September 14th.]

As DC Comics begins its relaunch today with the release of Justice League #1, some retailers are not only experiencing excitement from existing fans, but they're seeing a few new faces.

"Sales are superb, and initial response is amazing," said Cliff Biggers, owner of Dr. No's Comics and Games in Marietta, Ga. "Apparently Flash altered our timeline and took comic sales volume back to the early 90s — and we love it!"

Ssalefish Comics in Winston-Salem, N.C., had a midnight release sale last night. "[It] was our best attended midnight comics-only release," said Adam Casey, manager of the store. "As for Wednesday proper, our first sale was to a customer we hadn't seen before who wanted three copies of Justice League."

Samurai Comics in Phoenix, Ariz., just opened a new location to handle former customers of the now closed Atomic Comics stores in town. After holding a midnight release party last night and opening his doors a few hours ago for today's customers, owner Mike Banks said feedback from customers about the relaunch has been "great!"

"The most encouraging thing to me is the number of new readers coming in for Justice League," Banks said. "We've had a few people tell us that they were stopping in a comic shop for the first time! There have also been a lot of people coming in who haven't collected for years, but see this as a great opportunity to get back into comics."

The influx of new customers has continued throughout the day for Casey. "Many non-regular or lapsed customers have been coming in, a few saying 'I haven't read a comic in 15 years,'" he said.

A few of the new customers had be educated on how comic collecting works. "Some have been asking for specific titles, like Superman, Batman, and Jonah Hex, and are learning about the staggered release schedule," Casey said.

Of course, it's still early in the day for some retailers, particularly those on the West Coast.

Joe Field, president of the retailer organization ComicsPRO and owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Calif., said there was a line of about 20 people waiting outside when he opened just a couple hours ago. "That's a good start!" he said.

About an hour later, we checked back with Field and he said "45 minutes into our day and it has been non-stop!"

Mike Wellman, owner of The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, Calif., said he hasn't seen many new faces just yet, but the store is "making the most of the familiar customers" by giving deep discounts on comics. Anyone who buys Justice League #1 and/or Flashpoint #5 today at The Comic Bug can purchase any other new DC Comic for $1 each.

"We're also getting lots of folks signing up for our 'Big 52' offer," he said, "buy all 52 #1's and receive a $100 voucher to be used on future DC 52 titles between October 1st and the end of the year."

Matt Price, owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, Okla., said he's having a "busier-than-usual" Wednesday.

"Almost everybody in so far has bought a copy of Justice League #1," he said. "People so far seem very excited."

Jason Pierce, owner of Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Ind., said he had plenty of people buying Justice League #1 so far, but perhaps even more telling is that even more people have called to see if he'd sold out yet.

But not every retailer's experience has been uplifting. Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics in Rochester, N.H., said he's experienced both the positive and the negative of the change.

"I had one gentleman come in and say he hadn't bought comics in 10 years, but the DC relaunch brought him back and he plans on coming back to try some of the other titles too," he said. "That's definitely the up side!

"On the other end of the spectrum, I had a long-time subscriber drop all of his DC titles because he named his child Connor Hawke after Green Arrow Oliver Queen's son and the character seems to have been retconned out of continuity with the new changes," DiBernardo said.

Craig Lopacinski, owner of Neptune Comics in Waukesha, Wisc., said it's still quiet at his store. "People have been fairly excited to get this relaunch going," he said, voicing some surprise that it hasn't translated into customers so far today, although it's still early. "We'll see how the rest of the day shapes up."

"For the most part it is very subdued," said Dennis L. Barger, owner of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Mich., who said his customers voted down the chance for a midnight release. "As a retailer, if I don't have my regular 20-25 DC books to sell, I better be selling a whole lot of these two books to make up for it, and that is just not happening today. Ultimate Hawkeye #1, Locke and Key and Spider Island seem to be bringing them in the same amounts today."

 

Feedback on the issues has been a bit mixed, although Casey said most people who are picking up Justice League #1 today are also picking up Flashpoint #5 so they can understand the changes to the DC Universe. "I've been saying, 'Flashpoint #5 explains how Superman went from red underwear to no underwear," he joked.

Barger said this morning, he had a fast trickle of customers who came in to read Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. "Consensus on Flashpoint #5 was that it was a great ending that added a few geeky questions to the discussion," he said. "Consensus on Justice League #1 was very underwhelming: 'Art is great,' 'colors are great,' 'it started out too slow,' [and] 'designs are odder than expected.'

At his store's midnight release, Banks said "practically everyone who came in last night didn't even wait to take their books home. They pulled up a chair, or sat down on the couch in the store and immediately read both comics. I thought both books were great reads! And I'm not ashamed to admit that I got a bit teary eyed at the ending of Flashpoint."

Casey, who hosted a midnight release, admitted that he's starting to wear out from all the excitement today has brought to the store as DC relaunches its universe. "Personally," he said, "I'm ready for a nap!" 

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