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January 21 2008

Whedonverse comic book chart positions for December. Buffy #9 took 12th place and Angel: After The Fall #2 came in at no. 52 (ETA: Estimated figures for how many copies got shipped are now available).

I can't believe Buffy sells THAT much more to "After the Fall." I was telling the guy at my comic shop how Buffy is cool, because it's a story we all wanted to have continued, but Angel is the one that we NEEDED to have continued.
Well, there was a strong negative reaction to the art, plus the fact that even when both were on, Buffy was still the more popular show in terms of ratings (at least I thought so, might be wrong on that). Even with all that, it did pretty good.
I hear you, patxshand, but as archon says, BtVS did score higher ratings and likely has a larger fan base. And, let's be candid, not all our needs are the same . . . :-)
True. It just kinda shocked me to see how much less the series sold than BtVS. I mean, they've got the powerhouse characters that everyone wants to see (Angel, Spike, Wesley), the most interesting new character they never had the chance to develop (Illyria), and an old character that is finally getting a good story arc (Gunn). I'd hate to be one of the people missing out on all that charactery goodness.
Well Amen to that. After the Fall really is turning into a cracking run. And I hope both books are converting some folks who swore they would never pick up a "comic" - and that they may try other worthy series afterwards.
SNT, those folks you speak of is me. Before Season Eight was announced, I'd never read a comic. When I heard that Joss would be doing BtVS:S8, I--reluctantly--knew I had to do it. I practiced reading comics by getting some of "Angel: Old Friends" and ever since then, I've been buying too many for my own good! BtVS and AtS becoming comic series has gotten me interested in (of course) Runaways, Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead, and Astonishing X-Men. I've also bought some Sandman and Preacher stuff, but I'm waiting until I get caught up on Y and The Walking Dead through TPBs before I start those series.

All that stuff is great, but... BtVS and AtS are still #1 for me.
After The Fall is $3.99 and Buffy season 8 is $2.99. So I'm sure cost plays some sort of part in it. And the impression I get is that IDW's previous range of Angel comic books failed to inspire comic book readers and comic book shop owners alike which could be hurting the current mini-series.

Oh and ICV2 have their estimated figures up so I've changed the link to that. And if anyone is interested I've been keeping a running total of the estimated sales figures for Dark Horse's season 8 and all of IDW's Angelverse comic books.

Dark Horse

I don't think the price has much to do with it, if you switched it around I bet Buffy would still sell more.
I think Simon's figures put the Angel:AtF sales in context. 'Spike: Asylum' and 'Spike: Shadow Puppets' (both absolutely excellent IMO BTW - highly recommended) were selling around 6-7000 so to suddenly jump up to 47-48,000 is an astonishing difference.

(in fact, IIRC the original Buffy comics were selling about 20,000 a month when they were wound down so A:AtF's shift from 7000 to 48000 is something like a 7-fold increase over previous, non-Joss involved titles compared to about 5 times more for Buffy "S8")

And even though A:AtF is shifting fewer issues than Buffy "S8", issue 1 at least was still apparently IDW's bestselling comic ever - they're a smaller company than Dark Horse, their books are dearer and, unfortunately, as Simon says, some of their previous stuff was a bit patchy which put a few people off.

(and a lot of people, myself included, were not of the opinion that 'Angel' needed any other finish than the magnificent "Not Fade Away". I'm over the moon about the comics, very much enjoying them, but if NFA had been the end, that'd be fine with me)
Comic Book Resources came up with an interesting theory when they looked at the sales figures for #1 of After The Fall.

The second best title not from Marvel or DC was in rank #41 with "Angel: After the Fall" #1 from IDW Publishing, selling an estimated 47,545 units. This is roughly half of the current sales level of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" from Dark Horse. Some of that is the difference between "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" clearly being promoted as the eighth season and a continuation of the television series while "Angel: After the Fall" was marketed as a more traditional spinoff comic based on a television show. The more direct involvement of Joss Whedon on "Buffy" was also a major difference. While Whedon was involved in the "Angel" series, he was only providing the plot and didn't write the comic like he did with the initial issues of "Buffy."

One other difference between the two titles was the placement in Previews. The solicitation for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" #1 was in the Dark Horse section on page 22 at the front of the January 2007 Previews catalog while the solicitation for "Angel: After the Fall" #1 was in the IDW section on page 311 of the September 2007 Previews catalog. When readers and retailers go through Previews to preorder comics, they have allocated nothing to other purchases when they hit page 22 of the January Previews since it was the first item listed. You simply can't get better placement than that.

Conversely, by the time readers and retailers hit page 311 of that same Previews catalog, they had most likely already allocated their budget to whatever they decided to purchase from Dark Horse, DC, Image, Marvel, Wizard and smaller comic publishers prior to IDW. Based on the breakdown of the dollar sales for the top 300 for November, 96.52% of the dollars spent on the top 300 came from publishers listed before IDW in Previews.

What this means is that placement further back in Previews has the potential to hurt sales since readers and retailers feel they have already spent money on items earlier in the catalog. There is also the matter of fatigue to consider. Not only were there 310 pages of Previews prior to the listing of "Angel: After the Fall" #1, but the Marvel Previews falls into that area and is usually well over 100 pages long itself. By the time people get to the "Other Publishers" in the back half of Previews, they have already spent hours and potentially a considerable amount of money on the items available from other publishers. This is one of the reasons why so many smaller publishers have names beginning with a letter very early in the alphabet.

That's a very tidy argument from CBR, like it. And wasn't Buffy actually on the cover of Previews too ? It's hard to tell from in here (because there were hints about an Angel "season 6" comic dropped on here very early, even before deals had officially been signed IIRC) but I think Buffy was promoted more heavily than Angel:AtF (maybe partly because of the "official continuation" angle, maybe partly because of Joss' heavier involvement, maybe partly just because Dark Horse has more money and clout to market their product).

(put it this way, my sister, who loved the show but hadn't read a comic in 30 years, asked me if I could get the Buffy comic for her. When I told her about Angel:AtF on the other hand, she was happy - she's always been in the "NFA was a cliff-hangar" camp - but completely surprised, hadn't heard a thing about it)
Interestingly, issue #8 of BtVS was still selling well enough a month after its publication to come in at #297 on the same sales chart. That's impressive.

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