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June 01 2011

Buffy digital comic to be part of Dark Horse retailer exclusive. It will be 8 pages long and out in August, so I am assuming some tie-in with Season 9.

From July through September, Dark Horse will be running a digital promotion, where they will give retailers codes to pass onto customers who can use it to unlock free 8 page digital comics. This is to encourage people to keep visiting their comic book stores even if they make the complete switch to digital.

I wonder if this the Jane Espenson Spike story.
I think it will be the Espenson-penned Spike story.
They want me to sign up for something I might or might not want in August in the next 21 days? Ummmm. No. Either that isn't clearly worded or is a total marketing fail.
This is interesting, because just the other day Scott Allie answered someone's Twitter question about why there's no Buffy on their digital store, saying they're still working out the rights. Maybe new material they had the digital talks up front, but still need to go back and get digital worked out for the already-published.
I kind of doubt I'll get any of them, unless I can convince the couple of ebay stores I usually buy Buffy comics from to sign up. Then get lucky enough to get them to give me a code.

I feel kind of disapointed about these news, but for a silly reason; I thought the Spike comic was going to be free, like the other Buffy web comics.

I figured they wrote the Spike comic as a promotion piece, to spike interest (pun not intended, but hilarious).
Sky, pretty sure it is free. You just need a code to get to it...not sure if you need to pay for the code at the store though, which is probably the case (and highly inconvenient and stupid).
I don't like reading online. I hope the content makes it to a real comic book.
It's a cool promo for retailers, as it will help bring customers into the stores. They do risk angering a hardcore fanbase though if people who want it can't get the codes.
I think the idea is that you don't have to pay for it, that you just show up and they give you the code. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some retailers ask you to buy something before they give you the code. It depends on how strictly Dark Horse lay out the rules to this promotion to retailers.

Also I completely understand why they are doing this. Many retailers and even just comic fans are worried that digital comics will result in traditional comic book stores to close down. This is a way to make the move to digital while still keeping an connection to local comic book stores.

However, IrrationaliTV is right about how you need to sign up ahead of time is the wrong way to go about it. I imagine quite a few Buffy fans won't find out until the comic is out. The way it's now being worded they won't be able to take advantage of it then. Why would Dark Horse want to not use this promo to it's fullest potential?

Also I wouldn't surprise if this content later makes it into a trade down the road. As it will have already served it's purposed by the time a Season 9 trade is out.
Sounds like way too many hoops to jump through for the average fan.
Btw, if you sign in to your DH Digital account, you can read that blurb with the titles of the free comics.
The Buffy one will be titled "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9: Magical Mystery Tour Featuring the Beetles."
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9: Magical Mystery Tour Featuring the Beetles."

Sounds like a song journey.

So I'll have to buy some random comic and hope the seller will give me one of the 100 codes?
Uhm, no thanks. I already joined them, but could not be bothered going through all that hassle for something I mightn't even want to read. And it does exclude the huge market of internet buyers like you guys have already mentioned. These people don't effect the physical shops because they never used them in the first place. I hope they rectifiy that, it's kind like geographical elitism :p It's not my fault I live in the stix!
So I need to be the first of 100 people to walk through the door on a random Wednesday? I'm a frequenter of two comic shops, one while at school and another while home, but what about those of us who can't get out every Wednesday or find themselves customer 101? I don't totally disagree with this promotion, but maybe there'd be a better way to do this...
I think it's a nice way for stores to build up relationships with their customers. I would imagine the 8 page tale will turn up in the first Season 9 tpb.
The way I read it, it's the retailers (the stores) that have to sign up before June 22, not us, the buyers. The information on the link seems directed to retailers.
I hope they make it available to the rest of us at the same time they release the codes. Wouldn't make sense otherwise. How much could it cost? 50cents? 1USD? It's only 8 pages after all.
I don't read the Trades either. I collect comics. :(
Opps! Yup, OldSwede is right and it seems like a moderator already fixed the top post.

Perhaps it might be made available online at a cost or even for free after August. However, during the promotion it wouldn't make any sense. As the whole idea is to get people into comic book stores.
Which is all very laudable and all that If you happen to live near any, but for some fans that I've talked too they've said they don't have a comic shop anywhere near them.
Clever way to soothe retailer nerves as Dark Horse launches digital comics. More content for fans, win/win.
Ugh, I hate digital comics! At least it's likely to be printed in the first trade of Season 9.
I don't get it. How do I get a chance to read it? Is it just a matter of getting lucky with your retailer giving you the code?

1. A retailer actually has to sign up for the exclusive in order for interested customers to gain access to the digital comics.

2. Each retailer is only going to get 100 one-time-use individual codes to hand out to 100 customers. The hypothetical 101st customer is screwed. At least at that particular comic shop.

3. Fans need to request that their local retailer sign-up to participate in the offer, because the shop won't necessarily take part on their own initiative. And the retailer only has until June 22nd to do it.

Um, well, this could be interesting... Anyone work in a comic shop and have any idea on the monthly BtVS traffic? I wonder how rabid are the never-go-in/on-line-only people going to be?

Will there be a discussion thread here for the exclusive?

To me, it wouldn't makse sense to discriminate like that, and wait to sell it to the rest of us. A lot of Buffy fans are already mad about season 8 and Darkhorse taking back the Angel license. Making sure that only a part of the fandom gets the Spike comic wouldn't make us happier.

Why keep the comic from us? Why not make it available for a small price? Why not make it free for some, but available to all.

Seems like bad promotion for season 9 if they did that, so I assume they will release it to everyone at the same time.

Will there be a discussion thread here for the exclusive?

Ponders what such an entry may look like..

Discuss the 8 page Spike story! Didn't get a chance to get the story? Well everyone here got it via Rapidshare downloads thanks to flocked posts on LJ and PMs on fansites.

Maybe not.
@BreathesStory- I used to work at Meltdown Comics in LA, and although I did not work there during Season 8 it was pretty rare to sell more than 30-40 of one particular comic on a release date. I would imagine as long as you get there the 1st day of the promo you will be ok. I do fear some unscrupulous retailers will take advantage and require a purchase or even charge for it. Hopefully everyone will play by the rules.
This isn't discrimination any more than doorbusters on Black Friday are. I would be surprised if the comic isn't made more broadly available for purchase later in one format or another, anyway.
How could it not be discriminating? It will only be available to a few.

Aren't doorbusters usually just bargains? not this kind of exclusives?

I use this definition of doorbuster
One definition of discriminate:

1. (intr; usually foll by in favour of or against) to single out a particular person, group, etc., for special favour or, esp, disfavour, often because of a characteristic such as race, colour, sex, intelligence, etc.

In this case they are singling out interested fans who:

1. have access to a comic book store that is participating and
2. can also manage to get there and be in the first one hundred.

So yes, technically it is discriminating--but not any more so than any other retailer who runs a limited time/location/product promotion. Retailers have been doing that forever. I imagine a lot of the frustration surrounding this particular promotion is the fact that we all know that it is a digital comic which has no logical feeling type reason to be limited in copies or access, unlike say, a paper print run that has to be physically distributed. (For some reason a bunch of the out-of-print books I've wanted lately have had to be shipped overseas from Australia.)
I definitely understand people's frustrations regarding retailer exclusives. I don't like them myself, and have missed out on things in the past that I had wanted. At least these, as opposed to the ones for big chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, etc., are going to try to support comic stores, which are almost always small locally owned businesses. And there definitely are comic stores in trouble.

Here are two articles from the same day that this announcement hit, the first regarding a store that is closing, and the second regarding one that is in serious danger of doing so:
While the comics book industry continues to grow in book stores and now digitally, comic book stores are the lifeblood of the comic book industry. Comic publishers still need them to continue to be in business for them to keep publishing. Otherwise there is no Buffy season 9 or 10.

Certain bands have in the past had special exclusives for Record Store Day. This is more like than rather than retailer exclusives.

DC Comics recently announced they are going to have same day digital release and a lot of retailers are freaking out worried that they will lose their business.

It sucks that certain fans will likely only get access to it at a later date, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to get people into comic book stores.

That said, limiting the promo to 100 codes for each store seems like a bad way to go about it. More codes means more people going into stores. I imagine it's about trying to people into stores are a particular time, like Wednesday for when comics come out.
Georges Jeanty confirmed HERE that the Buffy comic in question is indeed the Spike 8-pager that he worked on with Jane Espenson.

[ edited by wenxina on 2011-06-03 04:56 ]
How could it not be discriminating? It will only be available to a few.

I recall talk from four or five years ago where some fans said they were being discriminated against as they wouldn't be able to afford to buy the comics.
I'm not so sure about how this would actually bring in more Whedonverse fans - the amount of books that the retail shop I have been using from the start of S8 has almost entirely eliminated sale of Buffy and Angel - all the spin off were order specifically on request. None of the spin off like Spike or Illyria were offered at any of the large chain retail stores - you could not buy a Spike or Illyria comic at any of the stores except at the comic retailers.

I am worried about the shop I purchase from - they need more customers -

I never got that critique or the people who complained. The world is full of things not everyone can afford. Doesn't mean that's bad. I would hate if there were such few things in this world so I could afford all. I used to think "Oh man, IDW is releasing so many Angel comic books, I can't afford them all right now. Sweet!"

I think there's a slight difference between not being able to afford the comics and not being able to afford plane/train tickets to get to a comic book shop "near me" that has the codes. This discrimination bothers me, since there's such a low chance of it being available to me.

* * * * * *

But I have to confess, it was that I was expecting the comic to be free that threw me. From "Yes, I'm getting a free comic soon!" to "What!? I won't be able to read it at all? When do I get it!?" in one day made me pissed.

Now I've calmed down. After all, I don't know when the rest of us gets it, could be soon after everyone else or at the same day, and I now read the argument that Darkhorse needs the comics book shops to stay on their feet.

It still wouldn't make any sense to me to keep the comic from us for long. Sure, wait a week to release it, but more than that seems silly, when there's people waiting to pay for it. On the other hand, if it's just a week people might not go to the comic shop at all, specially if they don't think it's worth the gas money. They might be willing to wait for a week. And then the shop would need two weeks maybe more.

So I guess I have no idea if it's stupid of Darkhorse to do this or not, I just know that it sucks for me.

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