A little bit on Villains Month

From the Villains Month FAQ 2.0 that DC sent out yesterday:

5. Why didn’t DC print at least as many copies of each of the 3-D motion cover issues as they do on the regular monthly series?

Orders greatly exceeded DCE’s expectations. We did not anticipate that the demand for these covers would be as large – or larger – than the demand for each monthly series. The 3-D motion covers also required a much longer production time than normal covers, so we had to set print runs on these issues out of cycle. As more retailers saw sample copies, orders continued to build beyond the print runs we had set. There was also a physical limit to how many copies we could print due to availability of the special cover stock.

So there’s a few things in there worth unpacking.

– They printed FEWER total of the special issues than of their standard issues, which means, assuming that everyone who wanted Green Arrow #23 also wanted Green Arrow #23.1, there were always going to be cuts or allocations. This strikes me as exceptionally poor planning.
– This was their two year anniversary month for the new 52.
– This means that for their two year anniversary month, they deliberately planned to sell fewer copies than they normally would be able to sell, on their anniversary.
– And didn’t tell anybody beforehand.

Who goes into their anniversary month saying “Hey, I’ve got a great idea, lets sell fewer comics this month, guaranteed, than we did the month previous!” ? It strikes me as an exceptionally poor business practice from inception through execution, even with the higher unit-price on these books (Villains Month books were about a buck more than usual). If there were “physical limits to how many copies [they] could print due to availability of the special cover stock,” then they could have taken any number of steps to compensate, including fewer overall titles.

I tried to stay out of this because it seems like a pretty standard problem–retailers under-order on books all the time, and in this case, a publisher under-ordered. Fuck-ups happen, you take responsibility, and make it right. But what galls me is the complete lack of contrition, or of someone at DC stepping up to say “Hey, this was me, my fault.” is… it’s upsetting.

I respect people who make mistakes and admit to them. I make mistakes all the time, because I go out there and I try to do different stuff and sometimes it fails. That’s life, but more importantly, that’s business. Ventures fail, or are only partially successful (I guess). But this? Closing ranks and corporate speak? It’s disrespectful, it’s not what I want from a publishing partner.

– Chris

P.S.: If you don’t know what any of this is about, I apologize for not taking the time to create the proper context but you can Google this situation pretty easily. Also, I think the covers look super neat, and it’s a shame that everyone who wants them won’t be able to get them.

One thought on “A little bit on Villains Month”

  1. Despite my virtually complete disiniterest in American comics, somehow I am following this situation… which ought to give an idea of how much it’s blown up XD
    Have you heard of the “Has DC done something stupid today?” site XD

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