- Posted by Johanna on June 11, 2006 at 8:25 am
- Category: Comic News
I’ve been so overwhelmed and under-impressed by the flood of hucksterism coming out about Zoom Suit that I’m not at all interested in the comic itself. Their latest press release provides a clue as to why: they’re chasing collectors, a group I’ve never considered myself part of.1
Numerous sellouts across the nation have led the team behind the Zoom Suit comic book to offer the complete first issue online, free of charge. The online version has been reformatted to fit computer screens and hi-tech devices.
“I don’t want to do a second printing, but I do want fellow comic fans to be able to find and read Zoom Suit,” said Zoom Suit creator John Taddeo. “This solution seems like a win-win because fans that want to read it can now do so for free, while collectors won’t see their market diluted with second prints.”
If you’re using phrases like “market dilution” in deciding how to release your comic series, then I’m not part of your audience. You’re talking to retailers and speculators, trying to get them to buy into your hype.
The web version of Zoom Suit #1 is available for download at www.superverse.com. This will be the only comic in the series available online.
Zoom Suit #1 was released April 26, 2006. Since the release the comic is sold out at all but the most heavily stocked outlets. Copies have sprung up on eBay.com at above cover price, and Zoom Suit variant editions have sold from 2 to 50 times the regular $2.95 cover price. Meanwhile, comic Shops have reordered over 5,000 copies of Zoom Suit #2.
I wonder about making promises like “only one ever online” at this early date, but since the comic release list says that it’s only a four-issue miniseries, I guess that’s a safe bet. The reason variant editions have been priced above cover is because they were released in ratios like 1-in-10 and 1-in-50. Retailers price them higher to cover the cost of all the “standard” issues they have to order to get them. It’s not a measure of demand but of supply.
“I’ve read every comic book I’ve ever owned, so I’m a reader first and foremost. However, collecting is also a fun aspect of the hobby and I want to recognize that aspect,” said Taddeo. “It’s fun when you’re in on the ground floor and your comics rise in value. Collecting is an important part of our hobby.”
Well, THAT’s the answer. Comics to me isn’t a “hobby” — it’s an entertainment medium. It’s not an investment, because selling it as such is a great way to create disappointed, burned-out customers who quickly learn they can’t trust you. I seem to remember Taddeo being involved in Valiant in some way. Looks like he didn’t learn the lesson when they went out of business.
I don’t believe that you can target both readers and collectors at the same time, because their interests are opposed. The collector dream is a book that’s untouched and rare; readers want to dive into books and easily find good entertainment. Some retailers, by the way, love this book, because they get extra-big discounts and instant collectibles, but I have yet to see a reader praise it.
1 I have a ton of comics, yes, but it’s more of an archive than a collection. They’re there to be read and even learned from, not to turn a profit on.