DC Pushes Highwaymen

DC Comics has announced a retail sales incentive for The Highwaymen #1 (a five-issue WildStorm miniseries written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman with art by Lee Garbett and covers by Brian Stelfreeze).

First, some background: DC has moved to the Final Order Cutoff (FOC) system pioneered by Marvel. Retailers place initial orders roughly two months before the scheduled release date, but they are allowed to adjust those orders until roughly three weeks before publication.

In thise case, DC has stated that if a retailer is willing to place a final order equal to or greater than double their initial orders, the total number of copies ordered will be fully returnable. The order code is APR07 0242, and final orders are due May 31, with the book scheduled for June 20.

Now, that raises all kinds of questions. Were orders that bad, that they’re attempting to flat-out double the numbers? Why was this project picked for the promotion? I didn’t remember seeing it at all in the order catalog, which may help answer that question. Also, WildStorm’s recent relaunch was badly bobbled due to late and missing comics, which may cause the publisher to feel that the line needs special effort.

Like rebates, returnability sounds better on paper than it may be in practice. Some retailers will be able to sell more than they thought they would. Some stores will forget to return the comics and wind up paying for them. Some stores won’t bother shipping back one or two leftover issues. So the publisher will increase sales with this method, although it may be inadvertent.

8 Responses to “DC Pushes Highwaymen”

  1. mark thorpe Says:

    But is the comic supposed to be any good? The cover art looks tempting, but I have bought many comics before judging by how cool the cover looks only to have the rug yanked out from under my feet. And whenever a book sports two authors it’s -at least in my opinion- never a good thing. Dunno, have to wait and see about this one.

  2. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    Typically when DC offers returnability it means that they think the numbers are low – lower than they should be. It can also sometimes mean that the comic is getting some publicity or media push so DC believes that it will sell in a greater quantity than it would otherwise. Whatever the reason they offer it, it’s great that they do, and we usually try to take advantage of it. It’s a lot better than Marvel’s emails saying “this is big – order a lot. no matter how many you ordered, you didn’t order enough. we can’t tell you why, we won’t let you return any if you order too many – but we’re sure you need to order a lot.” Like they did with Cap #25 and are doing with New Avengers #31.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Lisa, great point — what struck me about this situation, though, was the target amount given. 200% seems either really optimistic or desperate.

  4. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    Well, I’m hoping for optimistic. Maybe they’ve got some big media push coming or something.

    It’s pretty risky if it’s just desperation because if it flops, while some stores won’t return the overstock, many will, and they’ll have to give us our money back.

  5. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » May 24, 2007: The long tentacles of Dullsville Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson notes a fairly novel (I believe) promotional effort toward retailers on the part of DC Comics, who seem anxious to promote their new Highwaymen serious. […]

  6. Lew Newmark Says:

    I was in my local comic shop yesterday, and picked up a couple of comics, but stayed behind to find something that was different from the usual superhero norm. Nothing really caught my eye, so I will be looking out for this series in June.

  7. Rich Johnston Says:

    They are right about New Avengers 31.

    It’s not a mass media thing, but it’s certainly Civil War 1 numbers.

  8. Is There a Market for Miniseries Any More? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] also neglects to note the additional marketing help the series got from DC, which may be a strike against it — sometimes the Powers That Be look […]




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