Licensed Comic Announcements

Several of the big announcements coming out of San Diego this year were about licensed comic book versions of properties from other media.

DC, for example, is launching a World of Warcraft series (based on “the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)”) written by legend Walt Simonson and published through their WildStorm imprint.

According to ICv2, the game has more than 9 million subscribers worldwide. That’s a lot of potential comic readers. But that brings to mind the key question that must be asked in response to these kinds of announcements:

What plans does the publisher have to promote this comic series to the existing fanbase of whatever they’ve licensed and outside the traditional direct market?

I’ve been asking that question in response to these press releases, although I have yet to get a response, mostly due to timing. When asked about WOW marketing plans, DC very politely said that they were busy at the convention and would have to get back to me next week, which is very fair and more than I expected. (I’ll keep an eye on that and let you know what happens.)

DC has also announced a hardcover Heroes graphic novel reprinting the webcomics based on the TV show. In that case, the answer to my question is obvious — DC has a long history of getting their books into bookstores. It will be interesting, though, to see if they’re able to promote it in TV Guide or similar locations.

Boom! Studios, meanwhile, is putting out a graphic novel and comics based on the Godfather movies. When I asked them the same question, their new marketing director’s answer was “come to our panel at the con”. I reminded him that not everyone was attending the San Diego show, and his only answer was “too bad”. I asked for an update afterwards, but given that brush-off, I’m not expecting one. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting a quick answer sent off during convention rush.

Last, Dark Horse announced a new Indiana Jones comic series. I’m afraid to even ask them about their plans, since they should have the experience with big-name properties to do this right, but history doesn’t bear it out, given their out-of-stock problems in the past.

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