Is There a Market for Miniseries Any More?

Writer Marc Bernardin ponders why his comic The Highwaymen didn’t sell. He talks about the work they did to get press coverage and nods at the potential of racism from comic purchasers, but he doesn’t consider my reason for not buying: the format. (Although two of his commenters, at the time of this writing, make that point.)

There is no reason to buy a miniseries any more. If you’re going to do all that promotional work (and they did), then you should be pushing something that will keep selling. That’s true of series — if a reader signs on, there’s another one every month to buy — and books — as long as they’re kept in print, new customers can be found on an ongoing basis — but not of limited-run projects. What’s the point in pushing it when three or five months later, your hard work doesn’t have any more payback?

(He 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 unfavorably on a project that does typical numbers in the face of extra promotion.)

Retailer Randy Lander chimes in to note that the WildStorm brand may be considered a dead weight for projects these days and that customers aren’t looking for anything new.

Update: Marc Bernardin responds by concluding that “the market… wants superheroes and only superheroes. Especially superheroes they already know. And especially if there’s a possibility that they’re zombies.”


6 Responses to “Is There a Market for Miniseries Any More?”

  1. Paul O'Brien Says:

    HIGHWAYMEN featured completely new characters, creators without an established fanbase, and the lead weight of the WildStorm imprint. Really, a better question why you would EXPECT it to sell. It did no worse than most other titles in its position.

  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Sept. 17, 2007: The jingle of a dog’s collar Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson wonders whether a market for comics-pamphlet miniseries still […]

  3. caleb Says:

    Is there a market for miniseries any more? Yes.

    Is there a market for Widlstorm miniseries? No.

    Easy!

  4. Adam Freeman Says:

    As 1/2 of writing team behind the HJighwaymen, I agree with Paul. People buy what they know and no one knew us. We were realistic with our expectations.

    Fortunately, the people that DID buy it seemed to like it. Maybe the trade will attract more eyes and when people see our other stuff on the stands we will be a hair more familiar.

    Regardless, the DC/Wildstorm folks have been great and the whole experience has been nothing but positive.

  5. Lew Says:

    I have to say that as a 49-50 something (50 something ) comics reader, I was attracted to this series regardless of the imprint of Wildstorm, and while I am WAYYYYYY behind in my reading, I just finished issue 1 and I am looking forward to the second issue. I think the real question here is ” has the average comic reader become less demanding of their material, and are they reading things outside of the usual superhero cookie cutter format? ”

    Lew
    http://www.fln50.com

  6. Economic Issues Facing Publishers LinkBlogging » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] pointedly, Steven Grant responds to Marc Bernardin on why his comic didn’t sell. Grant has a number of reasons it wasn’t suited to […]




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