The Scale of Success: Ninjago #1 Prints Almost 200K Copies

Lego Ninjago: The Challenge of Samukai

The Papercutz licensed graphic novel Lego Ninjago: The Challenge of Samukai has the biggest initial print run we’ve seen in the last few years for an American comic: 190,000 copies.

This 64-page comic retails for $6.99 and will be available November 8. It’s written by Greg Farshtey, who, according to the press release “penned the hugely successful BIONICLE® graphic novels, also based on a LEGO property. To date, Papercutz has sold over 250,000 copies of its BIONICLE line.” Art is by Paulo Henrique, who previously worked on the Hardy Boys Papercutz books. In addition to successful comics, “the ninja-themed playsets have spawned a made-for-TV movie, an upcoming TV series, a video game for the Nintendo DS system, and an animated series … in the pipeline with Cartoon Network.”

Lego Ninjago: The Challenge of Samukai

I’m assuming that there are strong preorders that justify this high a print run; otherwise, it could be very risky for the company when returns come in from bookstore sources. Better to have the books out there to buy than to disappoint potential customers with sell-outs. There will be a second issue of Lego Ninjago, “Mask of the Sensei”, planned for February 2012.

This is quite a huge number for American comics, as I’ve said, where books can be considered great successes selling only half as much. However, to put it in perspective, compare the new Batman video game: Arkham City sold 4.6 million copies worldwide in its first week, or 24 times as much. It would be interesting to know how sales of the Lego Ninjago toys compare to the comics.


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