Hey Readers and Retailers,
This is a post to remind people that NOW is the time for retailers to finalize their order numbers on Skullkickers #2, which will be in stores October 20th. If you want to ensure your shop has copies in stock, especially with the second printing of issue #1 arriving a week earlier to bring in new readers who have heard about the series, please order appropriately or let your retailer know you want the series added to your pull list.
We\’ve received an overwhelming amount of praise and excitement from readers and retailers alike and we greatly appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. The last few weeks have been a real roller coaster ride.
We\’ve also heard from a few people who think Image is trying to manufacture false buzz for the series and that it\’s some kind of grand conspiracy to underprint books and create demand for Skullkickers. This couldn\’t be further from the truth.
First off, everyone on the Skullkickers team is an unknown, as far as the industry at large is concerned. Image has no vested interest in our success or failure and we have no special favors or blackmail held over them (useful though that would be). Image has been supportive and enthusiastic about the book but it\’s one of dozens of titles they release and was, and still is, anything but a sure thing in this market. If they could just deem a particular book \”hot\” and tilt everyone\’s opinions towards it, I\’m sure they would have picked something by much higher profile creators with clearer mainstream appeal in a genre that hasn\’t had spotty representation in the North American market this side of Battle Chasers.
When Skullkickers #1 hit the Final Order Cut-Off date, many retailers decided it wasn\’t a book they would support and they ordered low or not at all. This was after the book was made one of Diamond\’s \’Gem of the Month\’ titles, had the Image Spotlight for September and extensive previews had appeared on major comic news sites including Newsarama and Comic Book Resources along with advance reviews that talked about it being a really great new series. This was also with extra incentive offered from Diamond where retailers would get a free copy if they ordered 10 for their store, effectively discounting the books by another 10%.
The orders came in and they were okay, but not great, and the print run was set based on that FOC number, along with a healthy overprint to account for damaged copies, standard complimentary copies for the creative team and an added buffer to absorb late orders. This is the way it always works. Why would you print a ton of extra copies if they aren\’t going to sell?
Believe me when I tell you that we would\’ve been very happy to get higher orders right out the gate. Image is creator owned content, so overprinting a ridiculous amount on the faint hope that they might sell (an unknown book by unknown creators in an under represented genre) is ludicrous. If they didn\’t move, it would eat up what little profit could come from the book. Even still, Image overprinted more than usual and we all crossed our fingers.
The buzz grew after some very positive high profile reviews and speculation kicked in to gear. We were all (Skullkickers team, Image and Diamond distribution) surprised. Late retailer orders, after the book was already printed, shot past the overprint numbers before issue #1 arrived and, doing our best to keep up, we rushed to get a 2nd print going so it could arrive in stores before #2 to maximize the potential larger readership.
So… here we are again with Final Order Cut-Off on #2. Orders for issue #2 are obviously stronger, but not as robust as we\’d expect based on the number of 1st and 2nd print books that will be out in the market. Even after last week\’s Final Order Cut-Off for the 2nd print of #1, orders are still coming in. There is genuine interest in this book!
Second issues always have some drop-off, understandably, but it\’s entirely possible stores won\’t have enough issue 2\’s come October 20th. I\’d prefer to just have issues ordered and sold, build a readership that enjoys the book and keep it rolling forward as strongly as we can. I don\’t want to play this nail-biting game and hope retailers kick in enough late orders to make an overprint a success or wonder if we\’ll need to do a second printing of #2. My guts don\’t want to play that game again.
Lend us your support and we\’ll deliver a fun book on time that kicks ass.