Carnival of souls: Year-enders, variants, Joyce Farmer, more

* They’ll look familiar to you if you’ve read my own 20 Best Comics of 2010 list, but I have some more write-ups in Comic Book Resources’ Top 100 Comics of 2010 countdown: Weathercraft, Special Exits, Wally Gropius, Wilson, Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, Grant Morrison’s Batman comics, and The ACME Novelty Library #20. Given CBR’s mission and audience, that’s a really solid Top 10.

* Reading Paul O’Brien’s latest report on Marvel’s monthly sales made me realize the havoc that variant editions must wreak on retailers’ ability to properly judge how many copies of comics to order for their customers. I mean, read this paragraph about the publisher’s best seller, Avengers:

This is the start of the book’s second storyline, but don’t read too much into the big sales increase just yet. The first five issues were heavily supported by variant covers, including 1:75 “character” variants by John Romita Jr. Issue #6, for some reason, was allowed to fend for itself. But with issue #7, it’s back to business as usual – this has a 1:15 Tron variant, a 1:25 Ed McGuinness variant, and a 1:50 Marko Djurdjevic gatefold variant. It also introduces the Red Hulk into the cast, which might be something of a draw; HULK sales may have passed their peak, but there’s still a significant audience there who might not have been buying the book before.

DC, of course, does the same thing:

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and Batman and Robin #16, both of which were meant to be out in September, each had a 1:25 variant-cover edition to boost sales. Batman: The Return #1 (originally scheduled for October) and Batman, Inc. #1 had 1:200 variant editions in addition to the 1:25 ones. Batman and Robin #17, finally, which was solicited with a different creative team and ended up being the first part of a three-issue fill-in run, came with a plain old vanilla 1:10 variant-cover edition.

That’s a lot of hoops to jump through, and I have to imagine that’s the last thing the Direct Market needs right now. (Bonus points to DC analyst Marc-Oliver Frisch for reacting to the shenanigans the way that card dealer reacts to being able to leave the table after dealing to a drunk and belligerent Joe Pesci in Casino.)

* Chris Mautner interviews Eric Reynolds about Mome: part one, part two. (Via Kevin Melrose.)

* Alex Dueben interviews Joyce Farmer about Special Exits. Farmer says she worked on the book for 13 years, and threw away the first 35 pages after she finished them because she felt they weren’t up to snuff.

* I think this is the only time I’ve ever found eyebrowless-era David Bowie attractive.

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One Response to Carnival of souls: Year-enders, variants, Joyce Farmer, more

  1. With variant comics, there is also the sheer annoyance of things like 100:1 variants where only the huge comic stores will be able to get a variant, or smaller ones run the risk of having a whole bunch of product that won’t move all for a rare cover they may or not be able to sell at a mark-up to hopefully cover the loss from buying 100 issues of something. It just strikes me as a crass thing for comic companies to do. 10:1 variants? Fine, but 100:1? Please.

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