June 17, 2011 is closer than you think, and that means it’s time to turn the hype machine for the Green Lantern movie into overdrive.  IF you are someone who doesn’t know jack about Green Lantern or the supporting cast, and IF you are curious about the events that occur before the movie, DC Comics has you covered.

The company has announced five one-shots that look at what happens before the opening shot of the film.

Movie art cover

Movie art cover

Movie art cover

Movie art cover

Movie art cover

This is all well and good, but unless there are some serious retcons going on, can’t I just pick up a collected Silver Age tome or read a Wikipedia page and get the same information?

Considering DC is releasing these one-shots day-and-date on the iPad as well, my guess is the company is trying to draw more movie goers into the character in hopes of attracting those movie goers to comic books… which is a problem in and of itself. First audiences have to know comic shops exist, and considering the huge upswing in Iron Man issues sold these last couple of years (he said sarcastically), I really don’t see these issues as being the gateway drug for new comic readers – even on the iPad.

So, for those who do like Green Lantern, and for those don’t know jack about the character, how many will be picking these issues up? I’m going to guess only 40,000 or so issues are sold. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

via The Source


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. It’s been true since the first Burton Batman film. These things do not equal massive or long term increased comic sales. This is really just a tax on the converted. Like the ite-ins on the next big EVENT! When I think back to the Millennium crossovers…

  2. Uh, why is this a bad thing? Its not like we need to collect them if we already know the story – its meant to attract even one additional person to the field. In case it wasn’t clear from earlier stories – the number of people who are buying comics nowadays is dwindling. Additionally, the audience is getting older and older and in many ways more jaded. Just look at how many people complained about the new spidey costume. If Stan was introducing the spiderman costume now there would be people calling for him to be fired and leave the book.

    While it may seem like its the industry screwing over fans, it can also be just as easily construed as the industry attempting to reach out beyond its standard base. If it doesn’t, it will become like professional wrestling – a niche that flairs up at times but lays dormant or worse becomes something that is considered childish and those enjoying it are accused of engaging in arrested development.

    Basically, you can’t have your cake and eat it too saying that they should do more to bring in new readers or engage in synergy with the various products and when they do it say that they are being jerks who are destroying everything you love.

    • I don’t think anyone said DC was being a jerk in releasing the tie-in issues. Nor did anyone say this was a bad thing (an additional $40,000 is nothing to sneeze at). There was also nothing that said releasing to a digital audience was bad either, if it brought in new readers to reading comics.

      But if the company is hoping to bring new readers into the comic book store because they are releasing comic book prequels to the movie, there is a problem that can be addressed by answering one simple question – How are they going to advertise the printed prequel comic books to new readers?

      Television? nope – DC has shown they are not willing to go that far to even advertise Superman comics on Smallville. Personally, Marvel did the smart thing by running the digital comic Captain America: First Vengeance spot during the Super Bowl. But also note that Marvel hasn’t said anything about First Vengeance getting the print treatment.

      Radio? Good lord, who listens to radio?

      Websites? Depends on what websites they place ads on. If they are targeting sites like Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and the new The Daily app, then that is a step in the right direction, but a poster in a book store, and a one-shot post on a comic book website isn’t going to bring in new readers to the brick and mortar business that so many people are worried about collapsing at any moment.

      Movie theaters? Wow! That would be awesome if DC took the time to get signage in movie theaters – “READ THE COMIC BEFORE THE MOVIE!” kind of deal, but realistically, the publishers (and by extension Warner Bros.) are going to rely on the local comic shop to step up to the plate to make this happen.

      So yes, the Prequel comics might be very interesting, and they “might” bring in one new reader – though one would question the ROI if the prequels only brought in one new reader- but like was mentioned above, unless the movie retcons the Green Lantern history, readers can go to a book store and get a collected edition of Geoff Johns recent reboot of the Hal Jordan origin, and they “should” be good to go.

      And since DC isn’t rereleasing that series, it does indeed mean, retcon of the characters.

      • Stephen,

        I understand the issue but that’s not where I see it happening. Instead of advertising it before the movie or on the actual posters at the theater (people are not going to remember to go to a store – they just aren’t), I see it as something where you can attach a link to the trailer on youtube. More of a if you like this, read this kind of thing.

        The inherent problem is that getting people to go to the store for a single item is difficult at best, impossible at worst. And I don’t see any reason for them to reboot the origins of the characters as they did the best they could to streamline them earlier. Maybe its the part of me that hates the idea of continuity rearing its head like a demon but who cares if they change the history? Why do people feel the need to buy a book just so they can read about some tiny change? They usually change the history to make it have a broader appeal anyway or it sticks for a little bit then goes back to the same old same old.

        Basically, the name of the game seems to be access and they are more likely to get extra readers if its something they can click through as opposed to before when they had to actually get up and go to a store. I realize that iron man comics did not seem to enjoy the jump but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried, especially as the technology has improved. Iron man 2 is the only movie that has had mainstream release since the ipad (yes there have been other movies but none have had the same mainstream success).

        The key issue that I see is the price via digital means issue. It is one of the things that truly irritates me as they should offer it significantly lower so people are more likely to say “what the hell” and buy it. But, I doubt that it will happen.

        Here’s a question for you – while they give out the info from the brick and mortar sales, have they given out information regarding the digital sales of books? Basically, has same day release helped and have they tried to release anything as a digital form for a cheaper price than the standard cover price?


        • So we’re both actually arguing the same thing…why do the print edition at all…

          In regards to your other comment –

          The digital price structure is the attempt by the publisher to placate the B&Rs so they don’t scream about digital comics killing their business. I don’t like paying $2.99 for a digital comic (I seem to remember writing a piece about that six months or so ago right here on this site), but since I’m not buying the print version of The Walking Dead anymore, that’s the price I pay.

          Unfortunately, at this point, there is no actual data from anyone on the actual numbers sold through the digital store. Perhaps as we near the end of the fiscal year, it will be included in annual reports, but I doubt it. A few have attempted running the numbers (Rich Johnston over at bleeding cool did a flawed job, but at least he tried), but there is nothing official.

          We can however make some good guestimates (just like Rich)-

          The Archie Comics app is nearing or passed 2 million downloads. If everyone of those users purchased even one comic through the app, that would represent 1.3 million dollars going to Archie Comics. The ComiXology app ranked in the top grossing applications for the year on the iTunes App store (currently ranked at #24), with DC and Marvel apps also showing up on the list. But again, everyone is tight lipped when it comes to actual numbers.

          As far other publications go, Wired Magazine sold 22,000 downloads in October, which represents roughly a fifth of the print numbers sold (130,000) in the same month. If we apply that same estimate to Archie, I would estimate on the low end roughly 40,000 on the low end all the way up to the 2,000,000 on the high end.

          That is a pretty broad range, but I feel comfortable saying a minimum of 250,000 comics have been sold through the ComiXology app over the last year, and I’m probably still on the low end.

          • Also keep in mind that the “actual numbers” for the B&R are only estimates – though they are very close to the actual numbers. Diamond Comic Distributors don’t release actual numbers, they release the index, with Batman representing the benchmark. So this past month when Fantastic Four had an index of 191.00 it means it sold nearly twice the amount that Batman did.

            ICv2 has a super secret method for calculating their numbers but I’ve been told those numbers are off by a couple hundred to a couple thousand depending on the publisher.

            Also, the Diamond numbers released only represent comics sold in the direct market, and do not represent comics sold through chain stores like Barnes and Noble or B. Dalton.

          • Stephen,

            Yes, we both agree. I had not read the article that you mentioned but I do remember you citing the fact that they didn’t advertise comics during smallville. However, the inherent issue at the time was that the capacity and capabilities were not up enough to produce the relationship needed.

            Now that it is available, it could be possible to put banner ads all over the place or have people trying to watch smallville channel over to DC comics’ site for older episodes. If nothing else, it will allow for “if you like this, you’ll like this” kind of ads.

            I think there are two things holding it all back: the price of the technology and the fans themselves. The tech is a limit as it costs 500 bucks for an ipad (starting price too). This makes it hard for some people, myself included, to say that its worth it to buy an ipad. Once there is competition in the market, the price should drop to something more reasonable. Then the issue will be the respect of IP rights.

            The second issue is the fans. I think we all look at what happened when digital forms took control of other industries and are horrified. Just look at the music industry as most record stores are history. It would effectively change the model of a comic store as it would all fall down to how the store can get some of the digital money (like an amazon.com) or would have to be more customer based (like how Ace hardware can survive while bigger stores charge less). How this is addressed will either lead to it being embraced or the stores becoming more niche.


  3. My guess is that there will be an actual advert (especially for the iPad versions) prior to the GL film, so that folks that geek out on the film are tempted to impulse buy the issues on their iPad.

  4. I still don’t want to pay 2.99 for a series of 1’s and 0’s though. But either way, I’m not tempted to buy the actual version of these books either.

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