Why do publishers spoil the endings of large storylines in mainstream media? Comics Alliance’s Laura Hudson asked Marvel’s Arune Singh, and to the surprise of no-one, the answer is “Because it works”:
We’ve seen huge results [in terms of sales]. We make sure to only attach this kind of promotion to our biggest books and those books invariably carry a much higher readership after the push than before the push. I think we can all agree the industry can use new readers and we’ve found these kinds of mainstream media pushes do just that, based on feedback from retailers– most recently with Fantastic Four #587 and the subsequent FF launch. More fans check out the books, retailers sell more copies and have high orders than before this promotion. That’s a winning situation for not just Marvel, but the whole industry– anything we can do to bring in and retain readers benefits us all. Going to a mainstream outlet is what will get lapsed readers and new potential readers to check out our books– we’re going to non comic fans where they get their news to make them aware of our big stories.
I’m always curious about how the demographics of these things breaks down. I’d love to know how many non-comics readers picked up Fantastic Four #587, and of them, how many went on to stay with the story as the series was relaunched as FF. Orders definitely rose overall with the death and relaunch, but was that from comic readers who weren’t previously reading that particular comic, or from readers new to comics?
There’s something important about the answer to that, I suspect; if Fantastic Four and FF are bringing in non readers and retaining them, can we then look at why that works when other comics haven’t, and then work out how to do it again? Is it merely that people need to be reminded that comics exist, or something more (I suspect Steve Epting)?
(Also, something else I’ve always wondered: Are there ever people who were planning to buy a comic, but didn’t, because the end was spoiled for them?)