Heidi MacDonald is the latest subject of Tom Spurgeon’s Holiday Interviews, and it’s a doozy:
SPURGEON: Why isn’t there a comic book midlist anymore? Why is it 100K copies and then a steep fall to the 30K and 40K level? Does comics over-publish?
MacDONALD: Well, that goes back to what people want to read. Corporate comics just don’t have casual readers and haven’t for decades, and this is a sign of that. It’s either half the line or none of the line. It’s why every comics executive says they have event fatigue and want to slow down and never do. Maybe it is possible with the huge success of The Avengers and Batman and so on that some casual readers are being drawn in and some may like the Rocket Raccoon or Amethyst comic and just keep buying that, but Marvel and DC haven’t shown much ability to exploit the audiences for individual titles in a long time. I wouldn’t call 40K copies a steep fall, by the way. That’s a pretty decent number. It will be very interesting to see how the Constantine comic from the mainline DCU does. The Vertigo edition had wasted away to about 10K copies over the course of 300 issues. The DCU’s offbeat titles had middling to cancellation level sales, so this will be a real sign of whether you can rebuild a “midlist.”