Sunday, January 03, 2010

Does PANINI really want to sell comics ?

Since I haven´t seen any announcements on german comic websites about this I just have to do a post on my own blog. Behind the controversial headline lies the newest project by Marvel´s head honcho Joe Quesada : X - MEN - GALS ON THE RUN.

The comic by X - Men veteran writer Chris Claremont and italian star artist Milo Manara was first released in Italy ( which is PANINI´s headquarters ) under the title RAGAZZE IN FUGA on the 5th of November 2009.....if my italian is right. It´s a hardcover with 64 black and white pages which is all nice and well but my problem with PANINI is that it is released as a limited edition.

The italian original was a limited edition, the spanish version MUJERES EN PELIGRO that was released at the first weeks of December ( to fall on the same time period like the Expocomic in Madrid ) is also a limited edition of 2,500 copies. There are plans for an US release this year and I guess there will be a german edition available although I couldn´t confirm that since the german PANINI site only offers the newest releases and no info on upcoming projects.

The price for the italian edition was 12 EUROS, the spanish edition was 14 EUROS and for the other editions.......who knows ?

Now what sucks ( in my opinion ) is that - number one - they don´t release the editions on the same day. It just blows that in Italy it has been released in November, in Spain in December and America and Germany have to wait. I know that there might be good arguments for releasing this in phases. Although I have to say ( as someone who worked at a printer ) that from a financial point it´s better to print them all at once. And it´s also not very clever to release them AFTER Christmas.

The second problem is that it is not released as a normal comic but as a limited edition. With the state the comic industry is in does it really make sense to cater to the collectors and not the readers ? Everybody is lowering prices and giving special incentives - just look at the car industry. The comic industry seems to be the only industry that thinks that a financial crisis is the best moment for increasing prices.

Normally you would want to sell as much as you can of a good product and nobody can tell me that you earn as much by selling 2,500 units for 14 EUROS as by selling 10,000 units for 10. Okay, you might say that 10,000 units is a bit much for a comic. But this is a comic by Milo Manara with the X - Men ( or rather the girls of the X - Men ). Which means that not only x - Men readers will buy this but also Milo Manara fans. And with X - Men readers I don´t mean the ones who are currently reading the comic ( which might not be much ) but X - Men fans in general.

This is something that is interesting for the diehard fans as well as people who only know them from the movies. Now I might go out on a limb here but I think you can easily sell 10,000 units and more. So the only reason for offering it as a limited edition - that will not be reprinted I might add - is if you don´t want to sell comics.

Which is the kind of impression PANINI gives especially at conventions. It seems that they are only interested in releasing overpriced, limited special editions of comics that are only interesting for collectors.

The way I see it ( and this only comes from the personal experience I had so far ) the guys at the PANINI booths are only interested in hanging with their favorite artists and writers and having a party. They forget that the readers have to pay for it all and that they should give something back. Which is one of the reason I seldom go to signings at the PANINI booths.

They are usually planned very amateurish and if I have to wait in line for a long time I want more than a chance to roll a dice, then having to skin a tiger, swim through a river and - maybe - get the chance to get a drawing. It´s often been lamented that in Germany there is no strong reader market but that´s because every publisher caters to the collectors. Anyway, since the comic is not available at amazon ( so far ) and shipping from Spain to Germany costs and arm and a leg I will probably have to wait for the german edition or get the spanish edition ( if there are still some left ) the next time I´m in Spain.

a few more pages :

more info :

  • ragazze in fuga ( in italian )

  • gals on the run ( in english with spoilers )

  • mujeres en peligro ( in spanish with spoilers )

  • mujeres en peligro

  • mujeres en peligro

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