Editorial: Keep the Star Wars comic books at Dark Horse, please.

We don’t normally write editorials like this on our blog, preferring to remain more ‘comics agnostic’ when it comes to genre publishers, but we felt we should say something.

Marvel’s acquisition of the Disney/Pixar license for comics has potentially cost us thousands of dollars since January 2011.

Marvel Comics has drastically reduced the publication of Pixar and Disney Comics titles since the rights were pulled back from BOOM Studios almost two years ago following Disney’s purchase of Marvel. With today’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars property by Disney, we would greatly appreciate it if Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm could just leave the Star Wars properties alone, and with Dark Horse. Dark Horse is doing a fine job with this material, working hard to keep it in print at various price points and in various formats. Putting the Star Wars comics at Marvel will hurt our bottom line, and we believe the bottom line of all direct market comics retailers.

Briefly: At the height of production, BOOM! Studios had been publishing as many as 10 comics a month featuring the Pixar and Disney characters. During their tenure with the license from January 2009 through December 2010 (2 years), they produced roughly 200 comics, and more than 30 trade paperbacks of that material. We don’t normally share numbers, but here goes: we were ordering between 10 and 15 copies of each issue, and 75 and 200 of each trade paperback, to be distributed through retail and specialty channels.

In the two years since Marvel acquired the license (January 2011-December 2012), they will have produced approximately 8 comic books, 8 magazines, and near as we can tell, 4 graphic novels (only 2 in 2012). Some of that was reprints of BOOM! comics. Some of that was reprints of Dark Horse Comics from a few years back. I should also note that it’s difficult for us to be sure about these, as there is not a dedicated Disney/Pixar section on the Marvel website after two years.

What you’re seeing there is a 90% drop in production on highly salable product. Books with international name recognition that we were selling a ton of, and those sales basically evaporated.

Now lets talk about Dark Horse.

Dark Horse is producing 4-5 comics based on the Star Wars franchise every month. Dark Horse is producing trade paperbacks of that material, omnibuses of that material, reprints of that material. Quite a bit of that material. We’d say probably 10-12 new trade paperbacks a year, 4-5 reprints. We’re worried, and I think justifiably so, that Marvel will do to the Star Wars license what they’ve done to the Pixar license, and just take hundreds of salable comics and dozens of salable trade paperbacks out of the market, to be replaced by… nothing.

Or rather, 4 comic books, 4 magazines, and 2 trade paperbacks per year, which is almost worse than nothing.

No specific disrespect to Marvel is intended with this message, they publish superheroes very well. Unfortunately they have elected not to publish Disney/Pixar comics despite having the license to do so, and made us (and quite a few fans) unhappy in the process. We’re just saying: don’t fix what isn’t broken. Let Marvel continue to publish superheroes, and let comics retailers and the book market continue to sell Star Wars comics. Particularly since we’ve been so badly deprived of Disney/Pixar comics, over the past 2 years.

Sincerely,

The Staff of The Beguiling

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