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Disney Comics Question [Feb. 13th, 2007|12:24 am]
danvado
Yes, I still plan on getting to all of those questions people tossed at me back in December. Some of the answer turned into long and bitter rants, so I laid off of them for a bit

Q: I'm pretty fascinated with the Disney deal. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how things have gone so far. Have your goals for the projects been met?

Personally, I've been pretty frustrated with the delays in Gargoyles (and I've noticed Tron and Wonderland as well). Has there been a learning curve with these projects that you normally don't encounter with your non-Disney books?


A: Yes, the learning curve has been pretty high. The way I see it, by the time we get this thing under control our license will expire (that, by the way, is August 2008, which in comic book time is a lot closer than you think). I allowed us to fall into one of those traps where every single thing needed to work out 100% correctly for things to run smoothly. I often caution people against making plans based on everything falling into place, so that was my bad. The worst thing to happen was that the initial sales for all of the titles were well under our expectations, which were pretty conservative to begin with. That started a spiral that we have not righted ourselves from.

I think we were also not ready to deviate so dramatically from our core business model of publishing creator-owned titles and I over-taxed our resources.

The Disney thing (as I call it) has not been what one might call a success for us. While the comics have sold better than the rest of our line (for the most part) the sales have not justified the amount of time, money and effort that has gone into these projects. ON top of that, I made some bad contractual decisions that are coming back to haunt me. Lesson learned, just as you should never get into a land war in Asia, you should also never make a deal with Disney that involves creating original content with their properties.
If you have ever wondered, as I once did, why there were not more comics based on Disney's vast array of properties, well that's why.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: gregx
2007-02-13 03:52 pm (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, do all the Disney comics fall under the same license? For example, if Gargoyles does well enough to justify renewing the license, but, Haunted Mansion doesn't, do we lose both?

I'm disappointed to read this, because I was under the impression that the Gargoyles comic was doing pretty well. You guys went back to press with issue one, and despite the delays, I heard issue two was going fast. I guess whatever happens, happens. But, I really think the Gargoyles comic has potential, and I hope things pick up for it.
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From: danvado
2007-02-13 06:27 pm (UTC)
While the first issue of all of the Disney comics did well, the subsequent drop-offs were pretty dramatic. Haunted Mansion offers the best example. The first issue sold well over 20,000 copies, but the comic is down to around 3,000 copies. None of the other titles has performed as well as that one.

Gargoyles does have potential and my feeling is that we are going to renew our license if even just to keep our current titles in print. Gargoyles could be okay if we switched it to black and white, but I would need to get Disney's approval on that since our license and contract specifically calls for a color comic.

And, yes, they are all one license.

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From: danvado
2007-02-14 04:20 am (UTC)
Yes, there will be graphic novel collections of all of the series. Disney will be publishing the Haunted Mansoin trade and, probably, the Wonderland book as well.

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[User Picture]From: corran22
2007-02-14 08:48 pm (UTC)

TRON

Speaking as someone who liked TRON issue 1 and thought issue 2 was a big departure from 1 in terms of art and story, that's not a surprise. Has issue 3 even been released?
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From: danvado
2007-02-14 11:49 pm (UTC)

Re: TRON

Tron #3 came out in December or January. You can find it on our website at www.slgcomic.com.
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[User Picture]From: corran22
2007-02-15 04:34 am (UTC)

Re: TRON

I'll have to stop at the comic shop tomorrow. Thanks, and I hope the title continues.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-02-14 04:39 pm (UTC)
Darn, that's really disappointing. I'm still really impressed that you guys had the courage and initiative to make the deal happen.

1) Do the books get reordered more or less than your standard line up? I've always been under the impression that SLG is one of the few companies that successfully keeps single issues of comics in print for reorder.

2) Does having the the character's creator so involved in the Gargoyles book help you in your dealings with Disney regarding the content compared to the other 3 books?

3) Tron definitely seems the odd man out as being the furthest away from your normal books; was this reflected in sales or did the Tron name make that a non issue?

4) Are you able to print Gargoyles and Tron as trades if Disney only pursues the other 2?

Thanks for your answers and I think a b&w Gargoyles book would come out really well!
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From: danvado
2007-02-14 11:48 pm (UTC)
We WERE one of the few companies to be successful with single issues. In the last year the market for Indy comic books has started to evaporate with even things which have traditionally done well dropping as much as 1/3 of their print runs. The Disney books run about a little above average in terms of reorder, but not the volume of say Johnny or Lenore. The "Wait for the Trade" crowd has made a statement for sure.

As for Greg being involved with Gargoyles, Disney was the one who suggested that we do this book and really the publishing people went out of their way to include that book in the deal. Gargoyles fans can feel good about Disney on this one. As for making the dealings easier, it really has been about the same. No real obstacles other than ones concerning the Disney brand and a couple of other minor things.

Tron did pretty well for the first couple of issues and Tron fans did a good job of spreading the word. With the whole Disney thing, we were looking for ways to appeal to our non-traditional SLG fan as well as to our current group of readers.

Yes, we can do those trades if Disney opts not to.

DV
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[User Picture]From: gregx
2007-02-15 04:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, I do think trades definitely do make up a big percentage of the market. I do hope you do a trade for "Gargoyles" after five or six issues, because I do think it would stand out in the graphic novels section of, say, Barnes & Noble. I buy the single issues and I'd definitely buy the trades. I think most "Gargoyles" fans feel the same.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-02-15 02:10 pm (UTC)
Will we see more Tron then after this mini concludes? I thought the new artist brought on was a major improvement.
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2007-02-16 11:21 am (UTC)

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From: rainjax
2007-02-16 01:54 pm (UTC)
One thing I've always wondered is why Disney comics are never in the parks or Disney stores. I know WD no longer own the Stores but it seems crazy that I've never seen one single comic or TPB at a Disney park & I've been going to 'em for over 25 years! Seems like they would be a great thing to throw at a kid crying about having to leave at the end of the trip. Wonderland would've been especially great for that.
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[User Picture]From: travisjoel
2007-02-16 04:33 pm (UTC)
"Seems like they would be a great thing to throw at a kid crying about having to leave at the end of the trip."

That's the problem: why would the store want to satisfy a kid with a $3 purchase when they're trying to move $25 plush pastel Easter-themes Tigger dolls? (I'm speculating, of course.) ;)
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From: rainjax
2007-02-16 11:49 pm (UTC)
Point.
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[User Picture]From: dewline
2007-02-23 02:25 pm (UTC)
I suspect that it's well-informed speculation.
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[User Picture]From: travisjoel
2007-02-23 03:37 pm (UTC)
That's the thing about speculations... you never can tell how informed they are...
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-04-12 09:51 pm (UTC)

Dreary Haunted Mansion

I'm curious why the Haunted Mansion comic isn't in color. I think it would have benefited from color comics even if not all of them were drawn in color. Roman Dirge's work really would have looked great in color!

I collect the comic mostly for the artwork (I'm also a Haunted Mansion geek). It's been 5 months since the last issue; should a look for a new one soon, or has the comic gone bust?
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