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‘Justice League’ #1 Scores More Than 200,000 Pre-Orders

With DC Comics’ line-wide relaunch kicking off next week, the industry has been holding its collective breath wondering whether the publisher’s gambit will be rewarded with sales proportional to the event’s robust marketing efforts. According to Hero Complex, DC’s strategy seems to be paying off — at least superficially — as the publisher reports Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League #1 has amassed more than 200,000 preorders and six other titles have topped 100,000. Compared to the sagging sales of the past several years, a 200,000 benchmark seems like a winged unicorn among miniature ponies. In the past few years alone there have been months where even the highest-selling single issue comic has sold fewer than 100,000 copies. The industry could certainly use hope in the current sales climate, although its important to distinguish it from hype. After all, 41 of DC’s 52 #1 titles will be returnable, meaning the publisher is absorbing the cost of unsold issues rather than retailers.There’s also the matter of DC’s presumably pricy ad campaign, which includes TV and movie spots. DC will need to see a consistent sales spike across its line for many months to come in order to justify those expenses.

Though digital sales numbers are a closely-guarded piece of information among publishers, it will be interesting to see if DC will eventually disclose even approximate figures to relay any initial results of its same-day digital releases and print/digital combo packs through comiXology. DC’s parity pricing strategy of charging the same amount for print and digital versions of a comic for the first four weeks of release (as not to hurt traditional retailer print sales), then dropping the price of a single issue digital comic from $2.99 to $1.99 ensures that a clear picture of “New 52″ buying habits won’t manifest for several months.

While DC’s preorder numbers aren’t necessarily an indicator of financial success just yet, they’re at least a window into what could become a more energized retail environment for both print and digital superhero comics over the coming months. Depending on if fans respond as positively to DC’s content as it seems retailers have to the publisher’s marketing messages, the 200,000 pre-order mark may seem more achievable than it has in a long time.

[Via Hero Complex]

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