All right, our players are:
and Dolores Tinari
Kyle, Sal and Dolores, you have all just been hired by Marvel Comics in an effort to overhaul the place and make it better than it was. As such, you have each been allocated a group of titles to manage. The typical workload for an editor in this simulation will be three to four titles. For the sake of this simulation, we are assuming that these particular titles have been selected because, at the moment, they are between creative teams and at natural story breaks, which should give you maximum latitude to try what you’d like to with them–bearing in mind that there’s an entire industry out there beyond you that’ll have to be dealt with to some degree:
Kyle, you are handling the X-Men family of books, which at this moment includes X-MEN and WOLVERINE. A major X-Event has just concluded which is what took up that third slot on your predecessor’s workload, so you should probably be looking to launch at least one title to fill in that gap.
Sal, you are editing the Marvel Heroes titles, which at the moment includes THOR, IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA. You don’t need to be launching any new books right this second, but you could add a fourth title if you were so inclined–realizing that the more books you’re managing, the more difficult it will be to get everything accomplished that you need to every month.
Dolores, you are editing the Spider-Man line of books, which right this second includes AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. As with the X-Men family, you have an open production slot given that some prior Spidey title came to the end of its natural life cycle–we’ll say that was SILK for the sake of argument. As with Kyle, you’ll likely want to be coming up with something new to fill that gap.
We’ll be posting new sales figures every other move, so you’ve got two weeks/moves to make any adjustments and to implement them, depending on how involved they are (some complications may require more time to deal with.)
So what are the other two players doing?
David, you have been hired by DC Comics to head up the Superman line of titles for that company. At present, the line-up of titles under your control includes SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES. As with your Marvel counterparts, for this simulation your ideal workload is between three and four releases a month.
Erik, you have been hired by Image Comics to oversee the production of a portion of their line of titles. It will be your responsibility to recruit creators to launch new titles and to make sure that existing titles come out as they should. At the moment, your area of Image had been putting out three books: THE WALKING DEAD, which Robert Kirkman just surprisingly brought to an end, stunning people, and two other titles by lesser-known creators that have run their course. Of all of the players, right now you are the one with a completely open production slate. And for the purposes of this simulation, your ideal workload will also be between three to four releases every month.
As DC and Image editors, David and Erik, you will have different goals and different business objectives than the other players. Those goals will be e-mailed to you directly and known only to you and me, because people not working for those companies don’t know precisely what guides the decisions of their editors and creative staff. But what is absolutely clear is that you are competitors with the other players and with each other.
Here is the State of the State for the industry at the moment:
Last month’s sales rankings were:
MARVEL Event – 110,000
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – 100,000
WALKING DEAD – unannounced final issue
WOLVERINE – 80,000
THOR – 50,000
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN – 40,000
IRON MAN – 30,000
MARVEL Limited Series – 27,000
Image Title 2
CAPTAIN AMERICA – 25,000
Image Title 3
As you can see, these sales rankings only include accurate sales information for the Marvel titles, but the relative position of the titles from other publishers can give you a clue as to how well they performed–at least within the Diamond-reported Direct Market. The DC and Image editors will individually be provided with the current sales figures for the titles they edit.
Marvel’s total aggregate sales at the moment are 557,000, which factors down to just under 62,000 copies per title. Over this next ten-week period, Marvel’s EIC would like you to raise that number by twenty percent, to 668,400. Also, five moves from now is the close of a fiscal quarter for Marvel, so any books that miss shipping by that turn won’t count in terms of the revenue generated for that period.
Additionally, the division of market share at the moment for the various companies involved in this simulation was:
MARVEL – 40%
DC – 30%
IMAGE – 10%
The goal of all of the players over the course of the next ten weeks is to increase your sales, put out crowd-pleasing, well-produced comic books, meet your financial obligations to your respective companies and get the books out on time.
As the editor, you can try anything you can think of more-or-less, provided that such actions get approved by the brain trusts of your respective organizations (played by me.)
Literally anything you can come up with is potentially fair game. The more creative you are, the more fun this will potentially be. And just a reminder: all moves should be posted in the comments section of this post and must be posted by Friday at midnight to count towards this turn.
So what are you waiting for? You’ve only got 30 days to get the next issue on the stands!