Confirmed – King’s Superman is on the Walmart Shelves and There Are More Copies This Time


This morning we told you about DC running previews for the new Walmart comics prominently on their website.  I just got back from taking a trip to Walmart to see if the new issues of Superman Giant and Justice League Giant were out.  They were and there were a lot more of them then I was expecting.

What was in that box?  11 copies of both Superman Giant #3 and Justice League Giant #3, plus a single copy of Batman #1 and 3 copies of Superman #2.

What does it mean?  It means Dan DiDio wasn’t kidding when he said they were raising the print allocations.  The most copies I’ve seen on a shelf were 13 copies of Superman #2 and Justice League #2 at an out of the way Walmart and that was two weeks after the initial shelving and likely after a restock.  The most I’ve previously seen on a debut week was 8 copies of Teen Titans #2 at that same store the weekend it was supposed to come out.

What does this mean for total print runs?  Assuming I got there before any copies were purchased and 11 copies is the standard distribution per store across approximately 3,000 stores, then we’re talking ~33K copies of each currently in circulation.  The precedent has been a restock when the next set of titles drop, although I saw no evidence of it today.  If another 11 drop in two weeks, then that would be ~66K in circulation.  Which would be a top 10 title in today’s Direct Market.  Is that 66K in actual sales?  That depends on the arrangement with the vendor.  If there are returns, it might only be 33K sales on 66K copies.  These aren’t selling out at _every_ Walmart, just a lot of them.

Let’s revisit the considerable amount of in-house advertising in these issue and see where DC is going with this.

Both issues have an ad for the DC Black Label collected edition of Sean Murphy’s Batman White Knight on the back cover.  Both issues do have a comic shop locator ad.


  • Superman/Batman tpbs (the run that started with Loeb/McGuinness
  • All-Star Superman / Final Crisis / Morrison’s Action tpbs / Batman R.I.P., so basically “the Grant Morrison ad”
  • 2-page spread of Earth One OGNs, emphasizing the recent Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1
  • 2-page spread for Heroes in Crisis
  • Geoff Johns Green Lantern tpbs
  • Blackest Night tpbs
  • 2-page spread for Justice League (the current bi-weekly)
  • 2-page spread for Superman (the current monthly)

Justice League

  • New 52 Justice League tpbs
  • Rebirth Vol. 1 tpbs – Justice League / Cyborg / Aquaman / Green Lanterns
  • 2-page spread for Justice League (the current bi-weekly)
  • Rebirth Vol. 1 tpbs – Flash / Justice League / Titans / Hal Jordan the Green Lantern Corps
  • New 52 Flash tpbs
  • 2-page spread for Superman (the current monthly)
  • 2-page spread for Heroes in Crisis
  • New 52 Aquaman tpbs
  • Rebirth Aquaman tpbs
  • 2-page spread of Earth One OGNs, emphasizing the recent Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1

So we’re seeing a shift to promote some of DC’s Direct Market periodicals.  Justice League, Superman (no love for Action?) and the upcoming Heroes in Crisis.  If the goal is to drive new readers into stores, then promoting some of the current ongoing titles is appropriate.  Whether you think it should be a priority over collected editions is probably contingent on where you think the market it is going, but at least that is legitimate discussion that can be had now that we’re seeing a mix of ads.

It still seems like the call to action is all wrong if the primary audience for these Walmart periodicals is the new reader.  The tpb ads still all have the “Get more DC graphic novels wherever comics and books are sold” tagline which simply isn’t the case in a Walmart store.  The ads for bi-weekly/monthly comics have no information about where to get them.  This requires the reader to first find the comic shop locator ad, near the back of each issue, and then make a causal leap along the line of “oh, the ads don’t mean I should look for these other comics at Walmart where I bought this issue, they mean I should go to the locator and find a store that actually stocks more than 4 comics each month.”

It would not be a bad idea to have the shop locator a bit earlier in the issue – before they see the other ads – and have the line about discovering your local comic shop a lot more prominent in that particular ad.  And maybe swap out the “wherever comics and books are sold” line for a reference to the shop locator.  Repetition makes for reinforcement and all.

But there I go again, trying to apply logic to the comics sales process.  No good ever came of that.  And if a significant part of the intended audience is pulling DM customers in for King and Bendis to get the initial sales up, they already know where to shop.

Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.


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