[B5JMS] Marvel cancels Tsunami trades

b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Wed Nov 12 04:33:17 EST 2003

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From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 31 Oct 2003 06:36:45 GMT

>> Without having to research the exact sales numbers, let's say ASM
>> sells 80,000 copies. Of those 80,000 people who bought it, 30,000 of
>> them are avidly vocal about it.
>> Then let's say Runaways sells 20,000 copies. But of those 20,000,
>> 15,000 of the people are avidly vocal about it.
>> Yes, ASM has MORE vocal fans. But as a percentage of everyone who
>> reads it, those fans are very small. On the other hand, Runaways has
>> 75% of its fans being avidly vocal about it.  Which is what justifies
>> the use of the term "fan-favorite".

You do realize that this is the internet version of arguing over how many
angels can dance on the head of a pin, right? **

There's also another great moment in philosophy in which a group of
philosophers are sitting around debating how many teeth are in the mouth of a
horse.  A newcomer to the group said, "Well, why don't we just go outside, find
a horse, and count them?"  They roundly beat him about the head and, tossed him
out of the group, and continued with their debate.

Thing of it is, I *love* debates like this, with and without going to do the
spade work, which is why I was a) a philosophy minor in college, and b) ended
up working as a journalist...theory and facts.  So on that premise....

Average sales: 

Spider-Man, usually around 95,000 to 100,000.

Runaways, about 19,000.

As far as vocalizations goes....

Per google, searching for spider-man AND straczynski OR jms (since I'm known by
both), there are 3,880 news group hits

Per google, searching for runaways and Vaughan (since he's known by one), there
are 161 news group hits.

On web sites for spider-man/straczynski or jms, there are 11,600 hits.

On web sites, for runaways/vaughan, 2,110 hits.

(Both sites include comic stores and publisher info, so that skews both, but
should be skewed proportionately.)

In raw numbers, that's 15,480 reader responses for ASM and 2,271 for Runaways.

On a percentage basis, figure about 14% reader response for ASM and about 20%
for Runaways.

On a grammar basis, "fan favorite" usually means "a favorite with fans in
general," rather than a book being a favorite with fans of that given book,
because they wouldn't be reading either title if they weren't fans of that book
in the first place.  

Now, however, the ancillary question is, is either book a favorite of each fan
that buys it?  Is it the first book they prefer to buy each month over every
other?  We don't have any data, but the three possibilities (unless one wishes
to weight the discussion into a five pronged survey) are: it's their favorite
book, their semi-favorite book, or their least-favorite.  Stastically, that's a
fairly valid breakdown.

So mathematically speaking, about 33,000 fans of ASM consider it their favorite
book, and about 6,300 fans of Runaways consider it their favorite books (the
rest of the categories break down similarly).

So there are about 26,300 more people who would consider ASM a "fan favorite"
by that definition than Runaways.

So, in conclusion, what does this prove?

Absolutely nothing.  "Fan favorite" is really a pretty meaningless phrase, all
things considered.  It's a marketing phrase.  Every comic (ASM included) has
been called a "fan favorite" at one time or another.

Point is...Runaways is a good book.  ASM, I like to think, is a good book. 
Books should be judged on the quality and endurance of their stories, not the
PR flack attendent upon them.  If more people who read a book like it than
don't, then job well done all around, whichever book it is.  That's really the
best you can ever hope for.

(** And the thing of it is, another group of theologians answered the
philosophical question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. 
Leave it to the theologians to nail these things down, as it were.  The answer:
"As many as want to.")

You may sit down now.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

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