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  • #21
    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=38421

    Here is an interesting interview with Jeremy Atkins, who is DH's PR Director, about the digital comics and their sales.

    Spoiler:

    It seemed like it was a long time coming: Dark Horse announced its digital comics service at New York Comic-Con in 2010, but the original concept, which bypassed the iTunes store with comics priced at $1.49 per issue, fell afoul of Apple's terms of service and had to be rethought. The digital store finally launched six months later in April 2011, both as a web store and iOS app. Today, Dark Horse graphic novels are now also available for the Kobo and Nook e-readers in addition to the iPad and iPhone.

    With its digital comics marketplace celebrating its one-year anniversary, it seemed like a good time to talk to Dark Horse director of public relations Jeremy Atkins about how the first year has gone for the publisher as proprietor of its own digital comics site. Atkins opened up about dealing with pricing issues, the storefront's biggest sellers, the recent free edition of Brian Wood's "The Massive," the future of Dark Horse's initiative and more.



    CBR News: Dark Horse started out a year ago with 300 comics and plans to add 45 to 60 a month. How many do you have on the service now, and have you kept up that rate of expansion?

    Jeremy Atkins: I don't know an exact number, but it's between 1,000 and 2,000. Everything Dark Horse is currently releasing is being released same date. We are still pushing for a schedule that is similar to back then, around 60-plus comics a month, includ
    ing all our new releases.


    CBR News: The site launched with backlist titles priced at 99 cents to $1.99, and when Dark Horse started doing same-day digital releases, those comics were priced at cover price or slightly below. Has that model changed?

    Jeremy Atkins: With books that are $3.50 [for the print edition], many are $3.99 digitally due to Apple's pricing structure and due to [Dark Horse] not wanting to raise prices in print to $3.99 and not having it be economically feasible to lower [the digital price] to $2.99, and also to make good on the promise we made to retailers [not to undercut them]. We are pricing them at $3.99 and dropping to $1.99 after the first month. We have yet to see any evidence that digital comics, for us, are cannibalizing any sales on the direct market. If anything, some of our numbers are going up, and if you add digital to that, it means more people are reading our books. At the same time, we are doing our best to ensure good partnership with our friends at retail, because we know in this market selling the monthlies becomes more difficult with people waiting for the trades, and you've got DC publishing 52 books a month. We are competing with a large number of titles monthly, and we can say to our retailers that we are not undercutting you in any way.


    CBR News: Which have proven more popular, the bundles or the individual comics?

    Jeremy Atkins: At this point, it's pretty much 50-50. We do a lot of sales on our bundles as part of our weekend sales, and we see a big boost on them in those time periods, which kind of skew the numbers to make them look more popular, but on a weekly basis they are neck and neck. Everything is driven by title more than anything. While some of your traditional comics readers are starting to read comics digitally, it seems a lot of this can be a new audience because the titles that are selling best for us are the big licensed tie-ins: "Star Wars," "Mass Effect," "Buffy" and the Whedon titles, more than the creator-owned titles like "Hellboy" and "B.P.R.D."




    CBR News: Can you give us some idea of the numbers: How many comics you have sold, how many downloads, or the gross dollar amount?

    Jeremy Atkins: At this point, the only way I could quantify it is to say that digital is still less than 10% of our overall sales for comics revenue in total. As far as actual numbers, we are not in a place where we are ready to disclose that. But the numbers do continue to go up month to month, and we see some consistent growth. We haven't seen any down months yet.


    CBR News: What are the best-sellers on the site?

    Jeremy Atkins: It's definitely the licensed stuff. "Mass Effect" has been hugely successful for us digitally, mainly due to having the support of the Bioware social media. They are monsters in the social sphere with Facebook and Twitter. Any time we are doing any sort of promotions with them, we see huge spikes in our numbers digitally, and our print numbers stay consistent, too. That audience, if they are gaming fans and not necessarily comic fans, they are predisposed to reading a comic digitally because most are pretty tech savvy people.

    If you look at our top ten titles, a good portion of it is going to be "Star Wars," with the Whedon stuff not far behind. When we have a new "Mass Effect" release, we see that dominate for the week.

    If we do believe that these are new comics readers, if they are searching in Apple or whatever, I think in many cases they are looking for content. In many cases the price point is key, because they are looking for a good value. It could be a comic, a game, a novel, whatever catches their eye at the time and whatever price seems most appealing. That's why we continue to see good sales with "Star Wars." There is a lot of Star Wars content available for multiple platforms, and when you have a Star Wars fan just looking for a fix, comics can be a cheap way to do it.


    CBR News: What percentage of your digital comics are sold via the storefront versus the iOS app?

    Jeremy Atkins: I think the iOS app is still where a good majority of [readers] go, but our store continues to grow in business. At this point I wouldn't say we have overtaken sales in iOS in total. However, it is a growing number. We quietly did a soft launch for our beta Android app last fall, so we are starting to see that as a consistently growing part of the overall digital business as well. We are getting closer to doing an official launch of that, and when that happens, we are going to see a big spike in sales. There is definitely a good chunk of Android users out there that represent a somewhat untapped audience for us.


    CBR News: When we talked last year, Matt Parkinson said you would be advertising on non-comics sites to bring in new readers. How well has that worked?


    Jeremy Atkins: We do a lot of advertising through the Google content network, and we have had a lot of success. Our best performing ads in many cases tend to be through Facebook. Much like you are able to do with Google, you are able to exactly cater to the audience you are looking for and make sure you are showing up in all the right places.


    CBR News: Is there any thought of combined print-digital releases, such as the download codes Marvel is including in its print comics?


    Jeremy Atkins: That is something we have discussed internally. It's a matter of sorting out how the fulfillment would work on our end. We don't have any firm plans to do so, but coming from the music industry and having watched the advent of digital media there and how, in many cases, vinyl was treated the same way that Marvel specifically is treating their print comics--buy the print version and get a coupon for the digital version free--it's an interesting proposition. It's a way to hopefully ensure your print sales become strong, and it makes digital an added value as opposed to a competing product.


    CBR News: Dark Horse recently made Brian Wood's new comic "The Massive" available digitally for free on Earth Day. How did that go?

    Jeremy Atkins: It went really well. We saw downloads in the thousands in a single day, which is not something we typically see with some of the free books on the site unless we are doing something in conjunction with one of our licensed partners like Bioware. I would say it was one of the more successful promotions we have done. Given the fact that what we have seen thus far is that digital customers gravitate toward familiar IPs, I quite frankly think that for many of the digital comics readers, this would be their first exposure to Brian Wood. It seemed like a good way to launch the series and push people toward picking the issue up in June.

    We also announced that Brian is going to be adding material to the print issues that will not be included digitally and will not be part of the trade.



    CBR News: What sort of material?

    Jeremy Atkins: Basically, it is going to be world-building material, the kinds of pieces that ran in "Watchmen" originally, written material as opposed to sketches or a digital comics page. It will be very design-y, some different blueprints, a lot of stuff getting into the backstory of the characters in a way we won't be doing in the comic storyline. Effectively, Brian's goal is to make print the premiere format for "The Massive." He wants to make sure we are continuing to pay close attention to how monthly sales are doing and ensure that retailers feel confident that regardless of the advent of digital, he is doing everything he can to make sure people go into their stores.


    CBR News: What sort of adjustments have you had to make to the model along the way?

    Jeremy Atkins: For the most part, the only real major adjustment was when Apple made the policy statements they did about pricing models. That was the biggest change we had to make. Aside from that, there was some confusion and misinformation about pricing, but that wasn't change so much as clearing up misinformation.



    CBR News: Recently, Dark Horse announced a partnership with ePlate, a digital payment device. Can you explain what this is?

    Jeremy Atkins: Essentially, it's taking the experience of a smart phone and the shopping experience of a credit card and combining them into one thing. The card has a motherboard in it. If I am going out and purchasing something, I can choose, from my phone or laptop before going out, that I want to earn points toward Dark Horse comics. You can earn existing Dark Horse comics through purchases, or at specific dollar points you can earn exclusive content. They have partnered with MBI Bank out of Kansas City, and we are one of the initial group of partners from whom content will be available. We are still in the process of determining what comics will be available as exclusives.



    CBR News: How did Dark Horse get involved in this?

    Jeremy Atkins: They approached us. They are big Dark Horse fans, and I think that because we are in control of our own digital distribution, we were an appealing partner in the comics industry. We are always looking for new ways to grow the new comics audience, whether digitally or in print, and this potentially offered us another way to get out in front of a new comics audience. There are significantly more people carrying a credit card in their wallet today than are reading comics.



    CBR News: What's coming up next for Dark Horse Digital?

    Jeremy Atkins: I don't think that the digital platform has been fully exploited yet in terms of what can be done with it, in the same way that there are certain aspects of the print experience that can't be replicated digitally. We are very interested in adding functionality to our app and adding features to the books that take advantage of the digital format. Nothing firm as of yet, but we are looking at developing some features that hopefully we will be announcing shortly.


    Nothing specifically about Buffy, but I've put the more interesting parts in red color, and as you can see:

    Star Wars outsell Whedon's digital sales although Whedon's printed outsell Star Wars printed.
    When there is a new Mass Effect digital release, it dominates all the digital sales, even more than Star Wars.
    Digital is less than 10% of the overall sales for comics revenue in total. Although digital don't cost as much as printed ones, meaning that digital comics give more revenues to the company. But still is less than 10% of the overall sales, even if they give more profit than printed ones.
    No evidence that the digital cannibalize the printed comic sales.
    Since the licensed comics sell more than the creator-owned comics, it's evidence that it's mostly a new audience that buys the digital.


    Just because some people were claiming that Buffy's audience is special and can't be compared to other comic titles' audience....
    Last edited by zianna; 02-05-12, 12:31 AM.

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    • #22
      The more I think about it though taking Spike out seems like something that will hurt sales thann help. It will piss off a good deal of people, who will drop the book and might not even pick up Spike's book, then even if Spike's 5 issue mini does OK, that'll only be roughly 75k issues sold, in which that would probably only even out Buffy's title if Spike stayed and they didn't alienate a butt load of fans. But with the alienation of a big chunk of fans, sales overall is probably going to go down...so I do think if it was done because of sales it is a gamble and bad one at that.

      Honestly I have no idea what they are thinking, so I'm gong with writers writing themselves in a corner and artistically they had to take Spike out.


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      • #23
        Originally posted by Tennyoelf View Post
        The more I think about it though taking Spike out seems like something that will hurt sales thann help. It will piss off a good deal of people, who will drop the book and might not even pick up Spike's book, then even if Spike's 5 issue mini does OK, that'll only be roughly 75k issues sold, in which that would probably only even out Buffy's title if Spike stayed and they didn't alienate a butt load of fans. But with the alienation of a big chunk of fans, sales overall is probably going to go down...so I do think if it was done because of sales it is a gamble and bad one at that.

        Honestly I have no idea what they are thinking, so I'm gong with writers writing themselves in a corner and artistically they had to take Spike out.
        They might counter with the argument they're "diversifying" their core assets. Spike is only going to be gone for 5 issues...unlike a certain ex-Wiccan who is out of commision for a full 10 issues. Buffy sales can manage.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by DorothyFan1 View Post
          They might counter with the argument they're "diversifying" their core assets. Spike is only going to be gone for 5 issues...unlike a certain ex-Wiccan who is out of commision for a full 10 issues. Buffy sales can manage.

          Willow left at Buffy #5. She appears again in A&F #11. Is that 10 issues? And after the end of A&F #14, Willow will return to Buffy's title for 1 issue, next October, before starting her own mini in November.

          Spike leaves at Buffy #10. In August, when Buffy #12 will be out, his mini starts which will end in December, that's Buffy's #16. And Buffy's #16 will be the beginning of a new arc, no way Spike will return in the middle of an arc. So best case scenario, Spike will come back in Buffy's #18. In my opinion, he'll be back in the final arc, that's Buffy's #21.

          Do the maths.

          And somehow you managed to turn this thread about Willow as well. Well done.
          Last edited by zianna; 02-05-12, 12:27 AM.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by zianna View Post
            Willow left at Buffy #5. She appears again in A&F #11. Is that 10 issues? And after the end of A&F #14, Willow will return to Buffy's title for 1 issue, next October, before starting her own mini in November.

            Spike leaves at Buffy #10. In August, when Buffy #12 will be out, his mini starts which will end in December, that's Buffy's #16. And Buffy's #16 will be the beginning of a new arc, no way Spike will return in the middle of an arc. So best case scenario, Spike will come back in Buffy's #18. In my opinion, he'll be back in the final arc, that's Buffy's #21.

            Do the maths.

            And somehow you managed to turn this thread about Willow as well. Well done.
            This is the first I've heard about Willow coming back for one issue. Source? As for the number of issues...I was referring to the beginning of the A&F arc leading up to the Willow mini starting in Nov. By the time that's over it's been a total of 10. If you want to discount her alleged re-emergence in Buffy in October...that's 9 issues. I'm not entirely off on the math here. Interesting details about Spike's involvement comics wise.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by DorothyFan1 View Post
              This is the first I've heard about Willow coming back for one issue. Source?
              I don't know whether it was mentioned somewhere or I accidentally gave away a spoiler. But anyway, yes, Willow will go back to Buffy before starting her own mini.

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Tennyoelf View Post
                The more I think about it though taking Spike out seems like something that will hurt sales thann help. It will piss off a good deal of people, who will drop the book and might not even pick up Spike's book, then even if Spike's 5 issue mini does OK, that'll only be roughly 75k issues sold, in which that would probably only even out Buffy's title if Spike stayed and they didn't alienate a butt load of fans. But with the alienation of a big chunk of fans, sales overall is probably going to go down...so I do think if it was done because of sales it is a gamble and bad one at that.

                Honestly I have no idea what they are thinking, so I'm gong with writers writing themselves in a corner and artistically they had to take Spike out.
                How are they alienating a big chunk of fans? As far as I can figure, the only people they might be ticking off are Spuffy fans. It stands to reason that all Spuffy fans are Spike fans but not all Spike fans are Spuffy fans. That means that the only non-spuffy fans they might be upsetting are the few who are primarily fans of Spike/scooby interaction, and the comic has been sorely lacking in that anyway. That leaves the majority of Spike fans who are likely thrilled at the prospect of the character having his own title under the same banner as the other Whedon titles. And really, if his absence is only temporary, I don't think they are going to care who they might be chasing away.
                Last edited by PointMan; 02-05-12, 01:20 AM.
                ?The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.? -- Albert Einstein

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                • #28
                  All caught up



                  The minis could be for supplementing the revenues and profits that Dark Horse is getting from the Buffyverse properties. IDW went so far with ?additional' comics that it was making ?miniseries' comics on individual AtS s5 episodes. And most of the IDW stuff since it having AtF is pretty much guaranteed not-canon (the stuff not written by Brian Lynch or the Illyria "Haunted" thing).

                  Also, more people could simply be waiting for the Trade PaperBacks. If I wasn't posting on this Board and SA, I'd probably be getting the TPBs. I waited for the TPBs when I got Tales of Slayers , Tales of the Vampires and Fray . If one isn't posting on Boards, one can afford to wait for the TPBs which can be bought in places like Amazon.com instead of having to go to a comic store (if one is even around where one lives).


                  Although, Spike being out of the BtVS S9 ?flagship' comics could lessen sales for those comics.

                  ____________

                  All this talk about changing the story because of declining sales seems to take for a given that Joss would simply approve anything Dark Horse wants to do and that Joss would be willing to sacrifice his story in order to help DH try to boost sales a little. Joss had the Avengers . It's possible he'll be making $10s of MMs from The Avengers and apparently Disney may be releasing a director's cut in August 2012, which means Joss may make $10s of MMs more. Joss doesn't need these DH comics. These comics are still the highest selling titles that DH has. Fox is not likely to piss Joss off given how successful the Avengers has turned out to be and given how much money Joss was able to make off of something like Dr. Horrible . Some of these posts seem to suggest that DarkHorse can do whatever they want with the story and that Joss had no say on anything.

                  _____________

                  Also, what the comic readers seem to want are stories that give us more information on the characters: stuff that contributes to the canon. Perhaps the best arc of Season 8 is the Faith arc. I consider the best arc of S9 and A&F so far (on BtVS 9.10 and A&F 1.10) is the Dru arc. Over in S8, Dracula perhaps got the best character stuff (along with Faith). Other than learning that Faith's dad is jerk, what have we learned about any of the Scoobies? We want something for the cost of getting the comics. We don't likely want silly or frivolous stuff.




                  Maggie

                  we just do not have the information it would take for us to say that DH is losing profits on the comics, let alone that those losses are prompting a frantic reshuffling in order to compensate.
                  These comics are Dark Horse's highest selling comics: how is DH possibly losing money on them?



                  zianna

                  if Buffy suddenly lost 1.000 from one month to another, that should also apply to DH's other titles as well. I've made a list with the most popular titles that DH has, everything is from ICv2 whoever wants can check it. While Buffy's title has been dropping a lot, the rest of the titles seemed to be more stable, although they have also gone digital.
                  Most Buffyverse readers aren't likely ?collecting' the comics and therefore don't care if it's in physical form or digital. It's also possibly that the Buffyverse readers may be more likely to have iPads or whatnot. Anyway, Buffyverse readers may simply be more comfortable about going digital and may be simply more able to take advantage of digital.


                  Anyway, Buffy has been losing a lot. And you can't blame it on digital. If Buffy has lost 1.000 buyers because it has gone digital, that means that A&F which is a similar title in the same universe should have been losing the same.
                  More have been buying BtVS S9 than have been buying A&F.

                  _______________________________________________

                  I think the problem started with S8. Dark Horse, and Whedon of course, tried to make Buffy into a comic book character, not the continuity of the TV show. Super powers, global, multiple enemies coming from every side, many extraordinary plots in just one season, etc. Especially with no budget limit to stop the "creativity" and imagination, things went wild.

                  People started buying the comics because they wanted to read what happened to Buffy after Chosen. Instead they found her more than 1,5 later with plots unexplained (how and why Willow left the scoobies? how Xander mourned about Anya? what was his exact story with the Dracula? how did Buffy decide to create an army and how she ended up on Scotland's castle? did she learn about Spike?
                  Agree.

                  did she actually mean the ILY?
                  Joss says she was in love with Spike. We knew this right after "Chosen" (7.22) aired.

                  All of those things just didn't matter anymore, some were only mentioned in a couple of lines. But that was exactly what the buyers wanted to read, not giant Dawn etc. And at the beginning the stories were nice, after issue 15-18 things went wild even more. People were complaining and dropping it. The spuffies had realized that Spike wasn't coming back
                  Agree. With the Spike thing, we didn't know when and there was already years gone by in Season 8 before he returned.

                  So they lost a huge amount of buyers. Then twilight comes, and Angel's character gets ruined. And all we had as an explanation was 10 pages, most of them not in a numbered issue, but in an one shot that many (according to the sales) missed. By the end, Buffy from more than 80k sold half.
                  Agree.

                  Then S9 comes and they decide to go back to the basics. But the problem was that the remaining customers that bought #40 actually loved the story of S8, that's why they kept on buying it. They loved having Xander as the main male character, Buffy turning on him, and all that craziness of S8 didn't matter to them, instead they loved it.
                  You seem to be implying that people bought the comics for Xander. If that were true, Xander would be getting a miniseries. Xander is not as popular as Spike, Buffy, Willow, or Faith.

                  Look at posters here like Mogs or Emmie. They loved S8.
                  This Board is not a random sampling of the Buffyverse fans. I came from IM)b (also not a random sampling of the fans) and pretty much most of the posters there dropped the comics and don't consider them canon.

                  So, in S9 they go back to basics. No more superpowers, just same old Buffy like the tv show. But the story changes now. No scoobies, Willow not appearing very much and all she does is complain about the seed, Xander and Dawn appearing even less and no story about them. It's all about Buffy trying to be normal (when she was anything but normal in S8). Spike gets back, to attract potential clients. But Spuffies don't believe it. The don't buy, they wait and see. So the sales drop, people that actually liked S8 don't like S9 so much now and stop buying, while the potential new customers don't have faith to start buying. Plus many of them don't care anymore. They have lost their interest.
                  The sales-killing problems are what happened to Angel, Giles being killed, Willow seeming to care more about her magic than the world's survival, etc. And 8.40 teased that Buffy/Spike would be happening. But then in the 1st or 2nd Issue of S9 ? I forget ? we see that apparently Buffy had drunken sex with someone ? and she doesn't know which someone ? and that it wasn't Spike. Other than showing that they still have feelings for each other ? something that we've known since "Chosen" (7.22) ? there has been no Buffy/Spike. Severin is introduced as a possible love interest for Buffy. And then we find out that Spike's going away. And I agree that Willow's obsession with getting her magic back has likely been a negative on sales. And this whole
                  Spoiler:
                  Buffy is a Buffybot
                  thing has likely not been helpful to sales. Also, the timeline. They have all of these recent references that make the ?verse seem to be happening in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and in 9.09 there's Andrew's wearing an Avengers t-shirt pretty much implying it's now 2012. So, supposedly, even though Dawn was a sophomore in S7 who didn't even finish sophomore year (2003), S8 started 1.5 years after "Chosen" (7.22) and suddenly she's been in college for half a year. And now in 9.09 it's 2012; although it's possibly not since Scott Allie says that we should be ignoring all these references to things like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", iPhone 4s, etc.

                  They went from one scenario to the next one very quickly both times. When it should have been gradual. Take Spuffy for example, it happened too soon.
                  No matter the timeline, it's been years since "Chosen" (7.22). How much more gradual can it be? If it's 2012, Buffy's like 31 and possibly hasn't been with Spike for 9 years.

                  As for A&F, Faith is still popular and A&F seemed to have gotten a boost from Drusilla. And the Drusilla's Issues were written well.

                  Also: Art. Rebekah Isaacs has been fantastic and overall A&F has been drawn better than S9 has been drawn.

                  I explained the situation more than enough, and I explained how the revenues have dropped a lot while the expenses keep on rising. If you don't understand so far, you'll never will.
                  No, you haven't since you don't address digital. And even if digital is only 10% of Dark Horse's total sales, that doesn't mean that it's only 10% of Dark Horses' sales of the Buffyverse properties. And http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=38421 this also says that the TPBs have very strong sales. So for all we know, TPBs and digital is more than 60-70% of sales for the Buffyverse properties.

                  _______________________________________________

                  And somehow you managed to turn this thread about Willow as well. Well done.
                  What?! DorothyFan1 is entirely correct that Willow's absence could be having an effect on sales. Tara getting killed in Season 6 resulted in a boycott of Season 7 and is one of the reasons that S7 had fewer viewers than S6. Willow not being in the comics could result in Willow fans not buying the comics.



                  Tennyoelf

                  I guess that begs the question...maybe...but has the series really jumped the shark with the end of season 8?

                  Or has the season suffered from Joss' absence? (I enjoyed Chambliss, but he wasn't a veteran writer for Buffy and had a big job to tackle on his own.)

                  What was the reason for the drop in sales? And what could have been done to have avoided this?
                  I consider the biggest reason for the drop has been the issue of ?canon'. Most ? to about all ? are reading these because they consider them canon. Many dropped out in S8 because they no longer wanted to consider them canon. For S8 and S9, part of the canon-thing is the hope of there being a BtVS movie or something. With Joss's success with The Avengers and Ringer failing, the possibility of a BtVS movie seems to be less than it ever was. And Disney has already offered Joss to do The Avengers 2 . Joss is also less involved in S9 than he was in S8, which also contributes to the lessening feelings that S9 is going to remain canon.



                  Koos

                  we were never shown what drove Buffy to bank-robbery
                  The explanation is that Buffy needed to fund her organization.



                  kitt

                  Question: does anyone think the Spike mini would be happening now if the Dru mini hadn't been delayed/cancelled?
                  I don't know why the Dru miniseries was delayed and/or cancelled. Maybe Dru is going to be in the Spike miniseries. After all, the highest selling non-canonical (never considered so) Buffyverse comics are Spike vs. Dracula which had Spike/Dru throughout. Spike and Dru also sold well. And the first Tales the Vampires comic was the Spike and Dru one "The Problem with Vampires". Anyway Spike vs. Dracula came out in 2005.



                  vampmogs

                  I'm one of the biggest S8 fans you'll find and I haven't bought an issue since WatG #15. Just sayin.' I feel pretty guilty about that but I wait for the TPB's and even then I can't always justify to spend the cash on them. I read the issues through 'other means' so I can keep up with discussions.

                  I'm not saying the huge drop in numbers means that everybody else is just doing the same thing as me. Although, the TPB's still sell incredibly strongly so that would suggest a lot of people actually are. But I'm just saying that it'd be a mistake to believe that just because the numbers drop that it automatically means dissatisfaction with the story. I contributed to that drop in sales and I'm living proof that it's not always the case. Far from it.
                  Strongly disagree. Liking something enough to spend time ?getting it for free' is different than liking something enough to actually buy it. Those people who went from buying them to ?getting them for free' simply either no longer can afford to get them and/or they are no longer willing to part with their money to get them.



                  DorothyFan1

                  Spike is only going to be gone for 5 issues...unlike a certain ex-Wiccan who is out of commision for a full 10 issues. Buffy sales can manage.
                  However, Willow hasn't been as likable as Spike. Willow's been simply complaining about the loss of magic.



                  PointMan

                  How are they alienating a big chunk of fans? As far as I can figure, the only people they might be ticking off are Spuffy fans.
                  And you consider that Buffy/Spike fans aren't "a big chunk of fans"?

                  It stands to reason that all Spuffy fans are Spike fans but not all Spike fans are Spuffy fans. That means that the only non-spuffy fans they might be upsetting are the few who are primarily fans of Spike/scooby interaction, and the comic has been sorely lacking in that anyway. That leaves the majority of Spike fans who are likely thrilled at the prospect of the character having his own title under the same banner as the other Whedon titles. And really, if his absence is only temporary, I don't think they are going to care who they might be chasing away.
                  Buffy/Spike requires both Spike and Buffy.

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