DC Has a New Non-Dairy Queen Blizzard Boss
DC has a new "General Manager," and he's poised to trade their outfielder for a second round draft prospect Wait, no, not that kind of General Manager, though I'm sure the 80s DC softball team could have used his help in their bitter rivalry against the Marvel softball squad. Daniel Cherry is his name, and he's coming from the eSports world and Blizzard, in particular.
His job description includes:
Cherry will oversee business affairs editorial, talent services, marketing, sales, brand, and direct-to-consumer content for DC. He will also be tasked with heading up the business development strategy with Anne DePies, the current Senior VP of Business Strategy, Finance and Administration.
In other words, he's picking up all the heavy lifting, leaving Jim Lee with all the soft skill jobs that get someone fired first in the next round of layoffs.
Am I being way too cynical today? Maybe, but let's look back at this column in a year or so to see how it's aged...
Boom! Shows the Kickstarter Way
Boom! delivered a masterpiece in modern marketing this week with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for their Keanu Reeves comic, "BRZRKR."
Boom! is not the first publisher to use Kickstarter. Magnetic Press is into it these days. IDW has used it. There are others.
But Boom! is taking it a step further. They're blatantly using Kickstarter as a key part of their marketing campaign for what would already be a relatively high profile book.
It might not seem like it, but that makes perfect sense.
For starters, a Kickstarter campaign is a thirty day marketing effort. It's not one splashy headline and then crickets for months until the book is released. Yes, there's always a lag in the middle of the campaign, but then it'll finish strong with lots of mentions of the campaign in the last day or two.
This kind of marketing push is also novel enough at the moment that it's headline-worthy, so it gets an extra push.
But most importantly -- by far -- is that it puts the book in front of lots of new potential readers. There are more Keanu Reeves fans on Kickstarter than in the Direct Market. It's a whole new potential readership.
This is Boom! looking for new readers outside the confines of the claustrophobic and insular world of the Direct Market. People who are used to putting up money for projects they won't see the results of for months, now have the chance to put their money down on a comic.
Wisely, the Kickstarter video starts with Reeves declaring that "comics are awesome." Granted, it looks like it was shot on an iPhone 6 in bad lighting conditions and only missed Keanu holding up a copy of today's newspaper to complete the ransom video effect, but it's a good start.
I've seen people on-line complaining about all sorts of unrelated things with this Kickstarter. The best are the Kickstarter purists who still think Kickstarter should be an exclusive tool for the struggling artist with no money to fund their projects. Sure, it can be used for that, too. But bigger projects like this also bring new people and energy to the platform -- and that's the kind of audience the smaller projects can feed from.
The ones who miss the point entirely are those who think that Boom! doesn't need the money and shouldn't be raising it this way. Boom!'s head honcho, Ross Richie has already said that this book doesn't need the money and will still be printed, even if the campaign failed. (Spoiler: the book raised over a quarter million dollars on day one, so that's not a problem.)
What he isn't saying outright is that he's using Kickstarter purely as a marketing effort to get his comics in front of non-Direct Market people. Kickstarter is fertile ground for comics, and attracts lots of people who aren't Wednesday Warriors, even amongst the comics folks there.
Kickstarter, notoriously, doesn't do great for surfacing projects an individual might be interested in. But it is home to a huge community of comics folks and comic projects that aren't Direct Market-centered. And, yes, people still do find random stuff on there of interest.
If you go to the "Comics & Illustrations" section on Kickstarter, guess what the Featured Project is as I write this? Yup, "BRZRKR."
This is a play for the attention of readers outside the Direct Market. It's already working.
More publishers should use this playbook, so long as it's for a comic with a marketing angle that can sell it beyond the Direct Market. Pick your angle, and play it up. Use Kickstarter to make a bigger splash.1comments
It's a brilliant idea.