Marvel's Star Wars #1 will be the top-selling single-issue comic book of the last twenty years. Last week, ComicBook.com learned that the debut issue would top a million copies sold into the direct market, and today we can confirm that fact. While numbers are still rolling in, Marvel has confirmed that the issue has surpassed that threshold.
The series, which takes place between the events of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and features all of the major characters from the film, is due in stores January 14, 2015. It is written by Jason Aaron, with artwork by John Cassaday.
We spoke to Marvel Publishing's Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, David Gabriel, about the monster sales number, where fans can find the issue, and more.
Is there anything you can point to being the biggest factor in these sales numbers? Is it the Star Wars brand talking, during an era of re-invigoration? Or is there something a bit more specific?
Biggest factor I'd have to say is the strength of the Star Wars brand and the excitement that the Lucas folks have been able to create for the franchise. Though the folks behind the scenes have been working on the title for over a year, we've only been working for about two months selling issue one (and I've had great help from John Paretti, George Beliard, and of course Jordan D. White along with the Lucas folks). But it's been one of the easiest sells in a long time, and that's a testament to the Star Wars brand. Also must give credit to the team of Jason Aaron, John Cassaday and colorist Laura Martin for putting together an excellent comic book. It's one of the most exciting times ever to be a Star Wars fan and retailers, comic fans, and Star Wars fans are all looking forward to this homecoming!
We've seen Marvel explore new ways of getting comics exposed to potential new readers. Everything from strong retailer support, to unconventional methods of sale like LootCrate & GameStop. Can we expect new and different outlets for the comic to be sold through?
There are a number of new outlets that we're working with here in terms of the folks purchasing and selling a large number of exclusive covers, which in the end means that this very large number of comics will be sold in places where we haven't necessarily had comic sales. We're confident we'll have lots of new fans reading issue #1. And the great thing about this for all our comic retailer friends is that they'll be able to sell those new fans the second, third, fourth issues and on and on.
What has the retailers' response been to Star Wars #1 so far? Have they expressed a high degree of faith that this series will perform well?
I can safely say that even without the massive variant plan on this first issue, the numbers on the regular cover alone would make this the highest selling debut of 2015. When you add in the astounding numbers from the variants you've got one huge launch, unseen in the direct market for two decades or more! And I should also give a quick thank you to all those retailers who are showing the support for this launch and the launch parties. They're all really taking this to new levels and making history with this issue.
What new, or different, marketing initiatives has Marvel done to promote this series?
In terms of new initiatives, we've really taken stock of everything that we've done before and just kicking it to a new level. We've got the usual array of giveaways, cards, posters, cake toppers, upcoming video trailers, teasers, covers, etc etc. And it all seems to be working. One new thing in our arsenal is that we get to work with the folks over at StarWars.com to get an extra boost of attention, and that's really going to help drive the sales of this first issue and help make this a terrific success!
Additionally, we reached out to Jason Aaron about the news and what his thoughts were about joining the Million Issue Sales Club.
I'm super thrilled, of course. I've been saying for a while that 2015 is gonna be a very good year to be writing Star Wars. This only proves it. Excitement is already building for the new film coming next December, and we're just lucky we get to be the first big new Star Wars story coming right out of the gate. So yeah, I can't wait for people to see what we've put together.
So what say you comic fans? Will you be one of the many to pick up this first issue of Star Wars? Are you excited to see what Jason, John & Laura, have in store for the Star Wars Universe? let us know below!
Star Wars #1 is on sale online, in comic shops and beyond, January 14th, 2015.