For Immediate Release
How Zoom Suit Sold 20,000 Copies
***********************article for Silver Bullet Comics ******************
Study In "Indie" Comic Book Success:
mean my little brother can actually read this comic?"
kill for this paper stock!" (Or: The Well-Dressed Comic)
The whole Zoom Suit multimedia project (I'll explain shortly what I mean by this) is one of the most well-conceived independent comic productions I've ever seen. It took a lot of planning, an obvious investment in production values (a financial risk for even the big companies' (when I was working on JLA we woulda killed for this grade of paper), and top talent (it doesn't hurt that former Marvel employee Taddeo is buds with some of the industry's most legendary talent & hot newcomers). And that's a lot but that's what it takes to reach 20,000 in this market.
the Panel Barrier and Conquering New Worlds
Enter the Zoom Suit animated movie short. Released well in advance of the first issue coming out, the cartoon (which can be found on www.superverse.com) garnered a built-in audience of over 500,000 fans to date to me, another crucial reason why the orders were so unexpectedly high. And I was fascinated by how successfully the short translated the actual comic (or rather, vice-versa). How one story can be presented in two different media. It's a lesson that prospective independent comic publishers who want to reach "Big Boy" numbers should definitely learn. Though the investment in quality computer animation will be a significant expense, the rewards in terms of viral marketing on the internet are obviously worth it you know, one web site posts the link & then another, and another (and then you email the guys at work with the link, etc. etc.). Plus, the Zoom Suit cartoon has been shown in many mainstream, non-comic oriented film festivals and even won "Best Animation" from the Palm Beach Film Society. Such outreach into other media and venues is absolutely necessary for the small publisher to thrive & build a significant imprint.
Now let's briefly discuss the topic of Interactivity and the capacity of the comic book (or other medium) to "interact" with the reader/viewer. A big key to the success of the video game is its interactivity. Heck, it's all about interactivity. If a hyperactive 12-year-old has to chose between passively reading a comic or getting "involved" somehow in the action (if only in a small way), well it's no contest. Thus Superverse Comics "encoded" Zoom Suit throughout the book with a "alien language" that has to be deciphered. Here again we see the appeal being made to kids - what child doesn't want to figure out a secret code (as long as it doesn't go the "Christmas Story" route and spell out "Drink Ovaltine")? Once they decipher the messages, the book has become that more special to them, they feel more involved. And to appeal to children in the age of 3-D video games, that sort of out-of-the-box thinking (as quaint and "low-tech" as it might seem to the more jaded among us) makes the difference.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this column, my experience in comic book editing (and production & marketing) naturally leads me to access new comic projects with a rather objective (ruthless?) eye in terms of their ability to succeed. I found Superverse Comics' Zoom Suit to be a textbook example of how to do it RIGHT. The first issue of this four-part mini-series just hit the stands last week, and #2 will be out next month (featuring glow-in-the dark variant covers - now that brings me back to those days when I was in comics retail & we shut all the lights so we could see that particular Ghost Rider cover shimmer). Buying new comics in the era of the almost four-dollar single issue is a chancy thing as it was much more easy to take a chance on something new when you just had to plunk three quarters on the counter. But for $2.95 you'll at least get something substantial with Zoom Suit and heck, when you're done with it your little brother or sister can read it too.
This is Kamikaze Girl signing off, advising her readers to don't go picking up no alien armor off the floor (or at least wash your hands when you're done). Peace!