As AfterShock Comics begins its fifth year of publishing in 2020, the comics publisher behind Animosity, A Walk Through Hell, Dark Ark, Babyteeth and Dark Red, announced a new publishing, pricing and retailer incentive program to begin in February to help retailer confidence on newly launched titles.
"Without question, our success to date has been due in large part to support from comic shop retailers throughout North America and beyond," said Steve Rotterdam, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AfterShock, formerly of DC Comics and Bonfire/Geek Riot Media. "To ensure that continues and that we're being the best possible partner, we're continually improving upon how we go to market, how we represent the work of our creators, how we communicate with our fans and how we connect with and secure new readers."
To that end, AfterShock is entering 2020 with a commitment to solicit new projects only once the first two issues of a series are completed and ready to be previewed by retailers with a third issue already scripted.
"While unexpected gaps in publishing schedules do happen, we look to avoid them at all costs," said Joe Pruett, formerly of Caliber Comics and now AfterShock's CCO and Publisher. "We're determined to do what we can to keep things on track when delivering our content to retailers and fans alike."
First issues of new series will also get extra attention. Each new #1 will feature four additional pages of relevant content as well as a cardstock cover for $4.99, while issues #2-5 (the typical length of a first story arc from AfterShock) will remain priced at $3.99.
AfterShock is also making adjustments to its returnability and retailer cover incentive program. In keeping with Diamond Comic Distributors' policies, retailers who order a minimum of 10 copies of a new #1 will be eligible for 100% returnability of all unsold copies. Retailers who order 15 copies will also be eligible to order one variant cover incentive and may purchase up to two additional copies of that variant cover. When placing orders for issue #2, retailers may order one variant cover incentive for every 10 regular copies ordered, with no limits.
"Over the past few months, we've sought input from retailers across North America about adjustments we felt needed to be made to our series launches and related incentives," added Pruett. "We believe that this revised program maintains the benefits that full returnability affords retailers, combined with a variant cover program that enables us to extend that incentive beyond first issues."