Boom Studios' relaunch of the Magic: The Gathering franchise in comic form releases in stores tomorrow and it appears that despite initial retailer skepticism, the publisher has delivered the highest ordered comic launch in Magic's 28-year history.
As we previously informed you, Boom made a splash when they announced acquiring the license from longtime publisher IDW. Boom's reputation for reinventing licensed properties like Power Rangers, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Firefly, along with the announcement of the creative team of upcoming-Moon Knight's Jed MacKay and Spider Ghost's Ig Guara, resulted in initial orders over 50,000. And then surprised retailers and fans with a single copy of a full-color ashcan, which immediately started fetching $150 from fans on eBay before settling out at an average price of $40-50.
At first, retailers were worried because Boom's Magic comic doesn't come with collectible cards for the game, as previous iterations of comic adaptations had, but it seems that Boom has successfully convinced them that this Magic: The Gathering comic can succeed based on the strength of its story and art. In particular, we understand that Boom's passionate presentation and roundtable discussions at this year's virtual ComicsPRO Annual Conference swayed many retailers to go all-in on the launch. The hour-long interview with MacKay and editor Amanda LaFranco on Wizard of the Coast's Magic Twitch stream, with its 338,000 followers, couldn't have hurt either. No doubt social media influencer ComicTom touting the new license as "a slate of amazing issues and potential bangers on their way" turned some attitudes around.
Now I am hearing these initial orders kept growing by 70% to over 85,000 copies of Magic #1, including 26 retailer exclusive variants and the Magic #1 Magic Pack which contains an exclusive cover by Mercy's Mirka Andolfo. And while sales figures from 1995-1996, when Acclaim first published the franchise, are hard to come by, it's quite possible that Boom's launch outsold those previous records considering Magic The Gathering: Shadow Mage #1 didn't even crack the top 100 in the summer of 1995. What we can say for certain is that Boom's sales are seven times higher than IDW's last Magic limited series launch as well as Dark Horse's launch for the franchise in 1998. It's almost three times higher than IDW's biggest launch when they snagged the property in 2012. It's safe to say that when Boom takes on an established license, the usual sales rules don't apply.
And as the ashcan demonstrates Magic: The Gathering fans aren't the only ones excited about the Boom series, collectors and speculators are watching the franchise as well which is sure to make the back issue market for older Magic comics pop. With a new video game just launched and an animated series on Netflix on the way created by the directors of Avengers: Endgame, the Russo Brothers, and Henry Gilroy, writer of Star Wars classic The Clone Wars, it feels like the beginning of a Golden Age for Magic. With over 30 covers to choose from, which cover for Boom's Magic #1 be the one fans and collectors chase after? Will it be the aforementioned pack cover by Andolfo? Or the 1-in-50 by Junggeun Yoon or the 1-in-200 by InHyuk Lee? Or perhaps one of the limited retailer exclusives with covers by fan-favorite MTG artists like Dave Rapoza, Josh Hass, and Steve Argyle? You'll know when we know.
But for the close to 20 million players playing Magic in the past five years, many of them actually playing the game in tournaments held in actual comic shops themselves, they won't have to travel far to find a copy. That said, if even 1% of those players – 200,000 fans – see something they like across the room, Boom might need to fire up the reprint factory past the second print…
And with Magic #1 already going to second printing ahead of on-sale, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that Boom's next big launch talked up at ComicsPRO, Eve #1 by Victor LaValle and Jo Mi-Gyeong, is FOCing this coming Monday, April 12th. With LaValle recently joining Marvel's X-Men stable, it's safe to say this will be the next Boom series to garner big orders. You may want to pre-order before prices jump up on eBay or it sells out.