A couple of days ago, my colleague James Hepplewhite wrote a largely positive review of Ram V. and Filipe Andrade's The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1. There is a certain point in the story he bumped up against and in his review argued that perhaps I was being too kind to the series when I posited that it could be Ram V.'s breakout series like Something Is Killing The Children has been for James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera.
First, let's go to the sales. We already know that The Many Deaths of Laila Starr is V.'s highest launching creator-owned series of his career. And despite retailers coming in heavily for the launch of the series, the third printing of issue #1 went on sale yesterday alongside the biggest book of the week, Something Is Killing The Children #16. As I understand it, these multiple printings have added a juicy 25% additional sales to that already career-best launch, a clear sign that demand is outstripping supply. I'm also hearing that issue #2 sold out the week of release and a second printing should be announced in 3, 2, 1…
Will three printings be enough for issue #1? For that matter, will two printings be enough for issue #2? With V seeing his work splashed across 4 major DC franchises in a single month with Swamp Thing, Catwoman, The Justice League, and Green Arrow…
…and his Image OGN The Blue in Green going back to press, it seems to be his moment.
Meanwhile, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 was the "highest rated current issue" over at review aggregate site Comicbook RoundUp. It was recently bumped to the #2 spot by… The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2. It appears that reviewers (almost) universally are enamored with the series as well. In fact, it appears to be Ram's best-reviewed project in his career on the site.
And finally, the series also seems to be doing rather well in the aftermarket with the "Black Death" foil of issue #1 by David Mack selling consistently for $90 to $100, while the more recent 1-in-25 incentive by Jeff Dekal is routinely selling for $40. There was even a recent sale pre-ordering the 1-in-25 by Mirka Andolfo for $6 . All of this explains why despite the career-best creator-owned sales of issue #1 there weren't enough to service the readers seeking it out and the collectors looking to add it to their haul without the aid of multiple printings – a rare combination for one book.
Will the love and momentum for he Many Deaths of Laila Starr continue? And will retailers be able to match their orders to the "breakout" demand? It's too late for issue #3 because orders had to be placed earlier than normal because of those popular foil covers we've mentioned before but issue #4 will be up on FOC in a couple of weeks. Will The Many Deaths of Laila Starr end up following SIKTC's insane sales trajectory exactly? Probably not, few titles are that kind of unicorn in the market, But with sales heat at comic shops, universally positive reviews, and aftermarket heat, this still looks like Ram V.'s breakout title to me.