I've been giving Mark Millar's upcoming, magic-themed comic book, The Magic Order, a lot of coverage as of late, mostly because comics are my main passion* and it's rare that I get a chance to talk about them here at GeniiOnline. Having contributed to the pre-launch hype for the comic, I feel like I'm duty-bound to report on the apparently shifty things going on behind the scenes.
Last week, Millar announced that the comic was a hit before it launched, with pre-order numbers that are, frankly, astounding for a new intellectual property. He and publisher Image Comics have managed to flog north of 140,000 copies of the #1 before its June 13th release date.
If that all sounds a bit too good to be true, it's because it probably is. According to anonymous tip received by nerd news outlet, Bleeding Cool, the insane pre-order numbers for the comic are an illusion. According to their source, sales have been inflated by what the industry calls, "bulk buying." Essentially, 100,000 copies were sold to convention organisers, ReedPOP, at a reduced rate of 40 cents per copy (vs the cover price of the comic is $3.99) to be sold or given away at various events. In exchange for the bulk purchase, Millar has apparently agreed to appear at shows organized by the company later in the year.
Using bulk buying to manipulate sales chart numbers isn't illegal, but it isn't entirely ethical either, and bragging about record-setting sales using inflated numbers is in very bad taste. Stripped of the 100,000 bulk sales, The Magic Order #1 has still racked up an impressive 40,000 pre-orders, but that number gets smashed to pieces by the 100,000+ pre-orders for Oblivion Song, the new comic from Walking Dead scribe, Robert Kirkman.
Neither ReedPOP or publisher, Image Comics, has responded to Bleeding Cool for comment.
*Shameless plug: lets just say if you were to google my name and, "comics," the results would be interesting.