The way comic orders works is retailers place their orders - how many copies they want and then the publisher prints copies based off those numbers. Neither retailers nor publishers want to be stuck with extra inventory. What usually happens in publishers will print a few extra copies just in case there are reorders but they will play it safe. If there's demand, retailers will place reorders from Diamond if they wish for more copies. This is when we see the news about comics selling out.
With the upcoming ASH AND THE ARMY OF DARKNESS by Steve Niles and Dennis Calero, Dynamite Entertainment is doing something publishers don't do too often, they are offering the first issue with a returnable incentive for qualifying retailers. This means retailers can make a strong order with minimal risk.
This is how it works for retailers:
Any retailer whose September Previews catalog initial order of Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 (any combination of the Ben Templesmith regular edition and the Dennis Calero subscription-only edition) matches or exceeds 120% of their final Red Sonja #1 orders (corresponding to Diamond item codes MAY130985-89, and MAY130993) will be eligible to return any unsold units during a window after the on-sale date.
Bottom line, this means Dynamite has faith in this title. They believe retailers can order higher than they might usually and be able to sell those copies. Gail Simone's RED SONJA was a success for them. The relaunch series sold out of its 35,000-unit print run which is pretty impressive in today's market. Steve Niles has a great track record and plans to return "grueling horror" to the Army of Darkness franchise. Here's what Niles had to say about the series:
"We start at the last frame of the film and then go right to the next. It's a wild ride and I think fans of the film will be very happy because I am bringing back a lot of what made the movie so fun. My run of Ash and the Army of Darkness takes place almost entirely in the 1300's setting. That was what made Army of Darkness stand apart. I'm hoping readers agree."
Nick Barrucci, CEO and publisher of Dynamite also expressed his faith in the series:
"We have an incredible amount of confidence in the series, and are excited to be part of the select publishers who are able to ship our key projects on a returnable basis. Steve Niles on Ash and the Army of Darkness will be one of Dynamite's biggest launches of the year, and if Red Sonja is any indication, we will sell out quickly and build a large audience of readers. Anticipating that this huge launch will attract a tremendous readership, and with Steve Niles leading a great creative team, we're proud to bear the risk and have this first issue returnable for retailers who support the launch. This program will allow retailers to order plenty of copies for day-and-date on the shelves and achieve maximum sell-through. And as a bonus, retailers will have sales data for Diamond's Final Order Cut-Off procedure on issues #2 and up."
You can also hear what Calero had to say about working on the series on last week's Invincibly Super Massive Comic Book Podcast of Stuff.
Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 is solicited in the September 2013 Previews Catalog #300, corresponding to items shipping in November 2013; the anticipated on-sale date is Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Two cover editions are available for order, the regular edition by Ben Templesmith (Diamond Item Code SEP131050) and Subscription-Only variant edition by Dennis Calero (SEP131051); each edition retails for $3.99. Retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors can place wholesale orders online, via fax, or by contacting their dedicated Customer Service Representative. Initial orders may be placed onAsh and the Army of Darkness #1 beginning on August 28, 2013, and the deadline for September PreviewsCatalog initial orders is September 26, 2013.