Sporadic Sequential
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
This Corpse Isn't Dead Yet

Following up on Monday's post bemoaning the low sales for Dark Horse's Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, here are some interesting points that came up as the discussion continued elsewhere.

Point #1: Over at Simon Jones' NSFW blog, he reminded me that Dark Horse has had a number of notable hits in the bookstore market: Hellboy, Sin City, and, most recently, 300. Notice a pattern? They're all series that were buoyed by successful live action films. So given the news on the product page for Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 6,
A U.S. live-action film based on The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is now in development.
perhaps there's nothing to worry about after all. Just wait for the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service live-action film to come out and not only will the manga be selling like crazy, instead we'll all be complaining that we can't find it in bookstores because Dark Horse didn't publish large enough print runs to meet demand! On the other hand, One Missed Call was made into a live-action film and that probably didn't do much to boost the original manga's profile. Plus, I can't find any info for a Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service film on IMDB or anywhere else. If the film were already in development, wouldn't there be some mention of it online? Also, product pages for earlier volumes claimed "A U.S. live-action film based on The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is tentatively scheduled for U.S. release in 2007" so this could be something that's best not to count on until it actually materializes.

Point #2: In the comments thread over at Blog@Newsarama, Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson himself shows up to address some concerns others were raising, especially the gripe that Dark Horse manga are too expensive compared to manga from other companies:
Many of the titles mentioned as being priced too high are, indeed, several dollars higher than the competition. Much of that has to do with paper, design time and sales projections, but we are aware of the problem and are constantly looking at our pricing. I would mentioned though that we also have a number of books priced very competitively. Koike’s samurai books, for instance, offer around 350 pages for $10. Not a bad deal.
He also points out that a number of Dark Horse manga do sell quite well (a fact born out by the Bookscan charts):
First, most of Dark Horse manga sells extremely well. While it is true that the horror line did not sell as well as expected, and that quality titles such as Eden and MPD Psycho are below expectations, most of our titles do quite nicely. Berserk. Ghost In the Shell, Blade of the Immortal, Trigun, Hellsing and others have all been big sellers and all of our manga continues to sell on backlist. The Lone Wolf & Cub series, by the way, has sold over 1 million copies to date.
More at the link, including why Dark Horse prints some manga in a teeny-tiny format; who Dark Horse aims its manga at; and what Dark Horse's overall philosophy for publishing manga is.

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