Sporadic Sequential
Friday, May 08, 2009
The Subtle Pleasures of Well-Written Solicitations

Whoever writes the solicitation copy for Dark Horse Comics deserves a raise. While the solicitation blurbs from other publishers can be a drag, Dark Horse always manages to make their marketing copy entertaining. Here are some of my favorite bits from DH's August 2009 solicits:
  • CITIZEN REX #2 (of 6) - "It's Astro Boy meets Mister X by way of David Lynch, as only Los Bros. could do it!" I was just thinking the issue's description sounded a lot like Viz's Pluto series when DH basically came out and acknowledged it. And the high-concept "it's X meets Y by way of Z" pitch actually makes me want to read the series. (The fact that it's written and drawn by one of these guys also helps.)

  • THE GROO TREASURY VOLUME 1 - Basically, the whole solicit is worth reading ("If you've ever wondered what this Groo character is all about, tried to untangle his early publishing history yourself, or wondered what exactly it is that Mark Evanier does for this book, wait no longer!"), but I especially liked this helpful tidbit at the end: "Featuring the absolute latest in Stan Sakai-generated logo design!" Always nice to see designers / letterers getting the credit they deserve.

  • STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS #8 - "Clone Wars action on ice!" I'm betting whoever wrote that totally meant to invoke images of Star Wars characters executing elaborately choreographed routines while wearing figure skates.

  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: DALLAS - "It's the X-Men for cool people." ...said Grant Morrison, former writer on the X-Men. Which begs the question: Who are the X-Men for? Nerds? (And: Was Grant Morrison not cool when he wrote the X-Men?)

  • WEREWOLVES ON THE MOON: VERSUS VAMPIRES #3 (of 3) - "Features fan-favorite werewolves AND vampires now in an all-new lunar setting!" Werewolves & vampires now new-and-improved!!
In addition to snazzy-sounding copy, the DH solicits are fun to read because they don't rely on just sheer hucksterism to peddle their merchandise; they also provide interesting factoids (including actual sales figures for books (did you know that "[s]ince rekindling the Conan franchise in 2004, Dark Horse has sold over 350,000 Conan graphic novels!"?) and site traffic figures for webcomics properties) and quotes from a variety of sources (who knew Keanu Reeves' character from The Matrix was such a fan of Oh My Goddess!?) to generate interest in their books. If only all publishers were this entertaining and professional with their marketing material.

EDIT: Just looked at some of the actual "on sale" dates and although these are listed as solicits for items coming out in August 2009, some of the books won't actually come out until September or October (or, in the case of Gantz 8 and the Groo Treasury, November). So be aware of that if you were thinking of preordering any of these books because some items could hold up your order longer than others!

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