Category Archives: Skullkickers

Skullkickers #31 Solicitation

Arriving in March… Pre-order now!

Skullkickers_31

SKULLKICKERS #31
story: JIM ZUB
art: EDWIN HUANG & MISTY COATS
cover: JAMES GHIO
MARCH 25 / 32 PAGES / FC / T / $3.50

“INFINITE ICONS OF THE ENDLESS EPIC,” Part One

This is it, the beginning of the end. Beer, blood, and battle. Get on board now so you can say you were there when it all blew up.

Skullkickers is one of the smartest comics out there.” – Newsarama

Creator-Owned Sales – Nov 2014 Update

Just over a year ago I put together a second pretty extensive post all about how long term sales were going on Skullkickers. I wanted to give people an understanding of the economics of what I’m doing without revealing the exact dollar figure amounts involved (that information is between Image Comics and the creative team).

Since then I’ve received two more accounting accrual statements from Image and also had a chance to dig deeper into the numbers and chart them a bit more accurately.

Here’s an updated look at where we’re at and some of my thoughts. I’m not going to repeat the same info from before, so feel free to check the earlier article for analysis of 2011 Q2-2013 Q2.

Here’s how Skullkickers has performed from our launch back in 2010 through to the first half of 2014:

2014-11-SalesChart2

2013 Q3-Q4: As I expected in my previous update, printing the deluxe Treasure Trove 2 hardback ratcheted up our expenses, but print sales are pretty much neck-and-neck, with digital keeping us slightly ahead.

2014 Q1-Q2: Reprinting our Volume 3 softcover built up some cost but we’ve been able to stay ahead with accrual sales. Digital sales are now becoming a larger factor overall as well. How much so? Well, let me show you in more detail.

2014-11-SalesChart3

Keep in mind the above is profit, not sales.

Digital sales continue to grow. Since there’s no print run or storage limit with digital they continue to build profitability over the long haul (particularly with the early issues as new readers sample the series during comiXology sales). Many issues that lost money in their initial print release have been able to make back their losses thanks to digital.

You can also see the effect our goofy reboot promotion (where we released five new #1’s in five months) had during issues 19-23. We’d never be able to do that sort of thing again, but it was a nice way to extend the life of the series a bit. I can see why Marvel and DC hit the relaunch button so often. Fans may say they’re sick of new #1’s, but the truth is that it can stir interest/sales.

Let’s look at the current state of the collections.

2014-11-SalesChart4

In my update a year ago Skullkickers Vol. 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body and Skullkickers Treasure Trove Vol. 1 weren’t profitable but now, thanks to longtail sales and digital, they’re making some money.

Skullkickers Vol. 3: Six Shooter on the Seven Seas sold through its initial print run and needed a reprint, so it’s back in the red (but will hopefully recover over the long haul).

Skullkickers Vol. 4: Eighty Eyes on an Evil Island hasn’t been out very long so there are more copies in stock than have currently sold. Thankfully digital sales are helping.

The deluxe Skullkickers Treasure Trove Vol. 2 hardback is, like the first one, very expensive to print and will take quite a while to make its money back. Even still, with a higher cover price it’s a great archival item to have available. The deluxe volumes sell well for me at conventions and, although it looks brutal right now, I think it will climb its way out of the red just like Treasure Trove 1 did.

A year ago our print expenditures had finally popped into a tiny bit of profitability. How are things looking now?

2014-11-SalesChart1

Okay, so that tiny breath of profitable fresh air in the green was temporary, but that’s okay. Things actually aren’t as dire as it may look, given all the data.

First off, Image paid us an accrual cheque based on digital sales in 2013, so when they had to print Treasure Trove 2 and Volume 4 and reprint Volume 3 that put them back in the red. Keeping the series in print and available is crucial for our long term viability.

Secondly, notice that digital sales continue to climb and that profits from digital are actually keeping pace with losses incurred through print. Digital is keeping us skimming along the break even line. I’m still hopeful that, once the series ends in 2015, we’ll end up in the black.

Compare the current situation to the low point of the first half of 2012. I can’t state enough that Image has been a rock through all of this, making their base amount and sticking with us, paying printing/distribution bills while we looked towards longtail sales for the series.

Keep in mind this is just analysis of one creator-owned series. As interesting as it can be, I can’t speak to anyone else’s sales or their financial situation. This sales cycle does not correspond to all creator-owned books. Please don’t make your own financial decisions based on what I’ve done. Everyone’s risk threshold and situation is different. You may end up throwing good money after bad. Wayward, my new creator-owned series that launched in August, has a completely different sales/profit situation and, if I have time, I may analyse that as well once we have our first trade release.

Note that this is not the full financial picture. The above charts don’t include convention sales, which are still going strong. The money made from direct convention sales, sketch covers, commissions and selling original page art has helped keep us going and viable. I exhibited at 11 conventions this year and, even though it was exhausting, it paid off in terms of sales and visibility for the series. It also doesn’t include money made from web ad revenue generated at our webcomic site.

Also note that none of the above takes into account freelance work that’s come from working on Skullkickers. If you factor in money made from the writing jobs I’ve done for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Valiant, Dynamite, and UDON since the series began, it has turned a substantial profit in that way even after paying the art team out of my own pocket (which is not factored into the above. The charts above represent only Image Comics’ profit/loss). Skullkickers has been the foundation where I’ve built a 2nd career as a professional comic writer over a relatively short period of time.

Most importantly, we put out a comic that stands favourably beside some of the best titles in the industry and I’m incredibly proud of that. As we head towards our sixth story arc we’re going to have over 30 issues, which is pretty rarefied air for a creator-owned series in this day and age.

If you find my sales and tutorial blogposts helpful, feel free to let me know here (or on Twitter), share them with your friends, and consider buying some of my comics to show your support. Thanks!

Super Glyph Quest, With The Skullkickers and Much More!

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My dear friends Leanne Bayley and Alex Trowers have just released SUPER GLYPH QUEST, a fun spellcasting mini-RPG for mobile platforms (iPhone/iPad right now and Android still to come). If you enjoy match-3-style games like Puzzle Quest and Bejeweled, you’re going to love Glyph Quest’s strategic combos and colorful animations.

Even better, Super Glyph Quest includes a special Skullkickers quest against Thool! Yup, Rex and Rolf make their first video game appearance in the cute Glyph Quest style and it’s awesome. If you like Skullkickers you’ll definitely want to check this out.

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Also making our first video game appearance is Stacy and I! Yeah, my wife and I appear in the game as NPCs and our designers are ridiculously cute as well. Check ‘em out!

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Alex and Leanne included many of the long time Animex festival speakers in the game in background roles as NPCs throughout the game. It’s a cute Easter Egg that makes the game even more memorable for our friends.

So, if you want a fun new game title to play on your iPhone/iPad, SUPER GLYPH QUEST is it!

It’s $2.99, the price of a coffee, but it’s also ad free and doesn’t drag micropayment annoyances along behind it. It’s a wonderful self-contained title worth your time and support.

Skullkickers #30 Reviews

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Skullkickers #30, our special “Tavern Tales Through Time” issue, arrived in stores Wednesday. Let’s see what reviewers thought of it…

Newsarama: “good laughs with a healthy mix of weirdness”

FA Comics: 4/5 “This will provide you the biggest laughs of the week, so much so that nothing else this week comes close.”

Geeks Of Doom: “a great take on role-playing and fantasy tropes”

Comic Bastards: “Both of the guest artists have a wonderful style.”

Bag & Bored: 4.5/5 “The art is great all around, really delivering a fun and dynamicness from both Chamba and FooRay”

Skullkickers #29 Reviews

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Skullkickers #29, the final part of our fifth story arc, “A Dozen Cousins and a Crumpled Crown”, arrived last Wednesday. Here’s what critics thought of it:

Newsarama: 8/10 “…a multitude of explosive and colorful fight sequences that are just plain fun to read.”

Eat.Geek.Play.: “With a strong narrative voice, and a stoic stumbling cast, this book is one for the pull files.”

Comic Bastards: 4/5 “…it’s sometimes nice just to see a conflict come to a close with fisticuffs when fisticuffs are the only answers.”

Skullkickers Vol. 5: A Dozen Cousins and a Crumpled Crown

Arriving October 1st, so pre-order now!

SkullkickersVol5-COVER

SKULLKICKERS, VOL. 5: A DOZEN COUSINS AND A CRUMPLED CROWN TP
story: JIM ZUB
art / cover: EDWIN & HUANG & MISTY COATS

OCTOBER 1 / 144 PAGES / FC / T / $16.99

In this volume: The dwarf has been forcibly returned to his homeland and the deranged diminutive denizens of Dwayre will make sure it’s a homecoming like no other. Get ready for compressed calamity, small skirmishes, truncated troubles, and pint-sized pugilism along with the history of dwarves (y’know, the “short” version).

Collects SKULLKICKERS #24-29


SkullkickersVol5-COVER
Skullkickers Vol. 5
A Dozen Cousins and a Crumpled Crown

(issues #24-29)

The dwarf has been forcibly returned to his homeland and the deranged, diminutive denizens of Dwayre will make sure it’s a homecoming like no other. Get ready for compressed calamity, small skirmishes, truncated troubles, and pint-sized pugilism along with the history of dwarves (y’ know, the ‘short’ version).
PRE-ORDER!
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters-Indigo

Skullkickers #28 Reviews

Once you’re 28 issues into a series it can be tough to bang the drum and get readers to try it out. Thankfully we’re still getting nice feedback from reviewers as our fifth story arc rumbles onward.

SK28-585x900-web

Newsarama: 8/10 “it’s a rare thing to find a comic that is written well enough to regularly elicit laughs, so I’d certainly recommend new readers in need for a little levity in their reading pick up the this issue”
Comic Bastards: 4/5 “The story pacing is perfect, the dialogue isn’t overkill and the jokes are perfectly timed.”
The Outhousers: “The team never lets up on the humor but it never feels forced. Skullkickers #28 is the strongest issue in a while”
Comic Attack: “Every origin story should look this good and be this fun!”

Skullkickers Vol. 5 Available for Pre-Order!

SKULLKICKERS Vol. 5: A Dozen Cousins and a Crumpled Crown arrives in September, but you can already pre-order your copy now through online outlets or your local comic shop!


SkullkickersVol5-COVER
Skullkickers Vol. 5
A Dozen Cousins and a Crumpled Crown

(issues #24-29)

The dwarf has been forcibly returned to his homeland and the deranged, diminutive denizens of Dwayre will make sure it’s a homecoming like no other. Get ready for compressed calamity, small skirmishes, truncated troubles, and pint-sized pugilism along with the history of dwarves (y’ know, the ‘short’ version).
PRE-ORDER!
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters-Indigo

Zub Two-fer: Skullkickers #27 and Samurai Jack #8!

Skullkickers27SamuraiJack08-cvr-copy-cb1c8

Two Zub-able comic releases in stores (or available via your favorite digital comic reading platform) today: SKULLKICKERS #27 and and SAMURAI JACK #8! If you get a chance to read either one, please let me know what you think!

Skullkickers #30 Solicit

Arriving in August, so pre-order now from your local comic shop…

SK30-585x900-web

SKULLKICKERS #30
(W) Jim Zub, Will Hindmarch
(A) Jeffrey Chamba Cruz, Royce “Fooray” Southerland
(CA) Jeffrey Chamba Cruz

TAVERN TALES THROUGH TIME!

Through the abyss of time and across the far reaches of space there lie other pairs of monster mashing idiots called “Skullkickers.” In this special issue written by JIM ZUB (our regular writer – duh) and WILL HINDMARCH (Always/Never/Now), you’ll get a glimpse at some of these deadly duos for the first time-a tasty appetizer before the fighting feast yet to come…